The WA Strata Magazine | November 2021

Page 1

The WA


Do We Need Our Strata Manager when Considering a Resolution? Page 10 | Strata Title Consult

Is Accidental Damage to the Carport Covered by Strata Insurance? Page 16 | Strata Insurance Solutions

What Key Scheme Documents Should the Developer Provide? Page 30 | Abode Strata

About Us LookUpStrata is Australia’s Top Property Blog Dedicated to Strata Living. The site has been providing reliable strata information to lot owners, strata managers and other strata professionals since 2013. As well as publishing legislative articles to keep their audience up to date with changes to strata, this family owned business is known for their national Q&A service that provides useful responses to lot owners and members of the strata industry. They have created a national network of leading strata specialists across Australia who assist with 100s of the LookUpStrata audiences’ queries every month. Strata information is distributed freely to their dedicated audience of readers via regular Webinars, Magazines and Newsletters. The LookUpStrata audience also has free access to The LookUpStrata Directory, showcasing 100s of strata service professionals from across Australia. To take a look at the LookUpStrata Directory, flip to the end of this magazine.

Meet the team

Nikki began building LookUpStrata back in 2012 and officially launched the company early 2013. With a background in Information Management, LookUpStrata has helped Nikki realise her mission of providing detailed, practical, and easy to understand strata information to all Australians. Nikki shares her time between three companies, including Tower Body Corporate in SEQ, and is currently in her third term on the SCA (WA) Education and Professional Development Committee. More recently Nikki has become known for presenting regular strata webinars, where LookUpStrata hosts a strata expert to cover a specific topic and respond to audience questions.

Nikki Jovicic Owner / Director

Liza came on board in early 2020 to bring some structure to LookUpStrata. She has a passion for processes, growth and education. This quickly resulted in the creation of The Strata Magazine released monthly in New South Wales and Queensland, and bi-monthly in Western Australia and Victoria. As of 2021, LookUpStrata now produce 33 state based online magazines a year. Among other daily tasks, Liza is involved in scheduling and liaising with upcoming webinar presenters, sourcing responses to audience questions and assisting strata service professionals who are interested in growing their business.

Liza Jovicic Sales and Content Manager

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Contents 04 Connecting People, Creating Communities

20 An Owner Refuses to Pay Any Further Levy Increases


06 Amending or Adding Buildings on Common Property

22 Can A Non-Resident Lot Owner Use the Common Property?

Scott Bellerby, B Strata

08 Preparing for a Strata Dispute

Shane White, Strata Title Consult

Shelley Fitzgerald, Strata Alliance

24 The Communication Process When Reporting Repairs 10 Do We Need Our Strata Manager ESM Strata Team, ESM Strata when Considering a Resolution? Shane White, Strata Title Consult 26 Duties and Obligations of a Strata Company Representative 12 How Many Members Can be Luke Downie, Realmark on the Council of Owners? Brian Rulyancich, StrataTAC 28 What Do We Need to Know Before Getting a Defibrillator? 14 Repairs and Maintenance of

Anthony Quahe, Civic Legal

Internal Fences Within a Strata Scheme

Rochelle Castro, RC & Co Lawyers

30 What Key Scheme Documents Should the Developer Provide?

16 Is Accidental Damage to the Carport Covered by Strata Insurance?

Tyrone Shandiman, Strata Insurance Solutions

18 Should a Structural Engineer Check the Roof Before Solar Installation?

Bruce McKenzie, Sedgwick + Sam Reece, Australian Apartment Advocacy

Dakota Panetta, Solutions in Engineering

Jordan Dinga, Abode Strata

32 Problems With Guttering and Downpipes Shelley Fitzgerald, Strata Alliance

34 So You Want to be a Strata Manager


Thanks to our sponsors

Connecting people, Creating communities When most people were winding down for the weekend, Jake Sharp would frequently be dealing with last-minute requests to drive across town to ensure building and lift access for new tenants. That was four years’ ago, when Sharp’s cleaning business was responsible for 220 commercial and residential strata buildings, juggling ad-hoc moving requests from building managers and real estate agents. But it was his experience in managing a 187-apartment building, manually updating residents’ contact details and moving schedules, that acted as a catalyst for revolutionising property management systems.

