News

General News

Seeking: Legal Secretary/PA

We are seeking a capable and organised assistant to join our team in Mooloolaba to undertake legal typing and general PA duties. This position is

Article: A Weighty Problem

By-laws imposing weight limits on pets require careful consideration. Read this article for the “skinny” on how to deal with this weighty problem

Article: Let it go

Covid-19 lockdowns appear to have provided fertile ground for disputes in Queensland Community Title Schemes.  Montego Sands [2020] QBCCMCmr 160 is a case in point.

Seeking: Typist & PA (Legal)

We are seeking a capable and organised assistant to join our team in Mooloolaba to undertake legal typing and general PA duties. This position is

Article: A Recipe for Failure

Making a successful Adjudication Application has just gotten a lot harder. If you lodge an Adjudication Application with the Commissioner, be careful what relief you ask

Article: That Sinking Feeling

On 21 May 2020 the Queensland Parliament passed the Justice and Other Legislation (Covid-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Act 2020.  The Act includes a new Part

Podcast: Strata law

Podcast: Michael speaks with Amanda Farmer of Your Strata Property, about the Queensland Governments financial relief measures for Bodies Corporate, the state of strata law

COVID-19 NOTICE FROM STRATUM LEGAL

Stratum Legal has put in place procedures and implemented protocols with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be assured that Stratum Legal has the capacity

Article: Meeting in the time of COVID-19

How do Bodies Corporate and their Committees continue to conduct their affairs during the Coronavirus outbreak? Can a Committee or general meeting still be conducted

New Solution to Old Parking Problems

Stratum Legal is currently looking for Bodies Corporate experiencing car parking problems. Particularly, owners parking in visitors’ car parking spaces. After recent developments in the

Article: Ban the banners, or not?

Developers and Bodies Corporate can now effectively ban roof top solar again. Read on to find out how… Article – Ban the Banners

Article: Better late than never…

Developers have the power to allocate common property as exclusive use for buyers. For example, an extra car park. What happens if the developer makes

Seeking: Conveyancing / Strata Paralegal

We are seeking an experienced Conveyancing / Strata Paralegal to join our team in Mooloolaba and take ownership of our expanding portfolio of Management Rights

Seeking: Typist & PA (Legal)

We are seeking a capable and organised assistant to join our team in Mooloolaba to undertake legal typing and general PA duties. This position is

Article: Management Rights Lost

A Townsville Management Rights operator has lost their management rights because of failure to comply with the BCCM Act. Read the article ‘Management Rights Lost’ to

Seminar: Management Rights Super Seminar

If you are looking to purchase a Management Rights business in Queensland then you can’t afford to miss this Super Seminar! WHERE: Bowen Hills, Brisbane WHEN:

Article: Saving on Strata Insurance

There is some great information out there about how to save on your strata insurance. In this article Saving on Strata Insurance we explain how to use

Article: Chairperson bullies Caretaker

Bullying in a workplace is unlawful in Australia. Even Caretakers who are contractors of a Body Corporate are protected from bullying by committee members. Read

Article: (Sole) User Pays

When does utility infrastructure on common property ‘relate only’ to a lot? Read the Article “(Sole) User Pays” by Michael Kleinschmidt  to find out…

Article: Shocked by your power charges?

Recent changes to the regulation of electricity in Queensland mean that Bodies Corporate supplying bulk electricity to owners almost certainly require an embedded network manager

Article: How to deal with the Telebullies

Have you received a ‘land access notice’ from a telecommunications carrier demanding access to inspect or to install telecommunications equipment on your community title scheme

SEMINAR: QUEENSLAND MANAGEMENT RIGHTS

If you are looking to purchase a Management Rights business in Queensland then you can’t afford to miss this Super Seminar! WHERE: Bowen Hills, Brisbane WHEN:

Article: Removing Committee Members

  What the owners giveth, the owners can taketh away! How do you remove a voting Committee Member? Read the article: Removing Committee Members

Article: Gallery Vie Decision

Gallery Vie has caused some management rights financiers to question their security position when lending to management rights operators. Find out how to keep your

Article: Paying for Top Ups

QCAT has held that you can pay owners for a Management Rights top-up – think of the consequences before your do. Read the Article: Paying for

