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What you need to know about renovating strata property

By Andrew Bell

Thinking of ways to enhance your strata unit? Before you get too far ahead in your planning, it's important to understand the rules for renovating strata homes. 

While you may think you are within your rights to make alterations in your individual lot, most owners corporations will require certain permissions. Here's what you need to know. 

What renovations can I make to my strata unit? 

Renovations in strata homes fall into three categories:

  1. Cosmetic work – minor, day-to-day changes, such as hanging a mirror on the wall. 
  2. Minor renovations – larger undertakings like installing new flooring, 
  3. Major renovations – projects that could seriously affect the common property, including structural changes or work that could alter the overall appearance of the building. 

While some strata schemes are happy for you to alter your apartment however you choose, most significant renovations require formal permission from the owners corporation. That's because as a strata titleholder, you are a part of a larger body. Certain projects – such as removing a wall – not only affect your unit, but could also impact the overall presentation and structural security of the scheme. It is typically in the best interests of the community for a building to look uniform. 

To ask about a project, write a formal request to the committee that outlines what you want to do. Sometimes, they'll respond by asking for further clarification. This may seem like a hassle, but it's essential you take these necessary steps. Otherwise, you risk penalty or being forced to undo any changes you've made.  

Some schemes will also require a bond to be paid before any works are undertaken. This is to ensure the owners corporation can recoup losses should any damages occur as a result of your project. 

How do I obtain permission for my renovations? 

Every strata scheme will have a different attitude around renovations. These guidelines will be explained in your body corporate bylaws.

Usually, to undertake minor renovations, titleholders must apply to the owners corporation and receive approval by general resolution (50 per cent of members). You may also be asked to outline your time frame, as well as information about the contractors you intend to hire. 

Obtaining approval for major renovations will typically require a 75 per cent owners corporation vote. 

Most schemes will also have a renovation policy with certain rules around how and when work needs to be conducted. Make sure you're aware of these guidelines and that you adhere to the document.

To find out about buying prime strata real estate on the Gold Coast, reach out to the team at Ray White Surfers Paradise. 

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