A full summary of the changes to strata scheme laws made in 2023

Some strata owners find management laws confusing or inadequate. However, on December 11, 2023, the NSW Government implemented significant changes to existing strata laws aimed at creating a fairer and more transparent system. These changes resulted from extensive public consultation and recommendations from the 2021 Report on the Statutory Review of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 and Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the key changes you should be aware of.

At All Suburbs Strata Management, our team has over 35 years of experience in residential strata management in Sydney and on the Central Coast. Our strata managers have extensive knowledge and stay ahead of current legislation. We understand that many strata owners are interested in learning more about the changes that occurred last year. Here is what you need to know.

Introduction to the 2023 Strata Law Reforms

Building on the recent overhaul of strata laws, the 2023 reforms are set to revolutionise the way strata schemes operate in New South Wales. With the introduction of the Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, these changes aim to address long-standing issues within the system.

The modifications aim to enhance transparency, accountability and equity for property owners, tenants and strata committees, fostering a more democratic and inclusive approach to managing strata schemes.

Next, we’ll examine the specific elements of the reforms and their implications for strata stakeholders.

New Rules for Strata Committees

The 2023 reforms introduce several noteworthy changes to the operation and responsibilities of strata committees in New South Wales. Below is a summary of the key changes that apply:

  • Strata committee member removal now requires only an ordinary resolution.
  • Removed members are ineligible to serve on the committee for 12 months.
  • Tenure of the strata renewal committee extended to two years.
  • Mandatory conflict of interest disclosures for committee members.
  • Notice of expiring agency agreements must be provided in a timely manner.
  • Enhanced clarity on the court’s power to award costs against unreasonable dissenting owners.

Tenants' Rights: What Has Changed?

Tenants in NSW now have enhanced rights for more secure and transparent living arrangements. Landlords or their agents must provide up-to-date strata by-laws and management statements at the start of a lease and within 14 days of any updates, ensuring tenants are always informed about the rules governing their living environment.

Additionally, landlords or agents are required to notify the owners corporation of a tenancy. If they fail to do so, tenants now have the right to provide this notice themselves. The reforms also restrict fees, bonds or insurance costs imposed on tenants for keeping pets.

Pets and Assistance Animals

There were also welcome changes for pet owners and those with assistance animals. The updated legislation makes it more straightforward for tenants to keep pets. While previously, strata by-laws often imposed strict restrictions, the new rules ensure that decisions regarding pets are based on reasonable grounds.

The legislation also mandates that strata committees accommodate tenants with assistance animals, ensuring individuals who rely on them are not unfairly excluded or restricted.

Improved Dispute Resolution Processes

Two businesswomen negotiating at table

This was another area of reform focused on improving the dispute resolution processes within strata schemes. One primary goal is to ensure that conflicts are addressed swiftly and fairly to minimise the disruption and stress for all parties. Here are the applicable changes:

  • The NSW Fair Trading now has increased authority to intervene in dysfunctional strata schemes.
  • Mandatory conflict of interest disclosures have been introduced for transparency.
  • Clarification of the court’s power to award costs against unreasonable dissenting owners.
  • The strata renewal committee tenure has been extended to two years, allowing for more stability.
  • Improvements to the voting process in two-lot schemes to promote fairness and efficiency.

Empowering NSW Fair Trading to intervene in dysfunctional strata schemes is a pivotal change that will protect the rights and interests of all owners.

Fairer Financial Management

Strata committees must now be more financially transparent, disclosing personal and financial interests in scheme matters to ensure impartial decision-making. The reforms also adjust the managing agent contract notice period to avoid sudden terminations and enhance financial reporting standards, providing clearer insights into commitments and expenditures.

Additionally, the reforms introduce accountability measures for dissenting owners to minimise disruptions during renewal processes and require more comprehensive records, including tenant information.

How to Get More Information and Support

If you would like more information regarding the 2023 strata law reforms, there are numerous resources available. Your first step should be to make contact with your strata manager. They should have current knowledge and be able to provide specific advice tailored to your situation. At ASSM, our strata managers are well-versed in the new regulations and how they apply to various scenarios.

For broader inquiries, the NSW Government’s official website offers a wealth of information. It provides detailed outlines of the new laws, frequently asked questions and contact details for relevant departments. Whether you’re an owner, tenant or strata committee member, it’s an invaluable resource.

Why Choose All Suburbs Strata Management?

The 2023 reforms are a significant advancement toward more equitable and transparent strata living conditions in NSW. For further details on how these changes may affect you, contact your strata manager.

At ASSM, we have over 35 years of experience and specialise in compliance management. We ensure strata schemes meet the legal, financial and regulatory obligations of all relevant New South Wales legislation and strata acts.

Additionally, we offer developer assistance for registration preparation, along with comprehensive strata reports and inspections.

Our team can ensure your strata scheme runs as smoothly as possible. When considering buying into a strata scheme or wanting to secure a professional and qualified team, contact ASSM today.

Service Areas

We provide Australia’s most professional and comprehensive strata management services across Greater Sydney and other parts of NSW. Our expertise spans residential, community, commercial and industrial strata schemes. It’s easy to switch to All Suburbs Strata Management. See the extensive range of suburbs our certified strata managers oversee below.

We are compliance and administration experts, relationship builders and proactive problem solvers.

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