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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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A Guide to the New Strata Renewal Process

Posted by on Feb 6, 2017 in Articles, Conveyancing Articles, Strata Matters & Dispute Articles |

As from 30 November 2016 a new procedure has been introduced allowing for a strata renewal (i.e. either the collective sale of the whole strata scheme or the redevelopment of the whole strata scheme such that its termination and replacement by a further strata scheme is necessary) with the support of at least 75% of the lot owners. It is governed by Part 10 of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 (“SSD Act”) and the Strata Schemes Development Regulation 2016 (SSD Reg.”) and must be strictly adhered to avoid challenges by dissenting owners or rejection by the Court. Here are the important steps in the process: 1. Opting in to Process The process automatically applies only to strata schemes which commenced from 30 November 2016. For strata schemes already in existence before that date the owners have to agree to the new process applying by a vote in favour by more than 50% of the lot owners in a general meeting. 2. Consideration of Proposal To initiate the process a written strata renewal proposal (“proposal”), complying with Regulation 30 of the SSD Reg., must be submitted to the owners corporation for consideration by the strata committee. If the strata committee decides that the proposal warrants further consideration by the owners corporation it must convene a general meeting of the owners corporation to allow it to do so. 3. Appointment of Strata Renewal Committee If a majority of lot owners decide that the proposal warrants investigation by a strata renewal committee, the owners corporation must vote to establish a strata renewal committee to prepare a strata renewal plan and elect its members. 4. Functions of Strata Renewal Committee Once established, the strata renewal committee has up to one year to prepare a strata renewal plan, containing the information required by section 170 of the SSD Act and Regulation 33 of the SSD Reg. relating to the proposal for consideration by the owners corporation. Such information can be prepared with the assistance of valuers and lawyers and must include the market value of the strata complex and the proposed compensation payments to lot owners. 5. Consideration of Strata Renewal Plan Once the strata renewal plan has been prepared, a general meeting of the owners corporation must be convened to allow owners to consider the plan. Apart from provisions allowing for amendments of the plan, in order for the matter to progress at least 75% of lot owners at the general meeting must vote in favour of giving the plan to the owners for their consideration for at least 60 days during which they can get independent advice on the plan. 6. Approval of the Strata Renewal Plan Provided at least 75%...

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