Article: Kerb Your Enthusiasm

What Uber did for “ride sharing” Kerb is now doing for “car park sharing”. Before you start renting out your car parking space however, have a

Article: The Condo Commando

Dealing with excessive owner emails…Tired of that Lot owner firing off emails at all hours of the day and night and demanding an answer “this

Article: The Pairing Economy

Solving the Problems That Arise From People Sleeping Around… Unlike Management Rights, short term accommodation delivered through the “sharing economy” can lead to some long-term

Article: Made in the Shade

Made in the Shade: Unreasonable Interference with Views…Developers, Bodies Corporate or Lot owners who seek to install or to approve the installation of structures which

Article: Trouble Makers Beware

Lot owners held personally liable for judgement debt of their Body Corporate… In June 2016 for the first time ever a District Court Judge made

Article: Checklist for Pet Decisions

Recently the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Justice Carmody, handed down an important decision of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Selling your Management Rights business?

Management Rights are a uniquely attractive business and lifestyle choice. Come along to our next seminar where our speakers share their insights and expertise on

Interested in Management Rights?

Management Rights are a uniquely attractive business and lifestyle choice. Come along to our next seminar where our speakers share their insights and expertise on

Senior Strata/Property Lawyer Position

Queensland’s newest boutique strata law practice, is seeking a Senior Strata/Property Lawyer. Only candidates with 5+ years post admission experience will be considered for the

Conveyancing Paralegal Position

We are an expanding boutique firm in Mooloolaba, seeking an experienced Conveyancing Paralegal to join the team and take on our expanding portfolio of management

Stratum Legal goes international!

If you are a New Zealander interested in management rights in Queensland then come along to one of our three presentations: Auckland – 6.30pm, Tuesday 10

enforcing pet by-laws

The decision of Isle of Palms Resort CTS 20860 [2010] shows that a by-law banning pets will be overturned on adjudication for being oppressive and

what a nuisance

Cigarette smoke can be more of a nuisance for some people than others.  In the QCAT decision of Norbury v Hogan [2010] QCAT 296 the

management rights agreements and the 6 P’s

During my Army Reserve days a very wise infantry Warrant Officer once told me that “prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance”.  The “Six P’s” (he

if it walks like a duck

In April this year the Queensland Court of Appeal definitively answered the vexed question – are costs incurred in recovering unpaid contributions a body corporate

the information gap

the information gap Buyers of units in Community Titles Schemes need to be diligent to find out about what they are buying.  A Sellers Disclosure

Body Corporate

Tip 60 – By-laws – Copy to tenants

Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 the by-laws of the Community Titles Scheme are both terms of the residential tenancy agreement and

Tip 59 – Insurance – Commissions

If a Body Corporate Manager, or caretaking service contractor, is going to receive a commission from the insurer (or a related party) then before the

Tip 53 – Records – Privileged records

Before releasing anything sensitive to anyone, consider whether the record is privileged.  That is, legally privileged and not for example “private” under the privacy legislation. 

Tip 49 – Insurance – Can we self-insure?

After years of cyclones and floods some bodies corporate have found it impossible to discharge their statutory insurance obligations.  Under the Body Corporate and Community

Tip 39 – Insurance – Who can you use?

Theoretically any insurer. Insurers carrying on business in Australia must be authorised by, or registered with, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).  Check the quotes

Tip 31 – Meetings – The Preliminaries

Sometimes it’s more important to know who wasn’t at the meeting than who was! Accordingly, you must give scrupulous attention to the meeting preliminaries.  Starting

Tip 23 – Records – Committee Access

Members of the committee, including non-voting members, have “as of right” access to body corporate records without charge. So if a committee member wants the

Tip 22 – Defects – Inspect what?

