Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page

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    I have been living in an apartment block in Sydney.  I was elected Secretary of the strata scheme in November 2019 in order to raise alert on long existing major by-law breaches.

    The present strata committee comprises of 4 members i.e. one chairperson, one treasurer and one secretary(myself) plus another member.  I joined the SC because I have observed that the building manger dislikes performing  strata law compliance and law enforcement duties.  As a result, there is a proliferation of illegal structure – illegal added bedrooms and illegal dumping without intervention.

    1. There are now more than 18 cases of outstanding illegal bedroom cases in our block which is substantial by any reasonable standard.  The building manager was only able to get rid of one after two years from its discovery.

    2.  The building manager has been allowing residents and non-residents to dump illegal trade wastes, unwanted bulky household furniture and white goods in the garbage rooms and pay the removal and disposal without the knowledge and approval of the OC.  In my opinion, these are the personal expenses of illegal dumpers and the expense is illegitimate.  The owners are not aware because such illegal expenses have been hidden as part of the cleaning cost and not separately identified and disclosed in the strata management accounts.

    In the past six months, I  have been alerting all other strata committee members, the building manager and the strata manager that these are material strata law breaches and could pose potential huge financial risks to all owners in the case of illegal structure breaches and in the case of illegal dumping create a long term increasing recurring costs to all owners who have paid the illegal expenses unknowingly out of their strata levies.

    In the last six months, I have repeatedly informed and alerted all the other committee members with supporting evidence and recommendation to improve the service of the building manager.  But they have all remained silent except the building manager and not even acknowledged my emails.

    Only the building manager exchanges emails with me making blank promises but persists in his wrong doing.  He also challenged me that I was just expressing my concern as an owner and refused to recognize that I am not raising the issues in the best interests on behalf all owners.   He further stressed that the other members have not given their votes to take action to stop the major breaches.

    The building management company is an associated company of the strata manager which is not surprising he is reluctant to do anything because of this special relationship.  Also all the other strata members have been working with the strata and building managers in the past four years and are their good mates probably now collaborating with the strata management to boycott the challenge I am now bringing against all of them.

    Can you please teach me how to get out of this deadlock?  Are their actions illegal as all of them have failed to exercise their functions or have not performed their duties with due diligence and due care.

    All constructive advice and opinion will be greatly appreciated.




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  • #49984
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey

    If your concerns do genuinely represent concerns of many owners, not just your own, then it would be useful to have evidence of that. If you go via the NCAT route, then it won’t be just you but a sizeable number of owners seeking an order from the Tribunal.

    I am in the ACT. My experience with a few ACAT matters, which may be similar to NCAT, is that the Tribunal will remind applicants that the Owners Corporation is a democracy. It might suggest that you put a motion to a general meeting to approve taking legal action to remedy various matters. If the motion passes, then the committee will be obliged to act. A resolution of a general meeting will demonstrate that your concerns are shared by a majority. IE. You might go with a group of owners to the Tribunal but even then might be sent back to get a vote. If you do it in the other order, you might not need to go to the Tribunal because the committee’s hand will be strengthened in each action endorsed by the general meeting resolution.


    If you have written evidence that you raised these issues more than to months ago, with no response, then you can apply to Fair Trading for mediation prior to taking a Section 232 (2) action against the owners corporation  (as represented by the strata committee) for failure to fulfill its statutory duties.

    If you’re not prepared to shake things up officially – and that may be all it will need – then you should probably just let it go.  The power of inertia is huge and the number of excuses people will come up with for doing nothing is often a lesson in creativity and self-justification.

    But as soon as you give people a reason for not doing nothing, you’ll be surprised at how much support you generate.

    AvatarColonel Schultz

    The odds appear to be against you by the sound of it, but its NCAT that deals with disputes in strata when nobody wants to do the right thing.

    Be aware however that poking a big bear can be fraught with danger!

    Could you be putting your time and energy into something more worthwhile and leaving these issues for others to work out?

    Would you be better off selling before the cat is out of the bag so to speak?

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Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page