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Strata Law

Strata Law can be complicated, but ensuring that your owners corporation is compliant is a critical part of any strata living arrangements. That’s why having practical input from expert strata lawyers like PBL can tip the odds in your favour so that things turn out the way you hope.

Whether you’re preparing or revising your by-laws, wondering how to interpret the latest developments, or seeking compensation for building defects, PBL can help you across the board with your strata law needs.

Setting up a new owners corporation?  We can help you with:

  • Preparing standard by-laws
  • Creating special by-laws
  • Advice on setting up your owners corporation
  • Drafting your strata application
  • Advising in relation to strata management agreements
  • Caretaker agreements
  • Development and sub-division if needed

If you have an existing owners corporation, we can assist you to:

  • Reviewing and revising your by-laws
  • Prepare for and make special and ordinary resolutions
  • Negotiate and review caretakers agreements and management agreements
  • Comply with relevant laws and regulations for the operation of your owners corporation

For disputes involving owners corporations and Strata Law, we have expertise in:

  • Defending or bringing claims concerning the duty to maintain and repair common property
  • All NCAT actions and appeals to the NCAT appeal panel
  • Claims relating to loss of rent or damages by/for individual owners
  • Advising on disputes in relation to the proper interpretation or application of by-laws
  • Advising owners corporation committees on their duties and obligations to the owners
  • Actions against managers or caretakers for breach of contract or duty
  • And for matters and disputes involving your Strata Title property, development or building itself we can help with:
  • Bringing and defending actions about defective building work on both common property and owner property
  • Bringing and defending actions for breach of contract or duty in relation to developers, contractors or sub-contractors
  • Sale, purchase, sub-division and development of the proposed strata land
  • Advice in relation to establishing, maintaining or enforcing easement rights

 

Strata Law and Owners Corporations


All participants in an owners corporation, whether committee members or not, benefit from a basic understanding of the role of strata law in their living environment.

At PBL, we regularly act for owners corporations and individual lot owners to help them understand and operate in a way that complies with both State government laws and regulations, and the by-laws that govern the owners’ relationships.

In many cases, this involves helping to draft, review or revise the relevant by-laws for the owners corporation. This is the foundation of the legal relationships inside the strata complex, and getting it right for each case is an important step.
Once that is done, our role might be to help interpret or implement steps to comply with those by-laws.

That could include, for example, helping owners understand the rules about pets, common property, individual renovations or changes, or running a business from inside your apartment.

We can also assist committees in ensuring that meetings are called property, the correct resolutions are passed, in the right way, and that the functions of the committee don’t get frustrated by inadvertently taking a wrong turn in the process.

And finally, to ensure that the owners corporation has good relationships with its third party contractors, we can help draft, negotiate and enforce (if needed) agreements with caretakers, management agents, and third party contractors who might be used to keep the building and the owners corporation running smoothly.

By-Laws


By-laws are one of the main foundations for running a successful owners corporation. Getting the by-laws right can make the difference between good owner relationships and bad ones.

For that reason, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to by-laws. Of course there are some standard provisions and issues that must be dealt with in all circumstances. There are also regulatory and compliance issues that your by-laws should cover off. For that reason, it can be tempting to adopt the “model by-laws”.However, there are also many subtle and unique situations that owners corporations will want to deal with in their own particular way. Usually the best solution is a properly drawn, bespoke set of by-laws that are catered to the needs of your community.

For that reason, PBL strata lawyers take the time to understand the particular needs of your owners corporation. That might include views about pets, running home businesses from the building, renovations or changes to individual lots, or ways to deal with disagreements between neighbours (amongst many more).

Once we understand your specific needs we can prepare a set of by-laws that will work well for your area. This will include agreements and procedures to cover off on most necessary situations without the owners feeling like they are too restrained in their freedom.

It’s also important to ensure that your by-laws are reviewed regularly, so that you remain compliant with any recent developments in strata law that might affect your owners corporation.

If your by-laws need an update or you need a new set drawn up for your most recent development, then get in touch and we’d be happy to help.

Building Defects Litigation for Owners Corporations


Building a large project like a multi-purpose apartment building can be a significant job for any developer or contractor.

Because of the size and complexity of the project, sometimes things go wrong and there are defects in the building or individual lots.

These defects don’t always become apparent until after the owners move in. Finding out the source of the problems and who is responsible for fixing them can cause significant disruption.

PBL are experienced at helping owners corporations through the process of investigating building defects, understanding who might be liable to repair them, and enforcing the Owners’ rights in Court. We help ensure that your building meets the standard you expected.

Our first step is to work with you and any necessary experts to ensure that we have an accurate understanding of where the defects are and how they might be fixed.

We also have to investigate the relevant documents – plans, building contracts, specifications and scope documents – to ensure that we can identify who might be responsible for the defects. We will also consider any insurance policies that might apply to help reduce your costs.

At this point we will contact the responsible parties – often the developer or the head contractor (or both) – to begin a discussion about how to resolve the defects quickly and cost effectively. This might involve several meetings on site, or having our experts meet with them to discuss things further.

Finally, if the matter isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, we can lodge the necessary Court documents in order to seek orders either compelling the work to be done, or compensating you for the losses that you have suffered.

This can be a challenging process, so you want to have trusted lawyers on your side along the way.

Strata Law Disputes and Disagreements


Inevitably all owners corporations will, at some point, have a dispute. Sometimes these are minor and can be resolved quickly and easily. Other times, unfortunately, they escalate and will require legal assistance.

Our first step in any strata law dispute is going to be understanding what the problem is and your desired outcomes. After all, many disputes can be resolved without need to go to NCAT or a Court, and knowing what it is you really need to fix things how we can advise you on which strategy might be best.

From there, we work with your committee and owners to understand the legal process involved, potential costs and risks, and to get your approval on a strategy to bring the matter to an end as fast as possible.

Often we will attempt to negotiate or mediate with the other party. That process can regularly finalise a matter without needing to go to full-scale litigation.

However, if that doesn’t work then PBL are regularly called on to appear for owners corporations or individual lot owners in significant disputes.

In all strata law disputes, we keep you completely up to date at all times and ensure that you have full ownership and control of the situation.

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