“It was such a disjointed system; none of the individual parties – owners, managers, tenants, real estate agents, cleaners – were clear on the building’s processes and systems, even simple things like who is responsible for replacing a lost key. I just knew there had to be a better way to do it, particularly in this digital day and age,” Sharp said. And so MIMOR – the Move In Move Out Register – was born, an online portal for owners corporation managers, building managers and residents of residential and commercial properties, acting as a centralised hub for building information, alerts and moving procedures. Through MIMOR, residents can create an automated booking to ensure all parties – including cleaners - are informed well in advance of moving day, avoiding calendar double ups and costly delays when removalists are forced to wait to access parking bays and lifts. The MIMOR system is particularly useful for new buildings, streamlining and simplifying the often chaotic settlement and handover period,


ensuring all parties are privy to the same information and able to share access to moving facilities. “It’s crazy to think that before MIMOR such a stressful process had to be arranged through lots of separate emails back and forth. Often new residents were getting contradictory information, with the real estate agent saying one thing, the OC manager or building manager another. MIMOR removes any ambiguity by detailing all the information required for a stress-free move – right down to lift dimensions so you know if that oversized couch can make the move with you,” Sharp said. MIMOR’s functionality also extends to other information integral to building operations, including owners corporation rules, waste management, power and water utilities, storage facilities, evacuation plans and emergency contacts are centrally located on the platform. As interest from owners corporations and schemes grew, Sharp also added features to manage parcel deliveries and booking of common areas and facilities such as the pool, barbecue or conference rooms.

Building managers can also send emails and SMS alerts to occupants to inform them about maintenance issues, and share announcements via the digital noticeboard, removing the need for unsightly notices in the building entry and other shared spaces. “And owners corporation managers and/or building managers love it because they aren’t having to manage lots of individual questions about processes and building suppliers, and they are able to update information online and notify residents in real time without resorting to putting up notices in the foyer or lift, which are pretty unattractive and often defaced or removed anyway.” Sharp said while some owners corporations were initially reluctant to embrace change, they quickly came to recognise the benefits, quickly rolling out the MIMOR system across other buildings under their management. One early adopter was so impressed that the responsible owners corporation is now using MIMOR across 60 per cent of its Melbourne portfolio.

“The beauty of MIMOR is it works at different levels for different audiences. The residents love it because all the information is located in one central point, everyone abides by the same rules and they can rely on SMS or email for important updates,”

Take the stress out of strata living The pandemic had also proven the need for a central communications hub that can quickly share consistent and reliable information directly with all stakeholders. “Covid is a good example of how the MIMOR system can help to protect tenants’ health and safety by making sure all residents are provided with the latest information with regard to government regulations and how that effects their use of shared facilities,” Sharp said.

“In the case of building lockdowns, the building manager can quickly alert all of the occupants and explain restrictions and procedures. That is a huge help to health officials when you need to work at speed and ensure everyone has the same information and a clear understanding of processes and expectations.” Sharp is also working on translating the information into 10 languages, and will soon launch MIMOR as a mobile app. And while hundreds of

buildings have already signed up to the system, Sharp sees the potential for further expansion, with annual subscriptions scalable from three apartments to more than 500. “The latest data shows almost 10 per cent of the population live in more than 340,000 strata schemes in Australia. I deliberately created MIMOR to be inclusive of as many of those residents and corporations as possible,” Sharp said.


Amending or Adding Buildings on

Common Property


Does the strata council require the authority of the strata company to amend or add buildings on the common property?


The Council cannot make the decision to improve common property if the expense of the improvements is more than $500 per lot.

One of the new things in the legislation that came about was section 91(2) which the strata company actually may improve or alter the common property. So, under the old legislation, you actually weren’t allowed to improve the common property. What you had, you were stuck with. You couldn’t value add to it. With the amendments to the legislation, you’ve now actually got that ability to improve common property. A lot of large schemes with excess land now have an opportunity to better utilise that land and maybe improve it.


So yes, the strata company can improve common property. ‘Can the council make that decision?’, No, they need to pass a special resolution to be able to improve the common property if the expense of it is more than $500 per lot. Sustainable infrastructure is a different resolution, it is an ordinary resolution. Again, one of the great things to come out from SCA recently is guidelines around how you can now add sustainable infrastructure to your scheme. These complement the section 87 applications for improvements and works to lots. I think a lot of people don’t understand that any structure being added to the scheme requires a section 87. It doesn’t have to be structural alterations, it’s just alterations of the lot. So by and large, they do have to make an application under Section 87, or if it’s a survey strata, section 88 to improve their lot, and that is the resolution without dissent. Alternatively, they can go to SAT under Section 90 and bypass the Strata Company if they want to.


Scott Bellerby | B Strata


Preparing for a strata dispute in the State Administrative Tribunal November 2021

Clarity of thinking It is important to ensure you are thinking with clarity and objectivity when deciding whether or not you should engage in a SAT dispute. Often people who are disappointed by the findings of the SAT did not establish reasonable expectations of the process at the outset.

