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Can You Renovate an Apartment in Australia

Renovating an apartment in Australia involves adhering to a variety of regulations and rules that ensure safety, compliance, and respect for shared living spaces. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the key considerations and steps involved:

Understanding Strata Laws and Approval Processes

When you own an apartment under a strata title, you have individual ownership of your apartment but share ownership of common areas such as hallways, entrances, and amenities. This shared ownership means any renovations that affect common property require approval from the owners’ corporation or body corporate.

Types of Renovations

There are three main categories of renovations under strata laws: cosmetic, minor, and major.

Cosmetic Work

These include changes like painting walls, installing hooks, and laying new carpet. Cosmetic renovations generally do not require approval from the owners’ corporation, but it’s always a good practice to inform them and your neighbors.

Minor Renovations

These involve more substantial changes that do not affect the structural integrity of the building, such as kitchen renovations, changing flooring, or installing air conditioning. Minor renovations require approval from the owners’ corporation, typically through a strata committee. You’ll need to provide detailed plans, contractor details, and sometimes an acoustic certificate if the work involves sound insulation.

Major Renovations

These include structural changes, such as removing walls, bathroom renovations, and any work requiring waterproofing. Major renovations need a special resolution vote at a general meeting of the owners’ corporation, which requires at least 75% approval. Detailed plans and notices must be provided well in advance.

Regulatory Compliance and Permits

Significant renovations may also require building permits, especially if they involve structural changes, plumbing, or electrical work. It’s crucial to comply with local building codes and obtain the necessary permits from your local council. Working with registered design and building practitioners ensures that your renovation meets all regulatory standards and safety requirements. For more information on this, read our detailed guide on  council approval for  renovations in NSW?

Communication and Documentation

Open communication with your neighbors and the owners’ corporation is essential. Inform them of your renovation plans, especially if the work will be noisy or disruptive. Proper notification helps maintain good relationships and ensures that everyone is aware of the schedule and scope of the work.

Documenting Approvals and Changes

Ensure all approvals and consents are well-documented. This includes meeting minutes from the owners’ corporation, written consents from affected owners, and any by-law amendments if your renovations impact common property. Keeping thorough records helps avoid disputes and legal issues down the line.

Tenant Considerations

If you are a tenant, you must seek written permission from your landlord before undertaking any renovations. The landlord then follows the strata approval process on your behalf. Landlords are generally required to allow reasonable requests for cosmetic and minor renovations, provided they adhere to the strata scheme’s rules.

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. While we strive to ensure that the content is accurate and up-to-date, we make no guarantees regarding the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of the information for any particular purpose.

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