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New hope for old strata schemes

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Can we build some granny flats at the back of our apartment block?  It’s a valid question from one of our Flatchatters that will become much more pertinent at the end of this month when the new strata laws land in NSW.

There are a lot of small, older buildings around that take up only half of their allotted space, usually because of laundry drying areas or open air car parking – although I know one that has a WWII air raid shelter.

Now, these may not be in the ‘hot’ areas where developers are revving up their bulldozers in the hope of persuading 75 percent of the owners to allow them to be knocked down so they can build something bigger, newer and more expensive in their place.

But there is another strand of the “collective sale” legislation that allows owners to let developers bring the original building up to scratch, add a few more units to it, and then the original residents can move back in.

This  would be the perfect answer for the Flatchatters who wrote to us saying they love their current apartment building but worry about not being able to manage the stairs when they get older. Maybe the plan will cover the installation of a new lift.

The trick for the “renewal” option is to come up with your own plans rather than being beholden to developers whose main concern will be their profits rather than your needs.

But could you add new apartments within your existing footprint and local council planning height restriction?  What would the building look like? How much will it cost to relocate residents while work is going on? Will the sale of the new units cover building, planning  and legal costs?

The new law requires a committee to present a plan or options to the owners. However, architects and lawyers cost money up front, and your owners may decide they don’t want to go ahead.

Strata Finance company Lannock (sponsors of the Flat Chat website) offer a package for strata schemes that want to check out the potential for developing their common property.

Other finance providers like StrataMax and Macquarie may well do so too in the future.

But if all this sounds like strata schemes becoming developers, maybe they are.  After all, if greedy egomaniacs from inner west suburbs can do it, how hard can it be?

There’s more on this on flat-chat.com.au.

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