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Quiz: 20 questions on the new strata laws

It’s four years since the government’s plan to revise strata laws were announced, and three years and one month will have passed since the details were exclusively revealed in this newspaper.  Since then there have been thousands of discussions, emails,

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From a misplaced mat to a $170k lawsuit – the danger of breaching duties of care (Australia)

Damages of $171,500 plus costs have been awarded against a Mosman owners corporation for a breach of its duty of care to a resident who tripped on a frayed floor mat Left in a lift for more than a day

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What are body corporates, owners corporations and strata schemes?

Body corporates, sometimes referred to as owners corporations, will likely play a major part in many investors’ lives, by virtue of Australians’ increasing tendency to live in apartment dwellings. Here’s what you need to know about them and how they’ll

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What you need to know about guide dogs in strata

You can’t keep guide or hearing dogs out of strata. Not even in schemes with a by-law that forbids pet ownership. And soon the previously uncertainty around dogs that assist with other developmental or mental illnesses, such as autism or

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4 ways that cut-and-paste by-laws could cost you your renovation

One dirty little secret of the strata industry is that owners or managers trying to save money will cut-and-paste bits of other by-laws to make their own. For example; last year Maria in unit 5 got a by-law passed to renovate

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Discounts and other magic tricks to get levies paid on time and on budget

Among the many differences between Queensland and the rest of the country is the enthusiastic use of levy discounts north of the border.  It’s a simple concept – work out your strata budget, add 10% and then offer that much

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Ratification can turn back time on by-law breaches

A recent Supreme Court decision, The Owners Strata Plan No 57164 v Yau [2016] NSWSC 1056, yielded some interesting findings for strata owners and managers alike.  First, that executive committees can settle legal cases, potentially even if their meetings were

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Don’t jump the gun on Airbnb

You may have heard about a recent Victorian court decision that gives owners the go-ahead on renting out their strata properties on sharing sites such as Airbnb.  In the decision the court used New South Wales as a basis for

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Blurred Lines: Real Estate vs. Strata

Given that owners corporations in their early days were largely managed out of real estate offices, any suggestion that real estate agents should keep their noses out of the strata management sphere may at first seem a little strange.  Yet

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New South Wales strata reforms

The New South Wales Government has announced that the reforms to strata law will come into effect from November 30, 2016.  The reforms are a culmination of public consultation over the past 5 years and comprise approximately 90 key amendments

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What is the difference between Strata and Torrens titles?

When you purchase property it will likely be Torrens or Strata title. It is important to understand the differences between the two and how they will impact your ownership and use of the property.     Read the article…………..

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New strata laws and building bond regime are set to commence

The building bond scheme applies to strata developments over 3 storeys and requires the developer to provide the Office of Finance with a bond equal to 2% of the price for the building work. The bond must be provided prior

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Three big clashes between high tech and by-laws

Technology is advancing every day, but it’s taken over 20 years for strata laws in New South Wales to be changed. In much the same way, by-laws are struggling to keep up with the constant changes.  Three examples of where

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Strata living in Sydney: Residents have never had it so good

In the great welter of anti-apartment material that has been published over the years, the minor, humorous whinge about the difficulties of living in flats that appeared on the Domain website last week was barely a blip on the radar.

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NSW Strata Reforms: Smoking in Strata Schemes

The NSW strata reforms are almost complete with draft regulations being released for comment. This has re-ignited interest in strata and we have received a number of calls and emails from strata occupants excited about the smoke free by-laws that

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New Building Bond and Post Completion Inspection Regime for Strata Developments in NSW

Defective building work in new multi-level apartments remains a thorn in the side for the NSW Government. As multi-level apartments are exempted from the insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund, purchasers of apartments can be left without a remedy

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Body Corporate Services and the strata scheme from hell

SOME ARENAS of corruption and rorts receive tolerable coverage in the media. By contrast, the strata management sector has kept well under the radar.  A great and unheralded advantage of house ownership is that it’s not strata ownership, which is

