FAQ

As the new reform has come into action as of May 1, 2020, provided by our authoritative body Landgate, there are many amendments to the act that will affect all members of the strata community within Western Australia. Landgate has provided a guide containing major changes to the act that can be viewed here. If you would like to view the amended Strata Titles Act 1985, click here.

Water Run Off

AC & Evaporative Units


Water run off can cause a number of issues in strata schemes. Not only damage to common and other property, however leakage puddles and possible water ingress.




Why is it important to run a waste water pipe to a drain or the ground?


AC Units

Rust is the effect of water and oxygen coming into contact with iron.

It naturally follows that if gutters are exposed to water continuously all year round (from rain in winter and aircon drainage in summer) the gutters will rust out far quicker. The drainage from aircons needs to be directed to pvc drain pipes to increase longevity of the gutter as common property.

Evaporative Units

With this, evaporative units water run off cause major rust problems as the residual water I predominantly salt.





Buying Strata

Can I see the financial statements for the Strata Company?


If you look at the financial statements, you will be able to find out a few things. You should be able to get an idea of the outlay for repairs and maintenance (or lack of outlay, which can be just as concerning). You can also see what the financial position is for the strata company – how much is in the sinking fund, for example, and whether most owners are paying their levies on time.




Can I see the minutes of the last few meetings and AGM's?


Again, this will give you an idea of the status of the strata company. You will be able to glean some knowledge about issues, disputes, conflict within the owner community, costs, changes and matters of importance over the past couple of years. You will also be able to see how well or how badly records are being maintained and compliance achieved, and who is doing what role.




Is the insurance current and when was it last updated?


The replacement cost of a building will change every couple of years, and you want to be sure that your building is properly insured for its current replacement value. It’s also a good idea to review exactly what the strata insurance covers you for.




Which parts of the property are mine and which are common areas?


You might not believe it, but many buyers often forget to ask this critical question! Often, there is an assumption that particular areas are private, and others are common, but you may get a nasty surprise further down the track if you aren’t very clear on the issue from the start. Some areas of contention include courtyards, driveways, stairs and ramps, airspace, balconies, entrance ways, boundary walls, doors and windows, the foundation slab, floor finishes, ceilings, and more. What looks like ‘Exclusive Use’ on the first page of the plan may not be in reality, if it’s never been lodged with the local authorities. Make sure you know what’s yours!

Your ownership in some ways is similar to be a shareholder, who has certain rights and responsibilities relating to this ownership. The strata company is all owners collectively that form an entity known as a strata company. The strata council is a small group of owners elected as the Council at each annual general meeting of the strata company. This council is appointed to carry out functions, duties and powers of the Strata Company as defined by the Act. Some strata companies employ a strata manager to provide administration services, streamline processes and minimise conflict between owners; others elect to self-manage.




How involved do I have to be?


As an owner in the Strata Company you and your fellow owners assume certain rights and responsibilities as determined by the Strata Titles Act. Aside from this, everyone is expected to act reasonably and with community spirit to ensure that they and others respect the particular by-laws that apply to your Strata Company. Although there may not be an overt requirement for you to be involved in the strata company, there may be an unwritten expectation that everyone is involved and attends meetings. Try to get a feel for how the specific strata company operates.




Does the Strata Company have to keep copies of the building plans? If so, for how long?


Regulation 25 (2) (c) STGR relates to “material delivered under section 49(3) by an original proprietor to a strata company at its first annual general meeting.

The term is LIFE




When buying property how would you make yourself aware of any use or other restrictions applicable to lots or common property? What must be considered?


Refer to copy of the current strata plan & By Laws/ management statement that have been lodged as identified on the Strata Plan; Items of consideration would be the date of scheme, adopted a management statement and /or other By Laws.

RESPONSIBILITY

https://www.corneyandlind.com.au/resource-centre/property/body_corporate_liability/

Engaging Contractors

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/independent-contractors-and-employees




Buying or selling a home?


Property settlement refers to the process of transferring a property from a seller to a buyer when the conditions of the standard contract for the sale are fulfilled. For Strata Titled Properties see

Form 28 Disclosure doc – Sale of Strata Titled Lot & Form 29 Buying & Selling a Strata Titled Lot

In most instances before a property settlement can occur both the buyer and the seller must have signed a contract of sale. Property Settlement Fact Sheet

In Western Australia, the standard residential sales contract has two sections:

Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title by Offer and Acceptance (the O & A); Sale by Offer & acceptance Brochure

• Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (General Conditions).

The signatures of the seller and the buyer on the O & A generally indicate that both parties agree to the conditions of the contract, including the purchase price.

However, this may not be the case where a counter offer is submitted by either party. Where this occurs, all amendments to the O & A will need to be initialled and dated by both parties in order for the instrument to be deemed a fully executed contract. The General Conditions are the contractual conditions that apply to the O & A.

Pre-settlement inspections: It is recommended that prior to making an offer a buyer should conduct a thorough inspection of the property to make themselves familiar with the fixtures, fittings and condition of the property. If any repairs are required, a condition should be included in the offer compelling the seller to undertake the repairs prior to settlement. It is prudent to make the offer conditional upon all gas, electrical and plumbing equipment being in working order at settlement.

See more on Pre-settlement inspections here.




Me … the Strata Company … the Strata Council … the Strata Manager… who does what?


Your ownership in some ways is like that of a shareholder, who has certain rights and responsibilities relating to this ownership. The strata company is all owners collectively that form an entity known as a strata company. The strata council is a small group of owners elected as the Council at each annual general meeting of the strata company. This council is appointed to carry out functions, duties and powers of the Strata Company as defined by the Act. Some strata companies employ a strata manager to provide administration services, streamline processes and minimise conflict between owners; others elect to self-manage.





Strata Titles Act of Western Australia

What is the Strata Titles Act?


All strata properties registered as Strata Titles at Landgate are subject to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (the Act) The Act was enacted in response to the growing demand in Western Australia for occupation of individual units in the one building on an ownership basis and the generally unsatisfactory methods of dealing with that demand. Strata Titles Act 1985

It will all be subject to changes when the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 comes into operation by proclamation.

The following Landgate presentation for an overview of the proposed strata reforms. Landgate Presentation of reform overview or Landgate information update





Lot Boundaries

What are my lot boundaries?


Every strata plan has different lot boundaries, these may be the inner surface of the walls, outer surface or other as determined by your individual strata plan.

Single Tier strata schemes

Alternative Boundaries





Strata Plan and Other Plans

What is a Strata Plan?


The following is based on WA Strata Title legislation. In short, a Strata Plan is the plan of a strata titled property, showing the boundaries of lots and unit entitlements, and registered with the Planning Commission.

It is also the mechanism for creating strata schemes and strata titles under the Strata Titles Act 1985. Strata Plans define the lots in a strata scheme, as well as common property.




What does a Strata Plan look like?


A Strata Plan is a registered document and usually consists of several pages of written descriptions, sketches and important information about all the lots.


A Strata Plan document usually contains:
Administration sheets: approved forms numbered separately from the plan drawing sheets.

A location plan showing the strata scheme with respect to the parcel of land and neighbouring properties.

A floor plan displaying the boundaries of the buildings that form part of the strata plan for each individual lot, as well as their respective boundaries within the plan. (All areas outside the boundaries of the lots shown on the floor plan are defined as common property).




What do I look after?


Lot owners may have difficulty understanding where the boundaries to their lots are and what is their responsibility to maintain and renew and what is the strata companies, the strata plan will identify this and the bylaws and / or management statement will provide further information on how your plan is set up and what by laws are in place.




What is included in the Administration Sheets?


The front page including the name of the scheme, the registered address of the scheme, the strata plan number, the date of the strata scheme, when it was lodged for registration, the date it was examined, the date of registration.

  • Confirmation on whether a management statement (i.e. by-laws) was put in place. The Act requires that a Strata Plan must specify the by-laws proposed to be adopted. A scheme may opt to use model by-laws provided as Schedules in the Act, or it can develop its own by-laws
  • The lot number of the strata plan and volume/folio from the certificate of title.
  • Local government details.
  • A signed and dated approval from the chairman of the Western Australian Planning Commission.
  • The schedule of unit entitlements based on the market value of the lots at the date of registering the strata plan. This schedule must be shown on an administration sheet in the appropriate panel as two vertical columns, with the first showing the lot numbers in numerical sequence and the second showing the unit entitlements for each lot. If you have a number of lots with the same unit entitlement, you can group those with successive numbers instead of setting them out in vertical columns. A final row shows the aggregate of the unit entitlements. All unit entitlements must be expressed in whole numbers.




What is on a location plan?


The basic purpose of a location plan is to show the building and any lots outside the building in relation to the parcel boundary. The location plan is prepared on Strata Plan Form 2, on a separate sheet from the floor plan(s). Your Location Plan must show the following:

  • A north point (pointing upwards) to orient the plan.
  • The external boundaries of the land and their lengths.
  • The external limits of the building and any other structures used to define the lots on the floor plan.
  • The identity of the building (that is, the street number, the number of levels, and its external construction materials).
  • The boundaries of any lots not within the main building.




What is a floor plan?


The main purpose of including the floor plan(s) is to define new strata lots.
Floor plan(s) are also prepared on Strata Plan Form 2, on a separate sheet(s) from the location plan. Your floor plan(s) should show the following:

  • A north point (pointing upwards) to orient the plan.
  • The boundaries of all lots and part lots defined by continuous (i.e. unbroken) lines.
  • The base area of each cubic space of a strata lot.




Built Strata Vs Survey Strata - What is the difference?


All strata plans are not alike and you will need to, prior to making an offer on a property understand fully what you own and what you don’t own. It is best that this is marked out for you.

WHAT IS A (BUILT) STRATA PLAN?

A strata plan is created when a property is divided into lots, and common property. The Lots show individual ownership and common property, or CP, which is the area owned jointly by all lot owners in the strata scheme. Some strata plans may not show CP or common property; therefore, the typical interpretation/ rule is that any/ all areas not marked Lot or Part lot Pt are common property.

There can be any number of lots in a built stratum, and each lot can be composed of more than one part and is marked as being part of a lot i.e. Pt 1, or Pt 2. I.e. you may have what you know as the building as Lot 1, the carport / garage as Pt1 and the yard as Pt 1 and so on for each and every lot.

Built strata plan have differing ownership spaces, called stratum, rather than saying you own ot the gutter line or to the top of the roof or the plumbing, the plan will define this in metres, such as 5 metres below the surface and 10 metres above etc.

WHAT IS A SURVEY-STRATA PLAN?

Survey-strata plans define the lots in a survey-strata scheme, and show the entire lot boundaries of the lot, owned individually. The Land boundaries define each lot and no buildings are shown on survey-strata plans, even though buildings may and do exist onsite. Some survey strata’s have no common property, however if they do, they are owned jointly by all lot owners and are shown as CP or “common property lots”. Survey-strata lots may be limited in the ownership of the lot’s height and depth however, typically not.





Strata Titles Act Regulations, Standard By-Laws & Management Statements

What are By-Laws?


By-laws allow your Strata Company to control things like common property and assets.

Always review a current copy of your strata plan, in this you will see if your strata company has standard by laws, additional by laws and / or a management statement.

By Laws Standard Schedule 1

By Laws Standard Schedule 2

Additional by-laws - Your Strata Company may also from time to time draft / adopt and lodge additional by laws.




What is a management statement?


Management Statement – is a set of unique by-laws drafted for the specific requirements of your Strata Company.





Tenanting Your Property?

Are you residing or tenanting your property?


As an owner occupier in a strata titled property you have certain rights and responsibilities such as acting reasonably and with a community spirit, ensuring that you and others respect the by-laws for your strata company at all times.

As an owner investor you are responsible for your tenants and their guest’s behaviour at all times, by tenanting out your property this does not mean that you may appoint and remove yourself from this responsibility.

