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Is the time right to change our building's by-laws?
Unexpected Leigh
12/07/2012 - 4:26 pm
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I have read here, in this great forum, and elsewhere that the NSW Strata Titles Act and presumably the model by-laws therein, a version of which our building has adopted, are being extensively overhauled. Is this correct?

Our Annual General Meeting is coming up in a week and on the agenda is an item to chuck out our standard by-laws and vote in a whole set of new ones which are all set out on a solicitor’s letterhead and, one would think, paid for with and arm and a leg and then there’s the cost of registration.

Of course, no one on the Executive Committee nor the strata manager is taking ownership for this odd plan. And the existing by-laws are sensible work quite well, if enforced (which can be a problem).

 Is this wise? Or would we be better to keep the old by-laws for a while until the  overhaul is finished?

Urban Spaceman
15/07/2012 - 3:46 pm
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This is so close to what’s happening in our building I wonder if we’re in the same strata.

Big bucks, most probably being wasted for no reason at all, on changing our by-laws (most of which are ignored, not know and not enforced) to extremely similar-sounding by-laws. If anything19

I can’t understand why. Should we be waiting for the review of strata living by the Minister for Fair Trading and his department.

Someone please help. Any opinions welcome.

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15/07/2012 - 6:49 pm
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I would also be asking why you need a wholesale change in by-laws right now.  I suspect (hope) that one of the forthcoming changes to strata law may be to ban proxy harvesting.  Maybe somebody trying to push through changes before the shutter comes down on a system that turns democracies into dictatorships.

In practical terms I’d focus on the 25 percent of people you need to block the changes and ask them if they really think you need to rewrite the rule book now when you are probably going to have to tweak them, at the very least, by this time next year, if not before.

Sir Humphrey

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15/07/2012 - 10:54 pm
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Unexpected Leigh said
…Our Annual General Meeting is coming up in a week and on the agenda is an item to chuck out our standard by-laws and vote in a whole set of new ones which are all set out on a solicitor’s letterhead … no one on the Executive Committee nor the strata manager is taking ownership for this odd plan…

That is the bit that sounds odd to me. I think we need an overhaul in our OC but to get such an overhaul passed I would expect to first convince other EC members and then for the EC to explain the need, consult, advise etc. If we did not do all that I can’t see how we would get the numbers to pass the required motion. It would seem odd that someone might have paid for legal advice on their own and then not promote it proudly. If it is legal advice obtained by the EC, why are they not explaining why this was necessary, or at least a good idea?

Unexpected Leigh
19/07/2012 - 9:16 am
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(Thank you Urban Spaceman, JimmyT and PeterC.)

At our AGM where our standard by-laws were, indeed, chucked out and a whole set of new ones on a well known strata lawyer’s letterhead were passed, the Executive Committee members who had been meeting the lawyer claimed they had not been told about the ‘overhaul to the Strata Titles Act and its model by-laws’ taking place. 

The strata lawyers definitely know and you’d think should have discussed this with our EC representatives. It has been in the news too.

The Strata Manager, chairing the meeting, waved suggestions away that we should defer the motions saying ‘these reviews happen all the time’.

More money wasted.

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20/07/2012 - 6:56 am
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Just interested. What exactly did they change in your by laws?

Unexpected Leigh
20/07/2012 - 2:14 pm
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Struggler, thanks for your interest. You say ‘exactly’ but you’d realize to elaborate here would take a very long time.

Our standard by-laws, which were chucked out by special resolution, were one of the bog-standard sets of the model by-laws in the Act.

The new standard by-laws voted in by special resolution are very similar and supposed to be more pointed, simpler and easier to enforce. (Noise, vehicles, common property etc.) In fact, they appear to be over-embellished making them more convoluted than the old ones.

Additionally, there were a couple of special by-laws we have here which were revised and a couple added to cover us against naughty renovations done without permission. If our old, existing by-laws were displayed, known, followed and enforced these would not have been needed.

In my view, all a big waste of money considering we’ll probably have to go again after the ‘overhaul’ by Mr Roberts and the EC and strata manager won’t enforce them anyway.

None of our EC have bothered to come to grips with the strata system, they’ve been done-over by ambulance-chasing strata lawyers (Mr Roberts’ expression) and the strata manager takes bread buttered on both sides. 

Oh yes, how could I forget (?) there’s extraordinary proxy-harvesting keeping out more sensible owners who could be on the EC.

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