Builder’s defects don’t usually start on the common property and stop at the door to an owner’s lot. The body corporate does have the power

Tip 21 – The Hot Seat

Every meeting needs a chairperson. In Queensland the position is so important that in most schemes the chairperson is elected directly by the owners and

Tip 20 – By-laws

Prohibition is not regulation – by-laws are allowed to regulate activities but not to prohibit them (with very limited exceptions). Accordingly, “blanket bans” on certain

Tip 19 – Insurance

How much? – one of the policies required under the statute is building replacement. If you don’t know what the building would cost to replace

Tip 18 – Sinking Fund

You’re only cheating yourself – if the sinking fund budget is kept artificially low then you’re only deferring the inevitable. The best method is to

Tip 17 – Spending

Have you included a contingency? – If you are going to approve a painting contract based on a $10,000 quote then why not approve acceptance

Tip 16 – Utilities

Get individual meters –whether its water, electricity, gas or any other utility service, nothing heads off disputes about consumption better than individual meters. While there

Tip 14 – Management Rights

A caretaker is a contractor, not an employee – it is incredibly rare for a caretaker to be an employee of the body corporate. Being

Tip 13 – Records

Keep a record of inspections – your body corporate manager will control access to the records on inspection. They should keep a record of who

Tip 12 – Defects

Get a report – a report investigating whether there is an issue, the likely cause of the issue and an appropriate fix is the starting

Tip 11 – Meetings

Quorum – funny word, simple idea. If you don’t have enough of the right people to conduct a meeting then you can’t! Whether it’s a

Tip 10 – By-laws

There is no such thing as house rules –A committee or the owners in general meeting do not and cannot have the power to make

Tip 9 – Insurance

It’s the law! – The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 mandates that bodies corporate must take out certain policies of insurance.  If you

Tip 8 – Sinking Fund

Capital expenses only! – Your sinking fund is not for recurrent expenses like cleaning fees or legal bills.

Tip 7 – Spending

A budget doesn’t authorise expenditure – your annual budget estimates what you will be spending during the year. Just because you passed the budget doesn’t

Tip 6 – Utilities

Get out of the dark ages – there is no excuse these days for continuously burning lights on common property (unless you have a security

Tip 5 – Body Corporate Managers

Your professional secretary – modern body corporate managers offer a wide variety of services but their most important service continues to be to help the

Tip 4 – Management Rights

Read your agreements – every management rights business will have a Caretaking and/or Letting Agreement. Before you do anything, read the agreements and make sure

Tip 3 – Records

What are body corporate records? – Read the definitions in the Act, and understand the scope is wider than you think. Sometimes even emails between

Tip 2 – Defects

Don’t delay – a stitch in time saves 9. This is equally true of your building as it is for your favourite pants.

Tip 1 – Meetings

There is no such thing as an informal meeting – you’re either meeting under the Act/Regulation Module or you’re not. Owners discussing body corporate business

Management Rights

Tip 53 – Buying –Verifying the profit

When verifying the net operating profit, the test applied to each item of expense or income is essentially one of plausibility and maintainability.  Implausibly low

Tip 52 – Buying –Sign up…fast

Gazumping … an act of bastardy where a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party after receiving your offer, or when they know

Tip 47 – Buying – Marketing funds

A common special condition requires that marketing funds (as opposed to marketing fees) held by the seller must be used for that purpose from the

Buying – Due Diligence – Searches

Your lawyer and accountant are not psychic, and the agent works for the seller. During the purchase process most of what you will learn about

Tip 22 – Do you have a pet?

Don’t think that you can slip your pet into the complex without body corporate approval. Ask yourself the question, can I live without my pet

Tip 20 – Selling

Patience grasshopper – in the classic “Kung Fu” series it took David Carradine many years to learn this important lesson. Take a leaf out of

Tip 19 – Getting ready to sell

Spring clean – a small manager’s unit will always look bigger if all the clutter is removed. Just watch a few home improvement shows to

Tip 18 – Operating

Get your forms right – the most important form is the Property Occupations Act Form 6, that is what enables you to receive your commission!

Tip 17 Buying – Settlement

Moving day – try and be flexible. You know what they say about the “best laid plans of mice and men”. If you can, store

Tip 15 – Buying – finance

Broker vs bank – traditionally brokers give you access to a range of offers across different banks. Dealing with one banker however, often makes the

Tip 12 Buying – contracting

Commit – you’ll usually be asked to sign an offer and acceptance document. Most of the time the agreement is non-binding and gives you plenty

Tip 10 – Selling

Understand that you are not a sales person – you might be an excellent management rights operator, you might have even sold a few units

Tip 9 – Getting ready to sell

Have a sales plan! – Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Make your plan flexible enough to cope with a buyer who walks

