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  • #71698
    Leo B
    Flatchatter

      In recent years, our strata complex of 19 units has been dominated by a handful of individuals who are now holding exec meetings in one of their apartments without giving three days notice. We are thus unable to attend and listen etc. A recent example being the issuing of minutes informing us that they had decided to engage a contractor to carry out work on the two penthouse units costing close to $18,000. Is it legal to make such a decision without other owners being allowed to attend that meeting?

       

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    • #71748
      TrulEConcerned
      Flatchatter

        Until the committee is made aware that their shirking of the law will not go unchallenged, they will continue in their opaque way of managing (or possibly mismanaging) the strata.

        In order to get them to sit up and listen

        File a complaint, which requires MEDIATION as the first step before seeking an application for a  hearing at the Tribunal (NCAT) can be filed.

        Go to

        https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/

        Housing and Property

        Advice on Strata Disputes

        Scroll to (3) Mediation Service

        Apply online
        Note you are applying against the Owners Corporation not any particular person or committee.

        A mediation session is for a head to head with a rep from the strata committee or strata manager, whosever they choose to represent them. You must seek (also called “attempt”) MEDIATION before having the right to go to the Tribunal. Often the other side will not attend, as it’s not compulsory, but regardless of them turning up or not, the record (being letter from the Mediator at the end of the session sent to both parties) will reflect that MEDIATION was attempted and what transpired therein.

        In your compliant, mention that the committee makes decisions in secret and has shown a disregard for
        STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015 – SCHEDULE 2
        which details how meetings are to be run and what notice MUST be provided to all owners (see (a), (b) and (c) below).

        And mention s. 24 of the STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015 – s. 24, being

        24   Order invalidating resolution of owners corporation (see (d) below)

        In your complaint mention (a) how often meetings are to the best of your knowledge held in secret; (b) what has been the result of those closed door meetings i.e how damaging financially it has been for you (and how the owners were denied a transparent decision making process; (c) how long after the opaque decision making took place, you were made aware of those decisions; and (d) that you believe the motions passed in secret must be invalidated as they were made without due process.

        After you apply online, some 12 hrs later you’ll get a confirmation with a reference number. 10-14 days later you’ll get a date for mediation.

        I urge you to apply pronto. That way you’ll catch staff before the department is closed and all going well, you’ll be advised of a mediation date before xmas, most likely for Feb.

        #71757
        Just Asking
        Flatchatter

          Attending the strata committee meetings is not likely to be of much help as only committee members can vote, and owners cannot speak without prior permission.

          The lack of notice of the meetings given to the owners has the effect of denying the owners their right of veto of agenda items, which means that owners can prevent a topic from being discussed and voted on by the committee.

          Then there is the question of whether the works approved by the committee were necessary repairs, or opportunistic improvements to the penthouses.

          NCAT would be unlikely to invalidate committee decisions purely for a technical breach, it would need to be clear that but for the non compliance the decision of the committee would have been different. If there were sufficient owners who would have vetoed the agenda item, then a basis for overturning the decision of the committee exists.

          Further, if the committee has gone beyond its jurisdiction and approved an improvement rather than a repair, and it is clear that a majority of owners would not have voted in favour in a general meeting, then there is another ground for overturning the decision.

          It would be best to act before the work is commenced, by lodging an application for mediation.

          #71761
          Jimmy-T
          Keymaster

            If there were sufficient owners who would have vetoed the agenda item, then a basis for overturning the decision of the committee exists.

            So what you’re saying is, if you can get 25 per cent one-third of owners to sign a letter saying they would have objected to the item’s inclusion on the agenda, then NCAT may consider the decision to be technically in breach?  Sounds fair.

            The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
            • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by .
            #71807
            Just Asking
            Flatchatter

              Clause 9(3) of Schedule 2 provides that a decision of the strata committee has no effect if owners of one-third of unit entitlements give notice in writing of their opposition before the decision is taken.

              Before heading in to NCAT, if you have the agreement of owners holding one-quarter of unit entitlements then a qualified request for a general meeting can be made pursuant to s19 SSMA. This would provide an opportunity for the decision/s of the strata committee to be overturned by the owners corporation. As the meeting must be convened within 14 days of the qualified request, this is much speedier than applying for mediation then filing in NCAT.

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