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Flooring change in Strata Unit

An owner within a property managed by Strata Management SA sent through the following query:

We are planning to change flooring in our unit, right now we have carpet.

Can we change it to the laminate floor? What obligations do we have as Strata members? What requirements to flooring for apartments we need to have in mind when choosing laminate and underlay?

Hope to hear from you soon, as we already started renovation and stuck with the flooring issue. Didn't want to disturb our neighbors underneath with inappropriate floor. Flooring specialist in shops are saying that all their products are all right for apartments.

But what about Strata rules?

The flooring is yours and you are free to choose whatever you wish.

In Strata Title units in South Australia there are currently no restrictions on flooring in an apartment building, although we expect to see some in years to come as there have been limitations imposed in other jurisdictions.

My recommendation would be to consider the noise factor and a simple policy of treating other units with the respect that you wish others to treat you with.

Older buildings not built with hard flooring in mind can have issues with noise transmission that the carpet can help to muffle. I visited a unit in a multi-storey 1970s building in North Adelaide a few years back that had a significant issue with noise, to the point that it sounded close to the ringing of a bell with the resident upstairs walking on the newly installed timber floor with high heels.

Strata Titles rules are the Articles of the Corporation, Schedule 3 of the Strata Titles Act 1988 which states:

(2) a person bound by these articles (2c) must not make, or allow his or her customers, clients or visitors to make undue noise in or about any unit or the common property.

This is extremely vague and unhelpful in the matter of noise which is a civil matter between the two parties, however some Community Title properties have by-laws that allow for clearer guidelines on what can and cannot be done.

In the case of these by-laws the corporation has far clearer guidelines and responsibilities with most of these such by-laws stipulating what works can be carried out while others have had times set during the working day in which renovation works can be carried out in order to minimize the disturbance to others while I have also worked with corporations that have by-laws requiring notification to all owners of any proposed resolutions.

While by-laws are great for setting the boundaries to work within and provide a potential fine for non-compliance the greatest thing for all concerned is for owners/occupiers to think about the consequences of their actions on others when living in close proximity to their neighbours and fortunately the great majority of unit owners I have met over the years are respectful in this.

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