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  • #7354

    Recently the owners corporation of my building decided to reclaim an area that I have exclusive usage to. I engaged my solicitor who came to an AGM and told them they had no legal rights to it as it was indeed exclusive usage entitlement to the owner of that lot. They voted at that time to get their own advice and unfortunately for them came up with the same result. I have asked the owners corporation for a copy of their solicitors advice and was informed by the chairman that the OC can withhold information that may compromise its legal position. He said he would have to put it to the EC to see if they would release the information. If they choose not to, do I have any legal grounds for accessing their advice?

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  • #12734

    Hi Andykaye

    Section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act relates to the inspection of records of owners corporations and states:

    (1) Who may inspect records? An owner, mortgagee or covenant chargee of a lot, or a person authorised by the owner, mortgagee or covenant chargee, may request the owners corporation to allow an inspection to be carried out under this section.

    (2) Form of request The request must be in writing and be accompanied by the fee prescribed by the regulations.

    (3) Items to be made available for inspection The owners corporation must make the following items available for inspection by the person who makes the request or the person’s agent:

    (a) the strata roll,

    (b) any records or documents required to be kept under Division 2,

    (c) the plans, specifications, certificates, diagrams and other documents required to be delivered to the owners corporation at its first annual general meeting by the original owner or lessor,

    (d) if in its custody or under its control, the certificate of title comprising the common property or, in the case of a leasehold strata scheme, the certificate of title for the lease of the common property,

    (e) the last financial statements prepared,

    (f) every current policy of insurance taken out by the owners corporation and the receipt for the premium last paid for each such policy,

    (g) any other record or document in the custody or under the control of the owners corporation,

    (h) if the duties of the owners corporation under this subsection have been delegated to a strata managing agent, such other records (including records of the strata managing agent) relating to the strata scheme as may be prescribed by the regulations,

    (i) if a caretaker agreement is in force or has been entered into but has not yet commenced, a copy of the caretaker agreement.

    There are two categories that the advice might fall under which would enable you to argue that the advice should be released. They are:

    (a) s. 104(c) of the Strata Schemes Management Act (which is in Division 2) states “copies of correspondence received and sent by the owners corporation” (see s. 108(3)(b) of the Strata Schemes Management Act); and

    (b) s. 108(3)(g) of the Strata Schemes Management Act (see above) which states “any other record or document in the custody or under the control of the owners corporation”.

    Let me know if you have any questions.


    Chris Kerin, Senior Lawyer
    TEYS Lawyers, The Strata Law Experts
    02 9562 6500, Suite 73, Lower Deck
    Jones Bay Wharf, 26-32 Pirrama Rd
    Pyrmont NSW 2009

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    I'm going to put my “Bush Lawyer” hat on here  (and hope a proper lawyer corrects me if I'm wrong) and say that since you are a member of the Owners Corporation and the OC paid the legal fees, then you are absolutely entitled to see what the lawyers said.  The Executive Committee is subject to the controls of  the OC; it's not an executive that can act independently.

    Your lawyers should demand to see the legal advice that was given to the EC by the OC's lawyers.  If this issue ever came to court, your lawyers would be able to demand to see all correspondence between the EC, their lawyers and your strata managers (for instance).

    I'm reliably informed that there is no such thing as private correspondence within a strata plan – every member of the Owners Corporation (that's ALL owners) are entitled to see anything written to and by the EC.

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