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Being part of an owners corporation means that at some point, like it or not, you’re going to have to deal with the concept of strata law.
How is that going to come up?
Well, early in the process you and other owners are going to need some by-laws – these were probably set up before you moved in. They are the rules that you and other lots owners should know of but generally don’t. They tend to come in especially to put a wet blanket on the big dreams for your renovation plans.
What about making resolutions and deciding what gets done in the common property shared between the owners? What if there is an internal disagreement, how will that be resolved?
What if there is a dispute with a service provider like a renovator or a gardener? What if Barbie and Johnno upstairs keep having loud parties and everybody else wants to make them stop?
As part of an owners corporation, you’re in the position of having to make decisions together as a group, but you don’t necessarily all have similar worldviews or lifestyles. That can create some human challenges as well as legal ones.
Our strata lawyers can help you navigate the process, understand what can and cannot be done, and walk you through all elements of strata law, common property, scheme management, drafting and reviewing simple and complex by-laws, leases and licence agreements, caretaker agreements, strata management and agency agreements.
Most of the time, the rules that govern the relationship of the owners corporation are contained in a set of by-laws.
Often these by-laws were hastily prepared by the developer or early owners, and they aren’t always in good condition for the current needs of the owners corporation.
It’s a good idea to get your by-laws reviewed fairly regularly, to ensure that they are:
1. Up to date with changes in strata law and community titles generally; and
2. Suitable to meet the needs of the owners.
Of course on top of legal compliance, in the nitty-gritty then we’re going to look at things like renovations, balconies, data and television cabling, swimming pool rules, parking, gardens and landscapes, noise, pets, smoking and much more to ensure that your owners have the by-laws that they need.
If you can’t remember the last time your by-laws were reviewed, or want to know whether any changes should be made to keep up with developments in the law, we’re happy to help.
It really is the nightmare of any new apartment owner or off-the-plan purchaser.
You’ve forked out a hefty sum for a shiny new apartment in a brand spanking new building, then one
day you find out something like:
Naturally, the first thing the owners corporation is going to do, is contact the builder and say “what gives?”.
At that point, the situation will either resolve itself fairly quickly or get really complicated.
What if the builder doesn’t take responsibility? What if they have gone into liquidation? What if they blame Mr Smith who blames Ms Jones who blames Company A?
Whatever the situation, in most serious cases the owners corporation can’t usually just sit by andallow an extended period of time to go by while the owners and their tenants live inside a defective building.
Here’s how we’ll help you and your other owners get the defects fixed.
First, we’ll work with independent experts to determine the true problems and how they need to be resolved.
We’ll then review the contracts, the scope documents and the building specifications to determine whose responsibility it is.
At that point, we’ll investigate whether there might be relevant insurance, strata building bonds or financial assets that you can use to help recover your losses and costs.
Finally, if we can’t resolve things with the responsible parties, we’ll have to act for you in Court to force them to compensate the owners corporation for its losses.
And of course, at all times we’ll keep the owners and their committees fully informed about process, timelines, steps and costs. We can help you provision for costs, make appropriate resolutions, and assist you with the necessary process to comply with your by-laws.
We can also help the owners work towards a consensus if there are different views about the appropriate path to take.
Ultimately our job in a building defects dispute is to help figure out what needs fixing, find who should fix it, and get them to do it with minimal cost and frustration to you.