NB: There’s anothere reader’s horror story at the end of this column.
eedback has been flooding in since we took a pop at the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal a couple of weeks ago.
“We read your article out loud … amidst laughter and nods of agreement. Clowns indeed,” wrote one real estate agent.
“The CTTT and its predecessors have been a sheltered workshop since inception,” said a solicitor.
“The chair was so rude – they would not be allowed to conduct themselves like that in any other place of law,” recalled a strata manager of his last visit to the tribunal. “They seem to be totally uninterested in anything other than if the correct form has been filled out.”
The article also stirred up some bad memories. One reader’s building has been trying for nine years to get the CTTT to curb a neighbour who built a staircase through his ceiling, through common property and on to the roof, where he then constructed a timber deck, all without Owners Corporation or local council planning approval.
The building is under orders from both the council and the CTTT to have it removed but the owner won’t allow access. He denies this and the CTTT’s adjudicators steadfastly take his word over the other owners, even though he’s been caught out claiming to be a Justice of the Peace when he isn’t.
Our reader reckons her building is $60,000 out of pocket in legal costs. Encouraged by the CTTT response, the rogue owner is now building an unapproved extension while, unbelievably, taking the other owners to the CTTT for not removing the stairs.
In another building, an upstairs neighbour appealed against a CTTT approved move to regain access to its common property roof (and views). He then employed a barrister who happened to be known to the adjudicator who, in turn, hadn’t read even the submissions before the case. Needless to say, the appeal was upheld.
There are too many other stories to relate in this tiny space but you can read them in full at the end of the “CTTT Twits” article on this website.
Meanwhile, you have to wonder, who the Hell are these CTTT adjudicators and what planet do they live on? Whatever the answer, some of them seem to be a law unto themselves.
ANOTHER FRUSTRATED READER WRITES …
After over twenty years of problem-free living in a strata unit, I bought a unit on the ground floor in a small, older style block. On reading the sales contract, I noted a Restriction on Use of Land which I took to be a special bylaw for the building. It specified that the upstairs units were to have carpet and acoustic underlay of the quality provided by the original owner or better.
Several options seem possible: action in the Supreme Court which would be very expensive, even if I won; removing my ceilings, filling them with acoustic material and replacing them, which would also be expensive; another round through the CTTT, in the hope that I might receive a fairer judgment next time.