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Negotiating a special levy exemption
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wombatattack
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22/08/2018 - 10:33 pm
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Hi there. I am an apartment owner putting together a proposal for replacing my 1970’s doors and windows (common property). I realise that I will require a by-law, and that the doors and windows will then become my responsibility.

As I would be bearing the cost of this upgrade and all future maintenance, it would seem fair that I be excluded from special levees resulting from any future strata upgrade of doors and windows (as there would be nothing to upgrade for my apartment). There is currently nothing in the 10 year plan for this kind of upgrade, but it would have to happen eventually, and could be added in at any time.  

An exemption seems fair to me, but I don’t know much about how stratas work. Do you think such an exemption is likely or even possible? Thanks. 

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Jimmy-T
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23/08/2018 - 9:36 am
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First of all, there are provisions under Section 87 of the Act for the tribunal (NCAT) to vary contributions (levies) on application.

You could have a clause included in your special resolution that you would not be liable to contribute any future special levies specifically for the repair and maintenance of common property doors and windows, subject to the approval of NCAT under section 87.  It would then be up to you or subsequent owners of your apartment to apply for the orders on that basis.

You may however still have issues if, as they should, the owners corp contributes regularly to the maintenance fund and uses some of that money to fix the windows and doors.  You might then ask for future levies to be adjusted until your contribution has been exhausted – but that might just be too complicated to fly at NCAT.

But in summary, the Owners Corp can’t just agree to waive contributions, even if they want to – it has to go through NCAT.

87 Orders varying contributions or payment methods
(1) The Tribunal may, on application, make either or both of the following orders if the Tribunal considers that any amount levied or proposed to be levied by way of contributions is inadequate or excessive or that the manner of payment of contributions is unreasonable:
(a) an order for payment of contributions of a different amount,
(b) an order for payment of contributions in a different manner.
(2) An application for an order may be made by the lessor of a leasehold strata scheme, an owners corporation, an owner or a mortgagee in possession.

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wombatattack
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23/08/2018 - 10:07 am
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Thanks Jimmy for your exceptionally quick and detailed response. I think that answers my question perfectly!

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