Our office was approached recently to manage a building that was having significant internal problems at Strata Committee level. One of the main problems was their ability to make decisions to improve their owners amenity, such as approving renovations.
In the particular case reported, an owner had requested bi-fold doors at the rear of their courtyard. The context is that the door wasn’t visible to common property, it faced the side neighbour and there were high fences on all three sides of the courtyard. This renovation had been held up for six months, with no reason given for the delay.
David Bannerman at Bannermans Lawyers has prepared an excellent article on this very topic. The link is found here.
The Strata Collective summary of the position that an owners corporation should take is:
- Applications for renovations by owners need to be submitted in complete form (with all attachments included) as per the instructions of strata or their lawyer. Incomplete applications often delay approvals.
- Applications should be assessed on their merits, not on the personality or character of the owner.
- The Strata Manager requesting the application to provide expert reports from structural engineers is reasonable, provided that the work is of a structural nature.
- The Strata Manager should be able to provide a reasonable time-frame for decision.
As identified in the article by Bannermans, there are options, should an Owners Corporation not act reasonably. This route unfortunately does sometimes need to be considered, depending on the history of the application.
Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.