This includes such things as:

1. Parking correctly

2. Appearance of your Lot

3. Peaceful enjoyment

4. Behaviour of owners, occupiers, tenants and visitors

5. Garbage storage & disposal

6. Keeping of animals

7. Consideration of other people and their property

And all other by laws and policies adopted by your strata company




Are you appointing a property manager?


It is important that you select your property manager based upon what services they will deliver to you and your tenant.

Effectively your property manager is the conduit between you and your tenants, poorly informed or managed tenants inevitably breach the bylaws for the strata at some stage and this can result in breach notices being issued to you direct as you are unavoidably responsible for the behaviour of your tenants and their guests.

Due to the nuisance caused by tenants not abiding by the by laws, we are seeing some strata companies adopt additional by laws. These see owners being charged for administrative and other costs relating to issuing of breach notice(s). This has seen a reduction in poor behaviour at these schemes, however if poor behaviour continues the strata company may issue a notice to an owner to terminate the tenancy agreement based upon persistent and wilful breaching of the bylaws of the scheme.

Some points to consider and understand prior to appointing your property manager:

1. Enquire as to their beliefs on how the strata company works; i.e. who is the strata company, what responsibilities do owners have, what responsibilities tenants have. Unfortunately, some property managers think that the strata company is the appointed manager and not all owners collectively, resulting in a, us and them mindset and financial demands on the strata company for the benefit of tenants not owners.

2. Period of employment with the agency, attrition of staff causes loss of information and loss of control over the property.

3. Rigorous screening of tenants, your property is a major investment, ensure that your tenants are screened accordingly, improper screening sees unruly behaviour, loss to the strata company, diminished property values, loss of rent, damage to your investment which may not be recoverable through insurance etc. See that all tenants are thoroughly screened by your agent to ensure that they understand what is required living in a strata scheme/community; – noise, nuisance, pets, parking, maintaining gardens, rubbish management.

4. See that the Tenancy agreement includes:

a. A current copy of the strata plan (highlighting common areas) by laws and or management statements and other community living house rules.

b. Specific guidelines on maintenance required such as gardening, bin management, parking, visitors’ bays and the maintenance you expect them to do. These should be clearly set out within the tenancy agreement,

5. To avoid complaints from fellow owners, breach notices or diminished property values, ensure that your property manager regularly monitors the condition of your unit and garden on a regular basis, and sees that your tenants are aware that they must abide by the by laws at all times.

Living in a strata property is more than living in close proximity to others; it is living in a community, a live community. These communities allow people to live in close proximity to one another, and as such the right in doing so allows peaceful and private enjoyment for all occupiers.

Tenanting out your property does not remove you from your responsibilities or fiduciary duties of being an owner in a strata scheme and as an owner. You are responsible for the actions of your property manager, tenant and their guest(s). In doing so this is key to seeing that you and other owners’ investment is always protected, and a greater community spirit and sense of belonging is achieved.




Other people are causing a nuisance, what do I do?


The following outlines a reasonable set of steps to follow if you are concerned about the behaviour of others in the strata scheme.

Noise in excess

If another resident is causing inconvenience by loud music or voices, especially late at night, you should:

1. Politely ask, as a neighbour, that they reduce the noise to an acceptable level.

If no appreciable response:

2. Call the local police and report the matter, noting the date and time of your call.

3. Formal Complaint to strata company – Complete and lodge a report a nuisance form

Parking

Residents and Tenants parking incorrectly i.e. access to or exit from your assigned parking bay blocked / or car bay used by another vehicle at any time.

1. Try to locate the driver of the other vehicle and politely request them to move the vehicle and ask that they not park in the area again.

If situation not rectified:

2. Take a photo of the vehicle including registration plate etc . Complete and lodge a report a nuisance form.

Generally – Breaching of by laws

If, in your opinion, another resident or their visitors are behaving in such a way as to cause concern, inconvenience, or damage to the property or littering,

  1. If possible, speak with the person concerned

If situation not rectified:

  1. Try to locate the offender and politely request them to cease this behaviour, if not you can escalate this matter to your strata manager. The new reform will see that sufficient information is provided along with the issuing of a Breach notice, therefore take photos details as to time of incident, who and what occurred and complete and lodge a report a nuisance form.




What happens if someone repeatedly breaches the By-Laws?


Recipients of a breach notice are provided with s reasonable time period, this may be 7 or 14 days to remediate their behaviour, if they repeatedly breach the Bylaws then lodge a further report a nuisance form.

After your strata company has issued say two breach notices, they may then apply to the State Administrative Tribunal for orders against the owner of the lot for persistent and will full breaching of the bylaws, this could include a fine and or orders for cessation of tenancy / eviction or other

Click here for example SAT order for family to remove pet from a Strata Unit




If my property is tenanted why did I let the lot owner receive the breach notice?


The owner of the lot is responsible for their property and ensuring that they their tenants adhere to the bylaws at all time, this responsibility cannot be transferred to any other party including that of your property manager.





Alteration to a lot/ installations

Can I install solar pannels?


Whilst most strata companies allow the installation of Solar Panels for the purpose of power supply, all proprietors must first submit a request to the strata council.

The following details are required.

  1. The name of the Registered Installing Company and their registered Licence number;
  2. Address and phone number of the registered business;
  3. The brand, model and kilowatt (Kw) size of the Inverter and the brand, model, size and number of solar panels that are intended to be installed on the roof.
  4. A diagram showing the external roof area and its dimensions together with the approximate location of the solar panels and their orientation in relation to which side of the roof they are to be located.
  5. The proprietor is to provide a signed and dated letter which acknowledges in writing that they will be responsible for the said installation, ongoing maintenance of the unit and fixings and any damage to the roof area as a result of the installation process or ongoing use of the roof space in regard to broken roof tiles and guttering etc.
  6. Important Note: Any failure to comply with the application process may result in the removal of unapproved solar panels at the owner’s expense and your Strata Company applying to the State Administrative Tribunal for removal of same and seeking costs relating to administrative and legal costs as a result of this.




Can I install new flooring?


At some stage we all look to change and update our homes, and this may include changes to the flooring. As an owner or tenant in the Strata Company, everyone is expected to act reasonably and with community spirit to ensure that they and others always respect and abode by the by laws . This includes peaceful enjoyment and therefore installation of new flooring on a multi-level property is an item that requires consideration and approval prior to installation.

You are not permitted to do any modifications to the building structure or change the appearance of the building in any way without seeking prior written approval from your strata company first. Any unauthorised structures or improvements will be asked to be removed and failure to remove the items may result in the strata company seeking orders from the State Administrative Tribunals as well as costs involved for pursuing these orders.

In the interest of you as the applicant it is important that prior to purchasing your new flooring you ensure the following written application is forwarded to your strata council or strata manager.

Timber floors, or floors which are screwed, nailed or tiled form part of the lot and are included within the strata company building insurance as being part of the lot and if improperly laid they may impact the peaceful enjoyment of neighbours.

Bamboo floors, these floors as they stick on to existing floors and do not form part of the building, nor are covered by the building insurance for your lot and are a contents item however, if laid they may also impact the peaceful enjoyment of neighbours. These types of floors are not recommended for lots that are multilevel (on top of another lot) unless they have been well insulated to prevent noise transfer to other units.

In order for the strata council to consider your application please forward a written signed and dated application by way of one email which includes; your name and property address, full details of the product you are looking to purchase/ install;, confirm the laying method used, specifications of insulation and that it is installed by a licensed professional and that the quote includes a written contractor guarantee that the floor is to be installed in accordance with noise guidelines & meets regulatory standards (if you are unsure as to what this is you will need to seek independent professional advise)

It is important to note that approval of flooring by the strata council will not guarantee that any owner, tenant or person may not independently or through your Strata Company OR the State Administrative Tribunal seek for orders for another owner to remove entirely the new floor due to disturbances, noise etc. It is critical for you as the applicant to ensure that the flooring you select, and the type of noise insulation meets or even exceeds regulatory requirements as well as meets a level that will ensure peaceful enjoyment of all owners and that the contractor is suitably skilled and licensed to provide advice and installation of such.

To ensure prompt consideration and response of your application please ensure that your application includes all details outlined above by way of one submission addressed to your Strata Company.




How can I make an application to alter my lot?


Alterations Structural erections, alterations and extensions restricted, strata schemes.

Section 7 (excludes Lot in Strata scheme This section does not apply to a lot in a survey-strata scheme; or the erection of, alteration to or extension of a structure on a lot in a strata scheme if each proprietor of a lot in the scheme has in writing given approval to the erection, alteration or extension; and that approval, if subject to conditions, is given by each proprietor subject to the same conditions; and a copy of each such approval is served on the strata company.

Section 7 A (does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme)

Section 7B Further provisions as to approvals for purposes of s. 7 and 7A

Conversion of Lots into Common Property

What is Unit Entitlement of Lots?




Insurance cover for lot alteration


For the purpose of Insurance cover; a re-evaluation of the property at the applicants cost may need to take place, and alterations to a lot, improvements must be included within the Strata Companies building insurance.




Correspondence regarding structural changes to property


Q: Can I please ask that the Strata Manager correspond with me directly regarding the structural changes to our property? I do not feel it appropriate at this stage to share this information and direct emails from us/our builder without a thorough understanding of what we are being asked to do. Once we know that, all information and plans will be presented to all lot owners in the appropriate manner. A: Strata managers are employed to assist the Strata Company and CoO with their duties, they do not have the authority to act, consider nor are qualified to assist, approve nor process these applications. This process can be arduous and complex in a green title property let alone a strata property, which is why it is recommended that the applicant employ a surveyor or industry professional. And your best test would be for you to get all in order s one email and send this to your fellow CoO for their consideration, if one or more of the CoO declines with sufficient grounds then the application would not pass at a AGM as it requires a resolution without dissent to pass





Common Property

What is common property?


The Common Property is an area that all owners collectively manage and may include areas such as; the outside walls of the building, roofs, driveways, gardens, foyers, pools, gyms, lifts and much more. Every strata company has their own individual lot and common property boundaries, please refer to your strata plan for more information on what is part lot (your responsibility) and what is common property (responsibility of all owners collectively)

Common Property Maintenance Requests

Click here for Common Property Maintenance Request Form

For economic purposes, any non-urgent repairs may be held over by your strata council until other similar items require repairs, and / or there are sufficient funds and a budget allowance to complete repairs.

Your strata company, being an entity of all owners is required to renew maintain and renew common property and as such may need to schedule access to inside your lot to do so.

Items such as Pest Inspections, Fire Maintenance Services, inspection of plumbing due to blockages etc. may need to be to many units at the same time or day so that the problem is easily and quickly solved or in the case of other inspections one attendance rather than many by the contractor is far more economical to your strata company and in your annual costs and levies.




What about electricty submeters?


As concession holders how can we obtain a concession for our water use if we have sub meters and are direct billed by the strata company.

We have submeters which are read every 2 months in correlation to the Water Corporation reading / account.

Concession holders may apply for a concession rebate directly via the Department of Finance, Energy Extension scheme.

Other information




Electricity submeters converting to direct read meters?


Currently at time of this information , Wester Power/ Synergy have no conversion options discounts available.

To convert a sub meter into a direct read meter. The Strata company may complete a multi-unit application

They can then have an electrician attend and quote to convert the meters ie remove, supply new and install, connect

The account set up is then activated by Synergy – cost is $33.80 for each lot, this amount is on the first bill for each lot

The first bill would be issued to the Strata Company for redistribution, it will identify each lot by its unique account number which would also be located on the direct read meter

This first bill can then be sent to the lot owner for payment within X days providing the lot owner X number of days to contact Synergy and set up an account. If this isn’t done, only one more reminder will take place before the Strata Company notifies Synergy to cancel connection ( appropriately worded and motioned within a general meeting )

Concessions holders may then after the first bill and changeover of account to their name directly contact Synergy and seek application for the concession





Employing Contractors

Isn’t the contractor employed by the strata manager?


