Latest Ask an Expert Q&As

SCA (NSW) offers members general expert advice on a variety of issues. Here are a selection of recently asked questions with answers.

Q: What is the voting power of a developer that holds 50% or more of the lots?

A: This is answered by Schedule 1 Clause 14(2) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2016, which states


(2) Vote of original owner who owns more than half of lots to be reduced for the purposes of determining an election for officers of the owners corporation or members of the strata committee or appointing a strata managing agent (other than in the case of a poll), if the total unit entitlement of lots of the original owner is not less than half of the aggregate unit entitlement, the value of the vote in respect of the lots held by the original owner is taken to be reduced by two-thirds (ignoring any fraction).

The vote can be in person, as a company nominee, a proxy or by electronic means.

Q: This is about downlights within a unit. In Note 5 of the Who’s Responsible Guide it states “Normally light fittings are always the responsibility of the owner” However NSW Fair Trading states that light fittings “If it is recessed in the ceiling, it is the owners corporation’s responsibility.” This could result in a huge maintenance cost for the owners corporation. Please clarify which of the guides is correct.

A: The answer to this is found in Section 110(1) and 110(3)(b) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2016, which states:

110 Minor renovations by owners

(1) The owner of a lot in a strata scheme may carry out work for the purposes of minor renovations to common property in connection with the owner’s lot with the approval of the owners corporation given by resolution at a general meeting. A special resolution authorising the work is not required.
(2) The approval may be subject to reasonable conditions imposed by the common property and cannot be unreasonably withheld by the owners corporation.
(3) “Minor renovations” include but are not limited to work for the purposes of the following:
(b) changing recessed light fittings.

Taking this into consideration, it is clear that recessed light fittings are common property in respect of installing or changing the light fittings. However, to eliminate this cost to the owners corporation the strata committee could propose a by-law placing the responsibility for maintenance of recessed light fittings on the lot owner.