Changing strata by-laws
By-laws are rules to help those in strata to live peacefully. Schemes can update the by-laws to meet the changing needs of residents.
- An owner can ask to add a new by-law, or remove or update a by-law – they can add this to the agenda for the next general meeting.
- By-laws must be fair for all residents. They can be based on ‘model’ by-laws.
- By-laws can’t go against state or federal laws.
- Writing by-laws is a legal process that involves certain steps.
How to make or change a by-law
Anyone can write by-laws. But, the wording has legal consequences. For this reason, many schemes use model by-laws or hire lawyers to write new by-laws.
There are some steps to follow when you make a new by-law.
Write your proposal and get support
If you want to add, change or remove a by-law, think about what changes need to be made to the current by-laws and why. It might help to write this down with an explanation.
It’s best to discuss your proposal with other owners to see if they agree with you.
Write the new by-law
The next step is to write the by-law. If there is no similar model by-law, it is best to hire a lawyer to help you. Incorrect or unclear wording can create legal issues.
You will also need to write a ‘motion’ to request a vote on the by-law.
The motion should include your name and what the motion is for. You also need an ‘explanatory note’ of up to 300 words. The explanatory note explains the by-law and adds extra information to support your proposal.
Submit the by-law
After you write the by-law and motion, you need to send them to the secretary of the owners corporation.
You will need to do this before the secretary sends out notice of the next general meeting. Your motion and by-law will then be put on the meeting agenda for discussion.
If you don’t submit the motion and by-law in time, you must wait for the next meeting.
Vote at the meeting
The owners corporation will discuss and vote on the new by-law at the meeting.
You will need a ‘special resolution’ to pass. So, no more than 25% of votes can be against it.
If the owners approve the by-law, then you will need to vote to consolidate your by-laws. This means creating a new and complete document that has all your by-laws, including any changes.
Learn more about how to run strata meetings.
Submit the consolidated by-laws to NSW Land Registry Services for registration
The owners corporation must register any change to your by-laws with NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS). It must do this within six months of approving the change.
If they don’t register in time, the changes are not valid or legal.
To register a new by-law or to change an existing one, a consolidation/change of by-laws form must be lodged with NSW LRS. It must also include a copy of the updated by-laws for the scheme.
While the strata manager or the secretary can complete the form, it must be submitted online by someone who subscribes to an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (usually a solicitor or conveyancer).
Learn more on the NSW Land Registry Services website.
When by-laws can be changed
At any time, an owners corporation can add to, remove or change its by-laws.
To do this, owners can ask the owners corporation or strata manager to put this on the agenda of the next general meeting.
There are limits to the by-laws you can make. This is to make sure by-laws are fair for all residents.
- be ‘harsh, unconscionable or oppressive’
- stop someone selling or leasing their lot (except in some cases of short-term letting)
- ban children
- ban assistance animals.
There are set steps for running strata meetings, making sure every eligible person can have their say.
Learn how disputes between owners, or residents, or complaints against strata managers and other workers can be resolved.
Understand the strata by-laws where you live and what to do if there's a breach of the by-laws in your strata scheme.
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