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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tenants in Strata – summary of the NSW law reforms

Amanda FarmerJune 29th, 2016

Here are four ‘need-to-know’ items arising from the NSW strata law reforms (set to take effect at the end of this year), specifically relevant to tenants: Item 1 – notices of general meetings The owners corporation of a strata scheme where any lots are occupied by tenants must, at least 7 days before any general meeting: […]

4 steps to running your office from the beach

Amanda FarmerJanuary 28th, 2016

With the first month of the year quickly coming to a close, memories of summer holidays are fading fast. If you’re anything like me, there are only so many days you can spend lazing before the itch starts – the itch to be productive, to feed the brain, to be purposeful. If you’re running your […]

Short term letting in strata

Amanda FarmerNovember 29th, 2015

Last week, I was invited by strata management company Dynamic Property Services to sit on a panel, together with other strata ‘experts’, and answer a range of questions asked by strata owners. One of those questions was: what to do about short term letting in strata? Below I share with you my personal notes made […]

Failing to be clear is fatal in litigation

Amanda FarmerSeptember 30th, 2015

In APX Projects Pty Limited v The Owners Strata Plan No. 64025, a lot owner attempted to:- argue that a large payment made to settle debt recovery proceedings should have been allocated to sinking fund levies rather than outstanding legal fees; and bring an action against the treasurer, on behalf of the owners corporation. The owner failed […]

Strata levy recovery: the requirement for expenses to be reasonable, but not proportionate

Amanda FarmerAugust 31st, 2015

The NSW Supreme Court has reminded us of the requirement for section 80 levy recovery expenses to be ‘reasonably incurred’ and ‘reasonable in amount’. If there is any doubt, costs will be referred for assessment. IIB Australia Pty Ltd v Owners Strata Plan 76024 (No 2) [2015] NSWSC 929 (16 July 2015) was an appeal […]

Asbestos in strata: a reminder of your obligations

Amanda FarmerAugust 31st, 2015

Since 1 January 2012, all strata buildings containing a common property workplace built before 1 January 2004 must comply with certain legislative requirements relating to asbestos. In summary, these requirements relate to (a) the identification of asbestos (b) the creation of an asbestos register and (c) the creation of an asbestos management plan. The relevant […]

You don’t know what they don’t know

Amanda FarmerJune 29th, 2015

Those of us working for strata communities have probably heard the following at least once: “Doesn’t the strata manager do that?” (or, even better, “doesn’t ‘the strata’ do that?”). A regular complaint of strata managers I work with is that the communities they manage – I’ll call them ‘clients’ – don’t understand the role of […]

Resolving not to repair and maintain common property? Don’t forget the exclusive use by-law

Amanda FarmerMay 27th, 2015

In Owners Corporation SP 32033; Patrick and Valerie Mullins [2015] NSWCATCD 23 (27 February 2015) the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal upheld an Adjudicator’s order declaring a special by-law invalid. The by-law in question recorded a resolution by the Owners Corporation not to maintain external common property windows. The by-law purported to place the obligation […]

Law and disorder: 4 business tips for parents trying to do it all

Amanda FarmerMay 10th, 2015

I started my legal practice when my son was six months old. That was nearly two years ago. The time between then and now has been a roller coaster of excitement, stress, joy, fear, exhilaration, frustration and absolute fulfillment. Whilst every day continues to hold new lessons for me, here’s what I have to share […]

Recovering unpaid strata levies

Amanda FarmerApril 23rd, 2015

Due to popular demand, I have prepared this paper setting out my advice on the best practice to be applied when recovering unpaid strata levies, including my thoughts on the practice of recording ‘expenses’ on owner ledgers. Amanda Farmer strata debt recovery paper 22.04.15   The information contained in this article is not legal advice. […]

Appealing to the Tribunal? Don’t miss the deadline

Amanda FarmerMarch 17th, 2015

Amended provisions in the Strata Schemes Management Act which came into effect 1 January 2014 were recently put to the test by Lawyers Chambers before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”). In the case of Malcolm Patrick and Margarita Patrick v The Owners-Strata Plan No 9079 [2014] NSWCATCD 232 (2 December 2014), the NCAT […]

Only in Texas….a creative response to a universal problem

Amanda FarmerFebruary 16th, 2015

Kirby Warnock, father of our very own Hallie, has come up with a creative and (apparently) very effective way to “stick it to the man,” as he puts it. Kirby is currently opposing the “spot zoning” of his hometown of Oak Cliff, Texas. A developer is proposing a subdivision which will result in 42 units […]

“Just claim on your contents insurance”

Amanda FarmerFebruary 16th, 2015

When a water leak emanating from common property damages a lot owner’s property, including furniture, managing agents will often advise lot owners to make a claim on their contents insurance. The explanation usually runs like this: “the building insurer won’t cover it because our policy doesn’t extend to lot owner’s property, so it’s up to […]

Court of Appeal finds strata schemes may restrospectively approve legal action

Amanda FarmerJanuary 21st, 2015

December 2014 saw two decisions of the NSW Court of Appeal confirm the effect of section 80D of the Strata Schemes Management Act. This is the section that requires legal action to be approved by the general meeting if the reasonably estimated costs of taking that action exceed the amounts stipulated in the Regulation (currently $1000 […]

Better get a lawyer son, better get a female one

Amanda FarmerJanuary 2nd, 2015

Editor’s note: adapted version of this article published by Women’s Agenda on 6 January 2015. Read it here.  One month ago we launched this new website. The feedback from our clients, colleagues and friends has been overwhelmingly positive. It seems many of you out there are just as excited as we are to be part […]

Latte Magazine puts Amanda Farmer in the spotlight

Amanda FarmerDecember 17th, 2014

Read Amanda’s feature article in Latte Magazine’s December edition:

Home Building Amendment Act 2014 – commencement dates proclaimed

Amanda FarmerDecember 14th, 2014

On Wednesday 10 December 2014 the Governor proclaimed the commencement of the Home Building Amendment Act 2014. There are three relevant dates. In summary:- (a) the amendment that inserts a provision requiring disclosure about uninsured owner-builder work commences on 31 December 2014; (b) amendments relating to:- contracts to do residential building work or supply kit homes; […]

“Back off boys”: my letter to the editor

Amanda FarmerNovember 24th, 2014

My letter to the editor was the leading letter published in this month’s edition of the Law Society Journal.

Home Building Act changes – now due to commence mid-January 2015

Amanda FarmerNovember 24th, 2014

NSW Fair Trading is now advising stakeholders that the Home Building Amendment Act 2014 and accompanying Regulation will commence together in mid-January 2015. This is a slight extension of the 1 December 2014 date many owners and their legal counsel have been working towards. Fair Trading is also advising that “some changes that require a […]

A win for builders, yet another blow for owners

Amanda FarmerOctober 9th, 2014

The High Court has found that there is no duty of care owed by a builder to an owners corporation in respect of pure economic loss flowing from latent defects in construction work.

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:

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