Responsibility for Repairs Maintenance Renewal Replacement

The Strata Company, being all owners or shareholders, is responsible under the Strata Titles Act and the Regulations for Repairs Maintenance Renewal and Replacement of the Strata Company Property.

  1. The Strata Company is the entity in control of the premises and Strata Company Property
  2. The Strata Company has an obligation to ensure the safety of any person/s at the premises and on or using the Strata Company Property
  3. the Manager as agent will nominate the Strata Company as the Principal in respect of any contracts or agreements entered on behalf of the Strata Company and has no liability as the Principal. The Manager is not in the business of providing repairs and maintenance services to the Strata Company and will not do so.

Nominated site contact / Representative - This person would ideally be a council member and would be delegated by the strata council to;

  1. Be the main point of contact to the contractor, assist by providing further information of necessary to the contractor, storage of goods, start date etc.
  2. Be the person who considers the invoice once the quoted works have been completed
  3. Any other particulars/ specifics relating to these works which we will on send to the contractor on your behalf.

The Strata Company must ensure;

  1. Compliance with the obligations under the OHS Act including but not limited to;
    -Obligations as employers for its employees and others at its Place of Work
    -Obligations it has as controller of any plant or substance used by people at its Place of Work
    -The obligations as occupier of premises
  2. That it and all persons employed or engaged by it or on its behalf comply always with the requirements of the OHS Act and any directions, manuals, policies or rules formulated from time to time by the Strata Company.
  3. That it has systems in place to assess and eliminate risks and hazards at the Owners Corporation Property and premises which meet the standards required by the OHS Act.
  4. that where risks and hazards cannot be eliminated the risks and hazards are adequately controlled in a way which meets the standard required by the OHS Act;
  5. that all persons employed or engaged by it at the Strata Company Property are appropriately trained and supervised.
  6. That only qualified persons are engaged to carry out any third-party work.
  7. hat all persons engaged by the strata company are adequately insured as necessary, including however not limited to Public liability, workers compensation or income protection and Professional Indemnity as necessary

The Strata Company will to the extent permitted by law, and does in accordance with the Strata Management Agreement of service indemnify the Manager against all claims for any loss or damage which may arise as a result of any breach by the Strata Company of obligations applicable to the principal contractor under the OHS Act in accordance with Clause 7;

The terms used in this Clause shall have the same meaning as in the OHS Act.

Indemnity by the Strata Company and Liability of Manager

The Strata Company acknowledges that:

  1. The Act confers responsibility on the Strata Company for the management, control, maintenance, repair, renewal and replacement of Common Property; and
  2. If, as part of the Agreed Services or Additional Services, the Strata Manager is required to carry out a function of the Strata Company relating to the management, control, maintenance, repair, renewal or replacement of Common Property:
      1. the responsibility of the Strata Manager is limited to those specifically identified services the Strata Company requests the Strata Manager to carry out in respect of that specific property; and
      2. the Strata Manager has no liability for any Loss from any inherent defect or danger in Common Property or any disrepair, defect or danger in Common Property that is not the subject of a request under clause 2.1

The Manager is not liable to the Strata Company or to any other party in respect of any defects in the Strata Company Property, failure to comply with any building or other statutory regulations or town planning requirements or any need for repair or the existence of any danger or hazard unless: -

The Manager is not qualified nor able to inspect the Strata Company Property, attend itself to any repairs maintenance or other works, make itself aware of any defects in the Strata Company Property, or remedy any failure to comply with the Building Code of Australia or other applicable requirements or town planning requirements or any need for repair or the existence of any danger or hazard;





Funding

Not enough money to carry out works?


We have emergency or other common property repairs, we have the funds however don’t wish to hold a general meeting, what else can we do to pass this non budgeted expenditure?

The Strata Company, being all proprietors have a duty to repair, maintain and renew common property. A section 47 notice (47(3)) of the Strata Titles Act is a notice served on all registered proprietors of the Strata company by the Stata council for any non-budgets or motioned common property expenses and where funds are available.

How?

The strata council serves a written notice on all proprietors and first mortgagees of all lots in the scheme setting out the expenditure required. The proprietors and first mortgagees then have 14 days to respond to the notice which is approved unless, within 14 days: written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of more than 25 percent of the lots or written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of lots of which the unit entitlement is at least 25 percent of the aggregate unit entitlement of the lots in the scheme.

It is important to note that property therefore if this expenditure is necessary it is in best interest of all owners that approval is provided




Urgent necessary maintenance items and minimal funds?


We have emergency or other common property repairs, we do not have the funds and the costs required see that this would take a long time to raise these funds which are necessary what can we do?

Strata Lending

Sometimes your scheme requires urgent necessary maintenance and the strata company finds itself struggling to raise the funds in a hurry.

There are now a few lenders providing Loans to Strata Companies

  • Click Link Strata Loans
  • Click Link Macquarie Relationship Banking

Why Strata Loans see link to Strata Loan or Strata Loan Video noting benefits as follows;

Peace of mind

  • The loans are unsecured and offered directly to owner’s corporations and bodies corporate
  • By taking out a loan your community is reducing the immediate cost burden for works
  • Funds can be accessed quickly once approved and projects can be carried out with minimal delay
  • Cash flow is freed up, taking the burden off inadequate sinking funds and preventing the need for undesirable special levies
  • Loans can be used in a myriad of ways, including improvements to your community, renovation works, paying insurance premiums, litigation costs and other capital requirements

Improved lifestyle

  • Strata Loans save time, expense and provide complete certainty of funding
  • Strata Loans allows repairs and maintenance to be completed now, bringing strata owners the benefits of a better lifestyle sooner
  • Strata Loans is a simple funding solution for strata owners, offering greater flexibility and peace of mind that capital values and building standards are being improved
  • Instead of doing small jobs as money becomes available, by taking out a Strata Loan multiple repairs, maintenance or refurbishments can be bundled into one project, saving time and money whilst minimising disruption to owners

No large financial burdens

  • Loan repayments are incorporated into quarterly levies/fees.
  • There is no mortgage or personal guarantee required to secure the loan
  • There are no fees for early repayment (except during a fixed rate period) so the loan can be paid out at any time

Increase the value of your asset

  • You are maintaining and improving the value of your asset
  • As an investor, rental and tenancy stability are enhanced
  • The building is improved, increasing its resale and rental values





Access for Maintenance

Does my Strata Company have the ability to carry out work in my lot?


Strata Company to Carry out work

Where a notice has been served on the proprietor of a lot by a public authority or local government requiring that owner to carry out any work on or in relation to that lot and the notice is not complied with, the strata company may carry out the work, where a proprietor, mortgagee in possession, or occupier of a lot fails or neglects to carry out any work — required to be carried out by him under a term or condition of a by-law referred to in section 42(8); or necessary to remedy a breach of the duty imposed on him by section 11(2), the strata company may carry out that work.




Does my Strata Company have the power to enter my lot?


Power of a Strata Company to enter

Yes, your strata company has, under certain circumstances the power to enter a lot, these may include some or all of the following; any work pursuant to section 38(1), (2), (3) or (6); or any work necessary to repair or renew any work necessary to repair or renew any pipes, wires, cables or ducts referred to in section 11(2)(b); or any work required to be carried out by the strata company by order of a court or tribunal, the strata company may, by its agents, servants or contractors, enter upon any part of the parcel for the purpose of carrying out the work — in the case of an emergency, at any time; or in any other case, at any reasonable time on notice given to an occupier of that part of the parcel.

The strata company may, by its agents, enter upon any part of the parcel for the purpose of —inspecting that part of the parcel; or ensuring that the by-laws are being observed, and may do so in the case of an emergency at any time or, in any other case, at any reasonable time on notice given to an occupier of that part of the parcel.

A person shall not obstruct or hinder a strata company in the exercise of its power under subsection (1) or (2).





Fences

How do I replace my dividing fence?


Strata Titles Act Dividing fences

Dividing Fence Act

Dividing fence Publication

Abode Strata Dividing Fence Process

Firstly, one must see who owns this fence, is it

  1. common property – if so a request would be sent to your strata company Abode Strata Maintenance Request
  2. owned by yourself and your neighbouring lot owner / crown land – refer to Dividing Fence Act

A dividing fence separates the land of different owners whether the fence is on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary.

A dividing fence does not include a retaining wall. The Act does not apply to the Crown (government) or to land used for public purposes such as roads and paths under the control of local governments. This means that if your property adjoins such land you have to pay the full cost of the dividing fence. Local government laws regarding fences or what is a ‘sufficient fence’ will still apply. Sufficient fence, Local governments may have local laws that prescribe what is a sufficient fence. If you want information on what type of fence is allowed in your area, contact your local government.




Do I need my adjoining neigbours agreement before I erect a new fence?


If you wish to claim a contribution and the adjoining land is not vacant, there must be an agreement or a court order in place before erecting the fence. Where the adjoining land is vacant, you do not need an agreement. Once the fence is erected a claim for a contribution can be made on the owner when there is a substantial building erected on the land, or when the land owner occupies or permits the occupation of any building on the land. You do not need an agreement if you want to erect the fence entirely at your own expense, and forego any right to a contribution under the Act. The fence you erect must still be a ‘sufficient fence’. If you decide to erect a fence at your own expense, it is recommended that you give the adjoining owner the details of the proposal as a courtesy, and to enable them to make arrangements to protect their property or animals during the construction process. A decision to erect a fence entirely at your own cost does not give you the right to enter the adjoining owner’s property without their permission during construction.




Do I have to have more than one quote to give to my neighbour?


The Act does not specify a requirement for the obtaining of quotes but it is suggested that you should try to obtain at least two written quotes.




My neighbour is going to build a wall along the boundary and I am concerned about how it will look from my side?


This is not covered by the Dividing Fences Act 1961, however under section 88(3) of the Building Act 2011, an outward facing wall along the boundary which forms part of a garage, shed, or building is required to be of a reasonable standard. Local government may, for the purpose of imposing a condition on a building permit, or making a building order, specify the way in which an outward facing side of a close wall must be finished. Contact your local government for further information.




Can I take down the existing dividing fence without my neighbours agreement?


Once a dividing fence is erected, it becomes joint property. Both adjoining land owners are liable to maintain the fence, regardless of the contribution made to the cost of its erection. Therefore either party cannot remove, alter or damage or in any way affect the structural integrity of the dividing fence. I am about to put up my new dividing fence and want to know where on the boundary it should go. Does it have to be located wholly on my property? The fence should normally be placed along the boundary line, with half the structure in each property. Where this is not practical you may agree to locate the fence wholly in one or other property. You should record an agreement to do this in writing. The Act allows for a fence to be considered a dividing fence even when it is not on the common boundary. This means both neighbours can be asked to contribute to the cost.




What should I do about my neighbour who is refusing to pay for half of the cost of the fence?


Mediation services may be used to assist with dispute resolution. If the former attempts fail, the Act provides that the matter may be settled through the court, however, it is recommended that you try to resolve the issue through discussion with your neighbour first.




Claiming for a fence erected on vacant land?


No, not unless you have agreed to contribute before the fence is erected or unless the adjoining owner obtains a court order, before the fence is erected, requiring you to contribute. My lot was vacant and my neighbour has constructed a brick fence, do I have to pay for half of it? Yes, only if the minimum standard for a fence in that location is a brick fence. The minimum standard could be as a result of the local government’s fencing local law or town planning scheme, or through a condition of sale imposed by the developer as a covenant. As a general rule you would have to contribute half the cost of a sufficient fence, this being the minimum standard required by your local government. Dividing fences - a guide 27




I am about to build and do not like the fence my neighbour just erected and I do not want to pay them anything. Can I do this?


No, if the fence that is erected is a sufficient fence; is acceptable to the local government; and is in keeping with other fences in the immediate area, the adjoining landowner who erected it has a legal right under the Act to claim half payment of a sufficient fence when you complete your building. My neighbour built their house first and erected a fence that I did not like. I wanted a green colorbond and they erected a wooden one. I have since built my house and erected a fence on my land. My neighbour has now given me a bill for the fence they erected. Do I have to pay? Yes, the original fence is the dividing fence and you would be required to pay half the cost of it and also bear responsibility for a half share of the ongoing maintenance costs of the dividing fence. The cost for the erection and ongoing maintenance of the second fence would be yours entirely.




