5 common myths about strata property by-laws

myths about strata property by-laws

By-laws and building rules are frameworks that keep all strata property owners on the same page, but sometimes they can be confusing. This article clears up some of the common misconceptions regarding by-laws.


If you’re living in a strata property, by-laws can be your friend and guide. Given enhancing community living is our aim, lets put our heads together to bust five common myths about strata property by-laws.

Common myths about strata property by-laws:

Myth #1: Smoking is banned

Smoking is banned myth

Many times, people have questions about smoking on the balcony of strata apartments – that’s a fair ask. Your balcony is your own property, but smoke tends to go into neighbouring apartments through their balconies and windows. While everybody has a right to enjoy their property in their own way, be mindful that your smoking does not disrupt the peace of your neighbours and sour your relationship with them. Your property by-laws should have clear pointers on smoking on common property – so take note of no-smoking signs in common areas and respect them.


Myth #2: No pets allowed

no pets allowed strata myth

Pet owners know the true happiness of having their pets around. While your state laws may be relaxed regarding pet ownership, your strata property by-laws may require you to follow some rules which make life easy for pet owners and non-pet owners alike, while ensuring common property is not damaged or compromised by pets.

You should also take care to have your pets fully vaccinated and trained so that they don’t pose a threat to other residents in the strata property. As a pet owner, you must be accountable for your pet’s activities and care at all times.


3. Myth #3: I can’t be an Airbnb host

Can I be an AirBnB host

If you’re a short-term letting host, make sure your guests are aligned with the rules of maintaining common property and do not create a nuisance for your neighbours during their stay.

With a growing popularity of national and international tourism, state government regulations around short term letting are reasonably flexible and still in flux. New South Wales state laws are stricter for owners who don’t live on the property that they let out in the short term.

So if you’re one, you should take care to be compliant even when you’re absent, and keep your owners corporation aware of your short-term letting practices.

PICA Group Tip: If you’re okay with your tenants running an Airbnb in your building, make sure to give them a copy of the by-laws and building rules within two weeks of their moving in. It also helps to spell out the rules clearly in the tenancy agreement to avoid disputes and hassles in the long run.


Myth #4. My party, my rules

Party in strata

Living under a strata scheme means being sensitive to community living. So, if your partying is affecting your neighbour’s right to a peaceful life on their own property, you can be restricted by your by-laws and rules.

Remember to also be considerate of your neighbours if they complain of noise, barbecue or cigarette smoke getting into their property from yours.


Myth #5. By-laws cannot be changed

changing strata by-laws

By-laws are a set of mutually agreed upon rules by owners corporations and bodies corporate, for a hassle-free co-existence of all owners.

So, if they’re not helping maintain decorum, or if they’re incomplete, ambiguous, or outdated, they can always be changed to suit the changing needs of property owners and their residents. By-laws that go against state legislation can be invalidated by an adjudicator.

In New South Wales, by-laws can be changed by owners corporation approval at an an annual general meeting (AGM) or an extraordinary general meeting. Owners can put forth a motion with a proposed new by-law in the agenda of the meeting. The proposal can pass if there’s majority owners’ vote – this means that it has no more than 25 per cent of votes cast against it. Your committee must make sure to get the newly drafted by-laws registered with the NSW Office of the Registrar General within six months of drafting them.

Queensland bodies corporate may change their by-laws by passing a motion by special resolution at a general meeting to record a new community management statement that includes changes to the by-laws. This must be registered with the Titles Registry Office within three months of passing the motion to change the by-laws.

In Victoria, owners may propose new rules to be adopted in a special resolution and secure at least 75 per cent of votes in favour of the new rules. They can be approved after your owners corporation lodges a copy of the consolidated rules with Land Use Victoria.


Use this guide to navigate your strata by-laws. You can also send us your questions here or sign up to download our newsletter to stay updated on all things strata.


This article originally appeared on Homely.com.