Broken System | Page 2 | NCAT - the NSW Tribunal | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




A A A

You must be registered and logged in to reply to posts or post new topics. Click on "How to Use This Forum" for simple instructions on how to get on board. NB: Please do not use your real name or email address as your screen name - if you do it will be changed to something less insecure.

Avatar

Please consider registering
Guest

Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon
Broken System
Avatar
Penny Hill
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
04/05/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
21
19/09/2017 - 2:42 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

At Griffith University Strata International Forums - 2007-2009 -  NSW was said to have the best strata system/legislation in the WORLD!!

 
Western Australia was held to have the best Tribunal procedure… run strictly by a very competent South African manager…. parties to appear every two weeks until the matter resolved…
 
Queensland had the best pre-contract disclosure to prospective purchasers…
 
Victoria the worst strata law…
 
NSW, however, has ALWAYS had diabolical problems with enforcement of its legislation… via the CTTT/NCAT, etc. - nepotism - amongst its staff/etc. and with the public, etc.
 
The Forums also made it very clear that it was NOT necessary to have one single neurone for a person to become a committee member, not necessary to speak English, nor was it necessary to be in Australia…
 
NO matter what the gurus do to the legislation, it has never been the real problem…. Enforcement always has… as with so many other courts/etc…
 
Not to mention education of tribunal/court staff, etc. etc.
 
The balance of power is in the wrong hands…. so little protection for strata owners…. PLUS… we have ALL lost so many of our consumer, police, human rights… because of this strata mechanism for bullying control/ignorance/fraud…
Avatar
FDH
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
04/02/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
22
21/09/2017 - 11:15 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Whoopi did well! We are up to $170K and no end in sight, about one owner!

What's more, the owner imho is actually the victim in many ways. I feel like a traitor to the cause, but our committee and manager (one and the same in spirit) need to learn a lesson, and feel the wrath of the owners when we lose a lot of money.

Particularly because costs weren't GM ratified - they don't even know it's going on.

It'll be a very expensive told-you-so for me, and not one I will enjoy in the slightest.

Avatar
FDH
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
04/02/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
23
21/09/2017 - 11:36 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hi Whoopi, see my post in http://www.flat-chat.com.au/fo.....ee/#p21041

Nobody is being told anything and costs are out of control. Just lots of character assassination of the owner who is defending themselves in the way anyone would - against broken strata laws, propaganda, secret agendas and all the stuff you and the other posters are talking about.

I am ashamed to be part of the OC that is letting this happen. $170k and growing, definitely not over yet. 

Avatar
Ziggy
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 42
Member Since:
27/11/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24
22/09/2017 - 9:38 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

My strata committee is forcing me to NCAT to resolve two issues that I have been asking them for three years to fix: an illegal height balustrade with a dangerous foothold and a dangerous, exceptionally old and noisy lift.

The balustrades on another level were replaced because they were considered dangerous due to rust and because they were not "modern enough". I know that BCA laws are not retrospective but surely if the SC has known for 3 years ago my dangerous balustrade then they could be liable for any resulting injury.

Ditto the lift.

Avatar
Lady Penelope
StrataGuru
Members

Full Members
Forum Posts: 492
Member Since:
13/02/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
25
22/09/2017 - 10:31 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Re the balcony - On what basis is the OC taking you to NCAT about the balcony?

Safety is something that should be the highest priority in a strata scheme. Window safety is a big issue at the moment and this has been reflected in the new legislation. It is quite strange that balcony safety does not have the same priority. Both are equally as important in my view, particularly where children are involved.

Here are some things for to check: (1) Was your balcony compliant at the time that it was built, including the climbable features? NB: Amazingly, many balconies were not! (2) Does your balcony have structural issues e.g. rust? (3) Has the OC ever conducted a building report or WHS report where any defects were noted, and if so what has the OC done about it?  (4) Do you have young children or grandchildren or visiting children who may be endangered by the non compliant balcony height, and climbable features, when they use the balcony?(5) Did you undertake a pre-purchase building inspection report and did it reveal any faults with the balcony, and if so did you notify the OC at the time? (6) What arguments did the upstairs owner use when they approached the OC to have their balcony replaced? NB: Perhaps you can replicate their arguments. (7) Do you or your family work from home? NB:Under the WHS Act, a person who has control of premises used by people as a place of work must ensure that the premises are safe and without risks to health.

