The strata lessons hidden in residential tenancy cases

When a landlord has to shell out thousands of dollars in compensation to a tenant because of a wet, mouldy apartment, what rights do they have to claim that loss from their owners corporation?

I’m unpacking two instructive cases coming out of the NSW Tribunal’s Residential Tenancy List last month.

Stories to solutions: how to learn from reported strata cases

Having received such positive feedback after our episode two weeks ago in which I unpacked an important District Court decision, in this week’s episode I’m highlighting further strata law cases of interest, PLUS giving the members of our online community access to a special research resource. 

The emails you wish you’d never sent

A NSW strata manager has been ordered to pay $35,000 in damages to a committee member defamed by three emails the strata manager sent ahead of an AGM. In this episode, I lead you through the key findings in the case, including why the form of an email might matter just as much as its content, and why ignoring the “troublesome” is always a risky move.

How to Speak with Confidence in Strata – with Cat Matson

It’s often the role of our strata managers to communicate complex information to the inexperienced. Strata owners can become frustrated by a lack of clear communication or explanation from their strata manager about an important issue. Cat Matson, the CEO of Impactful Presenters, joins me this week to explain where our managers might be going wrong, and how we ALL might communicate more effectively, especially in high-conflict situations.

Illegal hard flooring, child safety nets, and a bathroom reno: inside a member call

I’m taking you inside a member call: an opportunity offered exclusively to members of the Your Strata Property Online Membership Community. In this call, I guide a new strata owner on the process of seeking retrospective approval for the hard flooring they have already installed. I also cover:

the installation of child-safety nets on a balcony;
a clever way to ‘sell’ the idea of a bathroom renovation
how to access the strata roll ahead of a general meeting

and more.

Where do our cost recovery by-laws stand now? Allison Benson guides us

I’m joined by fellow strata lawyer, Allison Benson. Allison recently appeared in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal on behalf of an owners corporation seeking to enforce its cost recovery by-laws. In this chat, we discuss the Tribunal’s decision, how that decision may impact future attempts by OCs to recover costs from lot owners, and the prospect of legislative reform to better protect buildings troubled by serial by-law breachers.

Strata Managers Giving Legal Advice: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In this, our last podcast episode for the year, Reena and I discuss:
the building that can’t get public liability insurance for its heritage property
the dangers of strata managers actioning legal matters without instructions or legal advice
a few key principles for those managing Building Management Committees (BMCs).

I’ll be back with the first podcast episode of 2023 on 4 January.

I wish you a lovely, restful festive season. 

Wrangling strata records – with Michael Ferrier

Michael Ferrier of Eyeon Property Inspections shares his assessment of the quality of strata books and records, explaining how transparent record keeping adds to property values. He encourages owners to take responsibility for their own records, and he’s even got a system to help us do precisely that.

How detailed should the minutes of strata meetings be?

Reena joins me to discuss:
– surprises after settlement: what happens when a new owner wasn’t made aware of significant OC debts before they bought?
– the devil that’s in the detail of meeting minutes
– how to be a good witness before the Tribunal (and how Reena knows…)
– the new regulations making meetings easier, in more ways than one.

Strata managers: you advise, they decide

Why are some strata owners telling me that their strata manager is making decisions they do not support?

What is the “advise vs decide dichotomy”?

These questions answered and more, in today’s short episode.

303. Can an owner dictate the method for common property repair?

Reena asks whether a lot owner has any say in the method by which an owners corporation chooses to repair its common property. We also discuss lot owner DAs for change of use and the importance of understanding the mandatory legal requirements for the issue of a Notice to Comply.

304. The 3 Ways Strata Managers are Getting Notices to Comply Wrong

Having recently helped a client avoid penalty proceedings in the Tribunal, this week I’m sharing some common mistakes I see managers and committees making when issuing a notice to comply with a by-law. I’m also giving our members the opportunity to access my next exclusive Pro Member Webinar where we’ll go deep on this important topic (heads up: it’s TOMORROW!)

313. Navigating the strata remedial works minefield

In a first for the show, this week I have THREE guests: Peter Johnsson, Grahame Vile and Caroline McConnachie – each an expert in strata remedial works. We discuss:

why remedial works are so painful for apartment owners
the different fee structures used by contractors and consultants 
how to keep costs under control
how strata managers can best serve their clients during a remedial works project,

and more. 

286. Strata Committees: 3 Popular Questions Answered

    I’m answering 3 top questions about NSW strata committees: Must committees hold meetings? How are conflicts of interest determined? What happens when a committee member sells? Links mentioned: Get the transcript here! The Number One Thing that Dramatically Improves Apartment Living FREE eBook Episode 149. Why strata committees should be meeting regularly Schedule…

288. Unsigned Contracts | Pet Bonds | New Community Schemes Law

    This week, Reena and I cover: unsigned building management agreements: are they binding? the problem with “pet bonds” upcoming changes to the NSW community schemes legislation. Links mentioned: Get the transcript here! Section 67 – Appointment of building managers – Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) Premium Building Management Pty Ltd v The…

289. Evacuation Diagrams and Emergency Management Plans

  Michael Barnes of Credwell estimates that owners in up to 40% of residential strata buildings aren’t properly maintaining essential services, putting property and lives at risk. In this chat, we talk about emergency management plans – including evacuation diagrams – and the high cost of failing to have a comprehensive plan in place. Links…

294. Mandatory Annual Reporting for NSW Strata

    You may have missed it in the end-of-year rush, but in December 2021 a new regulation was made in NSW making it mandatory for all strata schemes to submit an annual report to Fair Trading. In this episode, I’m walking you through the new regulation and encouraging you to start thinking about how…

295. WHS Basics for Residential Owners Corporations – with Bill Kritharas

Lawyer Bill Kritharas joins me to explain an owners corporation’s work health and safety obligations, including: how the WHS law applies differently to residential, commercial and mixed use buildings his problem with work health and safety reports the important role of the strata manager in guiding their clients, and more. Links mentioned: Get the transcript…

296. Overwhelmed already? How to reset for a calmer 2022

  In our first chat for 2022, Reena and I cover: the current pressure on short-staffed building and strata managers our tips for dealing with “communication overwhelm” why walking away from a client is sometimes the best option the new service helping you find the perfect strata lawyer to suit your needs. Links mentioned: Get…

282. Successful Strata Records Inspections: My 4 Step Process

A source of frustration for many owners, records inspections is one of the subjects I am most frequently asked about. I’m sharing my 4 steps to a successful strata records inspection, including what to do when particular records are withheld for ‘privacy’ or ‘legal’ reasons.

279. Secure your Compliance with Extraordinary New Public Health Orders (NSW)

NSW (finally) has a set of public health orders specific to apartment buildings.

But…they’re not quite what we were asking for.

I outline the new and rather onerous obligations on strata managers and others ‘managing’ residential buildings that are forced into hard lockdown.

I’m also giving you access to my new resource, helping you help your buildings through the challenging months ahead.

283. Common property only for the vaxxed? Dr Cathy Sherry answers

Dr Cathy Sherry and I answer your questions about NSW’s new public health order, including:

whether common property facilities can be restricted to vaccinated people only
what to do about in-person meetings over the next 8 weeks
what are the new rules about trades and construction work on occupied premises
how short stay accommodation is being regulated

and more.

This is an edited version of our LIVE video chat. You can watch the whole shebang over on the Facebook page (link in the show notes).

274. Building a Successful Offshore Team – with Strata Staff

This week, Shawn Brown of Strata Staff joins me to explain the benefits of offshoring, particularly for strata managers. We discuss how to avoid a “train wreck” experience and what it takes to build a team that adds significant value for owners.