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Top Tips for Resolving Strata Disputes

Strata schemes are home to a diverse range of people with varying backgrounds and interests who live in close proximity to one another. Many residents greatly benefit from living in strata because they feel a strong sense of belonging, security and wellbeing by being a part of a larger community. Sometimes an issue can arise that strata residents may feel quite strongly about. This can occasionally lead to disagreements or disputes. The most common issues that strata residents face include what has become known as the 4 P’s; Pets, Parking, Parties and more recently Passive Smoking. The best way to ensure that your strata scheme remains a friendly and harmonious place to reside is to acknowledge and deal with the issue before it has time to escalate into something bigger. The most effective way to do this is to create and maintain trust, honesty and open communication within your strata community. Below we have provided our top tips on what to do when faced with a strata dispute:

• Communication is essential for harmonious living. Talk about the issue with the other party or put your concerns in writing to them in the first instance
• If attempts at communicating with the other party do not achieve the desired outcome, bring it to the committee’s attention in writing and ask for assistance to resolve the issue/s.
• Ensure you have read and understood your by-laws. Compliance of by-laws is essential for peaceful community living. If an owner/occupier has breached a by-law, it can result in the issue of a notice requiring that person to comply with the by-law
• It may be necessary to lodge a motion/s for the committee’s consideration or motion/s to a General Meeting to effectively deal with the issue
• You should attempt to practice tolerance, empathy and understanding of others when involved in a dispute. Put the shoe on the other foot and try to see all sides of the story
• Mediation – if the issue/s cannot be resolved through communication with the other party or the committee then seek to involve a mediator via the Commissioner’s Officer (Lodgment of Application) which usually involves compulsory conciliation
• If conciliation has not resolved the issue you can apply for an order of an Adjudicator who can make decisions on disputes or complaints. However in most cases, you must attempt conciliation before applying for Adjudication.

This article was contributed by Kim Cullen. Kim has 15 years of extensive experience within the Strata Management industry. She has spent 7 years with the Archers team as a Senior Body Corporate Manager and Office Manager. Kim successfully oversees the operations of the Gold Coast office. She uses her lengthy career to offer all clients professional management and superior service – ensuring that all communities are run efficiently and effectively.

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