You appear to have notified the OC about the problem 3 years ago. The OC have obviously decided to ignore you.

If there has not been an expert inspection and report undertaken on your balcony then I would recommend that you obtain one at your own expense as you will need to provide it when you defend yourself at NCAT. 

Below is a link to a legal opinion (including some cases) that you might find helpful: https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/balustrades-regulations-strata-liability/

Many strata schemes use the Appearance of a Lot by-law (if they have one) as an argument to retain old balustrades and avoid the cost of replacing the old style balustrades with new, compliant, and modern balustrades.

In QLD there have been Tribunal decisions where the Appearance argument has been thwarted. The Tribunal's argument has gone something like this ...... if the OC wanted to have strict uniformity in the scheme then they have the option to introduce such a by-law. If your scheme has no 'Uniformity' by-law  then there is no by-law that prohibits one Lot from appearing slightly different from another. Obviously another Lot in your building has a changed appearance of their balcony, therefore it would be inconsistent for the OC to use this tactic against you.  

Avatar
scotlandx
StrataGuru
Members

Full Members

Moderators
Forum Posts: 773
Member Since:
02/02/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26
22/09/2017 - 11:48 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Lady Penelope - Ziggy may mean that he/she is being forced to go to NCAT to try and get a resolution to the issues raised, i.e. the OC is not taking Ziggy to NCAT, but rather Ziggy initiating proceedings there is the only avenue available.

Avatar
dingo
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 87
Member Since:
13/09/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
27
22/09/2017 - 12:25 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Penny Hill said

 
The balance of power is in the wrong hands…. so little protection for strata owners…. PLUS… we have ALL lost so many of our consumer, police, human rights… because of this strata mechanism for bullying control/ignorance/fraud…  

It can appear that way when things get nasty.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
28
23/09/2017 - 10:01 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

 Hi Jimmy and everyone who is following this thread,

 First of all thank you for highlighting my story, I felt like a celebrity for a second there. It did only last a second as the SC are now gearing up to appeal which will probably add another four months to the fight. This is what happens when logic flies out the window. The SC are driven by an emotional vendetta mentality. This will cost us more money and the owners as well, depending on who comes out the other side the winner.

 Many people ask me why are the owners allowing this to happen?

 They are kept in the dark. The minutes are propaganda, not informative. The minutes are written by the people we are fighting, we have no input to the minutes. We also have no way of contacting the many investors. The strata manager is in league with the committee  and the last time we asked for the strata roll he sent us the wrong building roll. The owners have not seen the application for the tribunal nor the outcome of the tribunal.

Then there is the character assassination that has taken place .Over two years they have been told horrendous things about us by the committee. All of which got back to us some how. They also believe what they are told by committee members who also have access to all of the floors,  the human instinct to believe what one is told by their elected official is the easy way out. Then there is the power aspect of the committee.  If a committee is corrupt they will do and say anything to stay in power because if anyone else gets their hands on the books they will be found out. They have all of the investors votes spread out across the committee and the company nominee votes also which are considerable.  When I have tried to approach people they either won't acknowledge me or say I don't want to get involved, and if they do befriend me they themselves are on the receiving end of retribution. Our friends had their access swipes to the building disconnected. But you can't prove anything, they were told it was a computer glitch .... It was not and has happened to us before. Another friend who was very passive was vilified in the minutes incorrectly and was driven out of the building.

 The owners do not know how much has been spent on legals, they voted at an egm (no one showed up to hear our side) for  a very low amount which would have been surpassed ten times over. They did not include  the experts in their costings. The Lawyers who are affiliated with  the Strata manager are underquoting in the costings for the appeal. Our lawyer had a look and said there was no way they could run an appeal for that amount of money.

