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 [2017] 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 [2017] NSWCATCD 80 (29 August 2017) concerned the duty that an owners corporation has under section 106(1) of the Strata […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]


Savina YangJuly 28th, 2016

Have you ever Googled something and clicked on the first generated search result only to realise it is an advertisement trap? In the world of Google, those advertisements are called “sponsored links” which are generated by a program called “AdWords”. “AdWords” uses search terms entered by you to trigger sponsored links, which are then displayed […]

New swimming pool regulations: a floaty for apartment and free-standing home owners

Natalee VenegasApril 28th, 2016

There is something quintessentially Australian about relaxing around a backyard swimming pool on a hot summer’s day. Unfortunately, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death amongst children and youth, and in high-income countries like Australia, most of these drownings happen in swimming pools (WHO Children and Drowning Report).   The Swimming Pools Act […]

Update on the kids who are suing Obama for climate change

Hallie WarnockApril 28th, 2016

Back in September I wrote this article about the landmark case that was filed in the U.S. by 21 youth plaintiffs who allege that their constitutional right to a healthy climate is being denied. They say that the U.S. Government “has known for decades that carbon dioxide (C02) pollution has been causing catastrophic climate change […]

The boy who cried “defamation!”

Hallie WarnockMarch 31st, 2016

At one point, Sydney was the defamation capital of the world, which is not hard to believe when it seems as though everyone is ready to cry “defamation” at any and every comment. However an action in defamation is not that simple.   What is defamation and what does the law actually protect? Does it […]

Should juries be reintroduced for civil trials?

Natalee VenegasMarch 31st, 2016

Last month, the NSW Bar Association, through its president Noel Hutley SC, called for juries to be reintroduced in civil matters in NSW.   While juries have previously been used in civil matters, section 85 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW) and section 76A of the District Court Act 1973 (NSW) were amended in […]

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 […]

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 […]

What is a prescriptive easement?

Hallie WarnockOctober 30th, 2015

Hallie is currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor post-graduate law program at the University of Sydney. This semester one of her classes is Real Property and for this article she is sharing one of her law school lessons on a topic that she found particularly interesting – prescriptive easements.   Back in Texas, my neighbour’s […]

Why Ashley Madison matters

Natalee VenegasSeptember 30th, 2015

Last month, a targeted hack-attack on the Ashley Madison website resulted in the leak of 37 million members’ details.   A group called Team Impact had previously threatened Ashley Madison and its parent company to shut down their websites or expose themselves to breach of privacy lawsuits as the group would drip leak private information […]

Judging climate change

Hallie WarnockSeptember 30th, 2015

Climate change threatens the survival of the Earth’s ecosystems, as well as the health and wellbeing of current and future generations. Given the enormity of these risks and the urgency of action, you would expect an appropriate response from governments. Yet what we mostly see are token gestures towards climate action side-by-side with new approvals for […]

“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 […]

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?

The importance of correctly serving levy notices

Georgia Kate MorganSeptember 26th, 2014

In this case the NSW Court of Appeal left undisturbed the Supreme Court’s earlier decision that a lot owner had been properly served with notice of levies and was therefore liable to pay. Before the Supreme Court, the lot owner, Mr Chua, claimed he never received the levy notice. The issue was whether or not Mr […]

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.

What to do when served with a subpoena

Robert Van AalstJuly 30th, 2014

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but not when it comes to subpoenas.

A subpoena is an order of a court to do one of the following:

give evidence;
produce documents; or