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What is NCAT?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Articles, Building Dispute Articles, Lease Articles, Litigation Articles, Strata Matters & Dispute Articles |

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal commenced operation on 1 February 2014 as a “super tribunal” bringing together the work of 22 former tribunals into one. It deals with a wide range of matters including: *     reviewing administrative decisions of NSW government agencies; *     consumer complaints about the supply of goods and services including the purchase of and repair of cars and residential building work; *     retail lease disputes between a landlord and tenant; *     dividing fence disputes between neigbours; *     appointing a guardian or financial manger for a person with a decision-making disability; *     strata disputes; *     residential tenancy disputes between a landlord and tenant; and *     retirement village disputes between a resident and an operator....

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Strata Disputes

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Articles, Conveyancing Articles, Lease Articles, Litigation Articles, Strata Matters & Dispute Articles |

For those of you who live in a strata unit (and it appears that more and more of us will be in the future if the NSW Government has its way) one of the most common issues that arises is excessive noise made by neighbours. So, what do you do if you’ve spoken to the offending neighbour and you just can’t resolve the matter? The first thing to note is that section 153(1) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 prohibits the owner, tenant or occupier of a lot from using or permitting the lot to be used in a manner that causes a nuisance. This provides a legal basis for the noise complaint. The steps to be taken (and this applies to most strata disputes) are as follows: (a)     Send a letter of demand to the neighbour precisely setting out the terms of the noise complaint and what the neighbour should do to alleviate the problem, such as placing carpet on floorboards,within a certain time frame e.g. 14 days; (b)    If the letter of demand is not complied with then an application for mediation should be lodged with NSW Fair Trading. The mediation will take place within a few weeks and it involves a structured negotiation process with an independent mediator who assists the parties to achieve a resolution of the problem. From experience, this has about an 80% success rate; and (c)   If the mediation fails or the other party refuses to take part then an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal can be made seeking appropriate orders against the other party. The Tribunal is intended  to be a low cost and efficient forum for dealing with disputes. The hearing will take place within a few months of the application....

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Unfair Contract Terms in a Business to Business Contract

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in Business Sale & Purchase News, Commercial Agreements & Disputes News, Conveyancing News, Leases News, Litigation News, News |

In a recent Federal Court case, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v J J Richards & Sons Pty Ltd [2017] FCA 1224, the Federal Court found that a number of terms in a standard form contract between a large waste management company and a small business were unfair and therefore void. Under the Australian Consumer Law consumers and small businesses are protected from unfair contract terms imposed on them by standard form contracts. In this case the standard from contract included terms (later found to be void): * binding customers to a further term of the contract unless notice was given 30 days before the end of the term (automatic rollover); * allowing a unilateral increase in prices during the term; * requiring the waste management company to be the exclusive provider of services; * allowing a suspension of service if payment was outstanding for 7 days; and * preventing the customer from terminating the contract if payments were outstanding. The lesson both for businesses wanting customers to sign standard form contracts and for customers presented with a standard form contract by a supplier is to to carefully review the document to ensure that there are no unfair terms which will impact on the...

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New Laws For Ticket Scalping and Gift Cards

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in Litigation News, News |

New amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1987  targeting ticket scalping and gift cards will commence in NSW in 2018. The changes include: Ticket Scalping 1. A ticket to an event such as a concert or sporting fixture cannot be re-sold for more than the original price plus a maximum of another 10% for transaction costs. 2. The maximum penalty for contravention will be $22,000 for individuals and $110,000 for corporations. 3. Any advertisement for the re-sale of a ticket cannot specify a sale price more than 110% of the original price. 4. The use of software to enable persons to rapidly buy large numbers of tickets is banned. Gift cards 1. All gift cards must have an expiry date of no less than 3 years. 2. No charges or fees can be imposed by a retailer so as to reduce the redeemable value of the gift card....

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New Scheme for Removing Driver Disqualifications

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Litigation News, News |

Under a new scheme in NSW introduced by the Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Act 2017, as from 28 October 2017, eligible drivers who have not committed any driving offence during a certain period of time (“offence free period’) may apply to the Local Court to remove an existing disqualification period imposed on them. Who Can Apply? All drivers are eligible to apply provided they have not been convicted of  a driving offence involving death or grievous bodily harm. Grounds to Apply Provided a driver has been free of driving offences for two years before the application to the Local Court and has served at least two years of his current disqualification period then the Court will consider lifting the disqualification. However, if the driver’s disqualification was as a result of a major offence including exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km per hour or street racing then the offence free period required will be 4 years. What Will the Court Consider? * The safety of the public.   *The applicant’s overall driving record.  *The applicant’s need to travel and the availability of public transport.  *The applicant’s conduct since the disqualification commenced.  *The applicant’s health, finances and any other relevant circumstances. What if the Application is Successful? If the Local Court decided to lift the disqualification it will order on what date that comes into effect. The driver will need to reapply to Roads and Maritime Services for their licence and will need to successfully complete road safety and knowledge tests.    ...

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