Short-Term Letting, Occupancy Limits And Tenant Representatives In NSW Strata

25 July 17

Occupancy Limits

By-laws in NSW may limit the number of adult residents in a lot. The limit however cannot be fewer than two adults per bedroom and cannot contravene any planning approval or other applicable law.

Short-Term Letting

In relation to short-term letting, the owner/occupier of a lot must ensure that the lot it is not used for any purpose that is prohibited by Council planning regulations and other laws. They must also ensure that the lot is not occupied by more people than allowed and that the use of the lot does not create a nuisance or hazard to others in the strata scheme.

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 prevents an Owners Corporation from restricting an owner from letting their lot, including short-term letting. The only way short-term letting can be restricted is by Council planning regulations.

Sometimes short-term stays may result in disruption to long-term residents. The model by-laws require people in a strata scheme to not make excess noise or behave in a way that disrupts other occupants’ “quiet enjoyment” of the strata scheme. If Owners Corporations adopt these by-laws (or similar by-laws) they are able to enforce them and apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to impose penalties.

If adopted, there is a model by-law that requires lot owners and occupants to notify the Owners Corporation at least 21 days before changing the use of their lot. This by law would capture a change from permanent letting to short-term letting. This then allows the Owners Corporation to make security, insurance and other necessary arrangements.

The law also allows lot owners or the Owners Corporation to apply to the NCAT to vary the contributions paid by a lot owner where their activities may affect the amount of the premium paid by the Owners Corporation for the scheme’s insurance.

Tenants Representatives

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (which commenced on 30 November 2016) provides tenants (whose landlords have provided a Tenancy Notice to the Owners Corporation as required) with the right to attend meetings of the Owners Corporation but not speak without the permission of owners.

Tenants cannot vote on matters at the meeting unless they hold a proxy and they may be excluded from the meeting where certain matters are discussed (eg financial matters or a proposal for the collective sale of the strata scheme).

In buildings where tenants (whose landlords have provided a Tenancy Notice to the Owners Corporation as required) live in at least half the number of lots in the scheme, the tenants have the right to nominate a tenant representative as a member of the Strata Committee. The Strata Committee is the committee that looks after the day-to-day running of the strata scheme.

In such a circumstance, the Owners Corporation is then responsible for calling a meeting of the eligible tenants at least 14 days before the next AGM. The meeting can either be chaired by the Chairperson or someone nominated, including a tenant. The tenants then nominate one tenant to be their representative on the Strata Committee. The tenant representative is introduced at the AGM and holds office until the next AGM concludes.

While the tenant representative can attend and speak at Strata Committee meetings, they do not have a vote and cannot make up the quorum of a meeting. The representative can also be asked to leave the meeting if certain financial issues are to be discussed. The tenant representative, as a member of the Strata Committee, is entitled to a copy of the agenda and any minutes of meetings held.

 

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
Disclaimer – This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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