Is your strata scheme owed money?

Revenue NSW has a database recording unclaimed money it holds on behalf of strata schemes – often due to unpaid insurance claims or unclaimed trust account monies. Download the spreadsheet here and see if your building (or one you manage) is on the list.  This spreadsheet collated by Oaky Boy – one of the diligent members inside…

Vehicle and Goods Removal Notices – templates

These Word templates are adaptable for your use when dealing with abandoned/illegally parked motor vehicles and abandoned goods on the common property in NSW strata schemes. The templates are compliant with Reg 32 and 34 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (NSW). Use this template for vehicles Use this template for goods I recommend…

Fundamentals for strata committees with culturally diverse buildings

This checklist has been prepared by The University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre, to encourage participation and harmony in culturally diverse strata buildings. The list is based on suggestions made by strata managers and committee members across Sydney. Click here for a copy.

NCAT confirms: appeals from adjudicator are to single tribunal member

There has been some confusion since the commencement of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015: are appeals from an adjudicator’s order made under the old Act heard by a single Tribunal member (ie: an “external appeal”), or are they heard by the Tribunal’s Appeal Panel (ie: “an internal appeal”), on which sit three Tribunal members.…

Amanda’s detailed paper on the new NSW strata law

Here’s my most recent paper, covering those aspects of the new NSW strata law particularly relevant to owners: Amanda’s paper on new NSW strata law This is the paper I delivered to owners at Sydney’s Walsh Bay. Part of that presentation is produced as this podcast episode.

How to look up strata law cases

As requested by members inside the Q&A Forum, here’s a video on how to find caselaw made under both the 1996 and 2015 Strata Schemes Management Acts. Press the play button on the left hand side below the image:    

Sample motion to appoint a new strata manager

I am regularly asked to advise buildings on how to legally appoint a new strata managing agent. Click the link below for a Word copy of my standard or ‘template’ agenda for a general meeting convened for the purpose of appointing a new strata managing agent: Motions to appoint new strata managing agent   Be…

How To Enforce By-Laws Under The New Strata Law

The by-laws of a strata scheme are binding upon lot owners and occupiers alike (see section 135 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“Act”)). If a lot owner or occupier breaches one or more of a strata scheme’s by-laws, the owners corporation has the ability to take steps to enforce those by-laws. In summary,…

What A Nuisance: The Effect Of Strata Legislation On Common Law Claims

The case of McElwaine v The Owners- Strata Plan No 75975 [2016] NSWSC 1589 was decided under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (“Old Act”), which has now been repealed. McElwaine was a lot owner who alleged that heavy rain caused severe damage to his unit through water penetration from the common property. McElwaine brought…

Breaking The Glass Wall? When A Lobby Is Not A ‘Shared Facility’

In the recent decision of The Owners – Strata Plan No 72381 v The Owners – Strata Plan No 71067 [2016] NSWSC 1857 the Supreme Court of NSW had to look into a confusing strata management statement to decide whether the installation of a glass doorway within the lobby area of the World Tower building…

By-laws resolved pre 30 November 2016 still have 2 years for rego

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, which took effect on 30 November 2016, provides that by-laws must be registered with Land and Property Information within 6 months of the meeting at which they were approved by special resolution (see section 141). It has recently come to our attention that Land & Property Information has implemented…

Lot owner successfully avoids bankruptcy notice by alleging OC negligence

A lot owner has convinced the Federal Court of Australia to ignore a bankruptcy notice – issued by an owners corporation in an attempt to recover unpaid strata levies and associated costs – by establishing her own counter claim against the owners corporation. In this case, the owners corporation served the lot owner – Ms Blair –…

Owners corporations engaging lawyers under the new NSW law

Until 30 November 2016, owners corporations in NSW could not engage a lawyer or commence any legal action unless the engagement and the legal action was approved at a general meeting of the owners. There was an exception to that requirement if the lawyer’s costs were quoted at less than $12,500 or $1,000 per lot…

No more Adjudications

Under the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 which commences today, 30 November 2016 (“New Act”), the process of strata adjudication has been done away with. Instead, all strata applications will be determined in hearing by the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (“Tribunal”). Under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (“Old Act”), applications for adjudicator’s…

Q&A with a strata manager on the new NSW law

This week I was asked a number of questions by a strata manager on different aspects of the new NSW strata law, due to commence in a few weeks. I have recorded the Q&A in this document, so that you can have the benefit of this information too. We cover: the committee approving training services…

By-law: Denied.

In the case of Colbert v MacDonald & Ors [2016] NSWSC 1291 (15 September 2016) the Supreme Court considered (a) the requirements of Adjudicators in complying with any statutory preconditions before exercising a power, and (b) whether Owners Corporations are required to circulate orders and notices from the Tribunal, in order to prevent individual lot…

No Obligation on Landlord Re Tenant’s Quiet Enjoyment

In the recent decision of Abdel-Messih v Mao [2016] NSWCATAP 223, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that a landlord was not liable for a third party’s actions disrupting the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of a tenant. Mr Abdel-Messih (‘tenant’) entered into a residential tenancy agreement with Mr Mao ‘(landlord’). Mr Abdel-Messih sub-let the premises (a strata lot).…

More on strata committees – 3 important questions answered

I was recently asked 3 important questions arising out of my workshop delivered to strata managers on ‘strata committees’. Here are the questions and answers – exclusively for YSP members.   answers-to-strata-committee-workshop-questions-26-10-16

What’s new about strata committees?

Click here to access my paper, delivered exclusively to strata managers at a workshop on 21 October 2016: what’s new when it comes to ‘strata committees’ (the future ‘executive committees’) under the new NSW strata law?  

Review Your Agency Agreements Now

With the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) set to commence on 30 November 2016, strata managers need to be paying attention to the terms of the agency agreements they (a) currently have with their buildings and (b) are issuing to new buildings they are tendering for. I have seen a number of agreements in…

Owners Corporation Ordered to Pay $150,000 to Injured Lot Owner

In Allen v Strata Plan 54664 an owners corporation was ordered to pay over $150,000 in damages to Mrs Allen, an elderly lot owner who tripped over a rubber mat in a common property lift. The owners corporation had put in place a code of conduct which required certain rules to be followed when the…

Legal Professional Privilege: Disputes Between Owners Corporations And Lot Owners

Broadly speaking, legal professional privilege can be claimed over confidential communications and documents made for the dominant purpose of: giving or receiving legal advice; or use in existing or anticipated litigation. In general, an owners corporation is entitled to claim legal professional privilege against a lot owner with whom the owners corporation is involved in…

When a settlement isn’t really a settlement

On 15 December 2015 a decision was handed down in the Supreme Court of NSW in The Owners- Strata Plan No. 58087 v Matthews. The dispute related to whether or not a lot owner was entitled to park in a visitors’ parking space. In this case, the Owners Corporation claimed that the dispute and associated legal…

The importance of correctly serving levy notices

In this case the NSW Court of Appeal left undisturbed the Supreme Court’s earlier decision that a lot owner had been properly served with notice of levies and was therefore liable to pay. Before the Supreme Court, the lot owner, Mr Chua, claimed he never received the levy notice. The issue was whether or not Mr Chua…