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Most strata disputes can be avoided, says expert

By Tim Neary
12 June 2019 | 9 minute read
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Disputes between neighbours within Australia’s growing number of strata communities can be easily avoided with consideration, tolerance and appropriate community management judgement, says Archers the Strata Professionals.

Archers the Strata Professionals partner Grant Mifsud said strata communities can have interpersonal complexities, which are problematic.  

“People buying into strata communities can sometimes encounter neighbours on the body corporate committee who consider themselves to be the self-proclaimed ‘king of the complex’ and enjoy the power they perceive they have over other residents,” he said.

“New owners where the strata committee may be heavily influenced by one dominant individual can often come into conflict with somebody who acts like the king or queen of the complex.”

Mr Mifsud said people moving into a strata scheme are well advised to research the body corporate.

“[This] includes checks of the strata records for evidence of any unusual decision-making, overly assertive by-law enforcement and questionable financial management.

“Many disputes arise when people buy into a strata community without understanding they are bound by strata legislation and by-laws.”

He said a strata committee is like a fourth tier of government.

“Like politicians with varying agendas, strata committees can also encounter combative situations between themselves and residents. Complaints about neighbours, usually in regard to excessive noise, pets, parking issues and passive smoking, are most common with the odd, rogue renovator thrown in from time to time disregarding approval processes and by-laws.

“Good management practices can ensure disputes don’t go too far by helping all parties keep the disputes in perspective and sometimes guiding them to just let some of the more trivial matters go and move on.”

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