My neighbour has claimed from me half of the cost of the dividing fence he/she erected. I am the second owner of the property and feel that they should have got their money from the previous owner. Am I liable to pay the money claimed?


Yes, an owner or owners of adjoining land are liable to pay even if they were not the owners of the land when the fence was constructed, provided that no previous adjoining owners had paid a claim to the owner who erected the fence. The Act does not specify any time limitations for seeking a contribution of costs between owners. If you are concerned that you may have run out of time to claim from your neighbour you should seek independent legal advice. 28 Dividing fences - a guide




My neighbour and I are at about the same stage of building houses and cannot agree on a fence as we both want different materials. What can I do about this one?


The best way to erect a fence is by agreement with the adjoining owner. You should first try to resolve any differences by discussing the matter with the owner. You may wish to consult a mediator, who can assist you in resolving differences. If you cannot reach an agreement, the matter may be referred to the Magistrates Court.




My neighbours fence is ten years old. Do I have to pay for half the value of the fence when is was constructed or what it is worth now?


The requirement is for payment of half the value of the fence as at the date of claim. The person making the claim has to estimate the value. If your neighbour erected a fence of a higher standard than a sufficient fence, as defined by your local government, unless you agreed to pay the higher cost, you would only have to pay half the cost of a sufficient fence. If for example, a metal fence was erected and the sufficient fence, as defined by your local government, is a fibrous cement one, the obligation is for payment of half the cost of the lesser standard fence, being the fibrous cement one. The additional cost for the higher standard fence would be borne by the adjoining owner that requires it.




The dividing fence has been damaged by my neighbours. Why should I have to pay for half of it?


As a general rule, each of the adjoining owners must pay half the cost of repairs unless the adjoining owners agree to an alternative arrangement or the court rules differently. The Act provides for specific situations when one owner who is ‘at fault’ pays the whole cost. These specific situations are where the fence is damaged by fire or by the falling of a tree, or part of it. There must be an element of neglect by the owner at fault in these specific situations. My land survey shows that the dividing fence is out of alignment and my adjoining owner has some of my land.




Who pays for the cost of the relocation of the fence onto the correct boundary and what steps should be followed to shift the fence?


The Act defines the word ‘repair’ as including ‘realign and re-erect’, so the provisions which deal with repairing a dividing fence also apply to fences which need realignment or re-erection. You should give the necessary notice and obtain agreement before commencing work to realign and reconstruct the fence on the correct boundary line. If you are constructing an entirely different type of fence this may be considered erection of a new fence, in which case the procedure for erecting a new fence should be followed.




I am happy with my fence however, the neighbours are wanting to buy a new one. Do I have to pay for half of a new fence when I don't want it?


No, you would not have to pay for a new fence unless you agree to this or your neighbour takes you to court and is successful in obtaining an order for you to contribute to a new fence. In such a dispute, it would be necessary for the owner taking the legal action to prove that the fence is in need of replacement and cannot or should not be repaired. That owner would generally seek to support such a case to the court with photographs of the existing dividing fence and a report or testimony from expert witnesses or building practitioners.




My neighbours trees are pushing against the fence and have damaged it. I have asked that they either cut the trees down or trim. They will not agree and wish to only pay for half of the repair cost. What are my rights?


You would be required under the Act to contribute to half the cost of the repairs to the fence. If you refuse to pay your neighbour may seek a court order. For more information on tree nuisance, such as tree roots and overhanging branches visit www.legalaid.wa.gov.au




Do I have to contribute to the repair of the dividing fence if my land is vacant?


Yes, subject to Part III Sections 14 and 15(3) of the Act. 32 Dividing fences - a guide The neighbouring property is owned by the Department of Housing and the fence is in need of repair, what should I do? State Government departments are not bound by the Act, however, you should contact your nearest Department of Housing office to discuss the repair or replacement options. Who is responsible for a retaining wall (whether on the boundary or close to the boundary) to prevent soil build-up from pushing over a fence? The Act does not deal with different soil levels between adjacent land owners. One owner may allow soil build-up and the other may excavate soil away from a fence. It is recommended you seek independent legal advice with respect to liabilities and obligations in these circumstances. Should soil levels be changed as a result of building or demolition work undertaken by one party under a building permit, then the ‘Work affecting other land’ provisions of the Building Act 2011 may apply.




What is a dividing fence?


A dividing fence separates the land of different owners whether the fence is on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary. A dividing fence does not include a retaining wall. The Act does not apply to the Crown (government) or to land used for public purposes such as roads and paths under the control of local governments. This means that if your property adjoins such land you have to pay the full cost of the dividing fence. Local government laws regarding fences or what is a ‘sufficient fence’ will still apply. Local governments may have local laws that prescribe what is a sufficient fence. If you want information on what type of fence is allowed in your area, contact your local government.

A ‘sufficient fence’ is:
a fence prescribed by a local government law; or a fence of any standard agreed upon by adjoining owners provided that it does not fall below the standard prescribed by the relevant local government law. Where no local law or no agreement is made, a sufficient fence is: a substantial fence that is ordinarily capable of resisting the trespass of cattle and sheep; or a fence determined by a Magistrates Court to be a sufficient fence. If you want to erect a dividing fence of a higher standard than a sufficient fence and cannot obtain the agreement of the adjoining owner, you may only claim half the cost of erecting and maintaining a sufficient fence.

For more information on dividing fences follow the link to our blog
http://smarterstrata.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-dividing-fence-process.html




What actions do I take to fix my dividing fence?


If the fence is common property please complete the form and your strata council will review the maintenance item asap. If the fence is part of my lot, my responsibility ( community association scheme or as otherwise noted as part lot on the strata plan ) not common property, damaged by incident or accident then you can complete an Insurance Claim form. If the fence is part of my lot and **part of another owners lot or neighbouring property. You will need to get in contact with the neighbours and arrange for them and their insurance company to pay the other half. We suggest obtaining a quote and presenting it to the neighbours to agree on and then once you both agree on the same quote, to then make a claim and get the insurance company to approve you going ahead with that quote. Given it is a dividing fence and shared by two parties, your insurance company will reimburse you for 50% of your fence minus your Insurance claim excess ( from $300 - $1000.00 depending upon your policy) Your neighbour, being common property, neighbouring lot, or another adjoining property would also make a claim for the other 50% and pay an excess to their insurer.




Is my fence common property?


If your scheme was created prior o 30th June 1985, the building and areas outside the buildings are common property. Unless the boundaries have been moved by a resolution of the strata company at some time after 20th January 1997. This can be reached with Landgate. Common property is owned by all proprietors as tenants in common. This therefore confirms that the common areas, including fences, are the responsibility of all owners to repair, maintain and renew.





Contractors

What does our cleaner do?


Your cleaner maintains the property in accordance with the quotation specifications requested and accepted by your strata council. This could include attendance weekly fortnightly monthly or otherwise. These specifications and associated costs may alter dependent upon changes in your strata council, directions by your strata company, common property setup and or budget restrictions.




What does our gardener do?


Your gardener maintains the property in accordance with the quotation specifications requested and accepted by your strata council. This could include attendance weekly, fortnightly, monthly or otherwise. These specifications and associated costs may alter dependent upon changes in your strata council, directions by your strata company, common property setup and or budget restrictions.




Why can't you just send someone to fix it?


Work order requests are sent to your strata council for consideration.

Your Strata Manager is employed to assist the Strata Company/Council, we are disallowed from sending someone to site to conduct repairs, without the strata council’s prior written instruction.

The strata council will consider and review the maintenance request(s), review the property with a wholistic manner to determine the outcome of your maintenance item.





Electrical

Who is responsible for what RCDs?


All home sellers and landlords must ensure that residual current devices (RCDs) are installed in accordance with the electricity regulations to protect all power and lighting circuits.

RCDs cut the electricity supply instantly if a person touches a live part and receives a shock. By installing two or more RCDs, the property's circuits can be divided evenly between them, ensuring some light and power remains if one RCD operates. Multiple RCDs also avoid nuisance operation caused by appliances with low-level leakage currents. All properties constructed after 2000 should already have two RCDs fitted.

RCDs are not required for commercial lighting circuits, only residential.

Strata Company RCDs are the responsibility of the person who owns the area they are attached or belong to.

Part lots or Exclusive Use: It is responsibility of the Registered lot proprietor to ensure that the RCD for their lot conform to the code standard required.

RCDs for power point circuits became mandatory for commercial premises about 20 years ago. If the building was built prior to this, it didn’t require RCD’s, therefore they were not installed at the time.

Current Law sees that if electricians install a new power circuit, they must at the same time make that circuit only RCD protected as per the current regulations.

At present there is no requirement to retro fit every switchboard installed to present day standard.

Simply put, as the rules change you are required to comply with them at the time. See the below links for more updated information.

RCDs Save Lives

RCD Fact Sheet





Gas

Can you smell gas?


Residents reporting a gas leak to you should be advised to clear the area and contact ATCO.

If a gas leak is suspected, clear/ leave the area, do not use mobile phones, machinery or any other source of ignition in the vicinity and call ATCO’s 24/7 faults & emergencies contact centre 13 13 52.

ATCO will provide advice on the appropriate course of action and will arrange for an ATCO representative to attend if required.If it’s possible to safely isolate the gas supply to the source of the leak, do so. For leaks downstream of a master or sub meter, this would constitute turning the Meter Control Valve, located on the meter inlet inside of the meter box. You should then immediately engage a licensed gas fitter to rectify the leak If it is not possible to isolate the gas supply, or if you feel unsafe doing so, clear the area and immediately contact ATCO The process for addressing a gas leak regardless of the location of a gas leak, ATCO will provide advice and attend as required gas leaks upstream of a master (distribution) meter will be investigated and repaired by ATCO gas leaks downstream of a master meter will be repaired by a private gas fitter at the Strata’s expense. If a leak is detected by ATCO downstream of a master meter, it will be necessary for the gas supply to be terminated at the point of the distribution meter, the gas supply will be restored by your gas fitter upon rectification of the leak.




Having gas fitting work done?


https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/energysafety/having-gasfitting-work-done





Plumbing

How cana licensed plumber protect you and your family against scalds?


The licensed plumber will advise you on the most suitable method of regulating the water temperature called “tempering” to your bathrooms and for hot water supplied to your kitchen and laundry. This will be determined by your budget and the components that make up the hot water system such as the type of hot water unit, water pipe work requirements and whether the hot water system is for a new house, replacement work or a renovation. The Plumbers Licensing Board can order a plumber to make rectifications for a period of up to six years, if work was not undertaken correctly.




My plumbing has gurgling noises?


Gurgling noises typically indicate hair or excess waste in the pipes. In most cases it can be fixed by the owner using one or all the following;

1. A plunger

2. A drain and sink cleaner

3. Liquid Enzyme Drain Cleaner

If this doesn’t suffice,

i) Common property - strata maintenance issue? Complete a Maintenance Request Form on our website.

ii) Lot owners - hair or waste in the pipe? We use and recommend Litas Plumbing





Pests

Got termites?


Typically, strata companies in WA have a termite barrier installed. this is inspected annually with any active termites spot treated and reports of activity issued to your strata council for immediate consideration and attention.

Some strata companies only inspect common property, fronts of yards whilst others arrange inspection inside each lot.

The strata company sets a day and time with suitable notice (14 days plus) which is then issued to all owners in a notice which highlights section 39. See link - Power of a Strata Company to enter

The contractor will not pick up keys from owners or property managers nor will they be responsible for personal items if the lot is unsecure or keys are left out to access the property.




The date and time of inspection is unsuitable for me. Why can’t I select my own date and time ?


