When an Owners Corporation Fails to Comply with a Tribunal Order

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It’s not every day that the Tribunal orders an Owners Corporation (OC) to pay a penalty, but it can happen.

Recently PBL Law Group (Alex Ilkin Strata Lawyers) acted for the Westburys – owners of a lot in a scheme. In this case the OC had already been ordered earlier to perform rectification works to fix water issues on the patio in the Westburys lot.

The OC had attempted to do the rectification in accordance with an agreed scope of works which required changes to cater for water ponding issues. To implement a proper solution to the problem the OC had to get permission from another lot owner – and that permission was not given.

The OC decided it had done everything it could do, leaving the Westburys with the same issues the earlier orders.

Had the OC done enough? What happens if an OC has tried to fix something under an Tribunal Order but couldn’t due to matters outside its control?

There are various sanctions the Tribunal can make against parties who do not comply with Orders. One of those includes issuing a penalty for non-compliance. Most people don’t bother seeking this, because the law requires you to get consent from the Solicitor-General to proceed – a piece of red tape that most can’t be bothered dealing with.

In this case, the Westburys did get the necessary consent, and sought penalty orders against the Owners Corporation.

The Owners Corporation argued that it had a “reasonable excuse” for failing to comply with the Orders, because it had attempted to get consent from the other affected owners for the new works required, and those owners adamantly refused to give it.

The Tribunal, however, was not convinced. It pointed out that the Owners Corporation could have sought an extension of time for the orders, applied for a stay on the orders, or applied for other forms of relief – and that it had done none of those things.

After consideration the Tribunal ordered the Body Corporate to pay a penalty of $6,600 (from an available maximum of $20,000).

The lesson? Don’t just ignore Court or Tribunal orders because you’re having trouble giving effect to them. Get advice and take the necessary steps to solve the problem.

Case citation: Westbury v The Owners – Strata Plan No 64061 [2021] NSWCATEN 3

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Raea Khan Circle
Director Lawyer
Raea Khan

Raea is Managing Director and Principal Lawyer for PBl Law Group. Raea assists clients with major projects, property developments, construction and strata law.

He has worked in Western Australia and Queensland assisting with expansion projects in the energy and resource sector and now predominately advises clients in Strata and Community Association matters.

He is a member of the Australian College of Strata Lawyers where majority of his work is advising developers and owners corporations with dispute related minor and major defects, strata governance and common property litigation. He is proficient at leading negotiations and meetings.

Raea has a particular interest in the commercial aspect of any dispute and always tries to weigh up the risk, reward and benefit of legal proceedings at each different stage.

Raea enjoys all forms of competitive sport, including Crossfit and actively participates in Triathlons, representing Australia as an age group athlete. He was a member of Red Head Surf Lifesaving club.

  • Strata Law
  • Construction & Major Projects
  • Commercial and Business Law
  • Planning & Environment Law