NCAT: You Can’t Talk Your Way Out of By-laws
Ellen WoffendenOctober 26th, 2017
A recent decision from the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeal Panel has emphasised the importance of having a basic understanding of how the law impacts your strata scheme. Eadie v Harvey  NSWCATAP 201 (18 October 2017) concerned a two lot strata scheme and the use of a driveway which was partly common property, partly the property […]
Tribunal Confirms its Jurisdiction to Award Damages for Breach of Statutory Duty
Ellen WoffendenOctober 3rd, 2017
In an August 2017 decision, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has confirmed its jurisdiction to award damages for a breach of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW). Rosenthal v The Owners – SP 20211  NSWCATCD 80 (29 August 2017) concerned the duty that an owners corporation has under section 106(1) of the Strata […]
A nuisance for Owners Corporations: damages awarded to lot owner
Natalee VenegasOctober 2nd, 2017
In February this year, we reported on the case of McElwaine v The Owners- Strata Plan No 75975  NSWSC 1589. To remind you of the facts, lot owner McElwaine pursued his Owners Corporation in a common law claim of nuisance, after alleging that his lot was damaged by water penetration caused by defective waterproofing. McElwaine […]
Balustrades and BCA requirements – when repair becomes upgrade
Amanda FarmerApril 28th, 2017
In Lipscher and Ors v The Owners – Strata Plan No 30995  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 […]
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Plan No 75975  NSWSC 1589 was decided under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (“Old Act”), which has now been repealed.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  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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Can a lot owner conduct repairs to the common property?
Savina YangApril 28th, 2016
In The Owners – Strata Plan 32735 v Heather Lesley-SWAN  NSWSC 383 (10 August 2012) the Supreme Court considered whether an individual lot owner is at liberty, without an Adjudicator’s order and without the consent of the owners corporation, to perform maintenance or repair work upon common property and then recover the cost or […]
The difficulty of repealing an exclusive use by-law
Savina YangFebruary 28th, 2016
In order for an owners corporation to repeal an exclusive use by-law that confers on the owner of a lot, or the owners of several lots, certain rights or privileges to use a part of the common property, section 52 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (“SSMA”) requires the written consent of the owner(s) […]
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 […]
Landlord fined $11,000 for smoking neighbour
Natalee VenegasNovember 29th, 2015
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Appeal Panel has upheld a decision to order a landlord to pay a tenant over $11,000 in compensation, declaring a unit that was permeated by smoke from a smoker downstairs was unsuitable for habitation. This is an important case because the landlord was liable for compensation even though the […]
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 […]
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  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 […]
What is the difference between company title and strata title?
Savina YangMarch 17th, 2015
It is difficult to imagine that almost 55 years ago strata title was a non-existent concept. Before the introduction of the NSW strata title legislation in 1961, the most prevalent way of regulating the ownership of ‘common property’ in NSW was the concept of company title. What is Company Title? Company title involves a company […]
“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 […]
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.
What are unit entitlements and can they be changed?
Savina YangJuly 30th, 2014
If you are an owner of a strata lot, chances are that you may have come across the words “unit entitlements”. So what exactly are unit entitlements? When a strata plan is registered, each lot within the strata scheme is given a unit entitlement which is like a shareholding in the owners corporation. The amount […]
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.
The court’s power to create easements over common property
Georgia Kate MorganOctober 22nd, 2013
The Supreme Court has granted a lot owner an easement over common property, permitting the lot owner to use a grease trap installed on common property without the consent of the Owners Corporation.
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.