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It’s often difficult to be clear on what you can and cannot do when it comes to renovations and making changes to your property, so here’s a little list to give you some guidance. We hope it helps and makes it easier to understand when it’s worth double checking.

“Of course, we all want to put our own stamp on our own homes. It’s perfectly natural to want to make changes to suit our lives and families. Sometimes, strata properties can make this process a little more challenging.” - newhomesguide.com.au

Kitchens

With most changes to your kitchen completely achievable, there’s not too much trouble cooking up here. Take on your cabinets, reconfigure, replace or re-paint. It’s all good.

It’s where you want to change the plumbing and the location of taps, sinks and gas fittings that things need a little more consideration. Any planned changes related to plumbing will require prior approval.

Bathrooms

So, bathroom, kitchen, same- same. As far as vanity units and cupboards are concerned, go ahead and change or replace or upgrade. But, just like your kitchen, you’ll need approval upfront when it comes to anything plumbing-related. And for paint jobs, we recommend checking with your strata first.

Floors

You’re welcome to replace carpets but if it’s floorboards you’re looking to change you might well find yourself up against strict strata laws. These are usually put in place to protect neighbouring tenants from unnecessary noise, which is fair enough and helps keeps the peace.

Walls

There’s a theme emerging here where anything superficial is generally no problem. But anything structural or more invasive will need approval. When it comes to painting or wallpapering the walls, go right ahead. For everything else, from adding hooks to hanging TV mounts, you’ll need to seek permission. As a general rule, strata by-laws will prevent you from doing things that have the potential to interfere with the building’s structure or produce excessive noise.

Doors

Internal doors are yours to change or refit, but any door that functions as a ‘boundary’ with another property or shared space (e.g. front doors, back doors, balconies etc.) are considered common property and must be left as is. If you do want to change or refit one of these, you’ll need to meet with your strata to discuss the circumstances and find out exactly what can be done.

Windows

All windows are considered ‘common property’ and more or less out of bounds, so refitting is out of the frame here. Strata properties with stricter rules may also prevent you from changing curtains or blinds because it can disrupt the overall consistency and ‘street appeal’ of the whole property from the outside. Please check the rules on this before making changes.

Light fittings

While internal light fittings are yours to change, anything else will require approval and permission from your strata to ensure you aren’t violating the rules. Keep in mind that the position and function of lights in shared spaces can relate to general and fire safety certifications.

So, there you have it. Yes, with shared properties and multiple owners, things do get a little complicated. But, some common sense and willingness to consider others will usually lead to happy outcomes for you, and your neighbours.