Dysfunctional Strata Committees

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  • #229935
    Dee (NSW)
    Member

    Hi Amanda,

    Is there an exact definition of what a dysfunctional strata committee is?

    Can you provide some examples that demonstrate a committee is in a dysfunctional state?

    As an owner & committee member, do I need to lodge an application for mediation with Fair Trading to try to resolve the issues?

    Regards,

    Dee.

    #229959
    Flotsam
    Member

    Hi Dee

    I am not Amanda (so take my advice with a grain of salt) but here are my thoughts:

    1. Not to argue semantics, but I believe the bigger question is whether the management and operations of the Owners Corporation is dysfunctional. Some Strata Committees can be dysfunctional to varying capacities (for example in the sense that relationships are toxic, progress is slow, or meetings are rarely held) but as long as the ongoing operations of the Owners Corporation (i.e. setting budgets, collecting levies, organising repairs) is reasonably progressing, there would not be deemed to be any significant issue requiring action. If the Owners Corporation is dysfunctional, then an owner might apply to NCAT for compulsory management which would take these decisions out of the hands of the SC altogether. Please see this article for more information.

    2. If it is instead an issue of an Owners Corporation generally progressing along but the SC is dysfunctional with personal relationships that are toxic (whether between SC members or owners or both), etc, then an owner might apply to NCAT for Mediation to resolve the issues as you describe. Where possible, you should try to bilaterally resolve issues and conflicts like these first before considering Mediation as a way forward. Of course, that is often easier said than done!

    Regards
    Flotsam

    #230010
    Amanda Farmer
    Expert

    Hi Dee,

    Flotsam is on the money there, pointing out that section 237, which permits the Tribunal to appoint an administrator to a dysfunctional Owners Corporation, does refer to “Owners Corporation” not committee.

    Assuming your dysfunctional ‘committee’ is resulting in a dysfunctional Owners Corporation (often the case), then have a read of these cases which provide some good guidance on what the Tribunal is going to be looking for if asked to make a section 237 order:

    Bischoff & Ors v Rita Sahade & Anr [2015] NSWCATAP 135 (8 July 2015)

    [read in particular paragraph 106 onwards]

    Unilodge Australia Pty Ltd v The Owners Strata Plan 54026 – 29 April 2020

    [Recent case, not otherwise published but made available to us by Swaab Attorneys, who ran the case for the successful owner.]

    Amanda

    #230571
    Dee (NSW)
    Member

    Thank You.

    #236765
    mlahna
    Member

    Hi – we also have a dysfunctional committee that works in conjunction with the strata manager to exclude other owners from any decisions. No evidence of any meetings for expenditure, inflated prices for any works, committee members can do what ever they like eg renovations etc. Found NCAT support this behaviour. L

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