What to do when the Owners Corporation is not Functioning


Often we at Watson & Watson experienced Strata Lawyers receive enquiries from Owners within a Strata Plan, the Owners Corporation or Strata Managers as to what can be done when the Owners Corporation is not functioning properly.

The management of a Strata Scheme is to be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Strata Schemes Management Act, 1996.  There are many proposed amendments which are likely to take affect shortly to amend the provisions of the Strata Schemes Management Act and how Owners Corporations and Strata Schemes are managed and operate. 

In addition there are many different procedural requirements as to how to bring about an outcome either by way of having the Strata Scheme managed properly internally or by application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) when the internal management systems are not affecting the outcome as required by the Strata Schemes Management Act

There are practices and procedures to obtain appropriate Orders from NCAT and in other circumstances the Supreme Court of NSW or the Land and Environment Court. 

Also embodied in the resolution of the issues, we understand the cost effective method of persuasion to attempt to receive an outcome that is desirable and available.  The art of persuasion is a mixture of experience and knowing the alternatives and proper selection of the most cost effective method to obtain an effective outcome.  There are many complexities in the process.  Usually when we are requested to assist aggrieved parties those parties have been in some form of disagreement, unresolved communication, altercation and are unable to resolve the issues without stepping back and reconsidering what is the appropriate course to be adopted.  In most of the circumstances opening proper lines of communication and persuading the other party for example, the Owners Corporation Strata Manager or Executive Committee or persons who control the management of the Strata as to their obligations and the benefits to be achieved as per their obligations voluntarily rather than by way of Order following a drawn out litigation. 

If you find yourself in this situation please contact the experienced strata lawyers at Watson & Watson.

Usually the first step is to understand what are the problems that you face.  The second step if the problems are one of for example, lack of maintenance or defective building issues is to ascertain the extent of the building issues and a solution to those building issues.  We have in place Building Consultants and other Consultants who can have an initial inspection with us and provide in a cost effective manner a general outline of full understanding of the issues and likely methods of rectification and costs associated therewith.  This process commences with an initial inspection and thereafter general discussion and if necessary a detailed analysis of the issues and costing of same.  In most cases the whole of the process is not required.  In most issues once we are aware of the issues and the opinions of the appropriately qualified experienced Building Consultant will say is the issues and the methodology of rectification of those building issues.

Once that is ascertained even on an informal basis steps can be taken to engage with the Strata Manager, Owners Corporation Executive Committee and relevant person as to their obligations and to persuade them why it is appropriate for them to comply with their obligations rather than be met with Application for appropriate orders of compliance.

We are experienced in all aspects relevant thereto.

Thereafter there needs to be an intellectual assessment of which of the many various options that may be available are the most appropriate and cost efficient to achieve the outcomes as desired.  The options include but are not limited to:

1.        Orders that the Owners Corporation properly maintain repairs, alterations and rectification works.

2.        An Order that a Strata Managing Agent be appointed to exercise the functions of the Owners Corporation either in whole or for a particular purpose.

3.        An Order for enforcement of Orders including the imposition of civil parities for contravention of Orders (by either a Lot Owner or Owners Corporation).

4.        Orders in relation to costs.

5.        Injunctions including mandatory injunction to undertake or cease to undertake certain activities.

The next issue in relation to the different procedures, Court process that could be utilised to obtain the relevant Orders as required.

If you have any issues in particular issues that have not been able to be resolved with either a Lot Owner or Owners Corporation Executive Committee or Strata Manager please contact the experience Strata Lawyers at Watson & Watson by contacting Richard Watson or his Personal Assistant Shereen Da Gloria for a discussion as to how we can help you in relation to those matters of conflict which you find yourself in.

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