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Adding a bedroom
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butterflyness2006
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05/04/2018 - 4:10 pm
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A neighbour is renovating her kitchen without approval we are in the process of sorting this out. Now she has enclosed her dining area to make a 2nd bedroom. She has added a wall and a door. Strata has informed me this is a council issue (which I agree)  but I would also think that by adding a wall you have to attach it to common property. So wouldn’t this be a strata issue aswell.

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AYK
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09/04/2018 - 9:47 am
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My son has similar problems.  An owner in his block (Sydney) wants to install a timber partition in the middle of his lounge.  The partition will be screwed to the false ceiling, concrete floor and walls (all common property).  It is for the purpose of separating that part of space as a nursery.  It appears to us from his rough diagram to be more like an additional room – i.e. splitting the lounge into two.

 The owner considers that it is an exempt development.  It does not require development approval, building approval and strata plan change approval.  He only seeks OC approval to install the partition because it is screwed to the common property. 

Would an additional room or a dividing wall require re-approval of the strata-plan by the Council? Would it result in costly upgrades of the building to current building codes?  Would it require approval from the Council or accredited certifier?

 OC is not willing to bear any liabilities and costs involved.  What should OC do to avoid them?

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Lady Penelope
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09/04/2018 - 10:45 am
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I would have thought that the partition would require several different types of approvals:

(1) planning and construction approval by Council (see State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 [Subdivision 26 s252(b)], and

(2) approval by the OC and

(3) a By-law created – then approved at a General Meeting – then Registered.

From my reading of the Code it seems that the partition is not classified as an Exempt and Complying development. Subdivision 26 Minor building alterations (internal)

2.52   Development standards

The standards specified for that development are that the development must:

(aa)  not be an alteration to a food preparation area in food and drink premises, and

(a)  if it is the replacement or renovation of a deteriorated frame member—be of equivalent or improved quality materials, and

(b)  not include a change to the configuration of a room, whether by removal of an existing wall, partition or other means, and

(c)  not cause reduced window arrangements for light and ventilation needs, reduce the size of a doorway or involve the enclosure of an open area, and

(d)  not affect the load bearing capacity (whether vertical or horizontal) of a building, and

(e)  not include a change to the fire resisting components of, or interfere with the entry to, or exit from, or the fire safety measures contained within, a building, and

(f)  if it is the installation of new or replacement insulation material in a dwelling, it must be in accordance with Part 3.12.1 of the Building Code of Australia.

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Jimmy-T
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09/04/2018 - 11:52 pm
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The most worrying thing in this is this line: “OC is not willing to bear any liabilities and costs involved.  What should OC do to avoid them?”

There are no Strata Kops.  Fair Trading is not going to come around and solve this for you.

Actually, Fair Trading isn’t going to do very much at all.

The OC has responsibilities and if they cost money, tough.  One of those responsibilities is to look after the fabric of the building.  If that means you have to hire a lawyer or consultant or surveyor or whatever to prevent selfish owners from doing whatever they want to the building, then that is what you have to do.

That said, follow Lady P’s advice above and start by ringing the council.  Doing nothing is not an option  … you will end up paying for it in the long run.

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AYK
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10/04/2018 - 2:08 pm
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Thank you Lady Penelope and JimmyT very much for your advice.

The OC has now managed to get him to go through the ‘complying development’ route, seeking approval from a private accredited certifier and to submit a letter from the Council regarding no change to the strata plan being required. 

Once he has all the information, he is required to submit to OC for further consideration.  We expect to use the by-law process to limit our liabilities and costs.  We might need to hire solicitors when required.

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butterflyness2006
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18/04/2018 - 9:18 am
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AYK said

Thank you Lady Penelope and JimmyT very much for your advice.

The OC has now managed to get him to go through the ‘complying development’ route, seeking approval from a private accredited certifier and to submit a letter from the Council regarding no change to the strata plan being required. 

Once he has all the information, he is required to submit to OC for further consideration.  We expect to use the by-law process to limit our liabilities and costs.  We might need to hire solicitors when required.

AYK.

Happy you have solved this issue. 

Unfortunately for me I have ended up in court over my neighbour assaulting myself and my young son and cutting my security cameras. Feeling relieved they have granted a PVO against her.

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Boronia
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18/04/2018 - 2:30 pm
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Would adding non-attached partitioning to a lounge room to provide extra sleeping accommodation contravene any rules?

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VicRes
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18/04/2018 - 10:38 pm
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Boronia said
Would adding non-attached partitioning to a lounge room to provide extra sleeping accommodation contravene any rules?  

Would there be an increase in the number of people residing in the premises?

If so and it exceeds two adults per recognised bedroom then definitely, yes.

If the premises are rented then the lease would mention how many people are permitted to live there.

Address this early and decisively otherwise you’ll have way too many people living there with resultant problems.

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Jimmy-T
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19/04/2018 - 11:47 am
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I would strongly advise any Owners Corp confronted by partitioning of rooms to take advantage of Section 137 (below) of the NSW strata Act and, as soon as possible, pass a by-law limiting the occupancy of any of the lots to no more than two adults per bedroom.

Note that Section 137 (6) defines a bedroom as “a room approved for use as a bedroom under, or indicated as a bedroom in any plans the subject of, a planning approval …”

I would also note that the fines for exceeding those limits are punitive – $5,500 for a first offence and $11,000 for subsequent breaches – all payable back to the Owners Corporation.

The answer for the owner who wants to add the bedroom to seek planning approval for the additional room … and I’d lay odds that they won’t get it, for very good reason.

137 Occupancy limits
(1) A by-law may limit the number of adults who may reside in a lot by reference to the number of bedrooms of the residence.
(2) The limit may not be fewer than 2 adults per bedroom.
(3) The by-law has no effect:
(a) to the extent to which it is inconsistent with any planning approval or other law applicable to the lot, or
(b) in any other circumstances prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this section.
(4) To avoid doubt, the Tribunal may make an order under Division 5 about a by-law made under this section.
(5) The regulations may provide for the circumstances when a person is a resident of a lot for the purposes of a by-law made under this section.
(6) For the purposes of this section, a bedroom is a room approved for use as a bedroom under, or indicated as a bedroom in any plans the subject of, a planning approval and includes any other room prescribed by the regulations as a bedroom for the purposes of this section.

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