Strata Disputes

Posted on.
By Watkins Tapsell.

In any strata complex, the Owners Corporation and executive committee are a very powerful force. They are responsible for making decisions that will affect not only the complex as a whole, but also the residents. The question often arises, what can be done when they aren’t fulfilling their obligations?

A common example is where maintenance and repairs are not being undertaken at the complex. This is arguably one of the most important duties of the Owners Corporation and executive committee, especially where safety is at risk.

There are several remedies available to a lot owner. These can include:

1. Mediation; and

2. Applying to have a Strata Managing Agent appointed by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (“CTTT”).

To have a Strata Managing Agent appointed, the CTTT will consider whether the management structure is functioning satisfactorily, i.e. whether it is “dysfunctional”. The CTTT will look at whether there been a clear and consistent breach of their obligations, as they are unlikely to appoint a Strata Managing Agent where there has been only a “one off” breach.

In a recent case before the CTTT, a lot owner brought proceedings to have a Strata Managing Agent appointed because there had been delays in maintaining common property due to ongoing impasses between lot owners. The delay resulted in a potentially serious risk to the safety of residents. A Strata Managing Agent was appointed because of the “dysfunction” that existed amongst the Owners Corporation.

If appointed, a Strata Managing Agent will take over the roles of the Owners Corporation and executive committee. This appointment may only be for a specific purpose and/or a limited time. It can allow the Strata Managing Agent to perform the duties that the management body had previously failed to undertake. This may include making arrangements for repairs and maintenance.

A well-functioning Owners Corporation and executive committee is paramount to the operation of a strata complex. Should you have any concerns about your management body, we invite you to contact us to discuss the matter further.

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