Tip 8 – Operating

Don’t panic –There are plenty of people who are in the same situation as you. If you join ARAMA they’re only ever a phone call

Tip 7 – Buying – Settlement

Stay on-site! – Your lawyer has the settlement process under control. You need to be on-site to finish moving in, or help the seller move

Tip 5 – Buying – finance

How much do you need? – if you’re going to buy money from a third party then the first question you need to answer is

Property Development

Tip 58 – Construction – Variations

However well designed your project there will be variations.  Whether it’s accommodating the needs of particular buyers through a change of specifications, taking advantage of

Tip 42 – Site acquisition – Contract

The contract reflects the bargain between the parties and it’s critical that it reflects all of the bargain between the parties. Pre-contractual negotiations are superseded

Tip 37 – Sales – Holding deposit

People don’t value things they don’t pay for. The law around holding deposits can however be tricky. If you take a holding deposit you should

Tip 36 – Marketing – New media

Ordinary Australians give away more private information than ever before. This means that you can tailor your message, once you have identified your target market. 

Development Financing– Life begins at 40

Property development is inherently risky. The riskier the activity the more reward required to justify it. Developer’s margins of 20-40% are normal and expected. If

Tip 22 – Consider an Option

Sometimes there will be pre-conditions to your purchase. For example, you might need to get your structure in place or obtain a ‘speculative’ development approval. 

Tip 21 – Walk the ground

You cannot appreciate the site unless you’ve walked all over it. That firsthand knowledge will set up almost everything you do from that point on,

Tip 20 – Post settlement issues

Defects are a part of life – no matter how good your builder there will always be defects. Just like that broccoli on your plate

Tip 19 – Settlement

Understand the process – discuss the settlement process with your lawyer and make sure you understand it. That way you will have realistic expectations and

Tip 18 – Construction

Who’s your project manager? – Have you engaged an engineer or a professional project manager to oversee for you? If you’ve got building experience are

Tip 17 – Sales

Appoint your agent properly – your agent needs to be appointed in writing using the right form. Most agents will present one to you and

Tip 16 – Marketing

A picture speaks a thousand words, a YouTube video invites a million clicks – professionally prepared drawings are the minimum expectation that your buyers will

Tip 15 – Development finance

Nett present value and the internal rate of return – if you don’t know what these concepts are, learn … and fast! If you are

Tip 14 – Development Approval

Use a local town planner – local town planners will have experience with the planning scheme that you’re trying to get your approval under. They’ll

Tip 13 – Concept and design

Architect vs draftsman – if you’ve got building experience, you have project management experience or your development is (very) simple then a draftsman may be

Tip 12 – Site Acquisition

GST – make sure you get advice on the GST issues before you sign the contract. GST is an issue that can fall between your

Tip 11 – Site Investigation

Checklists are great – if you’re an experienced property developer you will probably have a range of checklists. If you’re an inexperienced developer your lawyer

Tip 10 – Post Settlement Issues

You’ve got the money, but – every buyer is part of your future potential sales force. Word of mouth will sell you almost as many

Tip 9 – Settlement

Can I please extend? – You’ll be asked for extensions even before you give notice to settle! What is your policy going to be? Try

Tip 8 – Construction

Know your builder – whether you have an existing relationship with a builder or you’re just starting out, you need to know your builder better

Tip 7 – Sales

One agent or many? – This will depend on your product, but it’s a question you should always ask. One agent is easier to control

Tip 6 – Marketing

Chaos vs. control – get Smart and get a marketing plan, follow the plan and be consistent. If you tell your agents what to say

Tip 5 – Development financing

Understand the options – bank financing is just one pathway. There are other providers and you should consider what they have to offer.

Tip 4 – Development Approval

Push the envelope not the red button – most local authorities expect developers to push the envelope. Don’t be surprised however, if they push back

Tip 3 – Concept and Design

Who is your buyer? – If you’re a property developer you’re in the business of creating property people want to buy. Think about these things…

Tip 2 – Site Acquisition

You make your money when you buy not when you sell – if you can’t get the site for the right price then you put

Tip 1 – Site Investigation

Use the free tools – Queensland globe https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/support-tools-grants/services/mapping-data-imagery/queensland-globe is an excellent source of information that you can use to check out potential development sites.