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 […]

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 [2016] 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 […]

Budget 2017-18: Crackdown on Foreign Investors

Natalee VenegasMay 30th, 2017

If you weren’t intently waiting for the budget to be handed down on 9 May 2017 (thrilling, I know) – you may have missed some new measures that are aimed at reducing the pressures of housing affordability, namely limiting foreign ownership in new developments, changing tax concessions for foreign investors and charging foreign investors who […]

Balustrades and BCA requirements – when repair becomes upgrade

Amanda FarmerApril 28th, 2017

In Lipscher and Ors v The Owners – Strata Plan No 30995 [2017] 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 […]

A Slice of Sydney’s Property Market for Less than $100?

Natalee VenegasApril 27th, 2017

Sydney’s property market is notoriously difficult to get into. Just ask anyone around my age who hopes to purchase a property one day – it’s quickly becoming a fantasy. In fact, with news this week that the median Sydney house price in Sydney has surpassed $1.15 million and 78 Sydney suburbs have surpassed the $2 million […]

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 […]

Alpaca my bags! Is there an Alpaca in your Sydney Apartment?

Natalee VenegasMarch 30th, 2017

Pets can be great. They can comfort you when you feel sad, and provide companionship when you’re lonely.  At Lawyers Chambers, we regularly hear disputes about furry friends in apartment blocks, but usually they are of the cat or dog type. Earlier this year though, CCTV at the Discovery Point apartment complex in Sydney’s Wolli Creek […]

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 [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 […]

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 [2016] 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

No obligation on landlord re tenant’s quiet enjoyment

Natalee VenegasOctober 29th, 2016

In the recent decision of Abdel-Messih v Mao [2016] NSWCATAP 223, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that a landlord was not liable for a third party’s actions disrupting the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of a tenant. Mr Abdel-Messih (‘tenant’) entered into a residential tenancy agreement with Mr Mao ‘(landlord’). Mr Abdel-Messih sub-let the premises (a strata lot). […]

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 […]

BY-LAW: DENIED.

Caelan BruceOctober 26th, 2016

In the case of Colbert v MacDonald & Ors [2016] NSWSC 1291 (15 September 2016) the Supreme Court considered (a) the requirements of Adjudicators in complying with any statutory preconditions before exercising a power, and (b) whether Owners Corporations are required to circulate orders and notices from the Tribunal, in order to prevent individual lot […]

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 […]

Are shipping containers the apartments of the future?

Natalee VenegasSeptember 28th, 2016

Housing affordability and environmental sustainability are two issues we hear a lot about in society today. A Danish architecture firm may have come up with a solution to both issues with its creative recycling of old steel shipping containers. Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) has ‘upcycled’ unsightly shipping containers to create a very […]

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 […]

How to legally record a strata meeting

Amanda FarmerAugust 30th, 2016

We have previously written about the recording of strata meetings using a recording device. I also covered it in episodes 020 and 024 of my podcast. Further to those posts, if you do want to record your strata meeting using a recording device, I recommend resolving a motion at the beginning of your meeting. Here is […]

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 […]

How You Could Save Up To $60,000 for Your Strata Building

Caelan BruceAugust 30th, 2016

Approximately 75% of Sydney residents live in apartment buildings. These vertical villages account for close to 40% of the area’s total water usage, 10% of its greenhouse gas emissions and around 50% of residential waste in Sydney. Did you know that your building could produce cost savings up to $60,000 on energy and water bills […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tenants in Strata – summary of the NSW law reforms

Amanda FarmerJune 29th, 2016

Here are four ‘need-to-know’ items arising from the NSW strata law reforms (set to take effect at the end of this year), specifically relevant to tenants: Item 1 – notices of general meetings The owners corporation of a strata scheme where any lots are occupied by tenants must, at least 7 days before any general meeting: […]

To record or not to record? A strata living dilemma

Hallie WarnockJune 29th, 2016

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smart phone which can record conversations at the press of a button. The dilemma of whether to ‘record or not to record’ sometimes arises for strata owners in the context of a strata meeting. During strata meetings (whether annual general meetings, extraordinary general meetings or committee meetings), important matters are […]

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 […]

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 […]

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) […]