management team shaking hands

Strata Dispute Resolution – Casual Consultancy Services

Strata living can require dispute resolution when issues arise between various strata owners or disputes between the body corporate committee and caretaking service contractors. At Strata Mastery we recognise the importance of addressing this promptly before the dispute has time to escalate. We offer a calm and professional approach to disputes that always results in an amicable resolution for both parties involved. No matter what initially sparks a dispute the end goal is always a mutually beneficial outcome before legal matters become necessary.

Strata’s team of experts are lead by Stephanie Yun, Quest News “Hall of Fame” five times award winning business owner. Stephanie has over 15 years experience within the Strata Industry, making her an expert in assisting parties to overcome Strata disputes.

1. DISPUTES THAT MAY ARISE

More often than not, the people we most often dispute with are those closest to us and with most Strata schemes involving close-proximity living and shared spaces it is of no surprise that disputes can occur.

Possible disputes causes include (but are not limited to) –

Caretaker Performance

Caretaking Service Contractors, Building Managers or Facility Managers have responsibilities surrounding the maintenance of shared areas, gardens and grounds etc. Issues can arise involving level of detail or expectations pertaining to contract performance.

Committee Code of Conduct

Volunteer Committee Members have responsibilities to act in the best interest of all lots owners and to ensure the care and maintenance of common property. Issues can arise involving the actions or decisions of the elected voting members.

Breach of Body Corporate By-laws

Disputes often arise when owners or occupiers undertake renovations on their lot that may impact surrounding neighbours by blocking views, causing noise or restricting access. Issues may also arise concerning pet ownership. Some members of your Strata Scheme may dislike animals, pet owners may not adequately clean up after their pet or pets may make excessive noise. Parking Disputes may also arise. Disputes can occur around parking properly (within the lines etc), parking in other lot owner’s spaces or blocking cars in and so forth.

Building Defects

Disputes concerning the management of common property structural defects can arise. Disputes may also stem from damage to lots such as a flooded bathroom, leaking hose pipe and so forth which may effect one or multiple residents.

Common Property & Exclusive Use Common Property Issues

Common areas are shared spaces and as such issues can arise surrounding time spent in communal space, hosting functions or not cleaning up after oneself. Issues can also arise from the poor cleaning or general maintenance of exclusive use courtyards, balconies or car parking spaces by individual lot owners.

Appointment of External Letting Agents

Appointing a new managing agent may cause disagreements and tension surrounding authoritation.

2. WHAT TO DO DURING A DISPUTE:

The Body Corporate Committee is responsible for setting the tone and amenity of a strata building. In a perfect world, the Committee ensures disputes are handled before bridges are burned.

At Strata Mastery we always recommend raising concerns face to face. Keep an open mind and attempt to understand the other parties’ perspective. This approach enables both parties to recognise whether there is simply a lapse in communication or a need for further exploration of the issue. A review of the policy in place or perhaps referral to both participants legal obligations.

If this fails, the following five steps should be followed…

1. Keep Calm:

Approach your concerns in a non-confrontational manner, remaining calm and polite. This is key, whether you are communicating verbally or written, to prevent the dispute escalating.

2. Tell the Committee:

It is the responsibility of the Caretaker to supervise and monitor the adherence of by-laws and it is the responsibility of the Committee to enforce the by-laws. If issues persist, it is a wise move to advise the Committee of any disputes, in case legal action does occur down the line.

3. Take Documentations:

Document what has been said and actioned as a security caution in case the dispute does escalate. Think of this as added security to ensure you are able to prove your words or actions and protect yourself against any false allegations.

4. Strata Dispute Resolution Mediation:

Enlist the help of Strata Mastery to mediate discussions. You can enlist professional help at any point in the dispute. This is a sure way to set boundaries and focus on overcoming your dispute amicably.

5. Third Party Intervention (Legal Measures):

Refer to The Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BBCMA). The BBCMA offers a legislative process for disputes that take place between the following parties;

Two lot owners included in the scheme
Owner or occupier of a lot and Body Corporate
Caretaking service contractor and Body Corporate
Letting agent and Body Corporate
Committee member and Body Corporate

If the mentioned steps have proved the dispute to be unresolvable then the final step is a legal third party intervention. The purpose of this is to help parties clearly identify the issues in the dispute, help develop strategies to deal with the issues and finally to negotiate a mutually satisfying settlement. Strata Mastery can recommend a suitable legal authority to best assist with your specific dispute.

Strata Mastery Solutions To Disputes

Strata Mastery offers support for clients involved in Strata disputes, we hold years of experience representing both owners and owner corporations.

Our first approach is always to try and resolve the dispute informally through mediated discussion with both parties and if this fails the BCCMA legislation will be professionally followed.

Strata Mastery can help with every step of the dispute process to ensure you are fairly represented and receive the best possible outcome.

Disputes can cause emotions to run hot and often go round in circles as either side becomes more concerned about their ego and less concerned about resolving the initial dispute.

It must be noted that disputes often arise out of misunderstandings, misguided or misinformed lot owners, body corporate committee members, caretaking service contractors on the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and rely upon generic (as opposed to site specific) approach to
learning.

This is why involving the help of a third party, removed from the situation, such as Strata Mastery is the best step forward in reconciling and satisfying both sides of the conflict.

Strata Mastery only deliver one-on-one or Scheme specific training courses and fully customised management tools to minimise body corporate disputes.

Enlisting professional help can resolve a conflict before things turn really ugly. No dispute is too complicated or too easy for our team of experts at Strata Mastery.

If you have any concerns or questions surrounding Strata Dispute Resolution please get in contact with us today at: 07 3861 1432

STRATA explained

A Strata title is granted to those who buy into a strata plan, purchasing their own ‘lot.’ Strata schemes can be commercial, industrial and mixed use.

Typically this will be a serviced apartment, retirement village home, caravan or even resort and along with this private lot there will be a ‘common property’ which is shared.

Strata Schemes will have a Body Corporate Committee to enforce rules and regulations and provide assistance wherever necessary.