Do I Need Strata Approval Before Removing / Installing A New Flooring System?

Strata Approval?

The law contained in the NSW Strata Scheme Management Regulations 2010 : Model Bylaws # 14 & 15 referring to floor coverings requires that you must cover the floor of your lot (or treat it sufficiently) to stop any noise which may disturb another resident. This does not apply to the kitchen, laundry, toilet or bathroom.

That particular law doesn’t specifically require you to seek permission to install the flooring system, however, if after the installation, it’s found that any noise transmitting from your lot (due to the new flooring system), disturbs your neighbours. You may be required (by a NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal order) to remove or cover the new flooring system to stop the noise affecting others living in your Strata Scheme.

The use of the highest grade, soundproofing underlay possible, will help avoid any conflict after the installation

Changes to floor coverings and surfaces

(1) An owner or occupier of a lot must notify the owner’s corporation at least 21 days before changing any of the floor coverings or surfaces of the lot if the change is likely to result in an increase in noise transmitted from that lot to any other lot. The notice must specify the type of the proposed floor covering or surface.

(2) This by-law does not affect any requirement under any law to obtain consent to, approval for or any other authorization for the changing of the floor covering or surface concerned.

Floor coverings

(1) An owner of a lot must ensure that all floor space within the lot is covered or otherwise treated to an extent sufficient to prevent the transmission from the floor space of noise likely to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot.

(2) This by-law does not apply to floor space comprising a kitchen, laundry, lavatory or bathroom.

Minor renovations

Owners need approval, over 50 percent of the votes in favour, before doing any minor renovations.

Minor renovations include:

  • renovating a kitchen
  • changing recessed light fittings
  • installing or replacing wood or other hard floors
  • changing internal walls
  • sustainability measures (such as a clothesline or reverse cycle air conditioner). However, these cannot involve changing the outside appearance of a lot of structural changes.
  • The approval process may need the owner to give details of the work. This may include:
    • any plans of the work
    • when the work will be carried out (times and dates)

Speeding up the approval process

The owner’s corporation can pass a by-law which allows the strata committee to approve minor renovations.

The owner’s corporation can also pass a by-law to define other kinds of work as minor renovations.

Major renovations

Major renovations include:

  • structural changes
  • waterproofing
  • changes affecting the outside appearance of the property, such as an access ramp
  • work that needs approval under other laws (for example, council approval).

Approval for major renovations

The work needs a special resolution vote. Then the owner must give the owners corporation at least 14 days written notice before the work starts. This should describe the proposed alteration.

The owner’s corporation cannot delegate approval for major renovations to the strata committee.

Renovations and common property rights

If an owner needs to use part of the common property, like attaching an air conditioning unit to a common property wall, they must get approval through a common property rights by-law.

The common property by-law must state who is responsible for maintaining the common property. This responsibility would either:

  • stay with the owner’s corporation, or
  • go to an owner or owners.

Before the by-law can be passed, the lot owner or owners must first:

  • agree to the by-law.
  • consent to maintaining the common property (if the by-law includes this).