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NSW Strata Reform Update: Four Point Plan For Levy Recoveries

A new strata schemes management act and regulation are expected to commence later this year. The new laws will not provide much assistance in relation to levy recovery. However, some changes have been made, which will in turn necessitate changes

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Five strata leaders to avoid

As we choose our national leaders, it’s a good time to consider who we elect as strata chairman, or woman. Most are plugging away, doing all the stuff that nobody else wants to do, unappreciated and unrewarded.  But others’ motives

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NSW: Submissions on the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 & Strata Schemes Development Regulation 2016

…..making the strata laws simpler and more certain for all involved, while improving the governance of schemes and developing better ways to manage buildings, money and disputes.     Read the article…………

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NSW: The New Strata ‘Top Ten’ that will make a Difference!

Over 90 new strata laws will come into play later this year and of the 90 these are some changes that will most likely make a difference to your everyday.     Read the article……………..

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NSW: Certifiers Under Fire

Firstly, does Council owe a duty of care to owners and subsequent owners concerning certification practices?  The answer is “Yes” as found in the case of Chan v Acres (No 2)[2016] NSWSC 1185 (11 December 2015) & 557 (6 May

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Am I going to gaol for being on a strata committee?

A schedule I’ve just prepared comparing the responsibilities of committee members under new strata law with the current laws makes the point quite visually. The duties list before was small and now it’s big. These are not ‘things to be

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Most annoying Strata regulations in Australia

Anyone who has dealt with strata regulations knows that, at times they can be a little unreasonable and annoying. As frustrating as many of them can be, they do aim to take into consideration the wellbeing and safety of all

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How to bring renegade members of a strata committee to heel

It’s a familiar scenario: someone gets on your strata committees and starts ruling the place on the highly dubious basis of whatever they want is what’s best for everyone.     Read the article……………

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Changes to NSW (Australia) strata laws – McCabes’ top 10 tips

By 2020, it is estimated that over half the population of NSW will either live or work in strata buildings. In consideration of this trend, the NSW government has introduced extensive (more than 90) reforms to the current strata laws.

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QLD: Duty of Care needed for new schemes

Industry reports are now confirming the recent property development boom in the South East Queensland corner is ongoing with no signs of slowing down. 1,214 new strata schemes were registered in 2015, with Brisbane having seen the biggest share of

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Q&A: Are No Smoking Strata ByLaws Retrospective?

Our Body Corporate has just banned smoking on balconies. I’m wondering if these no smoking bylaws can be applied to an owner/resident who purchased an apartment six years ago. Some owners have been here for years.  Is the legislation retrospective?

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The Government is Modernising Strata Law – What do you think of the reforms?

With both NSW Fair Trading and Land Property Information (LPI) working together to bring and initiate the new forms, it seems that team and community spirit is the mind set for the new reforms.  NSW Fair Trading has released the

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Western Australia Strata Reforms – Regulation of Strata Managers

Talk to most people about strata and one topic that inevitably comes up is their strata manager. Some people recount stories of why they don’t like strata managers. WA Parliament has even held two separate inquiries into strata managers and

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NSW: Executive Committee (Strata Committee): Powers, Functions and Meetings

When a strata plan is registered, the owners corporation comes into existence and is given the principal responsibility for the management of the scheme. Other people can assist in managing the strata scheme including a strata managing agent or a

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NSW (Australia): Airbnb – Is Your Strata Building Becoming a Party Hotel?

The rapid expansion of Airbnb and other online letting services has become one of the most controversial issues for the strata sector. This remains something of a grey area legally. However, the NSW Government is currently conducting an enquiry likely

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QLD: Smoking in Strata

If you were a smoker you couldn’t help but feel a little threatened (and perhaps rather heavily taxed) given the range of legislated rules around smoking. Smoking has now been banned in aged care facilities and one of the recent

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NSW: Renovating Strata Units – New Laws, New Opportunities

Owners of investment properties will, from time to time, carry out renovations. In fact, an investment property owner may even have acquired the property with a view to carrying out renovations and making a gain on sale of the property.

