Should you sack you strata committee?
Strata committee overhaul back to basics
People will always need homes and institutions will always need bases of operations – no matter how effectively we make our move to the cloud – and so land will always be an essential thing to be acquired. To that end, real estate has shifted and evolved to accommodate many of the changing factors and circumstances over the last several decades. Even on an individual basis, where once a person might have considered only a personally-owned house and lot to be the best possible home, these days individuals and entire families have warmed to the idea of different types of places to live.
What Is Strata Title System?
For instance, the notion of apartment living is one that has grown more and more popular over time as space, availability and cost continue to shift and create different sorts of demands on a would-be homeowner. Many have indeed gone from desiring a full-sized house on their own piece of land to finding the option that works best for them is a condo, apartment or townhouse. This sort of living has become so prevalent in many parts of the world that an organized, systematic methodology behind designing ownership has been developed. “Strata title”, which takes its name from the vertical multilevel apartments for which this sort of shared ownership was originally conceived, is one of the fastest-growing housing types in the United States and other markets such as Canada, the UAE, Singapore and the Philippines. Originating from New South Wales, the strata title system was found to be more effective than the old company title system at instituting mortgages and defining ownership and responsibility. Of note is that while the system was originally designed for vertical housing it has also come to be applied to horizontal subdivisions with shared ownership.
Shared Strata Ownership
The shared ownership in a strata title mainly involved the common areas like the adjoining or connecting halls or pathways, main driveways or streets, as well as the shared facilities and amenities like the subdivision clubhouse and the gym. A lot owner on the title is listed as owning the apartment or garage or unit itself – notably, titles tend to specify that a lot owner owns the interior of their unit, but not the walls, roof, ceiling, floor and so on, which are viewed as shared property and governed by different rules as such. Strata management helps govern and regulate the application of these rules, as well as the accounting for the fees and arrears and other such concerns. Strata management is so integral to this system that Australia has legal bases for it (including the Strata Schemes Management Act of 1996, among others).
The owners collectively form an owners corporation (or the body corporate in some states), but it’s not terribly practical to have all the owners participating in all decisions great and small regarding managing the strata. As such, for management purposes, the executive committee is elected by the owners corporation, and the strata manager is the one who liaises with the owners corporation. Owing to this, the decisions put forth by the executive committee are considered the decisions of the owners, as they are elected representatives for managerial purposes. Legislation stipulates that there are duties and responsibilities expected of the committee (what must be done), while there is also a wide scope of powers (what can be done). The committee is bound by legislation here as well, but they have enormous discretion and capability nonetheless. However, this sort of relationship doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would hope, and so sometimes homeowners might consider the option of seeking out new strata management. Typically a strata management committee is selected by a vote of the lot owners, but other systems may be in place with similar or different rules.
Sacking A Strata Committee
Sacking a strata committee will usually involve steps like applying to the NSW Civil Administration Tribunal with a detailed account of the committee’s inability to address problems. Nevertheless, there are factors to consider when determining whether or not to drop the current strata committee.
Find the replacement strata agency first.
As with any matter of removal the matter of having a replacement is crucial. Unhappy owners are always better off if they are able to secure a viable new strata manager who is capable of, and willing to, do the job. This can sometimes be more difficult than you would expect, as the need to make unpopular decisions can tend to sink new strata managers . Be clear detailed in your strata proposition.
The need to adapt to the new circumstances is also to be considered. The old saying warning people to beware what they wish for holds true in this case – what if you get what you want and the strata committee is gone? Success in such a situation means no more committee meetings for a couple of years or so. Is that situation preferable to the current state of things ?
Verify with other owners
Verify that a complete committee overhaul is in fact necessary. If your main concern is to nullify a particular decision that was made by the committee, removing the entire committee would probably be overkill. Legislation typically provides for a simpler resolution in such a situation – certainly not one that requires the removal of the committee. Generally, all that is needed is for the owners corporation to agree on a different decision from the committee’s – legislation provides that “the decision of the owners corporation prevails” in such a situation.
Try avoid problems
Alternatively, if the sense is that the committee is about to make a decision that will result in a problematic situation that cannot be turned back from, the option exists to either block the committee or apply for an adjudicator to issue urgent interim orders. With the requisite degree of urgency, urgent interim orders can be procured swiftly, as quick as within 48 to 72 hours, to stop the issue from occurring pending further orders. Care must be taken, though, to not leave any technicalities to exploit.