 No one goes to the meetings AGMs etc. They are told how to vote and not to come.

 So we fight on against the Strata manager, against their lawyer, who really doesn't care how it turns out he gets paid anyway, against the committee, and against the owners. Apart from the $250,000 worth of repairs needed in my apartment. For two years  my apartment has had a broken and non compliant fire door. Documented by the fire company. This is how crazy and broken the system is.  Apologies if I am a bit repetitive .

 Jimmy can't thank you enough for the support. You and also your other Flat chat folk have advised us well.

Cheers Whoopi

Avatar
JimmyT
Admin
Forum Posts: 4682
Member Since:
06/01/2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
29
23/09/2017 - 10:47 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Have you ever considered applying for the statutory appointment of a strata manager?

I ask because there is a notorious case in Sydney where one side of a dispute (the owners corp) won in an battle over a staircase built without permission while, at the same time, the losers in that case had a strata manager appointed because, they successfully argued, the other side was wasting money on legal battles over things like stair-cases (I kid you not!).

Now, NCAT cases do not create a precedent (thank goodness) but I think it would be worth your while applying for a statutory appointment on the grounds that:

a) The owners corp is pursuing legal action for malicious and personal reasons

b) The owners are not being properly informed of why they (and not you) are having to pay tends of thousands of dollars for issues that could and should have been resolved amicably long ago

c) The vendetta continues and more legal bill await because of the OC's reluctance to accept a decision by a superior court. 

d) the committee has shown a callous disregard for basic safety in the building while pursuing personal battles 

Your argument would be, not that they shouldn't appeal, but that an independent expert (a strata manager) should decide whether this is a valid approach.  

Also, all owners need to know what their money is being spent on and why and you can show that the minutes of the committee have not properly reflected the actual events. 

Talk to a reputable strata management firm about supporting your application (and I am very happy to recommend our sponsors Strata Choice for this) and they will tell you whether they think this is worth pursuing. It will cost you nothing and will resolve most of your problems - at least for the next couple of years.

In about six months your neighbours are going to be hit with a special levy to pay everyone's legal bills.  They will want to know why no one put a stop to this.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
30
23/09/2017 - 1:12 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

 Jimmy this is great advice  we will pursue this. Thank goodness for flat chat.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
31
23/09/2017 - 2:40 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hi FDH

 Wow yes that is exactly what's happening to us in our building. I am sure there are people in our building who feel this way as well. But the retribution is swift if you are seen not to swim with the rest of the salmon. I will be interested to see how you go. All the best of luck and thank you for chiming in. I am so uplifted by the responses from others.

Avatar
mike oriley
Newbie
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
16/04/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
32
27/09/2017 - 3:09 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

I totally concur with Whoopi and Penny Hill, regarding the impossibility of bringing rogue, incompetent and arrogant E.C.'s to account.

Our E.C. takes the attitude that the Strata Management Act doesn't apply to them and they know that nobody can force them. For anything less than fraud (which has to be taken to the courts) there is no enforcement or penalty, so E.C.'s are a law unto themselves.

I spent $36,000 attempting to get our E.C. to manage our strata in accordance with the Act, but after mediation (was ignored), 2 tribunal hearings, letters to Fair Trading, and the Minister and the Chairperson of CTTT (all of whom gave pathetic excuses to do nothing), I eventually had to admit defeat.  The Minister wrote in reply: "The management of a strata scheme is democratic and is the responsibility of the owners corporation.  Fair Trading provides information to owners on their rights and responsibilities under the Act as well as mediation service [which is unenforceable] for strata issues."  

In other words, it is your problem, and the government refuses to have any involvement.

The regulator (Office of Fair Trading) is a toothless tiger (on purpose) with no inspectors or auditors and no facility to police or monitor strata administration or prosecute where required.  The government knows that to do so would cost money, so it is a case of 'industry self regulation' which everyone knows is a contradiction in terms.

