QUESTION OF THE WEEK: An owner in a townhouse has built a roof over their courtyard without permission.
A Flatchatter has asked whether the owners corporation should ask for this to be formalised now – with necessary permissions given (or not).
Or should they wait until the property is sold and ask the new owners to get the permissions and by-laws required?
We asked Jessica Kaye, a strata manager with our principal sponsors Strata Choice, what she thought:
This is a great question. However, first things first – the Owners Corporation cannot make an informed decision on the renovations until all of the renovation documents are provided. These need to clearly outline what renovations have occurred, the location of same and the details for the contractor(s) who performed the works.
It would be in the scheme’s best interest to request this information from the owner as soon as possible and not wait until the lot sells. You will want to obtain adequate approvals without delay.
The Owners Corporation needs this information to address any unapproved works as a matter of priority. It also allows the Owners Corporation to determine the approvals required to formalise the work accurately. Then you can ensure that the responsibility of the ongoing maintenance, repair and replacement is clearly defined.
Once this information is received, it becomes a balancing act ensuring the Owners Corporation holds their owners responsible for enhancements and any affected common property and taking a practical and pragmatic approach in noting that the works are complete and the owner has the right to upgrade their home.
Generally speaking, the type of work undertaken to the townhouse would require the Owners Corporations approval at a General Meeting and the adoption of a by-law (via special resolution).
This by-law would safeguard the Owners Corporation, outlining the works and delegating the responsibility for the ongoing repairs and replacements. The by-law would clearly outline any processes to address and remedy concerns/issues that may arise. Notably, the by-law should include provisions to address whether any approvals from Council are required, which can be determined once the full scope of work has been received.
If the scheme does not already have a “template” by-law that owners can utilise, the Owners Corporation can, in this instance, request the owner to supply (at their cost) and engage the services of a strata specialist solicitor to prepare.
Upon receipt of this by-law and supporting documentation, it becomes a matter for the Owners Corporation to determine at the meeting if the works are approved.
You can read the original question and discussions HERE.
Elsewhere on the forum
Can we limit the size of dogs? That’s HERE.
$40k levies debt – file for bankruptcy or wait till the property is sold? That’s HERE.
Do we have to put money in the capital works fund? That’s HERE.
Do we really need our caretakers to have a real estate licence? That’s HERE.
Some of our owners car are too big for their 50-year-old garages. Should we allow them to park on common property? That’s HERE.
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