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New Health Orders and police powers for Apartment Buildings

COVID-19 Laws – New Health Orders and police powers for Apartment Buildings

On 6 September 2021, the Minister for Health and Medical Research introduced a new COVID-19 Health Order. The revised Order includes additional provisions to facilitate government lockdowns of specific apartments.
In short, the Order offers the Minister the power to declare a building as a “high COVID-19 risk premises”. This declaration can be made if at least one dwelling in the building is considered a COVID-19 risk premises and there is a risk of transmission of COVID-19 between the residents. The declarations will be made on the NSW Health website.
Unless the Minister revokes the declaration, a building will remain a high COVID-19 risk premises for 14 days. During this time residents must not leave their residence unless they are instructed to do so by an authorised medical practitioner or the police, or in the case of an emergency. READ MORE

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Short-term letting restrictions and how they impact you

Short-term letting restrictions – PART 2

Short-term letting restrictions and how they impact you

We have previously written an article about the short term letting issues affecting property and strata participants back on 6 March 2021 (You can read it here). In short, it dealt with Part 1 of the legislative framework to regulate the short term letting situation. It involves the NSW Fair Trading’s mandatory code of conduct (which regulates the conduct of short term letting, presuming it is permissible) and the Strata Legislation (which allows the strata schemes to ban short term letting in lots that are not a principal place of residence of the owner or occupier). READ MORE

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Strata Laws on Pets and Animals

New strata laws on pets and animals

Attention pet lovers (and the not-so-much pet lovers)! There may well be more furry additions coming your way to your nearest strata building soon.
From 25 August 2021, the amendment to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) prevents a blanket ban on pets in a strata scheme. Section 137B of the Act effectively nullifies a by-law to the extent that bans or prohibits the keeping of animals in a strata scheme unless it “unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of the occupant’s lot or the common property.” READ MORE

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Debt recovery and strata lot owner goes missing?

Debt recovery and strata lot owner goes missing?

A strata lot owner goes missing when council rates and strata levies were owed. What happens, you might wonder?

 This is essentially what has happened in the case of Council of the City of Sydney v Baboon Pty Limited [2020] NSWSC 1480. Council rates were owed to Council (the plaintiff) of around $9,500 and strata levies were owed to the owners corporation of around $26,000 (second interested party). As you may know, both Council and the owners corporation have the power to “force sell” the strata unit to recoup their respective fees and costs, whether or not the owner can be found. In this case, the strata unit owner cannot be found and so, Council in this instance decided to proceed with the sale. The property was sold to (and purchased by) Baboon Pty Limited (third interested party) for $136,000 in November 2018. READ MORE

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Strata Legal Advice Made Easy

Those of you that own a strata investment property or who live in a strata community will know that strata legal advice for the most simplest of matters like drafting by-laws or resolving disputes can be extraordinarily expensive. That has now changed.

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, based at Parramatta has a strong Property and Strata Law practice area that offers cost effective and practical advice.

Our strata lawyers will either work with your Strata Manager or if Owners prefer, will work directly with Strata Committees. Our strata clients have direct access to their lawyer ensuring work always receives experienced and dedicated strata law attention. Matthews Folbigg Lawyers is committed to ensuring; READ MORE

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Compulsory Strata Management

We are often asked about the NCAT Tribunal and what it can do for you. One of the things that NCAT can do is to make orders for compulsory appointment of a strata managing agent under section 237 of the Strata Management Scheme Act 2015 (NSW), who can, pursuant to the orders:

  1. exercise all the functions of an owners corporation, or
  2. exercise specified functions of an owners corporation, or
  3. exercise all the functions other than specified functions of an owners corporation.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it is a powerful strategic option for lot owners (or the dissenting minority) to challenge the decisions of the majority in a strata scheme, big or small, in particular where there are adverse/unfavourable resolutions made by the owners corporation or strata committee. READ MORE

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Strata – COVID Stay at Home Orders

Covid stay-at-home orders and what is “at home” for strata lot owners/occupier?

All of you should (or are deemed) to know, there are various health orders currently in-force due to Covid. We often hear the requirements to “stay at home”. But it is a timely reminder to consider again what is a home for strata lot owners or occupiers?

As most strata owners should know, they own the “airspace” insider their unit/apartment but also co-own the entire strata building and the common properties with the other owners as per their unit entitlements. So, is the nice looking patio downstairs a part of your home? Normally, yes. But please, use some common sense, not for covid / isolation purposes! The Parliamentary intention is that people should isolate at home, as much as they can away from other people etc. Good luck! READ MORE

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Building defects in strata buildings and the legislative safeguards

Building Defects and Part 11 Protections for Strata Owners

We have previously written an article about the new duty of care protection in favour of property and strata owners, which is available under the new Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 NSW (DBPA). Basically, it establishes a new duty of care against various building practitioners, retrospectively, covering losses arising from the last 10 years or so. However, that is not the only remedy available (of course). The issue of building defects have been around for a very long time and the legislation have been changing constantly, especially for strata buildings. READ MORE