Just another example of how hopeless and incompetent our politicians, bureaucrats and regulators are.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
33
27/09/2017 - 5:38 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Well Said Mike I  totally  agree.  They just wear you down and wear you down until you go away. Broke and broken. Strata is not a democracy not even close.

Our minutes have just come out and it occurs to me that when an owner takes a SC to the tribunal the SC should have to cease  any offical action until it is proven they are righteous in their behaviour.

Because we took the SC to task  and won they have the power to vilify us in the minutes which they have just done and what can we say about it, nothing!

Or we should be able to make inclusions in the minutes like a committee section and an owners section wouldn't that put a cat amongst the pigeons. Owners don't have minutes we can send out just  Strata committees big difference in that perspective. You want the opportunity to defend yourself somehow.

We don't have a current Strata Roll,  or access to emails or phone numbers. The owners are about to vote on an appeal against us. They are having a paper EGM so we can't even speak to the few owners who may turn up. At the bottom of our notice it says Owners do not need to attend no action is needed, in other words we don't want you to attend cause we don't give a hoot about the owners opinions.

What  each minutes should say is please everyone attend the meetings we are interested in your opinions your vote counts this is your home your voice should be heard.  

Maintain the rage some how Mike  I am glad all of these fab Flat chatters are commenting on this topic  and want to keep it going until some one listens. I wish you luck. Stay in touch.

Avatar
Ziggy
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 42
Member Since:
27/11/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
34
27/09/2017 - 5:39 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Does anybody know someone at the ABC who could do a expose on this?

Avatar
Ziggy
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 42
Member Since:
27/11/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
35
27/09/2017 - 5:54 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Gee Whoopi. Do we live in the same building? Our mediation at Fair Trading was stopped because the rep from the SC kept making faces, repeating our words, interrupting and generally belittling us. The mediator was useless.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
36
27/09/2017 - 9:16 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Hi Ziggy

Our SC member we were having the most trouble with didn't bother to turn up to our mediation so we arrived with two lawyers so did the owners corp and it was a total waste of time.

We had been warned by other owners that the committee would not honour their resolution at the mediation. The owners were not notified that committee member did not attend.  Plus he is paid an enormous honorarium.

Cost us a bomb and what we ended up agreeing to in the mediation was ignored by the SC. Our mediator was useless also and it deteriorated into a name calling exercise.  

At first I felt like I got a bit off my chest but afterwards I realised it was unproductive. You are not even allowed to report to owners what happened in mediation as it is all confidential. This makes no sense at all to me.

It gives parties the chance to say anything they want and not stand by it. The owners had no idea what went on and what it was all about. Again the committee were able to control the information that filtered back.

I am amazed at how many unhappy strata bunnies are out there. I have worried about you since your private message and think about you a lot. Hang in there Ziggy...... Call Four Corners !!!!! Insight !!!!! Would love to see my committee chased down the road by Current Affair !!!

Avatar
JimmyT
Admin
Forum Posts: 4682
Member Since:
06/01/2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
37
28/09/2017 - 12:27 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

Whoopi said
 The owners were not notified that committee member did not attend.  Plus he is paid an enormous honorarium.

If the payment is agreed in advance, he and the committee are breaking the law.

You are not even allowed to report to owners what happened in mediation as it is all confidential. This makes no sense at all to me.

Are you sure?  The owners are party to the mediation (as members of the Owners Corporation) so they are entitled to be told.  And even if they weren't, what's going to happen?  Off to strata prison with you!?!  Seriously, if the other side refuses to play by the rules, why would you feel the need to follow them in such minute detail?

... the committee were able to control the information that filtered back.

So find a way of letting the owners know.  It takes about $25 to set up a website and $1 a unit to send postcards directing people to it (nothing if you have their email addresses).

I am amazed at how many unhappy strata bunnies are out there. I have worried about you since your private message and think about you a lot. Hang in there Ziggy...... Call Four Corners !!!!! Insight !!!!! Would love to see my committee chased down the road by Current Affair !!!  