It is unnecessarily time consuming to either try and arrange a date and time meets all requirements and not financially viable for your strata company to arrange the technician to attend on different days. This is why the Strata Titles Act provides for access via Section 39.

Note that any need to reattend the property for a lot’s inspection will see all associated costs of reattendance charged to the lot owner.




How can I reduce the risk of termites invading my home?


  • Keep on top of all leaky taps, hose lines and water heater repairs inside and outside your home
  • Make sure all water from air conditioner unit and down pipes redirect away from the house
  • Keep gutters and drains clean and clear
  • Try and avert fixing any wooden exterior walls
  • Keep leafage at bay – away from house foundations
  • Keep woodchips/mulch away from outside of the house
  • If storing firewood keep outside and off the ground away from the outside of the house.
  • Keep all wood away from soil
  • Keep yard clear of stray leaves, branches and wood
  • For extra precaution you can have a Termite Barrier Installed on your property by a registered professional Pest manager





NBN

How will the NBN affect my lift?


In many cases existing infrastructure for lift emergency phones, fire alarm panels, back to base security systems, medical alert systems and landline phones can no longer be relied upon in such situations once the NBN has been connected.

For lift emergency phones which have been registered with NBN Co, an extension period will be granted until July 2017, or 18 months after NBN connection (whichever is the latter).

Schindler are currently testing compliant solutions and will have several compatible solutions available in the near future.
Unlike the previous copper network, the NBN does not guarantee continuity of service during a power outage.




What do I need to do to prepare for NBN?


Visit the NBN Co Fire and Lift Register and register your lift emergency phone.
This will ensure that NBN Co is aware that your phone line is being used as a lift emergency phone and that NBN Co will provide a temporary deferral of the disconnection date.




Do I need to change my current lift emergency phone?


In most cases existing lift emergency phones will not operate reliably in NBN connected premises. Contact your lift company to discuss the requirements of lifts in your building.




How long do I have until I need to update my lift emergency phone?


NBN have allowed a transition period of 18 months from the time of NBN connection to the disconnection of the copper network.




Who is liable for the new equipment and service charges?


Unless otherwise stated, the owner of the lift is responsible for all modifications, upgrades and service charges associated with lift hardware.





Swimming Pools & Spas

We have a swimming pool on our property, what do I need to know?


Please refer to the Rules for Pools and Spas to assist with the interpretation for the barrier requirements. Additional information can be sourced from the Dept Commerce website

Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death of children aged 0–5 years. Over the past five years, 16 toddlers have drowned in Western Australia. For every drowning death, it is estimated that 10 children are admitted to hospital following a near-drowning incident (160 children over the past five years).

In WA, domestic swimming pools are the most common site in which drowning for children aged 0–5 years occurs, with 94 per cent of drowning incidents at locations in and around the home. Of that 94 per cent, 31 per cent occurred at a relative or neighbour’s home.

These tragic incidents can be significantly reduced if we are all aware of the potential hazards of water in our everyday life, use simple prevention methods and learn the life saving skill of resuscitation.

There are specific laws in WA that mandate the installation of a safety barrier to enclose private swimming and spa pools.

The laws are intended to protect the safety of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.

The Building Regulations 2012 require all private swimming and spa pools that contain water to a depth greater than 300 mm to have a compliant safety barrier.

This requirement extends to portable swimming pools. These regulations have changed over time and Western Australia have two sets of safety barrier requirements depending when the pool or spa was installed or when plans for the installation of the pool were submitted to the permit authority.

For new private swimming pools and spas that were built post 1 May 2016 the safety barrier requirements are those of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2016. The BCA references AS 1926.1:2012 (Safety barriers for swimming pools) and AS 1926.2:2007 (Location of safety barriers for swimming pools) incorporating amendments 1 and 2.

For existing private swimming pools and spas that were built before 1 May 2016 continue to comply with their existing requirements under the Regulations. Plans that were approved prior to this date but installed on or after 1 May 2016 may also continue to comply with the existing requirements under the Regulations.

Owners also have the option to comply with the post May 2016 requirements if they so choose. A building permit is generally required in order to modify the barrier.





Building Warranties

Does my building have a warranty?


The following information is from Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

A warranty is an agreement between a contractor and the consumer and not necessarily a requirement under legislation but more for a commercial benefit.

Building and energy provides a dispute resolution process under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011, which enables persons adversely affected by the carrying out of building service, or alleged breach of a home building work contract to lodge a complaint.

Building service complaints may be lodged within 6 years of practical completion being achieved

Home building work contract complaints must be lodged within 3 years from when the dispute arose, or the contract was entered into, whichever is earlier.

Home Building Contracts / Contracts Act and Guide

Home Building Contracts less than $20,000.00

In accordance with the Home Building Contracts Act 2009 HII is required for most residential building work with the minimum value of $20,000.

Home Indemnity Insurance

Should you have any further enquiries please call Building and Energy on 1300 489 099 or refer to Building Commission | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Dispute Resolution process

Building and Energy provides a dispute resolution process under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011, which enables persons adversely affected by the carrying out of building service, or alleged breach of a home building work contract to lodge a complaint.

Building service complaints may be lodged within 6 years of practical completion being achieved whereas home building work contract complaints must be lodged within 3 years from when the dispute arose or the contract was entered into, whichever is earlier.

Prior to lodging a compliant it is recommended you read the building service and home building work contract complaints page from the website which provides further information regarding all preliminary requirements and explains the process and outcomes available.

In dealing with a building service or home building work contact complaint, the Commissioner may; dismiss a complaint; commence conciliation proceedings; issue building or home building work contract remedy orders, or refer the complaint to the State Administrative Tribunal for determination.

Should you have any further enquiries please call Building and Energy on 1300 489 099 or refer to Building Commission | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety





Strata Companies

What and who is the Strata Company?


Watch this quick vid to find out!

Management Of Strata Companies

Who is the Strata Company, isn’t that the Strata Manager?

Click Link to watch Video Who is the Strata Company?

Click Link to watch Video What does the Strata Manager Do?




What is the duty of the Strata Company?


Strata Titles Act Section 35 Duties of Strata Companies

See the new proposed reform here also.

As written in the Strata Titles Act

(1)A strata company shall —

(a)enforce the by‑laws; and

(b)control and manage the common property for the benefit of all the proprietors; and

(c)keep in good and serviceable repair, properly maintain and, where necessary, renew and replace —

(i)the common property, including the fittings, fixtures and lifts used in connection with the common property; and

(ii)any personal property vested in the strata company, and to do so whether damage or deterioration arises from fair wear and tear, inherent defect or any other cause; and

(e)cause to be recorded in a loose‑leaf or bound book particulars of the purport of notices served on the strata company under this or any other Act, orders under Part VI served on the strata company and orders made by a court and served on the strata company and, in relation to each such notice or order —

(i)the date on which it was served and the manner of service; and

(ii)the part of the parcel to which it relates; and

(iii)the date by which compliance therewith is required; and

(iv)the date on which it is complied with;

and

(f)cause to be kept minutes of its meetings, which shall include particulars of motions passed at those meetings, and proper books of account in respect of moneys received or expended by the strata company showing the items in respect of which the moneys were received or expended; and

(g)cause to be prepared from the books of account referred to in paragraph (f), a proper statement of accounts of the strata company in respect of each period commencing on the date of registration of the strata/survey‑strata plan or the date up to which the last previous such statement was prepared and ending on a date not earlier than 2 months before each annual general meeting; and

(h)cause to be retained for the prescribed period —

(i)the records kept under, and the notices and orders referred to in, paragraph (e); and

(ii)the minutes and books of account referred to in paragraph (f); and

(iii)the statements of account referred to in paragraph (g); and

(iv)copies of correspondence received and sent by the strata company; and

(v)notices of meetings of the strata company and its council; and

(vi)proxies delivered to the strata company; and

(vii)voting papers relating to motions for resolutions by the strata company and to the election of office holders and the council; and

(viii)records of unanimous and special resolutions passed by proprietors; and

(ix)such other documents as may be prescribed;

and

(i)cause to be continuously available and suitably placed on the parcel a receptacle suitable for purposes of postal delivery with the name of the strata company clearly shown on it; and

(j)effect insurance in accordance with Division 4; and

(k)comply with notices and orders of any competent public authority or local government requiring repairs to or work to be done in respect of the parcel or building, or anything in, on or over it.

(2)A strata company that contravenes subsection (1)(e) or (f) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding $400.

[Section 35 amended: No. 58 of 1995 s. 37, 94 and 95; No. 14 of 1996 s. 4.]




Can a member of the Council of Owners be absent from a meeting and not have an appointed proxy be entitled to vote on agenda items by a previously sent e-mail to all councillors?


Unless your property has any specific by laws saying otherwise, then under the strata titles Act of WA Schedule 1 By Law 8 this is what is specified. Essentially it is up to the council to regulate how they see fit. 8. Meetings of Council (1)At meetings of the council, all matters shall be determined by a simple majority vote. (2)The council may — (a)meet together for the conduct of business and adjourn and otherwise regulate its meetings as it thinks fit, but the council shall meet when any member of the council gives to the other members not less than 7 days’ notice of a meeting proposed by him, specifying in the notice the reason for calling the meeting.





Levies

How are strata levies determined?

The levies are typically set by your strata council (not the Strata Managers) however, sometimes your strata council may ask your strata manager to recommend a budget based upon last year’s expenses plus CPI or projected expenses. This budget is then proposed by your strata council at your AGM, and then adopted by owners, the levies are raised and collected based upon these projected expenses.




What is the administration levy?


Administrative levies cover the ongoing fixed costs of your strata company being; insurance and maintenance of common property. Items included however, are not limited to are:

Routine building maintenance, gardening, pool services, gym services, common area electricity/water, lift maintenance, administrative, debt collection, legal, consultant and strata manager’s fees etc. As identified within the budget adopted by your strata company at your AGM.

If you believe that your levies are high it is best to get involved with your strata company, attend your general meetings and nominate to be on the Council of Owners. It is normal to have an increase in annual levies as costs for services and trades are also increased annually in line with CPI. Levies are usually higher in buildings that have more amenities and services or because the building may be old therefore requiring regular scheduled maintenance.




What is the reserve levy?


The Reserve levy is more like a savings account. A contingency fund for accruing funds that are long term projects, or projects that are at the end of their serviceable period; such as painting, lifts etc. This levy accrues over time alleviating the need for a specific purpose levy. Once the reform has been passed this reserve levy will be a holding account for your 5 – 10-year maintenance plans.




What is the specific purpose levy?


Also known as special levies, they are for just that a, nominated specific purpose that arises from time to time, such as painting the entire building, re-roofing, new lift. They are typically larger expense items where there are insufficient funds in the reserve account or admin account to be transferred to a project and the money needs to be raised over a shorter, longer or specific timeframe.

Your strata council is a management team of various skills and experience Should you wish to get involved in your strata company attend your general meetings, nominate yourself as council member and be an active owner. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.




When can levies be changed?


Why then, might you receive an invoice for the strata levy for the first quarter of the new financial year?

It’s because there is often a lag time between the end of the previous financial year and the next AGM – The Act states that not more than 15 months shall elapse between the date of one AGM and that of the next – Schedule 1 By-law 11 (1). This means the next AGM might potentially be a few months into the new financial year – after the levies collected for the previous year have run out.

The practical truth is that a certain amount of funds is required to run the scheme, and these are raised throughout the year, typically every quarter. So, a levy will be due for this period. If it’s not charged because of the time lag before the next General Meeting, then the strata corporation may run into a cashflow problem.




Is it legal to continue to raise levies if no AGM has been held?


If another quarter’s levy is not included from the previous financial year’s General Meeting, the “additional “levy cannot be charged.

Typically, the motion relating to budget and levies is in order to raise funds for the next financial year. However, to ensure there are enough funds for cash flow purposes it is best practice to include a quarter or even two on from this, allowing time to hold the next AGM. It will simply carry over for the first quarter of the new financial year and can be adjusted using “extra: Levy” once the new budget is accepted.




