Getting the Lot Owner to look after their own!

Section 106(1) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA), requires the Owners Corporation to maintain and repair common property.  It is almost trite information that, this means that the Owners Corporation must maintain and repair any part of the common property.  Maintenance means keeping it at its standard and repairing means fixing anything that’s broken.

When passing the SSMA, the Government wanted to move this obligation.  It understood that there were parts of the common property which only offered a benefit to one lot owner.  In those circumstances, they wanted to permit Owners Corporations to remove the obligation from themselves and give it to the lot owner.

Section 107 of the SSMA provides that the Owners Corporation can create a by law which adopts the common property memorandum identifying who is responsible for what.  It is vital to note that, this common property memorandum must follow the one set out by Fair Trading. An Owners Corporation is not free to apply its own common property memorandum; it must apply the one set out by Fair Trading. Link Here

All the power of the Owners Corporation is to take out the things which they do not want to apply to the lot owner.  If you review the common property memorandum, it is clearly set out what the Owners Corporation should do and what the lot owner should do.  Although the rigidity of the process is not necessarily useful, this process is still highly beneficial.  For example, where an air conditioner benefits one lot owner, this common property memorandum makes the lot owner responsible for its maintenance and repairs.  In other words, the person who benefits, pays for it.

To adopt this common property by law, all that needs to be done is to adopt the common property memorandum set out by Fair Trading.  Unlike exclusive use by laws all changes to the common property are set out by Section 108 of the SSMA, Section 107 cannot be blocked by a single lot owner refusing to give their consent.  All that is required is a special resolution of the Owners Corporation.

This provides an opportunity for Owners Corporations to set out what is owners corporation and what is lot owners responsibilities.  It is a means of preventing dispute and providing a better avenue for management of the strata schemes.  It is something for every Owners Corporation to consider.