NCAT confirms: appeals from adjudicator are to single Tribunal Member

Amanda FarmerMay 30th, 2017

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. […]

Budget 2017-18: Crackdown on Foreign Investors

Natalee VenegasMay 30th, 2017

If you weren’t intently waiting for the budget to be handed down on 9 May 2017 (thrilling, I know) – you may have missed some new measures that are aimed at reducing the pressures of housing affordability, namely limiting foreign ownership in new developments, changing tax concessions for foreign investors and charging foreign investors who […]

Balustrades and BCA requirements – when repair becomes upgrade

Amanda FarmerApril 28th, 2017

In Lipscher and Ors v The Owners – Strata Plan No 30995 [2017] NSWCATCD 2 (5 January 2017) three lot owners successfully challenged an owners corporation’s decision to replace balcony balustrades at the property. The decision to replace the balustrades was made via an ordinary resolution in a general meeting. The lot owners complained that a special […]

A Slice of Sydney’s Property Market for Less than $100?

Natalee VenegasApril 27th, 2017

Sydney’s property market is notoriously difficult to get into. Just ask anyone around my age who hopes to purchase a property one day – it’s quickly becoming a fantasy. In fact, with news this week that the median Sydney house price in Sydney has surpassed $1.15 million and 78 Sydney suburbs have surpassed the $2 million […]

Proxy Farming Under the New NSW Strata Law

Savina YangApril 27th, 2017

What is proxy farming? If you happen to live in a strata title property, you may have heard of “proxy farming”, “proxy harvesting” or “stacking votes”. These terms all describe a process whereby one or more owners (a.k.a. the proxy farmers) of a strata scheme approach or persuade other owners, who are generally less active […]

How to enforce by-laws under the new strata law

Bianca BarryMarch 30th, 2017

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 […]

Alpaca my bags! Is there an Alpaca in your Sydney Apartment?

Natalee VenegasMarch 30th, 2017

Pets can be great. They can comfort you when you feel sad, and provide companionship when you’re lonely.  At Lawyers Chambers, we regularly hear disputes about furry friends in apartment blocks, but usually they are of the cat or dog type. Earlier this year though, CCTV at the Discovery Point apartment complex in Sydney’s Wolli Creek […]

When does my strata management agreement end under the new law?

Savina YangMarch 30th, 2017

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“Act”) has made significant changes to the way strata managing agents are appointed by owners corporations. Under section 50 of the Act, if a strata managing agent is appointed at the first AGM, the term of appointment must not be for more than 12 months. In any other case, […]

What a nuisance: the effect of strata legislation on common law claims

Bianca BarryFebruary 28th, 2017

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 […]

Breaking the Glass Wall? When a Lobby is not a ‘Shared Facility’

Natalee VenegasFebruary 27th, 2017

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 […]

What to look out for before buying a property

Savina YangFebruary 27th, 2017

If you are entering the property market for the first time as a home-owner, congratulations. This is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make in your lifetime, especially in Sydney where property prices are labelled as “crazy”. So don’t throw caution to the wind, we are here to guide […]

Lot owner successfully avoids bankruptcy notice by alleging OC negligence

Amanda FarmerJanuary 30th, 2017

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 – […]

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

Bianca BarryJanuary 30th, 2017

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 […]

Fraud and Indefeasibility of title

Savina YangNovember 30th, 2016

Torrens title is a system of land registration, in which a single register is used for each land holding and records all details and interests affecting that land, such as easements, mortgages, caveats etc. This is the system we have been using in Australia since the 1850s. Pursuant to section 42 of the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) the […]

No More Strata Adjudications

Bianca BarryNovember 30th, 2016

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 […]

Australia’s First Female Chief Justice of the High Court

Natalee VenegasNovember 29th, 2016

On 29 November 2016 it was announced that Justice Susan Kiefel would replace Chief Justice Robert French as Chief Justice of Australia’s High Court. The High Court was established in 1903 and Chief Justice Kiefel’s appointment marks the end of 113 years of males leading the High Court. She will take office on the first […]

