How to Resolve Strata Disputes
Nothing’s perfect, and even if you’ve found a Strata Property you’re happy with, disagreements are a fact of life when you’re living in a community with plenty of neighbours.
The good news is that Strata disputes are nothing new, and there are systems in place to help you deal with all types of problems that may arise.
Examples of Strata disputes
Strata disputes are as diverse as their residents. Common issues that lead to dispute resolution include:
- your neighbour breaching Strata By-Laws regarding pets, smoking, noise pollution, parking or other issues
- you want to renovate your property, which involves alterations to Common Property
- you want overdue maintenance or repairs to be carried out
- you want exclusive use of Common Property for a certain period of time
- you want to propose a change to the By-Laws
This is just a small sample. Disputes happen regularly and most are settled amicably.
Dispute resolution options
The sooner a dispute can be settled, the less it will impact your life. Dispute resolution can sometimes be a frustrating and time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five common ways disputes are resolved, some more desirable than others.
1. Open discussion
The first step is always to see if you and your neighbour or you and the Owners Corporation can reach a decision through open conversation.
2. Internal dispute resolution
Owners Corporations can resolve some disputes internally if they’re of a minor nature and related to the management of the Strata Scheme. This can result in a notice being given to the party in breach of By-Laws, which must be followed to avoid further action, such as fines.
If both parties can’t reach an agreement, a neutral third party can serve as a mediator. They will encourage discussion between the two parties to help them better understand each other’s positions and suggest ways to reach a decision.
If mediation doesn’t succeed, an independent adjudicator can make a ruling and issue an order. This decision may be appealed within 21 days.
5. Tribunal hearings
Instead of adjudication, an application may be made to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) if mediation has already been tried. Once all the evidence has been presented, the Tribunal can make a decision, which may involve a fine if a notice from the Owners Corporation hasn’t been followed.
Dispute resolution services in NSW
If you need help resolving a dispute in your Strata Property, Lake Group Strata’s experienced Strata Managers in NSW can help. We’ll help you to understand your options and can assist with the preparation and lodging of applications and attending hearings.
To find out more about our services across Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, the Hunter Region and Myall Lakes, call our Charlestown office on 02 4942 3305 or our Maitland office on 02 4933 6466. You can also request a quote.