NCAT and Court Proceedings

NCAT’s Dispute Resolution Power – How far does it go?

Section 232 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“SSMA”)


Section 232 provides the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) with a general dispute resolution power. On its face, this is extremely broad. However, recent NCAT decisions indicate that:

Preventing Pesky Parking = $ for the Owners Corporation

Pesky parking practices by owners and occupiers can be a nightmare for strata schemes. However, this source of stress can be translated into a source of revenue for a savvy owners corporation.

Urgent or Emergency = Interim Orders in NCAT

If a matter is urgent and time sensitive, an applicant can seek urgent interim orders in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal).  Key to any interim application is establishing urgency.


Typical scenarios


Typical scenarios where interim orders are appropriate:


Disputes involving residents outside NSW - Does NCAT have jurisdiction

A recent High Court case, Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA 15, has cast doubt on the scope of the jurisdiction of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) and other tribunals to hear disputes between residents of different states. This is potentially a significant problem for strata schemes, especially those near a state border.


Some Common Property just Reached into my Pocket

The NCAT Appeal Panel has recently found that NCAT has unlimited jurisdiction when it comes to making an owners corporation pay compensation to a lot owner for reasonably foreseeable loss arising from a failure to maintain common property.


Change of Unit Entitlements

Unit entitlements are a very important issue for owners of strata lots. They impact on levy contributions, voting rights, common property interests, distribution of surplus moneys and entitlements on termination of a scheme. They also impact on council rates and land tax.

Last Gasp for Smokers

Smoking is one of the major sources of disputes in strata schemes. It can cause numerous problems for strata schemes, potentially undermining the amenity of the building, increasing common property repair and cleaning costs and causing fire hazards. It can even result in compensation orders being made against owners of tenanted strata lots owned as an investment property.


Neighbours Come in all Shapes and Sizes and so do your Common Boundary Disputes

All properties have boundaries and inevitably, at some time or another you may be faced with a dispute arising over your boundary line or the structures contained thereon.

Democracy Rules, OK? Well, Not Quite: Strata Managers and Section 237 Appointments


In a democracy, majority rules even if those decisions are bad. If you are in the minority, there is not much you can do until the next election (or annual general meeting) at which time you may try to become the majority.


Interim Orders for Unauthorised Works to Common Property


Bannermans were given instructions for interim orders to stop a lot owner carrying out unauthorised works to common property including works requiring waterproofing. Interim orders were granted and served on the lot owner. The lot owner ceased works and agreed to requisition a motion and by-law regarding the works. The by-law was passed and registered. The lot owner continued the works in accordance with the by-law.

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