My apologies for my sound quality this week. No, I was not broadcasting from inside an aquarium. A tech malfunction meant we had to rely on a backup recording.

Reena and I covering:

  • the strata subdivision that left an owners corporation with a $70K debt,
  • a reminder that strata managers advise, owners decide. Especially when it comes to the motions on general meeting agendas,
  • a thwarted adjournment application, and
  • how to handle “general business” discussions at AGMs.

Links Mentioned:

2 Responses

  1. The Owners Strata Plan no 63731 v The Bunker Pty Ltd [2021] NSWCATAP 119
    A case dealt with by Deputy Pres Westgarth that talks about the agents lack of power to put motions on the agenda.
    Same case also talks about the SC’s ability/inability to place motions on an agenda.
    As the SC is an artificially entity and potentially can be made up of some, or entirely, non owners and or people with no entitlement to vote then best practice would be to reject any motion from that posse.

    Carlo Fini, brief and regular writer for LookUpStrata, seems to think otherwise.
    “The strata managing agent is usually delegated the functions of both the owners corporation and the secretary (as contemplated by sections 52(1) and 54(1) of the SSMA) and that would allow the agent to place motions on the agenda. ”

    Fun thing about lawyers is that often in a case two lawyers walk in and only one walks out a winner.
    In those circumstances we see that half the time the judiciary feels one lawyer is ‘wrong’.
    That isn’t a good ‘investment’ for the losing party.

  2. There is some very interesting information in this podcast.
    The time it takes to get into mediation and the time-frame to get to a first instance decision with NCAT.

    Both are completely unacceptable yet here we.
    As it is generally inherent in the human condition to seek a causal narrative one might find themself asking who is it that has allowed the unacceptable to become the norm.

    In addition to the unacceptable I also found myself considering what occurs these days with an interim application as in the past NCAT would, within a week, be screaming for ‘proof’ of mediation so they can process the substantive application that needs to accompany an interim application.

    If as was suggested, and it is my experience as well, that mediation takes the better part of 4 moths to complete where does that leave an interim application when the wheels of bureaucracy start to scream “where is your proof of mediation”?
    I just can’t see NCAT, for months, having a pile of files waiting to be processed, waiting for the mediation letter.

    The time-frame for an outcome for an NCAT matter reduces many applications to being somewhat worthless. Take for consideration someone who wants to have the levy adjusted. By the time the matter is heard the year is gone and the issue becomes more problematic. Say one wants to question the SC election, the year is gone by the time NCAT deal with matter. The passing of a year can easily lead to consideration of different circumstances to say dealing with the same matter in the first 4 weeks of an issue.

    For those with a long memory the Strata Schemes Board was the best effort the State has had at dealing with strata disputes. It was strata. CTTT was not fit for purpose. NCAT, the “Super Tribunal” is arguably even worse.

    Given that strata is about ~4% of NCATs’ case load is it no wonder we see most Members struggle with decisions and let’s not forget the trivial percentage of cases brought compared to the number of cases that could be brought. It would be high 95+% the number of people who would not even consider mediation or NCAT. The number of issues dealt with by the State is fractional compared to the number of possible cases that could be engaged in and still the system rates an epic fail as it can’t even cope with the few who do ask the State to step in.

    As Amanda says; you only want to go there (NCAT) as an absolute last resort.
    Perhaps that is not the best suggestion; it might be wiser to get out of strata before then.

    What does the future hold? I think it was Nostradamus who predicted – “it isn’t about to miraculously get any better”.

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