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Rule of Law and Tribunal in Sydney

On the 24th February 2015 (six months ago) the Owners Corporation of an apartment block lodged an application to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) seeking orders to appoint compulsory manager of a strata scheme and to refund the fees paid to the former strata manager.

The application caused by negligent and inacceptable behaviour by strata manager and included the following concerns:

-       No proper service for two years

-       Breaching of the rules and not following the orders of Owners Corporation

-       Spending money on items that were not agreed or ordered by Owners Corporation

-       Not servicing fire safety inspections and insurance for the building appropriately

-       Other issues  

All the documentation related to the above-mentioned problems has been submitted to the Tribunal.
Finally the Owners Corporation has received the Tribunal decision (4th August 2015). The adjudicator on the matter decided to dismiss the application.

The first reason for dismissal is:

“The applicant has not provided a cogent set of submissions in this matter. Rather a bundle of documents has been provided without adequate explanation of their significance. It is therefore difficult to make out the nature of this claim”.

Very interesting. The nature of the claim is described in the application form. The “bundle of documents” was provided as evidence to the claim being reasonable and serious.


“If the Owners Corporation seeks to change the strata manager it can take steps to do this in the normal manner pursuant to its contractual rights and obligations”

Well, that’s why the Owners Corporation reached out to the Tribunal! Because the strata manager didn’t make it to resolve the case in “normal manner” and breached the “rights and obligations”. All that was in the application to the Tribunal.

And finally:

“This entire application appears to be misconceived. It may be appropriate for the applicant to obtain legal advice regarding the issues which are raised in the context of this application.”

I think this is awesome response. The adjudicator is saying “your matter is too difficult – I dismiss it”. Well it was clear to the applicants that the matter is not easy! They required a decision on the matter, not an advice to seek legal help.

In addition to this “decision” it took about two years for Owners Corporation to realise that strata manager is doing wrong actions and is useless, plus about half a year to confirm that the application to Tribunal is required, plus three(!) weeks to sign the paperwork before it was finally lodged with the Tribunal. 

Altogether makes almost 3 years.

Nice work!


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