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Strata title refers to the ownership of a building by separate owners for separate lots within building or property and separate owners can own a unit within a high-rise building, or a townhouse within a complex or offices within a office building that has been strataed. While owners have their own defined part of the building (their ‘lot’), there is also common property, which all of the owners own collectively. When an individual or other entity buys a lot within a strata they become a member of the Owners Corporation. There are specific rules and regulations that govern the owners and occupiers of strata units these rules and regulations are in addition to other rules and regulations which operate in relation to property, ownership property, development and related matters.
The Owners Corporation through the Executive Committee who are appointed by the owners is responsible for controlling and managing all matters concerning the management of the common property including matters such as general maintenance of common areas, maintenance of structural components.
Often the Executive Committee engage Strata Managers who are in the business of managing strata schemes and they manage the strata schemes on behalf of the Owners Corporation. As with any large building there are very many obligations with which the Strata Managers assist the Executive Committee.
A large proportion of residents within New South Wales and other States now live in strata units and strata property and there many disputes that arise that require specialised professional advice. The laws around strata schemes are complex and constantly changing.
Watson & Watson can provide specialist advice in relation to:
• Obligations concerning the management of the Owners Corporation
• By Laws required
• Registration of Strata Plans
• Agreements entered into by Owners Corporations on behalf of the various members including: maintenance agreements, finance agreements, management agreements such as service agreements.
• Agreement entered into with Builders and other Consultants in relation to building works or rectification of existing building defects.
With the aging of many of the buildings which have been constructed and are now strataed and contain various strata lots from being a two lot development to many that have hundreds of lots within the development, the buildings require substantial maintenance and upgrade. Also the development of the strata residential units and some having been developed in a standard less than one would expect has caused numerous and very extensive issues relating to the building works and the building quality and many of the units have been found to have many defects. As with other buildings there are requirements to properly engage in protection of one's assets and necessary recovery from the entities that have caused the problems. As part of engaging the appropriate building and construction consultants there is a need to understand and be able to enter into appropriate contracts for the protection of the Owners Corporations. Watson & Watson are experts in this aspect.
Unfortunately not all engaged consultants and builders undertake the work in a fashion that is within the requirements of the law or satisfactory or that are within reasonable building standards. When an Owners Corporation is faced with these problems there are substantial issues that arise. Watson & Watson have been engaged in acting on behalf of many Owners Corporations in the protection of the property and in the recovery of the damages or obtaining orders for work to be undertaken associated with defective and incomplete building works initially by the developer or subsequently.
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