Thinking About Renovating?
Here at the Knight Alliance, we deal with all aspects of owners corporation management, including some of the building and decorating work that the residents want done on their lot or in their unit. What you are and aren’t allowed to do to the property will depend on whether you are acting as part of the owner’s corporation or as an individual homeowner. We have outlined some key information about the scope and limitations of each category below:
Renovations By the Owners Corporation
Primarily, an owners corporation is expected to carry out regular maintenance of the property in order to keep all the common elements in good working order. However, it might sometimes be in the interests of all involved to do a more extensive renovation. This could be due to some element in the property which is no longer fit for purpose, or simply needs an aesthetic upgrade because it is looking a little shabby and dated. Renovations could also mean adding something new to the building or neighbourhood, such as a public garden or gym. Carefully considered renovations, although costly, can really raise the value of all the properties in a development.
Any work done to the property that is not covered in the owners corporation’s maintenance plan is classed as a renovation and must be given the green light at a general meeting. In Victoria, a special resolution is also required if the work to be undertaken will cost more than double the annual fees, or if it requires a planning/building permit.
Renovation By Lot Owners
Lot owners have the right to make changes to the interior of their own property. In most cases, you need only notify the owners corporation of any changes to check that they do not contravene the agreements already in place — or read your copy of the rules. For example, it’s unlikely that painting the walls or installing a new light fixture would require any special permission. However, if a planning permit is required for your renovations, you will need special permission from the owners corporation in advance.
While you may not make changes to the exterior of your property without consent of the corporation, you are expected to look after your home well and keep it in ‘good and serviceable repair’. The condition of the outside of your house or apartment can really affect your neighbour’s view, and sometimes even their ability to maintain their own property, especially if you’re living in a house with a garden. The owners corporation has the right to demand that you make any essential repairs and perform routine maintenance. If you fail to do so, they can have someone else do the work and send you the bill.
For more information on renovations and refurbishment, have a look at page 10 of the Victorian government’s ‘Guide to owning, managing and living in an owners corporation’. For more information on the workings of owners corporations and the services we provide, please take a look at our Useful Information page.