The Owners Corporation Network (OCN), the peak body for apartment owners and strata committees, has compiled an invaluable advisory on what NSW strata schemes and residents can and can’t do under the current Covid-19 restrictions.
This has been sent out to OCN members and in the interest of public information we reprint it here, in full, with their permission.
There are important changes to the Public Health Orders and strata regulations to facilitate the proper functioning of your strata scheme. Please take a few minutes to read this important update.
On Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, the Minister for Health and Medical Research, the Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, amended parts of the Public Health Order that apply to residential premises in Greater Sydney. The definition of residential premises includes your own private premises and the residential strata scheme common property. The amendments deal with three important matters:
Essential Utilities – Installation, Maintenance or Repair
The amendment permits a person to attend your residential premises to install, maintain or repair essential utilities. These essential utilities include: water, gas, electricity, internet, television and telecommunications services (s.22A(4B) (b) (i)). This would include fresh water, storm water and sewerage. This means that work on essential utilities can proceed. It does not have to be an “emergency” before your scheme engages professionals to do this work.
Fire Safety and Protection
The continuation of fire protection and safety work in residential buildings during the lockdown has been approved. The order now includes “fire protection and safety” as a reason for people to visit places of residence in Greater Sydney. This removes any doubt that routine fire safety inspections can continue. It also ensures that work relating to fire protection and safety systems can be carried out without the risk of prosecution.
The change Wednesday follows the Minister’s amendment Tuesday to include “fire protection and safety” as “authorised work” for practitioners who live in Canterbury Bankstown, Fairfield, and Liverpool local government areas (LGAs). This means that a fire safety and protection worker who lives in one of those LGAs is now an “authorised worker” and may leave to attend your residential premises elsewhere in Greater Sydney (s.22A(4B) (b)(ii)).
Cleaning Unoccupied Place of Residence
On Tuesday, the Minister also added the cleaning, repairs and maintenance at an unoccupied place of residence where it is necessary for the sale or lease of a place of residence (s.22A(4B) (c)). This will prevent interruption to these transactions and enable people to continue to move in and out.
You can access the order current today here: Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021 (nsw.gov.au)
** These rules are all in force now **
Meeting and Voting Electronically
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney and related restrictions, the NSW Government has urgently updated the applicable regulations for strata and community schemes.
As of Wednesday 21 July 2021, owners corporations and community land associations are once again able to validly meet and vote electronically without having previously adopted a resolution in this regard. The existing regulations on executing documents without the common seal and serving notice of meetings by email have been retained.
These changes have been made through two new COVID-19 regulations, published now at the NSW Legislation website as follows:
Community land management:
Strata schemes management:
These regulations will be in force until the end of 20 January 2022.
The NSW Fair Trading website is being updated.
If you are interested in joining the OCN, go to its website here.
NB: Your strata scheme may have its own restrictions enforceable via your by-laws.
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