Emotions We all know that our emotions can affect our judgement. The most knowledgeable person will lose their objectivity if they argue their own case. Image: by Lightspring/

All strata disputes are now dealt with by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT). Although the SAT is considered to be less formal than the courts, engaging in a SAT hearing still requires a substantial amount of a particular type of preparation. In this article, we identify some tips to help you prepare your matter for resolution by the SAT.

It is therefore important to separate your emotions from the decision-making processes you have to go through when engaging in SAT proceedings. Don’t make decisions in the heat of the moment. Instead, allow yourself the time to set aside any emotional reactions to every event in the process. Where possible, get some objectivity by consulting a mentor, lawyer, consultant or other adviser. If you have strong emotions about the issue, it may be best for someone else to represent you. Even if they do not bring much expertise (non-lawyers can appear before the

Good news about the SAT

SAT), they will be more objective than you.

In some ways, the SAT can be regarded as less formal


than the courts. For instance, there is no high bench,

A motivation is a reason or desire to achieve a goal.

no bowing, no standing to speak and no formalities like ‘your Honour’ or ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’. The SAT may also be considered as less risky than the courts because it does not generally order costs against a losing party (unlike the court system). You will therefore only have to bear the costs of your own lawyer, if you choose to engage one. Further, you can choose to represent yourself. The SAT website gives basic guidance on how to fill in the forms, and information for those who choose to represent themselves.

Different people are motivated by different things. Maintaining control, achieving respect, advancing the cause of justice are some possible motivations. However, achieving any goal will typically come at a cost. Take the time to identify what is motivating you to engage in the dispute. What goal do you really want to achieve? Can you achieve it some other way? Most importantly, clarify what price you are prepared to pay in order to achieve your goal. If your motivations are inappropriate or unreasonable, for example, revenge or punishment, you should not engage in the dispute.

© Civic Legal 2021

Biases There is not enough space in this article for a discussion

The SAT is obliged to make its decisions based on

about how hidden biases and mental shortcuts can

relevant information. Further, it is only interested in

be significant blind spots in our thinking processes.

hearing reasonable arguments built on the relevant

At least try to acknowledge that we all have such blind

information it receives. If an argument does not make

spots, which may need some attention. Once again,

logical sense or is not grounded in reality, then the

an independent viewpoint – a friend, a consultant or

presiding SAT Member will reject it.

legal adviser should be able to provide that.

Thinking like the SAT

‘It is crucial to distinguish between facts and opinions.’

It may help to think about your matter using concepts

It is natural for the SAT and other parties involved

that are often used by the SAT itself. That is, to break down your matter into the broad categories of issues, facts and contentions.

Issues Identify what is in dispute. What is the question that needs to be answered? For example, ‘Whether or not the owner of lot 13 is in breach of by-law 16, which states that a lot cannot be used as un-hosted accommodation.’

Facts Be clear on the objective facts of the matter. In doing so, it is crucial to distinguish between facts and opinions. It is important also to make sure that the facts are relevant to the issue.

to regard unreasonable arguments raised in SAT proceedings as a waste of time. Although the SAT does not generally award costs, it may do so if the behaviour of a party is considered to be unreasonable. It may consider that such behaviour is a waste of the other party’s time and the SAT’s resources. Such resources include SAT Member time, allocation of hearing rooms, administrative and staff deployment.

Technical and objective assistance Unless you are relatively experienced in conducting cases in the SAT, it may be best to seek advice and representation. You might benefit from the technical


assistance such as advocacy, engineering knowledge

Contentions combine law and fact to address the issue

or legal skills. You might also benefit from the

and come to an opinion. For example, ‘John Smith used lot 13 as hosted, not un-hosted accommodation. There is no by-law that prohibits that.’

Relevance and reasonableness

independent and clearer thinking that an outside party can bring.

Contact For more information please

A lot of the work done in the months leading up to a final


SAT hearing often involves weeding out irrelevant material.

Anthony Quahe Managing Principal 9200 4900

While this may sound simple in theory, it can be difficult in practice. One reason is that people do not always communicate clearly. Another reason is that what might seem relevant may sometimes be open to interpretation.

Key Points Attend to: • Issues, facts and contentions • Relevance and reasonableness • Emotions and biases.

© Civic Legal 2021

Disclaimer: This article contains references to and general summaries of the relevant law and does not constitute legal advice. The law may change and circumstances may differ from reader to reader. Therefore, you should seek legal advice for your specific circumstances. The law referred to in this publication is understood by Civic Legal as of publication date.

Some strata schemes may have customised by-laws that alter some of the standard provisions in the Schedule 1 and 2 (Governance or Conduct) by-laws. It is interesting to note that the requirement specified in Schedule 1 BL8 (6) was deleted? (6) “The Council shall keep minutes of its proceedings” Fear not; this just means that the requirement to keep minutes has been placed into the legislation.