My levy payment has gone missing?


If you believe that we haven’t received your levy payment or the amount doesn’t correlate with what you have paid follow the below steps.

Review your bank statement – have the funds come out of your bank account or reversed back?

If you made cheque payment and the cheque funds have not cleared from your account - then we recommend that you cancel the cheque and reissue immediately OR to avoid further overdue fees make payment by Bpay.

If Bpay and the payment has not cleared we recommend that you review your online banking statement and see what has occurred, BPay payments are debited immediately from one’s account and will deposit into the payee account 24 – 72 hours later.

Sometimes people mistakenly pay someone else therefore review your bank statement and see whether the payment IOD number matches the number on the levy notice – if it doesn’t, see who this person is in your previous accounts paid list OR contact your bank and seek reimbursement. Depending upon the recipient it can take weeks to receive a credit back therefore In the interim to avoid additional fees and charges to your levies we recommend immediate payment.

Omit a number, therefore review your bank statement and see whether the funds have been returned to your account, typically they have therefore payment may be made. If not, we recommend contacting your bank and to avoid additional fees and charges, to avoid additional fees and charges to your levies we recommend immediate payment.

You may access your lot levy statement through the Portal If you have misplaced your password, you may select the “lost password” icon and a new password will be issued to you.

If no reply or payment is received in full by the due date your Strata Company will proceed with Debt Recovery in accordance with your Strata Company Debt Recovery Policy and By Law.

If you believe that everything is in order as listed above, and payment should have been received, then we ask that you complete this form. Payment query form




Is it a levy notice or an invoice?


We often get asked for a copy of a strata company invoice.
Did you know that a levy notice is just that? It is a notice. It isn’t an invoice. Reprints of your levy notices therefore are not possible once the due date has expired or the payment has been made. If your accountant is asking for a copy of your levy invoice, then provide them with your AGM minutes and a proof of your payment. i.e. bank account/credit card statement.

Levy notices are just a reminder and are not required to be issued under the Strata Titles Act of WA. Your AGM minutes depict the way in which your levies are paid. Should you misplace your levy notice, you will always be able to find the details you need in your AGM minutes.




Are members of the council able to attend AGM's if they have unpaid levies due? If so, are they allowed to vote?


Under the Strata Titles Act of WA - Schedule 1 – By-laws 14. Votes on Proprietors (1)On a show of hands each proprietor has one vote. (2)On a poll the proprietors have the same number of votes as the unit entitlements of their respective lots. (6)Except in cases where by or under the act a unanimous resolution or a resolution without dissent is required, no proprietor is entitled to vote at any general meeting unless all contributions payable in respect of his/her lot have been duly paid and any other moneys recoverable under the act by the strata company from them at the date of the notice given to proprietors of the meeting have been duly paid before the commencement of the meeting.




How do I set up a recurring payment schedule via DEFT?


For a step-by-step guide, see the DEFT guide for payers. 1. Log in to DEFT from ‘Log in’ in the top-right corner of the page. 2. Enter your username email address and password, and select ‘Log in’. 3. Select the blue ‘Make a payment’ button. 4. Select or enter your DEFT reference number. Your existing DEFT reference numbers will be available for selection from the drop down list. Otherwise, select ‘Add DEFT reference number’ to enter the number for the biller you need to pay. 5. Select your payment schedule. To set up a recurring payment schedule, select ‘Recurring’.

  • To make a single payment today, select ‘Pay now’. See the FAQ, “How do I make a one-off pay now payment by logging into DEFT?”
  • To make a future dated payment, select ‘Pay later’. “How do I set up a one-off future payment?”
6. Select the payment frequency – choose whether you want the payment to occur every week, fortnight, month, quarter or year. 7. Select the payment schedule – choose whether you want the payment to continue with no end date (you can cancel it later), to end on a specific date, or to occur for a specific number of payments (we’ll automatically work out the end date). 8. Select the payment start date – select the date and then select ‘Confirm’. This is the date of the first payment, and all subsequent payments will occur from that date at the frequency you’ve specified. 9. Check your details, then select ‘Next’. Note - if the ‘Next’ button is disabled, this means you’ve missed a mandatory field. Check you’ve provided all the details for the payment schedule including start date, payment frequency, payment schedule, the payment method, and payment amount. 10. Review the details of your payment schedule. Select ‘Edit’ to go back and make any changes, or if all correct, select ‘Schedule now’. 11. Wait for your payment schedule to be processed. Do not click back or interrupt the screen. A confirmation message will appear to advise if the payment schedule was successful. If the payment schedule was unsuccessful you will be shown a message to advise what went wrong. Select ‘OK’. 12. You will be taken to the ‘Scheduled payments’ page where you can see the payment schedule you just created.





Financial

I own a property, can I claim a tax deduction?


It's a new financial year! If you own a property that is income generating, you can claim a tax deduction. This generally means that your property must either be rented or used as the setting for your business. The below info graphic supplied by Leary & Partners outlines common items that can save you money by getting a Taxation Depreciation schedule form a Quantity Surveyor.

If you would like to learn more visit Leary & Partners website here.




How does a Strata company seek approval of expenditure which is beyond what has been budgeted for?


The Strata company may exceed budget by way of:

  • Prescribed fee of $65.00 per lot – for specific maintenance work or other matters without going to a general meeting. (see section 47 STA and regulation 29 of the STGR). The amount prescribed per lot may be increased by a special resolution of the strata company, within a budget passed at a meeting of the strata company or by an order of SAT

  • Section 47 notice - If the funds are available by way of Section 47 – detail as follows. Expenditure approval at general meetings If any of the exceptions do not apply, then before the council may exceed the expenditure limit it must be approved at a general meeting of the strata company. If the proposed expenditure is for the performance of work or to purchase goods, at least two (2) tenders must be presented at the meeting (see section 47 STA)

  • SAT can also authorise expenditure in an emergency.

  • General meeting - If any of the above exceptions do not apply, then before the council may exceed the expenditure limit it must be approved at a general meeting of the strata company. If the proposed expenditure is for the performance of work or to purchase goods. A section 47 notice 47(3)) of the Strata Titles Act is a notice served on all registered proprietors of the Strata company by the Stata council for any non-budgets or motioned common property expenses and where funds are available.

Restrictions of Expenditure




How is a section 47 notice issued?


The strata council serves a written notice on all proprietors and first mortgagees of all lots in the scheme setting out the expenditure required. The proprietors and first mortgagees then have 14 days to respond to the notice which is approved unless, within 14 days: written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of more than 25 percent of the lots or written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of lots of which the unit entitlement is at least 25 percent of the aggregate unit entitlement of the lots in the scheme.

It is important to note that property therefore if this expenditure is necessary it is in best interest of all owners that approval is provided.





Strata Manager

What does a Strata Manager do?


Larger strata schemes often employ strata managers to assist the council to carry out some of the duties of the strata company. The strata manager may be a company or an individual. This does not remove the need for a strata council. Rather, it may increase the need for one, to ensure the strata manager is effectively instructed and monitored. While the strata manager is the servant of the strata company, the quality and level of service the strata company receives from the strata manager often depends on effective instruction and control of the strata manager by the strata company, or the strata council (see schedule, 1 bylaw 8) The only powers strata managers have, are those given to them by the strata company. Generally, the strata manager cannot make decisions on behalf of the strata company and cannot do anything that requires a resolution of the strata company.




What are the Strata Management agreed services?


The strata manager is appointed by the strata company to assist them with some or all of their duties as prescribed by the Strata Titles Act. The Strata Management industry body SCAWA has a specific management agreement which defines these duties. These agreements are used by a majority of strata managers in Perth.

Duties of A Strata Company

Abode Strata Agreed Services




What are the additional services?


These are services outside the management agreement.





Strata Council

Who is the Strata Council?


The Strata Company must elect a strata council / committee at each annual general meeting. The committee is made up of registered lot proprietors.

The Strata Council is responsible for

  • the administrative and day-to-day running of the Strata Company
  • making decisions on behalf of the Strata Company
  • enforcing the bylaws/ decisions of the Strata Company

Functions of the Strata Council

Council Members

A Strata Council must have at least 3 members or can have two members and one vacancy.

The maximum number of committee members for schemes 7 unless the management statement says otherwise.

This will usually include a chairperson, secretary and treasurer (known as the executive positions). A person may hold all or any 2 executive positions.

Chairperson

The chairperson must chair all general meetings and committee meetings they attend. If the chairperson is not at a meeting, the voters who are there can choose another person to chair that meeting.

When chairing a general meeting , the chairperson’s duties include:

  • ruling a motion out of order if
    • it is unlawful or unenforceable
    • it conflicts with a by-law
    • the substance of the motion was not included in the agenda for the meeting
  • declaring the results of votes on motions at the meeting
  • confirming that each ballot paper is the vote of a person who has the right to vote in the election (where a ballot for a council position is needed)
  • declaring the result of an election for a council position.

If the chairperson rules a motion out of order, they must give reasons, and give the meeting the chance to overturn their decision.

The chairperson does not have more authority than anyone else on the committee.

Check out our quick vid for more! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=wxeZPA1TYAU




Who can be a Strata Councilor?


The members of the Council must all be registered proprietors, they therefore have the same personal and financial interest in the property. Each Councillor has one vote at a Council meeting, and this ensures that a dominant personality doesn’t easily run the strata company to suit their personal goals.

As a Council Member it’s not necessary to reside on site, as investors also make great Councillors. It’s a good idea, however, to have at least one owner who resides on site and who all members can access by email, so that they can communicate in between meetings if necessary. It’s important to have a balance of viewpoints and from our experience it’s often helpful to have both non-resident and new owners as members of the Council.

You may be suitable if you have an interest in maintaining value and harmony and particularly if you have any financial, business or property management background.




How much work is involved being a Strata Councilor?


Councillors volunteer their time and knowledge on behalf of their fellow owners and while this does involve a degree of commitment it also offers the opportunity for you to have a firsthand involvement in the management process.

Most Councillors find their involvement to be interesting and rewarding.

If your Strata Company appoints a Strata Manager, s/he will manage most of the day-to-day matters. Your Strata Manager will regularly report to and seek instruction from the Council on financial, insurance, behaviour, maintenance and other significant matters as they arise.

If there is no Strata Manager appointed, then the Council is responsible for these matters, including enforcing by-laws, common property issues, major expenses, collecting unpaid levies, disputes with or between owners, insurance claims, budgeting, and holding general meetings.




What if we have no Strata Council?


If there’s no Strata Council, then even the most mundane decision incurs the cost and inconvenience of a general meeting. When there is a Strata Council, but it chooses not to take an active supervisory role, there can easily be misunderstandings and dispute. In our experience the best managed Strata Companies have a fully involved and active Council overseeing a professional manager who is properly instructed to exercise his or her delegated authority.




Who can call a council meeting?


A committee meeting may be called by any council member serving written notice which includes the notice and agenda to other council members with no less than 7 days notice.

Council Meeting Agenda

The notice of the meeting must include an agenda that lists the issues to be considered. The committee can also consider other issues that are not on the agenda.




What is the quorum for a council meeting?


A quorum is the minimum number of members that must be present before a meeting can start. For a committee meeting a quorum is at least half the voting members of the committee.

If there are 6 voting members of the committee, a quorum is 3.

If there are 7 voting members of the committee, a quorum is 4.




Who chairs the council meeting?


The chairperson must chair all committee meetings he or she attends. If the chairperson is absent, another member can be chosen to chair the meeting by those present who are eligible to vote.




What if a council member has a conflict of interest?


If a committee member is about to vote on a motion being decided at a committee meeting or by vote outside a committee meeting, they must disclose any direct or indirect interest in the issue.

If a member discloses a direct or indirect interest in the issue the member is not entitled to vote on a motion involving the issue. This applies if the interest could conflict with the appropriate performance of the member’s duties.




Who can attend?


