NCAT and Court Proceedings


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


One of the many frustrating scenarios faced by strata owners corporations, their executive committees and their lot owners is when a lot owner with a perceived grievance subjects them to seemingly endless litigation about trivial or non-existent issues or repeated litigation about the same issues. Such behaviour can amount to vexatious litigation, in which case the persons subjected to it may have legal rights.



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

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

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

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


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


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


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


Typical scenarios


Typical scenarios where interim orders are appropriate:


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