Do We Need Our Strata Manager when Considering a Resolution? Avoiding additional charges Can a Council of Owners consider and process a resolution without involving our Strata Management Company? This question is in regard to a WA Survey Strata lot. Can a Council of Owners consider and process a ‘resolution’ without involving our Strata Management Company? We are looking to avoid additional charges from our strata manager for this service.

Generally there is no requirement to have the strata manager present at the council meeting but there is a requirement to keep minutes of the meetings and the outcomes of the decisions that were voted on. Assuming that the strata scheme is operating under the standard by-laws. The by-laws in the Strata Titles Act cover all strata schemes whether they are a SurveyStrata Scheme or Strata Scheme.

Shane White | Strata Title Consultant



See section 104. Records and correspondence.

Sec.104(1)(b) – make and keep for a period fixed by the regulations – • Minutes of its general meetings of its council; and • Records of its resolutions and decisions of its council; Depending on the contract requirements agreed to by the strata company and the strata management company, there may not be a need to have the strata management company representative present at any council meeting. Prudence would suggest that a strata manager who is well versed in the Strata Titles Act would be an asset at a Council meeting in case there are questions on procedural requirements and compliance with the Act. Generally there is no requirement to have the strata manager present at the council meeting but there is a requirement to keep minutes of the meetings and the outcomes of the decisions that were voted on.


How Many on the Council of Owners Is it a minimum of three up to a maximum of seven?

At the AGM, our chairman stated that the council of owners would be limited to three members. I thought any owner could become a member of the council up to the maximum of seven.


At our AGM via zoom it was stated by the chairman that the council of owners would be limited to three members. I requested to be on the council as the fourth member and was advised that this was voted down by the three members of the council. My understanding is that any owner can become a member of the council up to the maximum of seven. The strata comprises of eight units. Can you assist?

The number of owners that will be on the council is determined not by the chairperson or current council of owners but by the owners at each AGM. Yes, there can be up to a maximum of 7 on the council of owners, the act is clear the numbers range from a minimum of 3 up to 7. However the number of owners that will be on the council is determined not by the chairperson or current council of owners but by the owners at each AGM. The term of a council member goes from AGM to AGM, the positions automatically become vacant at each AGM. An owner needs to re-nominate each year.

In relation to the composition of the council of owners on the agenda of each AGM there must be a motion determining the number of owners that will be on the council of owners. Once owners have agreed to that number, nominations are called and if there are more nominations than positions available ballot papers need to be drawn up and all owners present at the meeting either in person, via proxy or zoom need to vote. All owners at the AGM determine the composition of the council of owners.


Brian Rulyancich | StrataTAC


Repairs and Maintenance of Internal Fences Within a

Strata Scheme Did the amendments change the liability for upkeep and maintenance for internal fences within a Strata Scheme?

Have amendments to the Strata Titles Act 1985, introduced in May 2020, changed the liability for upkeep and maintenance for internal fences within a Strata Scheme? Are internal fences now solely Strata’s responsibility? I thought that previous to May 2020, if an internal dividing fence repair or replacement was required between lot owners or a lot owner and the common property, the cost was to be shared equally between both parties.

The situation has not changed regarding cost of repairs and maintenance of internal fences There is no change in the liability of owners and the strata company regarding repair/ maintenance of internal dividing fences. Section 214(1)(a) of the current Strata Titles Act 1985 simply repeats the requirements in the Dividing Fences Act 1961 that1. adjoining lots must equally share the fencing repair/maintenance costs; 2. equally share with the strata company, its share of the fencing repair/maintenance costs where the part of the fence sits on common property.


Rochelle Castro | RC & Co Lawyers


Is Carport Damage Covered by Strata Insurance? Property damage from a hit and run



There was a hit and run incident in our building’s carport area. This resulted in damage to my carport. Who pays to repair and restore the downpipe and the carport post? I have CCTV proof of the incident. Is this covered by the strata insurance?


Subject to the policy excess, a claim can be considered under the strata insurance policy. The property owner will be responsible for the excess.

For damage that has occurred as a result of an unknown party, the owner of the property damaged is responsible for the repairs. If the downpipe is within the boundaries of the lot, the lot owner is responsible for repairs. If the downpipe is on common property, the strata company is responsible for repairs. Notwithstanding, impact damage is a common event claimable under strata insurance. Therefore, subject to the policy excess, a claim can be considered under the strata insurance policy – the property owner will be responsible for the excess. If the damage falls below the policy excess it becomes the property owners responsibility to manage repair processes and if possible the recovery against the driver. If you have CCTV footage and can identify the driver, you may wish to contact your local police station to assist with recovering costs associated with the repairs.


Tyrone Shandiman | Strata Insurance Solutions


Should a Structural Engineer Check the Roof Before Solar Installation?


