When renovating and making alterations to an individual lot, the Body Corporate and Community Management Act does not restrict the changes or improvements which an owner can make. Generally, lot owners can make improvements to elements of the lot which are the responsibility of the owner. However there may be further requirements under your community’s by-laws.
Most Queensland body corporates have similar by-laws relating to ‘alterations to a lot’. These require an owner to submit a written request to the body corporate for approval before they begin works.
Each scheme has its own individual by-laws which will outline when you will require approval from your body corporate.
Most by-laws will require approval to be sought for any structural alterations, the installation of hard flooring and any change to the appearance of your property which can be seen from outside. Some by-laws also outline the hours that tradespeople can be on site and lift access requirements. Generally, by-laws allow committees to impose reasonable conditions on approval.
If you are considering making improvements, you should consider whether your changes will affect common property. This will require approval and may even be required to go to a general meeting. Before you start, check with your building or community manager to ensure that you have the right approvals in place.
Common property consists of the land and building structures that do not form part of any lot.
This can include such things as:
- Gardens and grounds, pools and tennis courts
- Car parks
- Pipes and electrical wiring in the common property or servicing more than one lot;
- The roof and outside walls of a high rise
- Windows and doors that open onto common property
Depending on the type of scheme that you live in, depends on what constitutes a lot. For example, in a high rise the interior of the unit and the balcony generally forms the lot. The owner would be responsible for the interior, including walls and flooring, and windows and doors that open onto the lot, for example the door that opens onto a balcony that is on title. Front doors that open onto a common property hallway are common property.
For stand alone houses formed under a ’standard format plan’ the owner is responsible for the entire structure and land that is contained within that title. These types of schemes quite often have ‘design covenant’s or an ‘architectural code’ that any alterations will need to comply with.
Before you renovate.
SSKB would encourage owners considering making improvements to contact their building or community manager before commencing. If work does not require approval, such as for simple things like internal painting, the building manager may still need to be notified in order to arrange access for tradespeople.
SSKB would recommend you also check the specific by-laws in your building before you undertake any improvements or renovations. It could save you time in the long run by ensuring you do not begin improvements without the necessary permission of the body corporate.
SSKB is Australia’s leading strata management company specialising in delivering expert advice and management to Owners Corporation and Body Corporate communities.
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