Strata management relates to the everyday operation and management of a property having multiple owners, made up of number of units, shared areas and common facilities. It is also referred to as ‘body corporate management’.

Each owner owns a portion called a ‘lot’, which is usually an apartment or a townhouse but the owners share ownership of the common property such as foyers, driveways, gardens if it is mentioned in the Strata title.

There are various types of Strata title including:

Residential;

Commercial;

Retail;

Mixed use which includes retail and/or commercial and/or residential;

Serviced apartments;

Retirement villages;

Caravan parks; and

Resorts.

Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010

Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010 (Regulation) replaced the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2005 and it commenced on and from 1 September 2010.

The objectives of the Regulation are to:

Support effective management of Strata schemes;

Provide transparent and accountable management practices; and

Provide mechanisms for dispute resolution.

The key areas of change introduced by the Regulation include:

Receipts: The lot owner’s address is not required to be included on the receipts issued by owners’ corporations;

Cash records: Cash records must be balanced at least once, every 12 months instead of once every 6 months;

Additional documents to be provided to the owners’ corporation by the original owner: The original owner is required to provide documents to the owners’ corporation as listed in Clause 4(1) of Schedule 2 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 and in *Clause 10 of the Regulation and also provide documents relating to the valuation of the building;

Insurance: Insuring the Strata building with either a damage policy or a building insurance with a limited liability by the owners’ corporations is mandatory;

Expenditure, legal action and priority votes: The financial limits have been revised and increased;

Mediation: Parties to mediation session will be fully responsible for their own cost;

Fees: A discount mediation fee for pensioners and students has been introduced and fees payable to owners’ corporations for searches and certificates have been increased;

Section 109 certificate: The certificate has been redesigned to make it more user-friendly; and

Proxy appointment form: The appointed proxy is no longer required to sign the said form.

Dispute Resolution

Disputes arising out in connection with management of Strata scheme are resolved mainly by the way of mediation. Chapter 5 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 empowers an Adjudicator and the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) to make Orders with regard to disputes arising out of operation and management of a Strata management. However, the initial application for an Order has to be made before the Registrar of the CTTT. If the Registrar is satisfied that the matter could have been dealt by the way of mediation but has not been attempted by the applicant, then he must refuse to deal with the matter. In case the mediation has been unsuccessful or the matter is not appropriate for mediation, the Registrar may accept the application for the Order. Depending on the nature of the Order requested by the applicant, the application will be dealt with either by the Adjudicator or the Tribunal. The Tribunal may require a person to pay pecuniary penalty for:

Contravening an Order made either by the Adjudicator or the Tribunal; or

Contravening a notice served on the person by an owners’ corporation requiring the person to comply with a particular by-law that the person has previously contravened.

An appeal may be made to the Tribunal against an Order of an Adjudicator and to the District Court against an Order of the Tribunal.

For further advice and assistance, contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers.

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