The increasing demand for strata accommodation, particularly in Sydney has lead to an ever growing body of strata law and even lawyers specialised in the Strata Management Act and the incorporation of strata schemes and the operation of their by laws. The most common form of dispute in a strata scheme is about the by laws or the application of the by laws. Disputes also arise out of common property issues and meeting procedures as well as voting rights. Like any dispute, the first step to resolving the problem is to communicate directly with the person who has a problem with you or what you are doing. The next level to which the dispute can escalate is where the owners of the strata scheme call a meeting to sort out the issue. After these informal steps, there is the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 which has a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. The steps involved in the process set out in the legislation are of mediation, then adjudication and then a tribunal hearing. Mediations normally occur at the local community justice centre and if a mediation doesn’t work and the matter goes to adjudication it is heard in front of the Strata Schemes adjudicator. This is section of the Department of Fair Trading. If the parties are not satisfied with this, then the orders of this tribunal may be appealed to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal and beyond this to a court. However, the expense of a dispute at this stage would be accumulating quickly.
Strata units are also often bought and sold. This is a surprisingly complicated process which often requires a specialised conveyancer. This is because the legal aspects of title in a strata scheme are much more complicated than a residential house. Many issues related to unit entitlements, strata scheme management, the ownership of common property and particularly of who is to bear the costs of repair for damage to common property are things which are often litigated. We can assist you with issue you may have in relation to strata management, or the purchase or sale of a strata unit. We have also partnered with a specialist strata lawyer firm to assist with these matters in a high level of detail.