Flat Chat Forum NCAT – the NSW Tribunal Current Page

  • This topic has 14 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by .
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  • #54193
    Mountainsofthemoon
    Flatchatter

    I am being taken to NCAT by the Strata Manager on behalf of the Owners Corporation of which I’m a part, obviously, here in suburban Sydney.

    I consider I am in the right and they are in the wrong but was prepared to present my views, have them present theirs and be content with any NCAT decision either way. But the SM and my OC have engaged lawyers which my research suggested was not actually allowed. So now my own strata levy fees will be contributing to action against me, if indeed lawyers are allowed. Weird or what?

     

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #54333
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    OK, kids.  Back to your corners.  This discussion is now closed.

    #54329
    EnterSandman
    Flatchatter

    Sorry to hear of your NCAT experience and thank you for your advice on strata terminology. Obviously upon reading your response your hearing didn’t end well. As I warned it can be a frustrating experience.

    Like you have stated, NCAT can appear to be a “law unto themselves”, however, in my experience so can some members of the owners corporation. Unless an order was issued you can always follow other avenues?  Thankfully in the case I made you aware of … an order was issued.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by .
    #54317
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    By the way, EnterSandman purports to be an authority on ‘strata living’ yet doesn’t even get his terminology right.

    Does he purport to be an authority? This feels increasingly like it’s a personal squabble being played out in this forum.  I’m ready to pull the plug on this.

    #54312
    Mountainsofthemoon
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Here’s the problem. NCAT insists they’ll only answer the question as to whether legal representation will be allowed, at the actual hearing. So a Strata Manager and / or Strata Committee will spend money ‘preparing the case’ with ambulance-chasing lawyers, who will also front-up on the day (at this time that means on the phone) charge bucks for that, but then not be allowed to participate and the SM or SC member will have to speak.

    Significant amounts of Owners Corporation funds are, no doubt, being wasted. It would be much better if the issue of legal representation, or not, could be decided ahead of a hearing. Of course, ‘respondents’ might also be unfairly scared into paying hard-earned bucks for their own lawyer.

    There are many other areas too where NCAT are unbelievably inconsistent. Their literature says one thing but they do another. It can all be very confusing. Just one example is how a particular matter can be accepted by NCAT without the required mediation taking place, while another matter is rejected because mediation wasn’t attempted. It seems to all depend on moods and whims.

    In short, NCAT are an unpredictable ‘law unto themselves’. Don’t go there.

    By the way, EnterSandman purports to be an authority on ‘strata living’ yet doesn’t even get his terminology right. For about 5 years now it’s been Strata Committee, not Executive Committee, and Owners Corporation, not body [sic] Corporate. It’s ‘personal signalling’ JimmyT, not a pop culture reference.

    #54273
    EnterSandman
    Flatchatter

    Seinfeld to tee Jimmy. Perplexing yet trivial. Every apartment has its Kramer/Newman

    #54247
    EnterSandman
    Flatchatter

    We just had a similar situation at our small Sydney block of fewer than 40 units. A tenant refused to remove a camera at the request of the EC. Mind you it was installed on common property without the  permission of the owners Corp.

    The tenant was asked several times to remove it and seek permission but they refused. The owners Corp had no option but to go to NCAT and have it removed.

    During this time, the tenant played silly buggers with the committee and removed it, but then sent messages to committee members saying they would just put it up again later anyway. The EC had no option but to engage lawyers to represent them as this particular tenant seemed to enjoy wasting the EC time with the frivolous nature of the claim.

    Even then the lawyers requested mediation and the tenant refused. I hear the lawyers also eventually  won costs against the tenant for the above. I hope your case is a good one, NCAT can be quite tough on some tenants.

    The process is also quite frustrating. Some would say as frustrating as lint in a clothes dryer left on a window sill. Good luck I look forward to hearing how you get on.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
    #54271
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    “as frustrating as lint in a clothes dryer left on a window sill”, EnterSandman? That sounds a bit… fluffy. Care to explain?

    Yeah, I was wondering about that.  A little personal signalling going on here? Or is it some  pop culture reference that has passed me by.  Sounds Seinfeldian.

    #54269
    Mountainsofthemoon
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    “as frustrating as lint in a clothes dryer left on a window sill”, EnterSandman? That sounds a bit… fluffy. Care to explain?

    #54243
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I see you’ve turned this into an editorial. Good, but at this point in time there’s an incomplete paragraph.

    Good catch.  Thanks for that. Fixed now and no one will ever know.

    Seems strange that there was no attempt at mediation or Notice To Comply.  Enforcement of a Notice to Comply is one of the very few actions at NCAT that doesn’t have an attempted mediation as a prerequisite.

    #54238
    Mountainsofthemoon
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    No, no Notice to Comply, Jimmy-T. Just a couple of mean emails to me. I offered to chat and said I’d be OK if they sought mediation. But the SM on behalf of the SC sought an Interim Order which was not granted as the thing wasn’t urgent… and here we are. I’m reluctant to go into the full details.

    BTW I see you’ve turned this into an editorial. Good, but at this point in time there’s an incomplete paragraph.

    #54231
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I might add, no actual mediation has been attempted.

    Was there a notice to comply issued?  If that’s the case, no mediation is required (unlike with most other NCAT actions).

    #54228
    Mountainsofthemoon
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks Jimmy-T and Scotlandx. I’m going to answer my own question and just say ‘weird’ : )

    It’s a very minor matter, in my view. My family and I can’t afford lawyers and I don’t imagine a community legal resource wasting their time on this, nor would I want to impose on them. I’ll just say my piece at the ‘hearing’ and hope for the best. BTW it’s all going to be on the phone which I find most unsettling.

    I might add, no actual mediation has been attempted. They’ve been no meetings of any kind about this, costs or otherwise. It’s just been the SM and SC’s way or the highway. And it seems what NCAT’s says and what NCAT’s web information says about the way it operates are very different.

    Cheers.then

    #54205
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    Has the engagement of the lawyer been approved, either by the Committee or the owners in a general meeting?

    They would have to have received a costs agreement – I am assuming this is a non-urgent matter. The Committee can approve engaging a lawyer for non-urgent matters up to $3K. Otherwise it has to go to a general meeting.

    So check what has been approved.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
    #54197
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    When NCAT was set up, there was an attempt to make it lawyer-free or, at least, not assume that lawyers would be needed, but allow lawyers to represent clients by mutual consent. That seems to have drifted somewhat, with some Members reportedly frustrated that they have to explain procedures to one or other side of a dispute.

    In any case, if you win, under Section 90 of the Act, costs can be awarded against the other members of the owners corporation, excluding you.  And they have to raise the money by a special levy that you don’t have to pay.  However, I think you have to ask for costs to be awarded at the start of the proceedings as the default is that each party pays their own costs (which would, indeed, mean you were paying to take yourself to the tribunal).

    If the Owners Corporation has lawyered up, it might be worth you getting representation too (especially since your grasp of strata law may be based on flawed assumptions … e.g. you weren’t aware that lawyers are allowed).

    If you can’t afford an experienced strata lawyer (and there’s no point in employing any other kind), Marrickville Legal Centre will provide free legal advice and even, in extreme cases, representation at the Tribunal.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
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Flat Chat Forum NCAT – the NSW Tribunal Current Page