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 […]

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No 75975 [2016] NSWSC 1589 was decided under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (“Old Act”), which has now been repealed.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 […]

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 […]

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, on, on, and on KIIS 1065’s Facebook page.   […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Buyer beware: new requirements for real estate transactions over $2m

Bianca BarryJune 29th, 2016

On 25 February 2016 legislation was enacted to amend the Taxation Administration Act 1953.  The amendments introduce a new capital gains tax withholding scheme for certain taxable Australian assets (“Scheme”), including real estate.  The purpose of the Scheme is to assist in the collection of foreign residents’ capital gains tax. The Scheme applies to contracts for […]

Bianca Barry is our ‘snappy dresser’

Amanda FarmerApril 8th, 2016

Our Bianca Barry is this month’s ‘snappy dresser’, featured in the Law Society Journal: click here: Bianca Barry (see if you can spot the special nod to Robert Van Aalst…) Congrats Bianca!  

New off the plan provisions tested for the first time

Bianca BarryMarch 31st, 2016

In November I wrote about the Conveyancing Amendment (Sunset Clauses) Bill 2015 (“Sunset Clauses Bill”) which rid the Conveyancing Act 1919 (“Act”) of the sunset clause loophole.   The new section 66ZL of the Act provides that a developer may rescind an off the plan contract under a sunset clause in circumstances where:   The buyer consents […]

New ban on excessive credit card surcharges

Bianca BarryFebruary 28th, 2016

On 22 February 2016 the Commonwealth Parliament passed the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Payment Surcharges) Bill 2016 (“Bill”).   The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to ensure that payment surcharges are not excessive and reflect the actual cost of using the payment methods for which they are […]

When a settlement isn’t really a settlement

Bianca BarryJanuary 28th, 2016

On 15 December 2015 a decision was handed down in the Supreme Court of NSW in The Owners- Strata Plan No. 58087 v Matthews. The dispute related to whether or not a lot owner was entitled to park in a visitors’ parking space.   In this case, the Owners Corporation claimed that the dispute and […]

Buying off the plan – part 3

Bianca BarryNovember 29th, 2015

In September I wrote about the risks of buying off the plan. Last month I reported on the case of Wang v Kaymet Corporation, in which a group of off the plan buyers was caught out by a sunset clause. This month, the Parliament of New South Wales passed the Conveyancing Amendment (Sunset Clauses) Bill 2015 to rid […]

Developer wins in “off the plan” case

Bianca BarryOctober 29th, 2015

Last month I wrote about the risks associated with buying strata units off the plan. One particular risk is that the developer may be entitled to rescind the contract and resell the unit once a certain date has passed. This date is known as the “sunset date”.   On 6 October 2015 judgment was handed […]

Buying off the plan? Consider the risks

Bianca BarrySeptember 30th, 2015

  In August this year Domain published this article about the East Central development in Surry Hills.   Buyers had purchased their units off the plan in 2013, with the development expected to be completed in late 2014. This year, the developer rescinded several of the contracts, leaving buyers in the lurch and giving the […]

Workplace flexibility isn’t just for women

Bianca BarryAugust 31st, 2015

Last Tuesday Amanda, Savina and I had the pleasure of listening to Pip Marlow speak at Westpac’s Ruby Connection luncheon. Pip Marlow is the managing director of Microsoft Australia and she spoke about challenging the traditional workplace. Even the notion of a workplace itself is outdated. Pip doesn’t have an office at Microsoft Australia- the […]

Summary of strata law reforms

Bianca BarryJuly 31st, 2015

This month, the New South Wales government released for public consultation the draft Strata Schemes Management Bill 2015 and Strata Schemes Development Bill 2015. The drafts are the culmination of 5 years of efforts to reform strata laws and the first major proposed reform since the legislation was introduced in 1973. As yet, no date […]

Voting on behalf of a corporate lot owner

Bianca BarryJune 29th, 2015

A corporate strata lot owner is entitled to appoint a company nominee to vote on its behalf at general meetings (Sch 2, cl 10, Strata Schemes Management Act). That person must be shown on the strata roll. What if that person is unavailable to attend a meeting? Can they then appoint someone to vote on […]

What’s in your life-planning toolkit?

Bianca BarryMay 27th, 2015

No-one likes to think about the possibility of losing the capacity to make decisions. However, there are a few legal documents you really should be thinking about if you want to safeguard your wishes, make them known to your family members and, hopefully, prevent conflict. In our view, the following documents should be in your […]

Developer caretaker agreements and fiduciary duties

Bianca BarryApril 22nd, 2015

The NSW Supreme Court continues to consider the many and vexing issues between Meriton Apartments Pty Limited and The Owners Strata Plan No. 72381, with the Supreme Court’s most recent decision delivered last month. This case involves a dispute between the developer of the World Tower building in the centre of Sydney and the owners corporation of […]

What happens on the death of a joint bank account holder?

Bianca BarryMarch 17th, 2015

The answer to this question depends on how funds were accessed when both account holders were alive. One or two signatures? Banking institutions have different rules when it comes to account holders accessing jointly held funds. Some bank accounts require the signature of both account holders to withdraw funds, but many do not. Often the […]