One lot owner wishes to install 18 solar panels on the common property roof. Would it be reasonable to request certification from a structural engineer?

In a group of eight single storey strata dwellings, one owner wishes to instal around 18 solar panels. His roof is common property and the proposed size of the installation would cover most of the roof. How do we get an infrastructure contract drawn up? How do we indemnify ourselves against future claims arising from loss or damage caused by the installation or its future removal? Would it be reasonable to request certification from a structural engineer that the roof can hold the weight with no potential for the installation to cause damage?


Remedial repairs & cost management Management of remedial works can be challenging at the

First time complete and defined scope of works

best of times and may cause considerable financial stress as owners try to navigate the minefield of complexity of Strata repairs. Value vs competitiveness is the driver to desired outcomes. Defining your objective and the extent

Only 1 quote required

Minimise scope creep and variations

Empowering owners with information to obtain like for like quotes

of works is critical. Be clear in what you expect: •

You require repairs to be all inclusive

You need it to conform to statutory requirements

Pay the right price for works required

You need a warranty of guarantee

Extent & cost are balanced with the benefits.

Professionals to negotiate cost on your behalf

Value for money

Engaging experts is highly recommended. A building cost validation process allows you to take control and achieve

Peace of mind

desired outcomes you’re looking for.

Application of standards to repair methodology

Additional support in obtaining alternative quotes & other specialty service

$500 excl. GST brings you peace of mind

0424 750 900


I would have to emphasise getting a structural engineer in any instance when you are putting that sort of load on a roof.

Bruce McKenzie, Sedgwick: I would have to emphasise getting a structural engineer in any instance when you are putting that sort of load on a roof. People do have to understand that a lot of buildings, particularly modern day buildings, are built and designed pretty closely to what the design tolerances are. In other words, they’re not over designed by 20, 30, 40% of what the standards asked for. Sometimes it’s only a small amount over so what that means is if you impose a load on a roof, or a balcony or anything like that is significant, it can impact things structurally, Bruce McKenzie | Sedgwick

so definitely would recommend getting structural advice on that one. Sam Reece, Australian Apartment Advocacy: I thought that was a very impressive question that was well thought out that was well considered, and I agree with Bruce. Because at the end of the day, when you’re living within a community, you have to be considerate of your neighbours. You can’t go and whack in 18 solar panels and think it’s not going to impact everybody else. So Bruce is completely right. Get a structural engineer out, and just make sure that you’re capable of actually having that protected and also then you may actually want to look at a different insurance policy for those solar panels on top of what you actually have as your common property too.


Sam Reece | Australian Apartment Advocacy


An Owner Refuses to Pay Any Further Levy Increases



We are likely to have at least one owner who absolutely refuses to pay any further increases in fees. This will make it difficult to carry out any maintenance under the 10 Year Plan. What should we do?

If the amounts raised or proposed to be raised in the budget are extortionately high then there could be grounds to make an application to the Tribunal (SAT) to review the fees and charges.

Alternative methods of collecting funds may be required

• It might be that adjusting the scheduling of maintenance or setting different priorities for the accumulation of funds is an option.

The opportunity to vote at a general meeting for changes to the amounts being levied is done by Ordinary Resolution, so a majority vote is required. If all the increases are reasonable and can be demonstrated as being necessary, then the amount of money raised for the 10 year plan would be justified by the time schedule listed for the replacement or servicing of major common property items.


Alternative methods of collecting funds may be required so that half the ownership isn’t bankrupted in the process.

• A strata loan may be required to enable urgent maintenance and pick up the short fall in accumulated funds. • The Strata Company does have within its authority the ability to come up with payment plans for individual owners. • A straight refusal to pay any increases may also lead to few options as to how it all plays out:

• Debt recovery is also an option that the strata company has available to it. ii. This can at its worst, end up with the sale of the property. In summary An older building that hasn’t been maintained properly may result in higher costs to fix the problem. Funds allocated to a Reserve Fund for a 10year plan are a good indicator or an active group of strata owners who are aware of the need to have the buildings maintained. A fixed income may result in some owners not being able to pay the necessary increases, resulting in a need to sell and move elsewhere which is more affordable.

Shane White | Strata Title Consult



Can A Non-Resident Lot Owner Use the Common Property?

A non-resident owner allows her boyfriend to park in our limited visitor parking. Are they in breach of the bylaws? We have a limited visitors parking area which can only take two cars at any time in our small strata complex of three townhouses. Two of our townhouses are owner occupied and the third is rented. Although the owner of the rented townhouse does not live in the complex, her boyfriend has parked in our visitor parking area 24/7 for a month, and therefore is preventing the other owners from using this space. Are non-residents entitled to use our visitors parking?

