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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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  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.
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.
When can an owners corporation commence legal action without the approval of the General Meeting?
Georgia Kate MorganDecember 18th, 2013
Section 80D of the Strata Schemes Management Act (“the Act”) requires an owners corporation to pass a resolution in general meeting before seeking legal advice or the provision of any other legal services, or initiating legal action for which any payment may be required. There is an exemption to this requirement in Regulation 15 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation: section 80D does not apply if the reasonably estimated cost of seeking the legal advice, having the legal services provided or taking the legal action would not exceed (a) $1000 for each lot in the strata scheme; or (b) $12,500 in total – whichever is the lesser.