Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page

  • Creator
  • #50686

    I am having trouble finding the practical application of the phrase “which the Owners’ Corporation may not unreasonably refuse”, for ex. in the context of an application for minor renovations.

    The way I see it, an application for minor renovations is made, the OC is asked to vote on it. The votes total up in favour or against the application. So the application is refused or accepted, but I don’t see in which case an owner could say their application was “unreasonably refused” by the OC since each vote came from a separate owner, each having their own reasons to vote for or against.  I fail to see how the Owners Corporation as a whole can be said to “unreasonably refuse” since no one has the reason for the way each owner cast their ballot.

    Can anyone clarify with examples pls?

    • This topic was modified 3 months ago by .
Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #50716
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey

    Related to this, in the ACT, the local Tribunal can ‘give effect to a failed motion on the grounds that opposition to the motion was unreasonable’. The Tribunal has interpreted this to mean that it does a ‘merits review’ rather than try to get inside the heads of the people who voted down a motion.

    We had an example of a motion put to a general meeting that required an unopposed resolution to pass. The motion failed because it had about 85% support and 15% opposed. We (the committee who proposed the motion) then went to the Tribunal seeking an order to give effect to the motion on the ground that it was unreasonable to oppose.

    The motion we proposed was one that our legal advice said was necessary to avoid various serious consequences. It was the most equitable solution possible to our situation. It would not cause any detriment to any owner; instead it correctly conferred privileges that had been incorrectly conferred previously while ensuring that a small number of remaining owners would have equivalent privileges conferred. It was a remedy to something done incorrectly previously albeit in good faith and without objection at the time. A few owners just got the ‘wrong end of the stick’, seemed incapable of understanding clear legal advice that was circulated to all and they got a few extra proxies and voted the motion down.

    Those who had opposed were invited to explain their opposition at the Tribunal. A few owners did and it was clear they hadn’t a clue. The Tribunal accepted that our legally-advised solution was the most equitable and reasonable possible and that those who opposed had presented no reasonable grounds to oppose that solution.

    Essentially ‘reasonable’ and ‘unreasonable’ mean pretty much what you would expect them to mean.


    If you ask for approval of minor renovations inside your lot, and the renovations don’t affect anyone and don’t have any implications for the common property, and the Committee refuses your request, then as a general guide, that refusal is likely to be considered unreasonable. If the Committee refuses the request because they don’t like you, that is unreasonable. If the Committee refuses the request and they approved a very similar request a short time ago, then that is unreasonable.

    When you think about what might constitute unreasonable it can be useful to turn it around and think about what is reasonable, i.e. what might be a good reason for refusing something. If it doesn’t fit into that category it is likely to be unreasonable.



    I think there’s a basic flaw in your logic, in that committee’s don’t always act logically or in the best interests of all owners.

    One common example of that would be where one or two dominant members of a committee have imposed their will on the others to the extent that the majority of committee members decide life will be easier if they go along with the bullies rather than make a reasonable judgent on the merits of a case, thereby only upsetting one owner.

    I recall a couple of old ladies who ruled a small apartment  block with iron fists and even stopped gas from being supplied to any floors above theirs for entirely bogus reasons (except that they didn’t like the people upstairs.)

    But one hypothetical example would be where someone’s renovations are blocked because the committee is persuaded that having tradespeople in the building would be a bad thing. Obviously that is unreasonable because tradies would need to come into the building, sooner or later, for repairs and maintanance.

    One unreasonable excuse for refusing an application, frequently given, is “we have never allowed that before.”  That’s not a reason, it’s a statement of historical fact.

    I know a building committee that’s full of intelligent, educated people, but there are many cases where the arguments for and against are almost equal, and they might go against their better judgement and vote along with the loudest voice rather than face the shouting match that would ensue if they voted no.

    People vote for reasons that may be personal, political or emotional.  None of these may be reasonable by any objective measure.


    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by .
Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page