Amendment to Strata Scheme Management for Sustainability Infrastructure

Written on the 23 July 2021

Amendment to Strata Scheme Management for Sustainability Infrastructure


The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2020 has been taking place since early 2021. This new bill amends the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, putting ease to owners corporations who wish to install eco-friendly facilities for residents. The amendment is placed to ease the approval of sustainability infrastructure, including solar panels and electric car chargers in the common property.

Before the bill is enacted, the threshold of implementing a "sustainability upgrade" resolution requires 75% of owners to be in favour of the motion. Ever since, the threshold has been lowered to a simple majority of 50% vote, making it easier for the owners corporation to facilitate sustainable infrastructure.

What is Sustainability Infrastructure?

"Sustainability Infrastructure" is defined in the Act as a change to common property that implements any sustainability measures; that includes installation, modification, replacement of a property to serve one of the following purposes:

- To reduce the consumption of energy and increase the consumption efficiency of energy,
- To reduce the consumption of water and increase the consumption efficiency of water,
- To prevent and reduce pollution,
- To reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill,
- To increase the recycling of materials,
- To reduce greenhouse gases emissions,
- To increase the use of sustainable transport, such as the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the common property.

Resolution Considerations Before Approval

Prior to sustainability infrastructure's resolution approval, there are four factors that the owners corporation need to consider; that includes:

Cost - The owners corporation needs to consider the cost of the sustainability infrastructure, including any running and maintenance costs, fixed and variable costs, etc. This factor needs to be considered to apportion the additional cost of the infrastructure among lot owners who use the facility.
Ownership - The owners corporation needs to identify who will own, install, and maintain the infrastructure. For instance, will the solar panel remain in the common property, or will it be the rooftop property of the lot owners? To prevent any dispute, clear ownership and by-law need to be developed to identify the matter of responsibilities.
Accessibility - The owners corporation needs to consider the accessibility of sustainability infrastructure. To what extent can some lots in the strata scheme use the new facility? One way to implement this is by registering lots that the owners corporation has approved for access and use.
Regulations - The owners corporation needs to consider any matter directed by the rules, in particular regulations prescribed by the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016. As of now, no further consideration needs to be made since no amendment regarding sustainability infrastructure has been made to the regulations.

Additional Amendments

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2020 has made several amendments to the Act, in which some have taken place, and some have not. The amendments that have been commenced provide clarifications regarding:

Meeting procedures - Clause 26 at schedule 1 of the Act has been amended to clarify that an owner who owns more than one lot in the strata scheme may delegate a proxy to attend meetings.
Inspections of records - The Act clarifies at section 182 that the owners corporation can not provide an inspection record that discloses how owners voted unless the Tribunal or Court says otherwise.
Information to be provided to tenants - Section 186 has been amended to clarify that the sub-lessor is not required to give the tenant by-laws if the tenant has been given the scheme's by-laws.

On the other hand, the amendment that is yet to commence include matters regarding:

Pet in strata scheme - The amendment will be commenced on 24 August 2021 is concerning pets in a strata scheme. A new section 137B has been made to extend the by-law prohibiting pets in a strata scheme. Meaning, the owners corporation has the right to refuse lot owners from keeping a pet in their lot.
Penalty - A new section 247A has been made to clarify that the Tribunal has a right to order an owner to pay a fine of up to 50 penalty units for a breach of order.
Distribution of NCAT application copy - Section 228 has been amended to require the registrar to provide an NCAT application copy to the owners corporation. Then, the owners corporation is required to provide a copy for each of its owners.




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