Non-voting members can be invited to attend the council meeting, however may be asked to be absent for certain agenda items if decided by the council.. For example, if the committee are discussing the person’s engagement or a known conflict of interest the person must not be present. (This

Other persons can be invited to attend a committee meeting by the committee. A non-member may only observe the meeting and may only speak if invited to. They can be directed to leave if they do not comply.




Do minutes of the council meetings need to be kept?


The committee must keep full and accurate minutes of each committee meeting. Full and accurate minutes include:

  • The date, time and place of the meeting
  • The names of people present and details of the capacity in which they attended the meeting (e.g. a committee member or a lot owner)
  • Details of proxies tabled
  • The words of each motion voted on
  • The results of voting on motions, including the votes for and against
  • Details of any correspondence, reports, notices or other documents tabled
  • The time the meeting closed
  • Details of the next scheduled meeting
  • The secretary's name and contact address

Best practice sees the minutes of a council meeting distributed to fellow council members within 21 days of the meeting.




Can the strata council appoint a strata manager, or does it have to be motioned within a general meeting?


Strata Council authority to appoint

The Strata council, as part of its function to manage has the power to appoint and terminate contractors; agents and employees as they see fit.

Strata Council – Info below taken from the Act – see link.

Functions of councils

The functions of a strata company shall, subject to this Act and to any restriction imposed or direction given at a general meeting, be performed by the council of the strata company.

The council of a strata company shall be constituted and shall perform its functions in accordance with and in the manner provided by the by-laws of the strata company.

Schedule 1 By-Laws taken from the Act - see link.

Meetings of council

At meetings of the council, all matters shall be determined by a simple majority vote.

The council may —

(a) Meet together for the conduct of business and adjourn and otherwise regulate its meetings as it thinks fit, but the council shall meet when any member of the council gives to the other members not less than 7 days’ notice of a meeting proposed by him, specifying in the notice the reason for calling the meeting;

(b) Employ on behalf of the strata company such agents and employees as it thinks fit in connection with the control and management of the common property and the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the strata company; ( the interpretation of this within the Act includes terminating and ceasing of services and agents, a strata manager is deemed a service provider, the same as a gardener, electrician etc)

(c) Subject to any restriction imposed or direction given at a general meeting of the strata company, delegate to one or more of its members such of its powers and duties as it thinks fit, and at any time revoke the delegation.

(d) A member of a council may appoint a proprietor, or an individual authorised under section 45 of the Act by a corporation which is a proprietor, to act in his place as a member of the council at any meeting of the council and any proprietor or individual so appointed shall, when so acting, be deemed to be a member of the council.

(e) A proprietor or individual may be appointed under sub-bylaw (3) whether or not he is a member of the council.

(f) If a person appointed under sub-bylaw (3) is a member of the council he may, at any meeting of the council, separately vote in his capacity as a member and on behalf of the member in whose place he has been appointed to act.

(g) The council shall keep minutes of its proceedings.

Other critical information to consider

Below is some information to assist you with cessation of strata management, we are more than happy to assist you with all or part of the following process.

Termination of your strata manager

Is there an existing strata management agreement in place? If so, refer to the strata management agreement to see;

a) Dates of the contract

b) Successive Terms noted, if any

c) Is the contract signed by the council members (two must sign)

d) Termination clause, typically 15 of the Standard SCAWA agreement

The Termination clause will typically state the terms in which the contract may be terminated outside the “normal “agreement due to Material Breach, Mutual termination, and other reasons as outlined within this clause.

AGM/ GM

Was a motion passed at an AGM pertaining to the appointment of the strata company manager, if so what period, any other information, defining comments / contract etc.

Termination

The strata company may then, based upon the information collected as above decide whether to proceed with Termination and if so, how i.e. termination due to Material Breach, Mutual termination or Notice of Cessation.

The notice of cessation is best facilitated in writing to the Strata Company manager, advising them of the termination date and handover of all strata company records etc to the new manager and if necessary other restrictions such as expenditure etc may be imposed.

The Strata Company may also attempt to negotiate an early exit, pay a negotiated exit fee i.e. two months fee instead of three and exit/ handover to the new manager at say 1 – 2 months.




How do you vote off a council member?


Below is the process for election of council. Essentially if a person wished to be on the council but doesn’t meet the below requirements then they wouldn’t be able to become a council member.

Strata Titles Act of WA - Schedule 1 — By-laws

5. Election of council

The procedure for nomination and election of members of a council shall be in accordance with the following rules —

(1)The meeting shall determine, in accordance with the requirements of by‑law 4(3) the number of persons of whom the council shall consist.

(2)The chairman shall call upon those persons present and entitled to nominate candidates to nominate candidates for election to the council.

(3)A nomination is ineffective unless supported by the consent of the nominee to his nomination, given —

(a)in writing, and furnished to the chairman at the meeting; or

(b)orally by a nominee who is present at the meeting.

(4)When no further nominations are forthcoming, the chairman —

(a)where the number of candidates equals the number of members of the council determined in accordance with the requirements of by‑law 4(3), shall declare those candidates to be elected as members of the council;

(b)where the number of candidates exceeds the number of members of the council as so determined, shall direct that a ballot be held.

(5)If a ballot is to be held, the chairman shall —

(a)announce the names of the candidates; and

(b)cause to be furnished to each person present and entitled to vote a blank paper in respect of each lot in respect of which he is entitled to vote for use as a ballot‑paper.

(6)A person who is entitled to vote shall complete a valid ballot‑paper by —

(a)writing thereon the names of candidates, equal in number to the number of members of the council so that no name is repeated; and

(b)indicating thereon the number of each lot in respect of which his vote is cast and whether he so votes as proprietor or first mortgagee of each such lot or as proxy of the proprietor or first mortgagee; and

(c)signing the ballot‑paper; and

(d)returning it to the chairman.

(7)The chairman, or a person appointed by him, shall count the votes recorded on valid ballot‑papers in favour of each candidate.

(8)Subject to sub‑bylaw (9), candidates, being equal in number to the number of members of the council determined in accordance with by‑law 4(3), who receive the highest numbers of votes shall be declared elected to the council.

(9)Where the number of votes recorded in favour of any candidate is the lowest of the numbers of votes referred to in sub‑bylaw (8) and —

(a)that number equals the number of votes recorded in favour of any other candidate; and

(b)if each of those candidates were to be declared elected the number of persons elected would exceed the number of persons required to be elected,

as between those candidates, the election shall be decided by a show of hands of those present and entitled to vote.




How can we change the council of owners if the existing chairman currently holds a majority of proxies?


The role of strata council is an important one with many responsibilities. At a properly constituted meeting, - see Schedule 1 By law 11 - the chairperson is required to consider the proxies as valid or not and then follow the process in accordance with Schedule 1 By law 5 Election of Council. For ease of understanding this process, I prefer including the link to the specific section within the Act, this way owners may read and navigate through this section and any other areas of interest at the same time. See Schedule 1 By Law 5 (1) - 9 (b) for full details on Council nomination process, validity, voting and ballots. Prior preparation prevents poor performance, with any well prepared meeting prior preparation always sees a better outcome. If you believe that your existing council has a hold, so to speak, then it is best that well prior to your AGM the owners seeking to be nominated/appointed either try and communicate with the existing council seeking their endorsement OR seek other owners support of their nomination. Council may be elected in as a majority vote or a by a Ballot – see Schedule 1 By law 5 especially (4) & (5) You do also mention why you believe your strata council isn’t acting in the best interest. I have attached a link to the current Strata Titles Act Austlii edition, I personally this link is easier to navigate around / copy and paste. If you believe your strata council are not acting in the best interest of your strata company. Then write to the chairperson noting your concerns in a simple, clear and objective manner and ask for further clarification, or better still ask to meet and discuss the scheme. If there is no resolution and if any owner believes the strata council has contravened the STA then they may apply to SAT – State Administrative Tribunal for orders. This is general advise only, owners are to seek their own professional or legal advise. We can offer further assistance, however, to avoid risk, liability, unnecessary conflict and drama we suggest employing the services of a professional strata manager.





Insurance

What is residential strata insurance?


Strata insurance generally covers common or shared property as defined on the Strata Plan. This might include the structure or building itself, common areas, lifts, pools, car parks, gardens, wiring, balconies, walls, windows, ceilings and floors – but the inclusions vary from property to property. Strata insurance must also provide liability cover in the event people are injured on common property. The insurance policy issued is to protect against accidental loss or damage which is usually a result of a fortuitous, singular, one-off event and does not cover general wear tear/ maintenance items.




What does residential Strata Insurance cover?


Strata insurance generally has restrictions to the policy expressed as exclusions. Each insurer has different exclusions and policy terms and conditions. Exclusions can be for certain risks, such as landslip or flood, or for certain property features, such as fencing. Be very vigilant about what is included in your policy and remember that strata insurance policies do not cover your contents and personal items (chattels).




What doesn't residential strata insurance cover?


Strata insurance generally has restrictions to the policy expressed as exclusions. Each insurer has different exclusions and policy terms and conditions. Exclusions can be for certain risks, such as landslip or flood, or for certain property features, such as fencing. Be very vigilant about what is included in your policy and remember that strata insurance policies do not cover your contents and personal items (chattels).




Who pays Residential Strata Insurance?


The cost of insurance is shared by all lot owners in accordance with their unit entitlement allocation or as otherwise directed by management statement or by-law.




Are these repairs covered under insurance or maintenance?


The insurance policy for the property is like your cars insurance i.e. claims may be made due to impact, incident or accident, however not due to maintenance or faulty workmanship e.g. If the wall damage is caused by incident or accident; i.e. impact it may be insurance claimable. The Insurance claim excess would be paid by the person who owns the wall i.e. common property (strata company) or part lot (owner(s))

However, if the wall damage is cause by poor workmanship this is not insurance claimable and the repairs would be borne by the person who owns the wall i.e. common property (strata company) or part lot (owner(s))




Is the insurance current? When was it last updated?


The replacement cost of a building will change every couple of years, and you want to be sure that your building is properly insured for its current replacement value. It’s also a good idea to review exactly what the strata insurance covers you for.




Can I note my financier for my individual lot on the Common Certificate of Insurance?


Strata Company insurance is in the name of the strata company, therefore the insurers will not note your financier as having a registered interest, however, should typically treat each party or entity as a third-party beneficiary without notification or specification provided such interest is fully disclosed to us in the event of a loss or damage. This has been acceptable by financiers to date.




Can I make a claim on replacing the old, worn wheels to my balcony sliding door?


With respect to insure property, the policy issued is to protect against accidental loss or damage which is usually as result of a fortuitous, singular, one off event and does not cover general wear such as this. If you are unsure as to whether you have a valid claim you can submit a claim online for review. The question of coverage will be fully assessed if you do lodge a claim.




What is an insurance valuation?


A building insurance valuation is undertaken to assess the estimated cost of reinstatement for a development, taking into consideration factors such as the cost of rebuilding, cost escalation over the lead in and construction period, demolition and removal of debris and professional fees. Another important consideration is whether the development could be reconstructed to the same height, plot ratio or density under the current Town Planning Scheme.

This scenario is most common in areas where zoning densities have changed over the years which can potentially result in a ‘unit shortfall’. Essentially this means the existing development exceeds what would normally be allowed on the parent site with current planning requirements. An example of this may include a development of say 10 single level villas on a site which could only accommodate 7 units, or a 5-storey building which could only be reconstructed to three levels as a result of planning amendments since the time the development was constructed. Another example may be a road reservation impacting the parent site which could potentially limit the effective land area and therefore lot yield.
In the instance of a unit shortfall, it is important to consider what impact this would have on the strata owners if major damage, or a total loss were to occur. In the example of the single level villas above, there would potentially be 3-unit owners that could not have their property rebuilt which is why it is important to ensure your sum insured provides adequate cover to put you in as close to the same position as possible.

Answers provided by Hemsley Paterson Valuers, a preferred supplier to Abode Strata

See link below in the event of a unit shortfall, we can provide advice on the scenarios shown.

