How private are your personal details in the world of strata?

Amanda FarmerSeptember 26th, 2014

What do you tell owners happens to the personal information they provide to you? Do you warn owners that their personal information may be made available to those inspecting the books and records of the scheme? Do you know what the Australian Privacy Principles are and whether they apply to your business and your schemes? Do you have a privacy policy and does it accurately set out the legal rights and obligations of your business, your owners and your schemes?

Government releases position paper on community scheme law reform

Amanda FarmerSeptember 26th, 2014

The long awaited position paper has arrived. Here is our summary of the essentials:

Owners act reasonably in denying original builder the right to rectify defects

Amanda FarmerAugust 27th, 2014

The NSW Supreme Court has found that an Owners Corporation acted reasonably in refusing to allow the original builder to rectify its own defective work.

Increases to fees under the Strata Schemes Management Regulation

Amanda FarmerJuly 30th, 2014

Fees Amendment SSMR The information contained in this article is not legal advice. This article is intended to provide general information in summary form only. You should not rely on the content of this article as legal advice. If you would like advice specific to you and your situation, please contact us.

NCAT weighs in on the section 80D debate – ratifying legal action in later general meeting

Amanda FarmerJune 26th, 2014

While the NSW Court of Appeal considers arguments in the Bakkante and Elizabeth Bay Road cases, the NCAT has decided the same question in Brodyn Pty Ltd v Auscore Pty Ltd [2014] NSWCATCD 22 (5 March 2014).

In summary, the Tribunal has followed the Supreme Court’s decision in the Elizabeth Bay Road case, finding that it is possible for the general meeting to ratify the commencement of legal proceedings otherwise in breach of section 80D of the Strata Schemes Management Act.

Major impact of amendments to Home Building Act NSW

Amanda FarmerJune 26th, 2014

On 5 June 2014, major amendments to the Home Building Act received assent. The new law will commence on a date to be proclaimed, which may not be until the end of 2014.

The impact for strata and community schemes is significant.

The importance of a clear engagement contract

Amanda FarmerMay 1st, 2014

A word of warning for both owners corporations and their suppliers: if the terms of the contract between you are unclear or ambiguous, you could both suffer.

The NSW Supreme Court has recently considered a case in which an owners corporation was sued by a consulting engineer in relation to the owners corporation’s alleged failure to pay in full for a building defects report prepared by the engineer: Demlakian Engineers Pty Ltd v The Owners of Strata Plan 80453 [2014] NSWSC 401 (8 April 2014)

Strata managers adding debt recovery expenses to a lot owner’s account

Amanda FarmerMay 1st, 2014

Adding debt recovery expenses (sometimes referred to as ‘section 80 expenses’) to a lot owner’s account is a widespread and rarely questioned practice amongst NSW strata managers.

A Local Court Assessor has recently confirmed that, in most cases, it is illegal: The Owners – Strata Plan No 52098 v Khalil [2014] NSWLC 2

Can we stop telcos from accessing our building?

Amanda FarmerMarch 19th, 2014

Building owners are understandably concerned and confused when they receive written notice from a telecommunications carrier (“telco”) informing them that the telco will be accessing the building on short notice to install telecommunications facilities.

When the executive committee “only have themselves to blame”

Amanda FarmerMarch 19th, 2014

“I should not allow these proceedings to expand by the introduction of greater complexity, more reasons for lining the pockets of lawyers and more grounds to occupy the time of the Court of Appeal. The members of the executive committee only have themselves to blame.”

These are the closing words of Justice Pembroke of the Supreme Court of NSW, confronted once more with a case he thought he had dismissed back in June 2013.

Important changes to the Security of Payments Act

Amanda FarmerFebruary 17th, 2014

The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (NSW) (the SOP Act) is changing, and strata schemes will be affected. The amendments are expected to commence in April 2014.

Law Society of NSW on the proposed reforms to strata law

Amanda FarmerFebruary 17th, 2014

Read the Law Society of NSW Property Law Committee’s views on the proposed reforms to NSW strata law here.

Our summary of the proposed reforms to NSW strata law

Amanda FarmerNovember 17th, 2013

The NSW Government has proposed 70 reforms to strata law. Here is our summary of what we believe you need to know

No need for unanimous approval under the govt’s proposed model for the sale and redevelopment of strata schemes

Amanda FarmerNovember 17th, 2013

As part of its comprehensive reform of strata title laws, the NSW government has proposed a process to facilitate the collective sale or redevelopment of a strata scheme.

Strata Law Reform – Government’s Position Paper Released

Amanda FarmerNovember 14th, 2013

The NSW Government today released its position paper, outlining the comprehensive set of strata law reforms that it intends to introduce.

NSW Parliament introduces bill to improve child safety in strata schemes

Amanda FarmerSeptember 27th, 2013

The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Child Window Safety Devices) Bill 2013 was introduced into the New South Wales Parliament on the 18th of September 2013.

This Bill will require owners corporations of strata schemes with residential lots to install safety devices on windows that pose a threat to a young child.

The owners corporation’s duty to repair and maintain common property – some guidance

Amanda FarmerSeptember 25th, 2013

In The Owners Strata Plan 50276 v Thoo, the NSW Court of Appeal provided some guidance on the scope of an Owners Corporation’s duty to maintain, repair, renew and replace common property fixtures and fittings.

In this case, the Court found that the owners corporation’s duty in relation to the common exhaust system was confined to:-

(a)   renewing or replacing the system where it was not operating in a manner sufficient to service the lots it was designed to service; and

(b)   making the system efficient and adequate.

Executive committees (and lawyers) beware: section 80D of the Act

Amanda FarmerSeptember 25th, 2013

The Owners Strata Plan 70798 v Bakkante Constructions Pty Ltd is a case about the relationship between an executive committee and an owners corporation, specifically in the context of an owners corporation taking legal advice and commencing legal action. Section 80D of the Strata Schemes Management Act (“the Act”) imposes certain restraints on the executive committee’s conduct in these circumstances.

Strata meetings: tips and tricks

Amanda FarmerSeptember 19th, 2013

Read this article by Amanda Farmer and Robert Van Aalst before convening or attending your next strata meeting.

If you are involved in community living, whether strata, company title or community association, lot owner or resident, you are, in one way or another, connected to or involved with meetings.

General meetings, and the way in which they are run, can make or break communities. They deal with day to day business, as well as specific items, including the raising of special levies for important projects, or the registration of new by-laws.