NSW: Q&A Building Appearance: Changing the appearance of the lot

Question: We would like to replace vertical blinds with plantation shutters. Do we need to ask for approval from our owners corporation?

I own a unit on the ground floor of a strata property. When the property was built, the units had vertical blinds installed. We’d like to update the window coverings with plantation shutters.

We are concerned this will be against our common property regulations, as the blinds will change the external appearance of the complex. Do we need to ask for approval from our owners corporation?

Answer: In all likelihood, the proposed plantation shutters would be in breach of the by-laws and necessitate the creation of a by-law to permit the installation.

Many considerations apply here including whether or not the blinds were part of the architect’s design vision for the property. That aside, replacing internal blinds and curtains are now “cosmetic works” under the new legislation provided they do not affect the “external appearance” of the lot (which the shutters presumably would). Further, standard by-laws, as you correctly state, require all installations to be in keeping with the appearance of the building.

So, yes, in all likelihood, the proposed plantation shutters would be in breach of the by-laws and necessitate the creation of a by-law to permit the installation.

For the full question and our detailed response, visit the original publication at Look Up Strata.

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