No obligation on landlord re tenant’s quiet enjoyment

Natalee VenegasOctober 29th, 2016

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). […]

Abandoned Goods and Illegally Parked Motor Vehicles on Common Property – NSW Strata Law Reforms

Savina YangOctober 29th, 2016

In one of our previous articles, I highlighted the difficulties faced by an owners corporation trying to deal with motor vehicles parked illegally on common property. Fear not strata dwellers: the owners corporation will soon have an avenue available to it to remove these vehicles, under the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the […]

The mullet that launched a thousand memes: is it defamation or fair game?

Bianca BarryOctober 29th, 2016

  You may be familiar with the viral image accompanying this article. Its subject, Ali Ziggi Mosslmani, brought proceedings against three major news organisations for publication of the image on 21 July 2015 in the Daily Telegraph (both online and in print), on DailyMail.com, on 961.com.au, on kiis1065.com.au, and on KIIS 1065’s Facebook page.   […]

BY-LAW: DENIED.

Caelan BruceOctober 26th, 2016

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 […]

Smoking in Strata – NSW Strata Law Reforms

Savina YangSeptember 28th, 2016

In November 2015 we discussed a case where a landlord was ordered to pay $11,000 in compensation to his tenant when the unit was declared unsuitable for habitation due to the smoke that had drifted in to the unit from a chain-smoker downstairs. At the time when this case was determined by the NSW Civil […]

Are shipping containers the apartments of the future?

Natalee VenegasSeptember 28th, 2016

Housing affordability and environmental sustainability are two issues we hear a lot about in society today. A Danish architecture firm may have come up with a solution to both issues with its creative recycling of old steel shipping containers. Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) has ‘upcycled’ unsightly shipping containers to create a very […]

Owners corporation ordered to pay $150,000 to injured lot owner

Bianca BarrySeptember 28th, 2016

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 […]

Meet Gabrielle

Gabrielle GriffithsAugust 30th, 2016

I have just joined Lawyers Chambers after extensive travel throughout the past 12 months. As an independent and inquisitive person that enjoys broadening their horizons, I decided to spend a semester of my university degree studying abroad in England, the home of our legal system. This was an incredible experience that allowed me to develop […]

How to legally record a strata meeting

Amanda FarmerAugust 30th, 2016

We have previously written about the recording of strata meetings using a recording device. I also covered it in episodes 020 and 024 of my podcast. Further to those posts, if you do want to record your strata meeting using a recording device, I recommend resolving a motion at the beginning of your meeting. Here is […]

Renovation Works – NSW Strata Law Reforms

Savina YangAugust 30th, 2016

The new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) (“Act”) and the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (NSW) (“Regulation”) will commence on Wednesday, 30 November 2016. The new law has introduced a more simplified approval process for lot owners who want to carry out certain renovation works at their lots. In today’s article, we will explore the […]

The Power of an Executive Committee to Settle Proceedings on behalf of the Owners Corporation

Bianca BarryAugust 30th, 2016

In the case of The Owners- Strata Plan No 57164 v Yau [2016] recently decided in the Supreme Court of NSW, an Owners Corporation attempted to argue that a decision of the executive committee to settle proceedings was invalid, on the basis that the executive committee meeting at which the decision was made was not […]

How You Could Save Up To $60,000 for Your Strata Building

Caelan BruceAugust 30th, 2016

Approximately 75% of Sydney residents live in apartment buildings. These vertical villages account for close to 40% of the area’s total water usage, 10% of its greenhouse gas emissions and around 50% of residential waste in Sydney. Did you know that your building could produce cost savings up to $60,000 on energy and water bills […]

Review your agency agreements NOW

Amanda FarmerJuly 28th, 2016

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 […]

Legal professional privilege: disputes between owners corporations and lot owners

Bianca BarryJuly 28th, 2016

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 […]