23/04/2019 at 2:17 pm #37155
Just wanted some advice
I’m taking my strata to mediation over some damage to private property when a strata contractor damaged my property when he came to fix a common property defect
In my mediation application to Fair Trading I wrote that strata has used owners funds to pay for other repairs to their own lots and other owners lots and friends lots which were much more expensive. And that they had claimed on building insurance to fix their lots. In my application I attached some evidence to which backed my opinions for this, which I hoped to discuss at the mediation meeting.
My strata manager decided to publish my mediation application to the owners corp without any of the attachments (including Fair Trading letter to me and my “evidence”)
Today, a member of the executive committee came up to me and said he was going to sue me because I had accused him of “giving money to his friends and spending money on his friends!”
I thought my application of mediation was just between strata & me.
I thought the issues written in my mediation application were issues that I could raise in the mediation to be discussed with my strata manager, to help resolve my dispute.
Why am I now being threatened with legal action over the contents of my mediation application?
Is this legally possible?
I feel really bullied and helpless
Thanks23/04/2019 at 2:30 pm #37157
‘Strata’ can be an ambiguous term to use because it is not clear whether you mean the managing agent or the OC. The mediation would be between you and the Owners Corporation (OC), which may be represented by the strata committee unless they have engaged the managing agent to represent them.
It seems that you would have a claim against the OC and then it would be up to the committee to work out whether they can claim for reimbursement from the contractor, or the contractor’s insurance or the OC’s insurance. It is not your problem if the committee can’t recoup its costs from one of those sources and has to fund it from its cash reserves.
Since all owners are members of the OC, I can see some justification for informing the members of the OC that they are involved in a dispute requiring mediation.23/04/2019 at 11:15 pm #37161
First of all, the only appropriate response to a threat of legal action like that is “bring it on” – for most people it’s an empty threat and I wouldn’t give it another thought until that long thin envelope from their lawyer arrives.
Secondly, you are not the person who “published” the alleged defamatory comment – it was the strata manager. So if anyone should be being sued, it’s them.24/04/2019 at 7:27 pm #37188
Further to my previous response, we should all be wary of “piling on” our grievances when we take a legitimate case to Fair Trading and NCAT. State your case and provide your evidence that’s specific to it, otherwise it looks like you just have a personal grievance with the committee members concerned and you are acting out of spite.
However, if you do have a case that the committee is acting corruptly and you can prove it, take that to NCAT to have the individual members removed.
And if you can’t prove it, best keep your opinions to yourself … at least until the next AGM when you can ask some pointed questions.