Having been on several TV news magazine items about strata, I can tell you they usually don't get it.  I did a thing for Helen Wellings on Seven about "forced sales" legislation - the promo for the item was headlined "Strata Body Corporates out of control!"

Why? Because the 12-year-olds in the promo department assumed that's what it must be about. They don't know and, more to the point, (apart from Ms Wellings) they don't care.

You have all the ammunition you need to take your strata committee members to NCAT and you have already had the mediation. So apply to NCAT and 

a) ask for them to be removed from the committee

b) order them to pay back the honorarium

c) order the committee to do the things they should have been doing.

In the meantime, it has never been easier to get your message out to your fellow owners - don't wait for a TV show to do it for you because, apart from the unlikelihood of them doing it in the first place, their agenda may be very different from yours.

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
38
28/09/2017 - 1:20 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

I agree Jimmy T with your advice about the media and TV a reason why we have not gone down that road.

 

  The website is a great idea.... no email addresses, but letterbox drop will gather some people.

 Honorariums are usually retrospective he has been getting it for so many years no one knows.

 

 Thanks Jimmy T  I'm on to it all

Avatar
JimmyT
Admin
Forum Posts: 4682
Member Since:
06/01/2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
39
28/09/2017 - 8:52 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Whoopi said
Honorariums are usually retrospective he has been getting it for so many years no one knows.
  

If they are genuinely retrospective - voted at the AGM for the previous year - then they aren't illegal.  But you could argue that the recurring nature of them, allied to his expectation that he will get one every year, puts them into a grey area and for clarity's sake, you should not have one at the next AGM.  

If he blows up and demands one, it proves your point. It also gives you a chance to show how much money his decisions have cost owners, by way of a motion to the AGM (with explanatory notes that they must send to owners for the agenda to be valid).

Avatar
Whoopi
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 39
Member Since:
19/05/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
40
28/09/2017 - 9:58 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

We emailed our strata manager twice over two weeks asking them to distribute the tribunal findings to the owners. He finally declined saying the SC and owners were appealing therefore  any more correspondence on this needed to come through the lawyers ..... Funny how sure he is of the vote to appeal will be passed. That is because the committee have all of the investor votes. so the owners in principle will be voting on appealing without ever having seen or had the opportunity to read the orders.

 The minutes were gold, something like " The finding for the tribunal has been handed down. It is agreed to appeal the decision."

They didn't say they lost, and it is a forgone conclusion that they appeal . I am shocked about the paper EGM.  They should not be allowed to  do that on such an important and expensive issue. The owners should all get together and have a chat. To be honest Jimmy I don't think the owners care they have Stockholm syndrome.

Honorarium: you should not have one at the next AGM.

We don't get a say whether we have one or not, if I suggested that I would be howled down and probably dragged out of town with my ankles tied to my horse.

 My only hope is the advice you have already given me and we are waiting for the right moment to go for it. I am feeling very confident about the appeal. I will hang my hat on that and maybe the owners will need to get the wake up call this way.  I truly appreciate all of the advice but we are stitched up here. We pray that the tribunal and the appeal falls our way. I honestly can't see how it can't.

Forum Timezone: Australia/Sydney

Most Users Ever Online: 518

Currently Online:
36 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

kiwipaul: 613

struggler: 459

Austman: 308

Billen Ben: 232

Millie: 213

Cosmo: 170

Kangaroo: 168

considerate band fair: 167

FlatChatFan: 147

daphne diaphanous: 137

Newest Members:

Ricardo

aryan dash

joking

pari20777

Nick-725

Kathleen Arnold

RWallis

brendon8484

jlthompson

Jill Harrison

Forum Stats:

Groups: 4

Forums: 46

Topics: 4430

Posts: 21072

 

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 241

Members: 5048

Moderators: 4

Admins: 1

Administrators: JimmyT

Moderators: Whale, Sir Humphrey, scotlandx, Lady Penelope