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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]


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 […]

Wheel clamping: what’s the deal?

Savina YangJune 30th, 2016

You may have heard through the grapevine that wheel clamping by an owners corporation is a big no-no, but is that really true? Does this mean the wheel clamping by-law at your strata scheme is unenforceable and is only as good as a toothless tiger? To answer the above questions, it is important to consider […]

Can a lot owner conduct repairs to the common property?

Savina YangApril 28th, 2016

In The Owners – Strata Plan 32735 v Heather Lesley-SWAN [2012] 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 […]

What sleepovers can do to your first home owner grant

Savina YangMarch 31st, 2016

On 22 December 2009, Vanessa Falvo purchased a three-bedroom property in Collaroy for $600,000 from a company owned by her parents. This was Vanessa’s first property and, as an added bonus, she was successful in receiving a $14,000 grant under the First Home Owner Grant and First Home Owner Boost from the government.   Unfortunately, […]

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) […]

The crackdown on underquoting

Savina YangJanuary 28th, 2016

There is a common expression in the real estate industry “quote it low watch it go, quote it high watch it die”. Underquoting, whereby a real estate agent lists a property well below its expected sale price, has been a relatively common and frustrating practice amongst real estate agents throughout NSW. However with the introduction […]

What do you know about caveats?

Savina YangNovember 29th, 2015

What is a caveat? The word ‘caveat’ means a warning or caution. A caveat operates as a form of statutory injunction, preventing the Registrar-General from registering any dealing (subject to some exceptions) in relation to the land prohibited by the caveat without the caveator’s consent. The caveator is the person who lodges the caveat. The […]

Are you stressed?

Savina YangOctober 29th, 2015

Imagine that you are a caveman swimming in the sea looking for a juicy fish for dinner. Suddenly, you see your target, so you slowly lift up your spear ready to strike. Something is not right, your instinct tells you. You narrow your eyes to get a better look and that’s when you realise: you […]

When the law is on your side

Savina YangSeptember 30th, 2015

In a previous article we set out the various options available to an owners corporation to enforce its by-laws. Recently, we acted in a matter where the Owners Corporation successfully undertook enforcement action against a lot owner who was in breach of a flooring by-law. The lot owner had installed hard flooring without the Owners Corporation’s […]

The fight between Taxi and Uber

Savina YangAugust 31st, 2015

Last week, the weather was wet, windy and ugly. No doubt, some of you (like me) considered a more convenient way to stay dry by catching a taxi home. Did you book your taxi by phone, only to be left stranded when it didn’t turn up? Did you face the dilemma of whether to continue […]

Beneficiaries’ right to information

Savina YangJuly 30th, 2015

In my last article, I set out the main players in a commonly drafted will – testator, beneficiary(ies), executor and trustee. Now, imagine you are a beneficiary under a will who has been bequeathed $500,000 after the estate has settled all of its outstanding liabilities and debts. In order to ensure that the trustee has […]

Wills and estates – who’s who in the zoo?

Savina YangApril 23rd, 2015

Did you know, in 1968 Eleanor E. Ritchey, the heir to the Quaker State Refining Corporation, left $4.5million to her dogs? All 150 of them. As her family contested the will, the value of her fortune grew to $14million. By the time the dispute was over, the dogs received $9 million. When the last dog […]

Doing business in China

Savina YangApril 22nd, 2015

I was born in China and moved with my parents to Australia when I was 10 years old. My knowledge of the etiquette around drinking and banqueting with Chinese clients and suppliers comes from my personal experience of drinking and dining with my father and his colleagues and business partners. One must observe the proper […]

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 […]

Business structures: which one should you choose?

Savina YangFebruary 17th, 2015

Are you thinking of starting your own business? Do you know which business structure is right for you? Each structure attracts different legal and taxation consequences, so it is important to ensure that your particular business structure is flexible to accommodate changing circumstances, provides adequate asset protection, incurs minimal costs (in particular with respect to […]

“Do I really need a partnership agreement?”

Savina YangFebruary 17th, 2015

Are you thinking of starting your own business? Do you have one or more co-founders who want to join your start-up? Or, are you buying in to an established business? Or merging your successful brand with another’s? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may well need a partnership agreement. Partnership […]

Is your strata scheme dysfunctional?

Savina YangOctober 31st, 2014

You may have heard of the television sitcom Arrested Development. It’s about a man called Michael Bluth who tries to do the right thing and strives to keep his family together, despite his highly manipulative and materialistic parents, attention seeking twin sister, socially inept little brother and highly unreliable older brother. And how could we forget Tobias Fünke, his brother-in-law who is a self-diagnosed ‘never-nude’ (which is ‘exactly what it sounds like’).

What makes an exclusive use by-law invalid?

Savina YangSeptember 26th, 2014

What are exclusive use by-laws? Sometimes an owners corporation will grant an owner of a lot the right to exclusively occupy part of the common property (for example, a car parking space or storage area) or give an owner a right to do a particular thing which impacts upon the common property (for instance, install […]

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 […]

Keeping animals in strata – Part 2 – the road to approval

Savina YangJune 26th, 2014

Previously, I wrote about when and how a resident of a strata scheme can keep pets in their lot. Today, I set out the process than can be undertaken if the owners corporation has rejected your request to keep a pet. So, you have written to the executive committee, enclosing a photo of Max lying […]

Can I have a pet? Please? Keeping an animal in strata – Part 1

Savina YangApril 30th, 2014

When I was a kid, my Christmas wish-list every year included a puppy. But all I remember was receiving different pairs of I-swear-they-are-fashionable-funky-socks and some you-will-grow-into-them-sweaters from my parents. I must admit, Santa and I were not on the best of terms for a long time. But eventually, I realised the real obstacle standing between […]

The battle continues between Eastmark Holdings and the Owners of Strata Plan 74602

Savina YangMarch 20th, 2014

In our September 2013 newsletter we touched on the controversy arising in the litigation between Eastmark Holdings Pty Ltd and the Owners Corporation SP74602, concerning the Owners Corporation’s obligation to produce records under section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act.

The story is far from over and the legal battle continues. This time the focus is on whether or not the Owners Corporation is required to pay levies to the Building Management Committee (“BMC”) while this dispute is on foot.

What is a ‘large strata scheme’ and why should you care?

Savina YangFebruary 17th, 2014

Have you ever dreamed of living in a ‘New York’ style high-rise apartment looking over the alluring lights of the city? I know I have, particularly after the first episode of Suits where they showed Harvey Specter’s apartment.