Hemsley Paterson Lot owner’s shortfall scenario




We are a 5 lot built Strata titled property and would like to self-insure our own lots and insure the common property driveway separately, costs for that borne by all owners?


Depending on the property itself, they may be allowed to insure separately. Usually if there are 5 lots or less and the only common property that exists is a driveway, the lot proprietors can by a resolution without dissent resolve to insure separately, however, if any lot owner doesn’t agree you are obliged to insure as a built stratum.
Individually insuring your own property will also limit the registered lot proprietors’ options for cover over the common property and their individual lots. For example, CHU & SCI will not provide cover for common property alone if it is a registered built strata (only for survey strata do they offer common property cover) and most home insurers will not provide cover for individual lots on a strata scheme due to the concerns around shared liability and the registered lot proprietor must disclose to their insurer that their lot does form part of a strata plan.

Abode Strata is a distributor for Honan’s insurance Brokers, who assisted with provision of the above information.




Does the strata company have to keep copies of building plans, if so how long?


Regulation 25 (2) (c) STGR relates to “material delivered under section 49(3) by an original proprietor to a strata company at its first annual general meeting.

First Annual general Meeting




Appointment of Administrator: Who can do the job?


This response is contributed by Mark Atkinson, legal specialist in Strata Law. Visit Atkinson Legal for more information or to make contact. Atkinson Legal
The appointment of an administrator to a strata company pursuant to Section 102 Strata Titles Act 1985 is a drastic remedy of last resort.
The State Administrative Tribunal will be reluctant to appoint an administrator if it believes that the strata company is “endeavouring to address necessary issues confronting the strata company”: Huning and the Owners of Glengarry 240 Mill Point Road, South Perth, Strata Plan 2684 [2010] WASAT 40. Only if it is clear to the Tribunal that the strata company is refusing, failing or unable to carry out its functions, will the Tribunal consider appointing an administrator.
Consequently, most cases before the Tribunal involve a dispute as to whether or not an administrator should be appointed. Given that this is a remedy of last resort, the Tribunal has appointed an administrator on only three occasions.
The recent Tribunal decision of The Owners of 43 Kinsella Street Joondanna Strata Plan 14493 and Sjepcevich [2014] WASAT 15 concerned lot owners who agreed that an administrator should be appointed. That was where any agreement ended. The lot owners disagreed as to who should be appointed and the period of appointment. The parties each proposed a nominee. This gave the Tribunal an opportunity to consider the functions expected of an administrator to this strata company before deciding who would be the most suitable person to take on the role. These functions, as described by the Tribunal, were:

"general administration of the scheme; securing the services of a strata manager for the period after the lapse of the administrator’s appointment; obtaining records of expenditure and the auditing of books; consideration of legal proceedings, including the validity of contracts and resolutions; and management decisions for the short, medium and long-term.”

In this decision, the administrator chosen from the nominees was given plenary powers as provided for in Section 102(2)(a). The term of appointment, remuneration and an indemnity were also included in the orders. If the appointment of an administrator looks inevitable, strata companies should endeavour to at least agree on a proposed administrator. As the Tribunal said this should be someone who is “suitable, qualified, a specialist in the strata title field, and independent to the dispute.”

This was the case in Hockey & Anor and Owners of Mount Bakewell Resort Strata Plan 18228 [2013] WASAT 64 where the Tribunal found that the strata company had become so dysfunctional that it was clear that an administrator was needed. The applicants proposed that Mark Atkinson of Atkinson Legal be appointed as administrator. The Tribunal decided that Mark Atkinson was “eminently well qualified and suitable for appointment as administrator based on his legal qualifications and experience in the strata industry.”

Atkinson Legal specialises in strata law and are well equipped to answer the many issues raised by owners, strata companies and their councils, managers and sales agents. Seek advice early to avoid the problems experienced by these strata companies.




How does a Strata company seek approval of expenditure which is beyond what has been budgeted for?


The Strata company may exceed budget by way of:

i) Prescribed fee of $65.00 per lot – for particular maintenance work or other matters without going to a general meeting. (see section 47 STA and regulation 29 of the STGR).

The amount prescribed per lot may be increased by a special resolution of the strata company, within a budget passed at a meeting of the strata company or by an order of SAT.

ii) Section 47 notice - If the funds are available by way of Section 47 – detail as follows. Expenditure approval at general meetings If any of the exceptions do not apply, then before the council may exceed the expenditure limit it must be approved at a general meeting of the strata company. If the proposed expenditure is for the performance of work or to purchase goods, at least two (2) tenders must be presented at the meeting (see section 47 STA)

iii)SAT can also authorise expenditure in an emergency.

iv)General meeting - If any of the above exceptions do not apply, then before the council may exceed the expenditure limit it must be approved at a general meeting of the strata company. If the proposed expenditure is for the performance of work or to purchase goods.

A section 47 notice 47(3)) of the Strata Titles Act is a notice served on all registered proprietors of the Strata company by the Stata council for any non-budgets or motioned common property expenses and where funds are available.

How?

The strata council serves a written notice on all proprietors and first mortgagees of all lots in the scheme setting out the expenditure required. The proprietors and first mortgagees then have 14 days to respond to the notice which is approved unless, within 14 days: written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of more than 25 percent of the lots or written objections are made by the proprietors or first mortgagees of lots of which the unit entitlement is at least 25 percent of the aggregate unit entitlement of the lots in the scheme.

It is important to note that property therefore if this expenditure is necessary it is in best interest of all owners that approval is provided.

http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/sta1985173/s47.html




What is the first process of my claim?


For completion by registered lot proprietor the excess is paid by the applicant unless the claim is deemed common property or as a result of common property.

Claim Form:

Is the claim relating to an incident or accident?

If so, all items may be claimable. If you believe some of these items are common property complete our maintenance request form. We will the determine the process of repairs from there.




If the damage has occurred on common property, who’s responsibility is it?


If the damage has occurred on common property it is all owner’s responsibility. The excess is to be paid by the Strata Company.

I.e. If there is a leak on CP the strata company presents a quote to us from their preferred tradesperson (or vice versa) which will be presented to your insurer for water ingress. Excess is to be paid by the strata company.

Proceed or not, we will notify you once your insurer has approved your quote and you may proceed with repairs.

Once the repairs have been complete you will receive the invoice. Ensure invoice matches the quote. Once you are satisfied, forward the invoice to us for reimbursement by your insurer. Reimbursement can take 2-6 weeks and will be sent via cheque through to the strata company. Cheques are not able to made out to a third party provider (contractor) so please ensure that you pay your contractor prior to making a claim.




If the damage has occured in part lot, who's responsibility is it?


If the damage has occurred on part lot it the lot owners responsibility. The excess is to be paid by the lot owner.

i.e. Lot owner must repair the cause of the damage. i.e. broken roof tile.

The owner must then provide a copy of the invoice which states the repairs that have been completed.

A quote for any other residual damage repairs from their preferred tradesperson noting that it is residual damage. We will then present the above to your insurer for consideration.

Further consideration may be needed by the insurer. An assessor may need to be sent to your lot to investigate the repairs and / or nominate one of the insurers contractors to complete the repairs.

Once the repairs have been completed ensure the quote matches the invoices. If all is in order forward onto us.

Reimbursement from your insurer can take from 2-6 weeks and will be sent via cheque.

NOTE: Your insurer may appoint an assessor to review larger claims prior to consideration and / or trade to complete your repairs.




Can I get a copy of my insurance certificate?


Of course! You will find your insurance certificate within your last AGM notice.




I am an owner occupier. Do I need to have loss of rent/temporary accommodation covered in my insurance?


Loss of rent is an automatic inclusion on your policy. It does not affect the cost of your premium so taking it out does not benefit you. Quick tip, always remember to refer to your PDS for clarification. Just hit Ctrl+F and type in your key word. I.e. “loss of rent” and viola! You will find what you’re looking for straight away.




What is best practice insurance claim process?


Your scheme is insured by CHU, Common property items are the responsibility of the strata company, to repair, maintain and renew and repairs to part lot, the owner’s. Following is a understanding of the claim process. 1. If the damage is caused by incident or accident, (storm, wind etc.) all items may be claimable, if you believe some of these items to be common property please email or call us with a brief outline of what damage there is i.e. roof, internal ceiling etc. and we will determine the process from there. 2. If the damage is caused by poor maintenance say to another area of the building i.e lack of roof maintenance – cracked tiles, and they have caused internal ceiling leak, the roof will need to be repaired first by the owner of the roof. Then the question is, is this common property or part lot (owner responsibility)? a) common property; i the strata company repairs the cause of the leak ii the lot owner presents a quote to us from their preferred tradesperson for presentation to CHU for water ingress, iii we will notify you once CHU has approved your quote and you may proceed with repairs iv once you receive your invoice, please review that it matches the quote , once you are satisfied that the repairs are to your standard forward the invoice to us for reimbursement v CHU will, in around 2 – 3 weeks reimburse via cheque from the strata company to the lot owner for the full amount, the excess will be paid by the Strata company, cheques are not able to be made out to a third party provider ( contractor)and the invoice for repairs will be the lot owners responsibility b) part lot i the owner repairs the cause of the leak ii the lot owner presents a copy of the invoice proving the repair has been completed along with a quote from their preferred tradesperson for residual damage, which we will present to CHU for water ingress, iii we will notify you once CHU has approved your quote and you may proceed with repairs iv once you receive your invoice, please review that it matches the quote , once you are satisfied that the repairs are to your standard forward the invoice to us for reimbursement v CHU will, in around 2 – 3 weeks reimburse via cheque from the strata company to the lot owner for the full amount minus the claim excess, cheques are not able to be made out to a third party provider ( contractor) and the invoice for repairs will be the lot owners responsibility




Where can I find information on past weather for insurance claims?


Follow the link to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for past weather information. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/IDCJDW6111.latest.shtml




Does the policy cover damage to individual units i.e. doors, roller doors, external glass etc. as a result of break in or accidents? If so what is the process required? Do we engage a tradesman or company to make secure, do we ask Abode to do this and what excess would apply and who would pay it?


The Strata Insurance is for fixtures and fittings as a result of incident or accidental damage, with the excess paid for by the lot owner. If a vehicle is involved then the lot owner would ensure that the party who owns the vehicle would put the damage through their insurer. With tenants and tenancy agreements. Commercial tenants agreement would see that the tenant holds insurance and is responsible for the repair replacement of any damage to the property ie windows, doors etc. The landlord would also be best to hold tenancy insurance.




Insurance cover for lot alteration


For the purpose of Insurance cover; a re-evaluation of the property at the applicants cost may need to take place, and alterations to a lot, improvements must be included within the Strata Companies building insurance.





Paint

How do we identify and treat lead paint in buildings?


Click here to find out more on the Higgins Paint website.





AGM's

Can I see the minutes of the last few minutes and AGM's?


Again, this will give you an idea of the status of the strata company. You will be able to glean some knowledge about issues, disputes, conflict within the owner community, costs, changes and matters of importance over the past couple of years. You will also be able to see how well or how badly records are being maintained and compliance achieved, and who is doing what role.




Resolution Without Dissent


Q: We have been informed that a ‘resolution without dissent’ from all lot owners is required. This is normally put forward in a general meeting. If not all owners attend the AGM is there a more appropriate means of communicating with all owners such as via email/in writing and is this something Abode can assist with? A: Yes the motion is a RWD, “resolution without dissent” if an owner dissents then it will not be approved at the AG. A dissent must be in writing and may only under Terms at 87 (5) aboveIf the applicant believes the grounds for the dissent are unreasonable then the owner may make application to the State Administrative Tribunal for orders





© 2003-2019 by Abode Strata. Privacy Policy
The advice within is general and has been prepared without taking into account any specific or personal objectives, financial situation or needs.

Please also note this general advice was provided prior to the new strata title amendments were proclaimed and will be updated in due course.

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