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After much debate, the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2021 is now the law of the land in New South Wales and making life easier in strata.
While the Act is mostly about sustainability issues, the most talked about amendments in it are to make keeping pets in apartment buildings easier. These amendments are to the effect that a by-law that unreasonably prohibits the keeping of a pet will be invalid and a decision under a by-law that unreasonably refuses permission to keep a pet will also be invalid. The latter amendment means that a pets with permission by-law cannot be used in practice to enforce a no pets policy and each application to keep a pet will have to be judged on its merits. These amendments are expected to be proclaimed sometime in 2021. Owners corporations considering re-drafting their pets by-laws need to keep these amendments in mind.
The Act also amended the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 so that sustainability measures such as solar panels that add to, change or improve common property can be approved by a simple majority vote at a general meeting instead of by a special resolution (a three quarters super majority vote). Other amendments include a provision to the effect that secret ballots at a general meeting are to remain secret unless NCAT or a court orders otherwise, and allowing any party in NCAT proceedings to seek a penalty for non-compliance with NCAT’s orders without needing to get the Attorney-General’s approval before doing so.
To find out more on the above topics, please contact us.
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