It would appear the owner of the lot may be in breach of the bylaws I would offer the following comments, with the usual disclaimer that this is a comment only as we have not been provided with any documents in relation to this particular property. The reader may wish to seek further or legal advice. If the visitor parking area is common property, and the strata company has no registered bylaws except the Standard Schedule 1 & 2 bylaws, then the following bylaws would be relevant:


STRATA TITLES ACT 1985 – SCHEDULE 2 1 . Vehicles and parking 1. An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the owner’s or occupier’s visitors comply with the scheme by-laws relating to the parking of motor vehicles. 2. An owner or occupier of a lot must not park or stand any motor or other vehicle on common property except with the written approval of the strata company. [By-law 1 inserted: No. 30 of 2018 s. 99.] 2 . Use of common property An owner or occupier of a lot must — 1. use and enjoy the common property in such a manner as not unreasonably to interfere with the use and enjoyment of the common property by other owners or occupiers of lots or of their visitors; and 2. not use the lot or permit it to be used in such manner or for such purpose as causes a nuisance to an occupier of another lot (whether an owner or not) or the family of such an occupier; and 3. take all reasonable steps to ensure that the owner’s or occupier’s visitors do not behave in a manner likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of an owner or occupier of another lot or of a person lawfully using common property; and

Are they entitled to use the visitor parking? In accordance with Schedule 2 Bylaw 1, as this person is not the owner or the occupier of a lot then they have no right to the use of the visitor parking bays. It would appear that the owner of that lot may be in breach of the bylaws however that is dependant on whether they provided permission for this vehicle to park there and use it for long term use. The first approach should be to the owner of this unit advising that you are aware the owner of the vehicle does not live on the site and is utilising the visitor parking bay for long term parking. You would request they arrange for the vehicle to be removed from the site and you may wish to provide a time limit for this to happen. Should you not be able to resolve this with this owner, the remaining 2 owners may have to convene a General Meeting to determine whether you proceed with the issuing of a formal breach notice/s, and progressing to SAT to resolve the matter. Section 47 provides the details for the enforcement of the scheme bylaws.


Shelley Fitzgerald | Strata Alliance

4. not obstruct lawful use of common property by any person. [By-law 2 inserted: No. 30 of 2018 s. 100.] The use of visitor’s bays is very broad unless the Strata Company has registered bylaws that could provide for the specific use of the bays such as time limits, visitors to the occupiers of the property only, types of vehicles and the penalty for non compliance.


Communication Process When Reporting Repairs

What are the standard expectations? Q

When reporting required maintenance, what is the minimum communication standard an owner can expect from a Strata Manager?

What is the expectation of return communication from a Strata Manager when reporting common property issues such as a remote electronic gate not working properly? I sometimes don’t even get an acknowledgment of receipt of the email and often do not receive any indication of who they are contacting


and when they expect someone onsite. This had led to major delays, as the strata manager has not let the owner know that the contractor they contacted has not been able to turn up. Surely it is professional to let all owners know when a problem is reported and when the fix is expected to take place. We don’t even get to know if it is fixed or not. What is the minimum requirement an owner can expect from a Strata Manager regarding communication?


The Strata Manager may have to obtain approval from council members to action maintenance, and this can take time depending on the individual availabilities of those council members.

Issues such as the electronic gate not working should be treated as a priority issue by the Strata Manager, and it would be expected that when reporting such an issue, return confirmation of action taken would be received that day. That being said, it is also important for owners to understand that if they deem any common property maintenance issue as urgent, that their email is flagged accordingly. It is also recommended that customers call the Strata Manager to alert them to the issue. In some circumstances, the Strata Manager then has to obtain approval from council members to action maintenance, and this can take time depending on the individual availabilities of those council members. We strive to action all urgent maintenance items as quickly as possible, however this is not

always achievable as we do require the express authority of the Council of the Strata Company prior to actioning any works. It is not always reasonable or practical to notify all owners after we receive a report of common property maintenance and its time frame for being repaired. It is really up to the Council as to whether or not all owners/residents would need to be notified, and that would likely depend on the nature of the repairs, the associated time frame, and their specific instruction. We encourage communication with the owner who reported the matter. Also, when a contractor is assigned with an urgent work request, we call them to ensure they can attend as quickly as possible. The contractor is asked to directly contact the owner who reported the matter to arrange a mutually convenient time to attend site to rectify this issue.


