Renovations & Body Corporates: Avoid By-Law Nightmares

Renovations & Body Corporates: Avoid By-Law Nightmares

06th June 2019

Renovating can breathe new life to your apartment and boost its market value, too. During your research for the project, don’t just focus on the best ways to renovate your property.

You must also take time to learn about the renovation limitations if you own property under strata title. Along with the different building by-laws, these rules can seriously affect your renovations.

What is a Strata Title?

When purchasing an apartment, townhouse or any property unit, you’ll not only be getting the title for it but also a part of a strata title. It is a form of ownership made for horizontal subdivisions and multi-level apartments that have shared areas. With a strata title, you will also own a part of the subdivision or apartment, as well as the common areas.

These shared areas include recreational facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, and gardens. You are also part owner of car parks, lobbies, and lifts. This means that you and the other apartment owners are also responsible for the maintenance of these areas. However, since there are many owners, the upkeep of common facilities can be a source of misunderstandings. Because of this, body corporates came into existence.

What does a body corporate do?

Body corporates, also known as owners corporations, are in charge of maintenance and management of the common areas of apartments, subdivisions, and townhouses. They also have the authority to assign the responsibilities to either a third-party strata management team or to one of the members of the body.

A body corporate should ensure that any internal and external structural issues with the common areas and facilities are dealt with. Aside from that, it also mediates between unit owners whenever an issue arises. Noise complaints, parking problems, and other behaviour concerns are some of the issues that the body corporate needs to resolve.

So, what does a body corporate has to do with property renovations? Basically, it also manages the walls, ceiling and floor structure of your apartment unit. Anything beyond your paint, wall covers and tile floorings are within the authority of the body corporate because they are part of the common property.

Does this mean you can’t renovate?

No, but it means that there are limitations to what you can renovate. Making changes to parts of the apartment or subdivision that you don’t exclusively own will require permissions. You will need to inform the body corporate of your plans so they can evaluate if your project will not affect the property negatively. The strata management will also inform all the unit owners about the renovations.

If you make an unauthorised renovation in a property with strata title, you’ll risk getting on the wrong side of your co-owners and the body corporate. And if common areas are affected, you will have to pay the damages or undo all the improvements you made.

In the event that you refuse to comply with the sanctions, the corporation owners will seek legal actions that will take you all the way to the courts.

Hence, if you are serious about renovating your property, you must ensure to follow the by-laws that govern the common properties. Each body corporate has different rules, so it’s best to know them first before starting your renovations.

What is acceptable in Renovation?

To help you make the right decision and avoid by-law nightmares, here are the commonly acceptable renovations without the permission of the body corporate:

1. Walls – Painting and putting up wall covers are allowed. On the other hand, cutting holes, damaging, and taking down the walls is a big “NO”.

2. Floors – Changing your carpet, linoleum, or vinyl flooring are fine. But adding wooden floorboards will require permission from your body corporate.

3. Doors and Windows – You can change internal doors like your bedroom and kitchen doors. Changing blinds and curtains may be allowed, but there may be a uniformity rule in your apartment. However, all windows and boundary entrances such as the front and balcony doors, are off-limits because they are considered common property.

4. Bathroom and Kitchen – Putting up bathroom accessories, kitchen cupboards, and cabinetries is no problem. However, pipework and floor tiling need approval from the strata management.

5. Light Fittings – You can replace all internal light fittings, but you should avoid installing downlight retrofit without prior approval.

What should you do?

Before proceeding with any renovations, its best to inform your body corporate first and get permission. Tell the management exactly your renovation plans, including its scope, timeline, and the people providing labour to your project.

Your renovation project may cause disturbances to the other inhabitants of the apartment or subdivision. It may also affect the overall safety and integrity of the entire property. So, before you get any complaints, get a full-project approval right away by submitting a written request to the body corporate manager.

Contact Renovare

If you want to renovate your apartment, subdivision, or any property unit with strata title; ensure that you refer to the body corporate. To help you avoid by-law nightmares, let Renovare assist you with your renovations.

We’ll inform you if your desired property improvements will require approval from your body corporate or not. If they do, then we will help you make the right request to get complete permission for the project.

Renovare will also help you ensure that no parts of the common area of the property will be affected for the benefit of all homeowners.

Contact Renovare now and start renovating your apartment with strata title.

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