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NSW: Q&A Who Decides on the Strata Maintenance Contractors?

Q: My issue is that our committee want to appoint an expensive gardening company when we have cheaper quotes. A few other member and I are opposed to it, saying it is a waste of money. If gardening can be

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Strata Finance: What Is It?

When an owners corporation or body corporate needs money for renovation or rectification works, emergency repairs, green initiatives, insurance premiums, litigation or other capital requirements there are essentially three options to choose from:  Read the article…………..

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VIC: Is it illegal to smoke cigarettes in an Owners Corporation?

The legal position on smoking in Owners Corporations varies between each state and territory in Australia and as such this article will focus on Victoria specifically.  As greater awareness continues to highlight the disastrous impact that second hand smoke can

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NSW: Can a Strata Meeting Be Recorded?

At the outset of a strata meeting, a person present may occasionally announce that they intend to record the meeting. Sometimes that announcement will not cause any controversy. But often it does. Indeed, often the announcement is greeted with outright

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Strata Management Bylaws: Who Needs Them?

Strata title bylaws have been set in the back of the management of strata complexes, but play an important role of being consistent in the decision making process with regards to the maintenance of the building and the uses of

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How To Proactively Deal With Short Term Letting Issues In Strata – Australia Podcast

This podcast discussing issues in strata short term letting is part of the Your Strata Property podcast series. This episode, Amanda Farmer talks to Karen Stiles, Owners Corporation Network (OCN).    Listen to the podcast……..

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Strata Schemes Maintenance Obligations v Warranties

Most lot owners within strata schemes have a general awareness of the fact that statutory and contractual warranties apply to various aspects of the building, plant and equipment contained in their scheme. However, as the adage goes; the devil is

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NSW Strata Law Reform: Impacts on Strata Manager Agreements

The new strata laws will make significant changes to the appointment and role of strata managing agents. Although the announced commencement date of 1 July 2016 is likely to be postponed, investment property owners need to be getting ready for

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Noisy neighbour? Most strata schemes have by-law enshrining peaceful enjoyment of home

What can you do about noisy kids in an apartment block? It’s not just that a family has moved in upstairs from a Flatchatter, who wrote for advice.  On top of constant door slams and running feet, their floor has

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Responsibility is creeping up on hapless strata owners

Responsibility is creeping up on hapless strata owners.  Ever so slowly strata entities are taking on more and more responsibility for things they aren’t able to handle.   Read the article……….

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NSW: Will the New Reform Mean that Owners Corporations Will Now Raise Money to Match their 10 Year Sinking Fund Plan?

Under the current legislation there is a requirement for owners corporations “to take into account” the 10 year sinking fund plan. Many schemes do not comply with this obligation in good faith with the result that the sinking fund remains

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NSW: Supreme Court Finds Certifier Liable for Building Defects

In 2014, the High Court decided in the Brookfield case that a builder responsible for defects in the construction of a serviced apartment building in Chatswood did not owe the owners corporation of the building a duty of care to

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4 Things to Look Out For With Serial By-law Warriors

A recent article by Jimmy Thompson got us thinking about the dark side of by-laws. While they’re essential for the effective running of strata, it’s possible for problem owners to use them as justification for campaigns of harassment or false

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Bill Shock Still Keeping Electric Cars Out of Strata (Australia)

In my book Growing Up: How Strata Title Bodies Might Learn to Behave one of the issues I look at is sustainability in strata. More often than not you’ll find that no matter how good an owner’s intentions are, it

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Growth in Mould Claims (Australia)

Dealing with complicated issues concerning mould in buildings is becoming more and more prevalent in NSW.  Some points worth considering are: The science and expertise surrounding the dangers, such as, poisoning and infection from mould is increasing and moving across from

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Aim of the new Strata Defects Regime: quick and efficient repairs of defects! (Australia)

The inspection and bond regimes apply to the construction of high rise buildings of three or more storeys and with two or more dwellings.  Of the strata schemes constructed in the last 10 years 85% are reported to suffer from

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