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Do I really need a by-law for my new bathroom?
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mc
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01/04/2018 - 7:41 pm
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So, let me try to get my brain around this…I want to renovate an existing ground floor unit bathroom. It will be, as most renovations are, complete with new tiling, bath/shower, vanity etc.

There is no strate bylaw and I’ve been told I have to pay $900 to create one to cover this Reno. Executive committee are adamant I can do nothing unless I pay to instate the bylaw.

its only a simple new bathroom, not a structurally complicated project. I intend to use licensed tradesmen.

So what’s the story? Why should I pay for a new bylaw to be created? I can’t believe I’m the only one who has had renovation plans in a 12 unit block.

Reading all the above posts, it seems the concern is for waterproofing. Is this the reason I need to request a new bylaw?

i thought this was going to be so straightforward! 

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scotlandx
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02/04/2018 - 4:16 pm
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Yes, it’s for the waterproofing, to make it clear the OC is not responsible for it.

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JimmyT
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02/04/2018 - 5:17 pm
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It makes a lot of sense for your OC to create a one size fits all by-law for renovations like yours.  If they decline, tell them that you will make damned sure each of them pays full fare whenever they want to do work on their flats.  It’s time we stopped this rort (at worst) or laziness (at best) of demanding individual by-laws for identical work.

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mc
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04/04/2018 - 5:07 am
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JimmyT said
It makes a lot of sense for your OC to create a one size fits all by-law for renovations like yours.  If they decline, tell them that you will make damned sure each of them pays full fare whenever they want to do work on their flats.  It’s time we stopped this rort (at worst) or laziness (at best) of demanding individual by-laws for identical work.  

Thanks Jimmy, that’s a good point……I’m off to suggest such a bylaw. It seems reasonable to go for “one size fits all” to save future owners angst. I am a reno virgin and was blissfully unaware of the pitfalls.

i want to say I accept all this is for the ultimate protection of the owners from Mr Shonky and his kin. It does seem to breed another group, Mr Greedy and his associated bag of money grabbers 

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goldy11
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04/04/2018 - 8:05 am
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Question? Should the generic by-law be added to the owner’s title?

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JimmyT
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04/04/2018 - 11:11 am
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goldy11 said
Question? Should the generic by-law be added to the owner’s title?  

All by-laws are part of your title anyway.  The generic by-law, used for a specific lot, would ascribe repair and maintenance of affected common property to that lot.  You wouldn’t need to link the by-law to the title as that is assumed.

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Mr Strata
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10/04/2018 - 9:49 am
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This all comes back to Part 6 of the Act and particularly Sections 106-111.

Division 1 of the Act

When the act was being changed, these new parts were added to simplify the requirements, but I would say it has created more confusion for many.

Further, it has been made apparent by many of the leading strata lawyers that a generic by-law is not suitable for this type of renovation and there should be specific by-laws for each lot, noting that you can not approve the renovation without a Special Resolution anyway.

The intent of this Section of the act is to address who has the ongoing responsibility for repair and maintenance of what would otherwise be considered to be common property.  Take for example the situation of the typical property flippers, who come in, renovate and sell, why should the OC and other owners in the building carry the cost of fixing the renovation shortcuts when the waterproofing fails, or the tiles over tiles starts to become an issue, even in some cases I have seen, creating concrete cancer in the bathroom flooring.

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JimmyT
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10/04/2018 - 11:36 am
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Mr Strata said
… it has been made apparent by many of the leading strata lawyers that a generic by-law is not suitable for this type of renovation and there should be specific by-laws for each lot, noting that you can not approve the renovation without a Special Resolution anyway.

Yes, and yet “leading strata lawyers ” have written, re-written and amended generic by-laws for their client owners corps.

I think we have to differentiate between a by-law that tries to cover every possible eventuality and scenario (danger, danger!) and one that is a template for identical circumstances in largely identical apartments.

If all I need is a by-law thaqt protects the Owners Corp in case my tiler doesn’t waterproof the bathroom floor and walls properly, why do owners need to have the same provisions re-written at considerable cost every time this comes up?

If all you are changing is the lot number on the by-law, I don’t see how this requires the work of a strata lawyer and a strata manager (who may have  never set foot in the building) to check if this is appropriate.

Good flexible by-laws that place responsibility where it belongs are essential.  And in circumstances where the lot owner is going way past the parameters outlined in the by-law, you would start drafting a new one.

But paying lawyers hundreds of dollars to Tippex out one lot number, write in another and then photocopy it, is as close to a rort as I can imagine.

Having said that, I’m sure some “leading strata lawyers” would vehemently disagree. But would they refuse the gig on principle if you asked them to write a template by-law?