ESM Strata Team | ESM Strata


Duties and Obligations of a Strata Company Representative

Please define the duties and obligations required of a strata company representative. To understand the role, you would need to reference the definitions and terms and conditions contained within the specific contract. This is depended on in what context you are referencing “representative”. This reference appears most commonly in Strata Management Contracts and to understand the role, you would need to reference the definitions and terms and conditions contained within the specific contract. In most cases, this person is a nominee of the council of the strata company who acts in delivering instruction from the council to the agent. The contract usually sets out that the agent can act on instruction from the representative as if it was instruction from the Council in full. The title “Strata Company Representative” is not used within the Strata Titles Act 1985, however, if you are referencing a member of the council of owners, then this information is contained in Division 4, sections 135 to 137 of the ACT.


In brief, the council of owners are governed by the ACT itself and any directions imposed by a general meeting of the strata company, the council of owners can not overrule a decision of all owners made at a general meeting. Section 137 tells us about the general duties of the council and how they must handle conflicts of interest and it states that a council member: • must at all times act honestly, with loyalty and in good faith in the

Luke Downie | Realmark

performance of functions as a member of the council or an officer of the strata company; and • must at all times exercise the degree of care and diligence in the performance of those functions that a reasonable person in the person’s position and the circumstances of the strata company would reasonably be expected to exercise; and


• must not make improper use of the person’s position — i. to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage for the person or any other person; or ii. to cause detriment to the strata company. Members of the council have an obligation to disclose in writing to the collective council any direct or indirect pecuniary or other interests that may conflict with the duties as a member of the council. In the event that such a conflict exists, it is also important that the member reframes from voting on any relevant decision to the conflict. 27

What Do We Need to Know Before Getting

a Defibrillator? Q


We would like to have a defibrillator in a common area in our strata building. What legal or other issues do we need to be aware of? There are very few concerns with having an AED installed on common property.

With over 30,000 sudden cardiac arrests each year, it is not a surprise that the question of installing these life saving devices has arrived at the Strata doorstep. Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) are designed to deliver a shock to the heart to return it to a normal rhythm. A defibrillator does not restart a heart once it has completely stopped but rather detect and treat (with electric pulse) an irregular heart rhythm commonly associated with sudden cardiac arrest. With nearly 60 Australians dying each day from abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), the AED truly is a lifesaving device. Outside of a hospital, survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest are 10%. The presence and correct use of an AED can increase a person’s chance of survival to 70%. A person has the best chance of survival if a defibrillation shock is delivered within 3-5 minutes of them collapsing. That is certainly not enough time for an ambulance to arrive, but plenty of time for you to run to common property and grab the AED. 28

These devices SAVE LIVES As with anything new brought into the realm of community/strata living, we must always consider legal ramifications and practicality. Thankfully, in terms of risk management, there are very few concerns with having an AED installed on common property. The (certified) devices are all designed to only provide an electric shock on a heart that is experiencing irregular rhythm. An AED will NOT deliver a shock to a healthy heart or to a completely flatlined heart. So, the risk of accidental electrocution is near non-existent. Manufacturers and installers of these devices record very few tampers or vandalism issues even with devices left out in national parks and beaches. Having these devices fitted inside an alarmed cabinet also deters any tamper from residents, visitors and particularly children.

There are currently no regulations that a committee must follow when installing one of these devices, simply a minor maintenance routine. We would strongly suggest that members of the committee (and any residents willing) complete a short training course on how to use an AED. An AED is simply another piece of first aid equipment that most first aiders can utilise to save a life. Maintenance requirements are very minimal, the device simply needs to be tested (turned on) at a minimum of 12 month intervals and a light is displayed throughout the year showing it is operational. The batteries vary in their life expectancy with most having a 3- 5 year lithium battery fitted. Simply install the device in easy view of a path of travel (ideally the building entrance or pool area), advise all residents of its purpose and location and check it each year. I think we will soon see the AED a common place item in our strata buildings with South

Australia currently in the process of passing a bill that will see AEDs MANDATORY in all commercial schemes and in all residential schemes of 10+ lots. No doubt, the rest of Australia will follow suit in time. Thankfully, in most states, the installation of these devices could be funded through the Sinking Fund/ Capital Works Fund meaning you likely won’t need to levy owners any additional monies to provide this life saving device. Such a simple decision to install an AED on your common property WILL mean the difference between life and death when a resident or visitor suffers a sudden cardiac arrest. It may be a mum that has tripped down the stairs and hit her head whilst taking the kids to school. It may be the tradesperson that falls off the ladder. It may be the lovely old dear who lives in unit 3. At some point, this device will save a life, it may even be yours!


Dakota Panetta | Solutions in Engineering


What 'scheme key documents' should the strata company receive from the developer?



Our 21 unit complex was built in 2018. What are the ‘scheme key documents’ the strata company should have received from the developer? As the chairperson, how can the Council of Owners determine if the information provided by the developer fulfils obligations? You can refer to the Strata Titles Act and Regulations to see what is considered a scheme key document.

