There may be occasional problems associated with strata living, but most of those problems, such as disagreements with neighbours, also exist in the non-strata, freehold title environment. The advantage of strata living is that mechanisms such as by-laws, the Western Australian Land Information Authority (Landgate) and SAT exist to assist the reconciliation of disputes.
If you as an individual consider that your strata complex is not being managed properly by the strata council; then you may apply to SAT to have the matter resolved.
More information is available in the Strata Titles guide from Landgate.
SAT is not able to provide advice on strata matters, other than how to complete applications for lodgement to SAT.
Parties are encouraged to resolve the dispute between them or via mediation. This can ensure the dispute is resolved without further action and allows both parties to gain an appreciation of the issues under dispute and decreases the likelihood of ongoing conflict between the parties.
Once an application is brought to SAT, mediation is regularly used by SAT to assist the parties in resolving the issues in dispute.
Can I bring my dispute straight to SAT?
Before an application may be made to SAT, you must have complied with any procedure for dispute resolution contained in the by-laws of the strata company. More information is available in the Strata Titles guide from Landgate.
Strata Titles Information Guide
You can find guidance and information that may assist you in resolving Strata Titles issues on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia at eCourts Portal of WA. This process may also offer some assistance if you need to still bring a Strata Titles dispute to SAT.
If you make an application to the Tribunal you must also submit the requried documents. This includes the Certificate under Section 77B and the documents specified in Practice Note 5 - Proceedings under the Strata Titles Act 1985.
What types of strata titles orders can SAT make?
Some of the orders which SAT may make are:
- to settle disputes or complaints in relation to a scheme.
- varying the amount of strata levies or the manner in which these are to be paid.
- granting a by-law for exclusive use in respect to any fixtures or fittings to be attached to the common property.
- requiring a pet to be removed or some action to be taken to stop it being a nuisance.
- that a new by-law or an amendment to an existing by-law is invalid, or is repealed, or for the reinstatement of a by-law.
- various orders in relation to by-laws made by the strata company, or where the strata company has refused to make certain by-laws.
- an order from SAT or the District Court in specified circumstances if a necessary resolution required by the Act is not passed.
- that strata levies are to be apportioned on the basis of unit entitlement or on some other basis.
- that the lot owners in a two lot scheme are required to comply with any of the requirements of the Act from which they would otherwise be automatically exempt under the terms of the Act.
- appointing a person to attend and vote on behalf of a lot owner in a 2 lot scheme who fails or refuses to attend a meeting of the strata company.
- cancelling a special resolution in a scheme having three to five lots where one of the lot owners did not vote in favour of the special resolution; terminating or shortening the term of a contract for the provision of services to the strata company, including a management contract, if the contract was made prior to 14 April 1996.
- approving structural alterations to a lot where the lot owner has applied to the strata company for its approval but it has been refused.
- for the construction of structural alterations to be stopped or pulled down where a lot owner has carried out those alterations without the necessary approval of the strata company.
- to change the schedule of unit entitlement on the strata or survey-strata plan.
- to impose a fine for a breach of a by-law if the by-law specifies a fine for its breach.
- requiring a lot owner to comply with a requirement of the strata company to stop an activity on his or her lot or to do certain works on the lot, for insurance reasons.
- adjusting the strata levy contributions or requiring a credit to be given to a lot owner, who has taken out insurance which is the responsibility of the strata company to take out, effectively reimbursing a current or previous lot owner for an insurance premium, where that owner has taken out an insurance policy which is the responsibility of the strata company to take out.
More information is available in the Strata Titles guide from Landgate. Note that the guide is not a legal document, and the Strata Titles Act 1985 should be the source of any legal submissions.
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