Part 5A of the Residential Tenancy Act 2010 entitles tenants to minimum building standards. These obligations are put on the Landlord. The conundrum in Strata is that, how can the Landlord provide minimum building standards if they have no control?
Part 5A provides that all rented properties should have the following minimum standards:-
- A structurally sound building;
- Adequate light;
- Sufficient ventilation;
- Electricity and Gas;
- Plumbing and drainage;
- Water connection;
- Private bathroom facilities.
It is the first three standards that are problematic for the Owners Corporation. The other four are always provided.
A tenant can apply under Part 5A to the Office of Fair Trading to obtain a rectification order. Fair Trading can investigate and issue the Landlord with a rectification order, requiring such things as; structural alteration.
Why are we not surprised that Fair Trading has not provided laws which work? The Landlord cannot affect these changes without the approval of the Owners Corporation.
What is now happening is that, property managers are joining Owners Corporations to such disputes at NCAT. Section 106 of the Strata Schemes Management Act is being used as a sword by NCAT to enforce these minimum standards.
Strata Managers cannot ignore these rectification notices as they are now enforceable by Section 106.
It is a conundrum how to balance the interest of the Landlord against the interest of the Owners Corporation. Maybe one day Fair Trading will give us some guidance on this confusion.