I rest my case …

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Mr Strata
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10/04/2018 - 1:28 pm
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Jimmy,

some of us that think pragmatically about these matters would suggest that there is a real simple answer to this…. a By-law gets passed and registered for the first renovation of this nature, and is simply amended to add the next lot number as and when they wish to renovate in this manner.  This is ok as long as the works are the same, no alterations of plans etc

The question is then one of who pays what costs for the drafting and registration of the By-law.

Some would argue those benefiting should pay all costs, while others may consider that the By-law is equally for the protection of the OC, but best for the parties involved to come to some form of agreement on this.

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JimmyT
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10/04/2018 - 3:03 pm
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True.  But the first person to want to renovate their bathroom is unlikely to be the last (far from it).  And I’d say, as a rule of thumb, if your building is older than 10 years, you should be thinking about this kind of by-law, if you don’t already have one.

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taps
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02/10/2018 - 12:11 pm
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Morning all,

Jimmy wrote above:-

It makes a lot of sense for your OC to create a one size fits all by-law for renovations like yours.  If they decline, tell them that you will make damned sure each of them pays full fare whenever they want to do work on their flats.  It’s time we stopped this rort (at worst) or laziness (at best) of demanding individual by-laws for identical work.

We are in NSW.  We have this issue at present – one new owner wants to renovate the bathroom (others have done so in the past and one owner has done so without permission) However.

We have a request from new owner to renovate their bathroom – our committee of 3 is fine with this.  We just need a detailed plan / time-frame etc. 

We have had our Strata Mgr say they need a by-law to do so – and we understand this however, when i spoke to XYZ Strata Lawyers that we would like to have a blanket by-law for bathroom renovations for the SP he said no –  as all bathrooms could be different and yes that will be so but what makes this worse is we are all townhouses with all bathrooms on the lst or 2nd level therefore within the lot (oh and we are pre 1974 – being strata’d in 1971).  the XYZ strata lawyer basically laughed at me for asking saying this just is not feasible to which i say why? it’s costing the new owner 700+ for the bylaw that will be the same for the next person who want’s to renovate and there will be others we know. 

What do we need to say to the XYZ strata lawyers to have them act on this on behalf of the our Strata Plan.  

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JimmyT
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02/10/2018 - 5:46 pm
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There is nothing to stop you from paying for one by-law and then allowing other owners to use that as the basis for their by-laws.  But asking a lawyer to provide you with one that removes their opportunity to charge several times over is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. 

That said, there are reputable legal firms that will provide a standard by-law for a one-off price. They make their multiple charges by being one of the few around who do that.  Just Google “standard strata by-law” and see what pops up.

While we’re here, it’s worth noting that it’s your owners corporation that approves the by-law and no one else.  Provided it doesn’t breach strata law or any other law, it can say what you want. If it doesn’t, you don’t pass it.

The valid reason that a lawyer might strongly recommend you have specific by-laws for each application is that there might be significant variations from bathroom to bathroom that are missed by an off-the-peg by-law. 

For that reason, your standard by-law should have a set of adaptable inclusions and exclusions, or at least a clause covering all eventualities. After all, the by-law is there to protect all the owners in the building and, most importantly, to legally transfer the upkeep of affected common property to the renovator and any subsequent owners.

As for what to say to XYZ Lawyers to get them to provide what you want, just say “if you won’t do it I will get someone who will”.  Neither they nor the strata manager can force you to do otherwise. 

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taps
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03/10/2018 - 9:01 am
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Morning,

thank you Jimmy – your words are much appreciated.  Have copied out what you have said and will discuss with the other committee members.  then approach maybe another strata lawyer.  given that our building is getting older we on the committee think it’s just silly not to have a ‘blanket by-law’ that will suit our building.  i think its too late for the present owner who wants to renovate but moving forward this should be something our Plan needs.  

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JimmyT
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03/10/2018 - 12:01 pm
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A compromise would be to have a lawyer quickly review and subsequent variations on the new by-law (for the renovation that’s already underway)  to make sure it’s OK. 

It really comes down to finding an experienced strata lawyer who can see the benefit of a longer-term relationship and a good reputation in the strata community. 

You really don’t have to start from a blank page every time – but you do need to be mindful of specific tiny differences that might become critical in a dispute.

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Millie
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03/10/2018 - 9:37 pm
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Our Owners Corporation failed to put to General Meetings a Motion seeking approval to renovate my bathroom.  Instead, they quoted $7,000.00 just to organise the paperwork to conduct an Extraordinary General Meeting.  After 17-months of this I discovered that there is a system whereby one can renovate without altering any of the common property – hence, no need for a by-law.  Very pleasing results and it took 7 days from go to woah with really minimum mess.  There was no need to remove tiles etc.

You could also look at: https://www.wetareasolutions.com.au

Their Spapanel solution absolutely did the trick.

Good luck.

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