You can refer to the Strata Titles Act and Regulations to see what is considered a scheme key document as below. This is the bare minimum under the legislation and would fulfil what is considered their obligations.

Key Document 3. Terms Used

• key document in relation to a subdivision of land by a strata titles scheme (including a stage of subdivision) means each of the following — a. t he application for registration of the scheme or amendment of the scheme to give effect to the subdivision and everything that accompanies the application; b. the scheme documents, or amendments of the scheme documents, as registered for the subdivision; c. p lanning approvals for the subdivision and development associated with the scheme; d. occupancy permits and building approval certificates under the Building Act 2011 relating to development associated with the subdivision; e. o fficial notices relating to the subdivision or development associated with the subdivision;


f. specifications, diagrams and drawings relating to the parcel or a building on the parcel (including any specifications, diagrams and drawings that show utility conduits, utility infrastructure or sustainability infrastructure); g. warranty documents and operational and servicing manuals for infrastructure that ought reasonably to be given to the strata company; h. certificates and schedules relating to the insurance required for, or relating to, the scheme taken out or arranged by the scheme developer of the subdivision; i. any contracts for the provision of services or amenities to the strata company or to members of the strata company entered into or arranged by the scheme developer for the subdivision or by the strata company; j. any leases or licences over the common property of the scheme; k. accounting records and other documents that ought reasonably to be given to the strata company; l. anything included in this definition by the regulations;

Regulation 10 Key documents

d. any notice of completion given under the Building Act 2011 section 33 in relation to — i. any scheme building in a strata scheme; or ii. any infrastructure located on the common property of a strata titles scheme; e. a ny documents relating to a defect or possible defect in a scheme building or infrastructure; f. a ny agreement relating to the supply of a water service (within the meaning given in the Water Services Act 2012 section 3(1)) between a licensee under that Act and any of the following parties — i. a former owner of the land comprised in the parcel; ii. the strata company; iii. an owner or occupier of a lot in the strata titles scheme; g. the 10 year plan under section 100(2A) (if that provision applies to the strata titles scheme).


Jordan Dinga | Abode Strata

• For the purposes of paragraph (l) of the definition of key document in section 3(1), the following are included in that definition — a. any contracts relevant to the design or construction of buildings and improvements on the parcel entered into by the scheme developer, including any variations to those contracts and all plans and specifications relating to those contracts or variations; b. “as constructed” plans and diagrams for buildings, improvements and utility conduits on the parcel; c. any infrastructure contracts or variations to infrastructure contracts; 31

Problems with Guttering and Downpipes Who is responsible?



At my strata complex, the eaves on my roof near the back patio fill with water after rain. This seems to be due to poor guttering and a lack of downpipes. Who is responsible for this maintenance? The boundaries of your lot are defined on the Strata Plan document.


Strata Plans have various boundaries depending on the plan, and the notations on that plan that were lodged at Landgate. All Strata Plans are different. The boundaries of the lot are defined on the page where your lot is located on the Strata Plan document. In some Strata Schemes, as a lot proprietor, you may have only purchased the cubic space within the structure of your lot. In these instances the Strata Company is responsible for the repair/maintenance and replacement of the “structure” such as doors, windows, roof, gutters, downpipes.

Other Strata Schemes, defined as Survey Strata Schemes, as the lot proprietor you own everything to the boundaries of the lots which includes the buildings, and the land areas to the fencing boundary. Further to the Strata Plan, the bylaws may also provide for some definition in relation to the responsibility for certain items within the scheme. In many instances patios/pergolas may have been installed to a unit and this may have been undertaken by the individual lot proprietor, and without any approval being sought from the Strata Company. In these cases, the responsibility for the issues around water run off on that rear section may be referred back to the owner.

Initially you could refer this to your Strata Manager requesting their assistance, asking if the area is common property and whether the Strata Company will carry out the repairs. The answer lies within the Strata Plan document and unfortunately, this question cannot be answered without viewing that document.


Shelley Fitzgerald | Strata Alliance





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Would you like your Strata Story featured in the next edition of The WA Strata Magazine? We want to share your strata stories with the LookUpStrata community. Some examples of what you may wish to share: • A project you have implemented in your complex that has made a positive impact (e.g a process, community building activities, parking procedure, ect) • Do you have a funny story to share about strata living? • Have you received a response back from one of the LookUpStrata professionals that has positively impacted you or your complex? • Have you made a change to improve sustainability?

If you would like to share your strata scheme story with the LookUpStrata community, Please send your story and photos to: Disclaimer: If you send your strata story to,

you are agreeing to have your story published on the LookUpStrata platform or via social media. We must have written permission from each individual shown in the photo. Submissions may be refused for any reason.


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