I am a strata lawyer who believes that to work in strata you must keep a sense of perspective (and a sense of humour). I note that it helps when you have an office dog to assist you (Ollie Dogasaurus, a red labradoodle).

I have experience in all facets of strata law and act on behalf of owners corporations and lot owners in respect of both strata and community title disputes and building and construction disputes.

My background is in litigation and dispute resolution and my rule of thumb is think twice before commencing litigation and if you have to litigate, prepare, prepare, prepare.

When not working I scuba dive and form one half of an adventure racing team much to the amusement of friends, family and other competitors.

15 responses to “About

  1. Hi Allison,

    I agree with your approach namely, “think twice before commencing litigation” in resolving disputes especially when it involves community living. However, I believe many of the strata disputes are often arose from misinterpretation or unsure of the By-laws. As such, I wish also share a rule of thumb namely, “if not clear, don’t do” which in my view would prevent such dispute to surface.

    For example, if a development with pool and other facilities comprises of a total number of 50 lot owners and there are a total 70 number of car parking space available. 10 out of the 70 designated for visitors while balance 60 available for the 50 lot owners without exclusive right.

    We know some lot owners do not own a car and some may own more than one. In such situation, can owners corporation with the approval of majority lot owners by way of a special resolution impose parking charges on lot owners who has 2nd car using more than one parking space though no parking space is for his/her exclusive use? If so, can owners who do not own any car claim entitlement to such charges? Likewise, can such resolution be passed also for charges on lot owners who use swimming pool more often or because that lot owners have more family members using the pool? How about non-swimmer lot owners?

    I wonder is the By-law clear on such situation? To avoid dispute, my view would be remain status quo and not to proceed to impose charges on any common facilities not for exclusive use. But, in the event if there are more than 60 cars for the 60 parking space the lot owners who own more than one car can go by drawing lot and rotation.

    Your comments would be appreciated.


    • Hi Simon,

      Unallocated car parking is one of the areas where I see many disputes. Even those without a car want to have the right to use a car space. Thankfully in most new schemes lots are allocated car spaces and there are allocated visitor parking spaces doing away with this problem.

      If your scheme has 70 unallocated parking spaces then it would make sense for some to be the subject of exclusive uses by lot owners. If the exclusive use right is granted after a set payment by the lot owner then it is also a great way to increase the scheme’s funds.

      There are many ways to do this and I have seen silent auctions and a lotto system with lot numbers drawn out of a hat. Like much of strata law the wishes of the majority will guide the process.


      • Thanks Allison,

        I fully agree with you that there are many ways to control, manage and administer common facilities including car parking spaces within a development. However, I believe you would agree that the only way that could involve collecting payment is the “exclusive use” way if the interested lot owner consented.

        Though I agree that granting “exclusive use right” upon payment by lot owner may be a good way but I think in some cases it may not work as the owners corporation may only grant “Exclusive use” By-law to the specific lot owner(s) who is interested and consented to pay for that “exclusive use”.

        As such, if no lot owner is interested to pay to enjoy the “exclusive use” the owners corporation I believe could not unreasonably allocate and lock up any available parking spaces to obstruct or prevent any lot owners who own cars to freely use them on first-come first-served basis.

        I also believe owners corporation even with the “wishes of majority” could not rely on reason to “increase the scheme’s funds” to impose charges on lot owner who are not interested to pay for “exclusive use” and parks 2nd car on the available extra parking space. As lot owners who use more and have more family members using a particular common facility such as swimming pool are not made to pay.


  2. Hi Allison,
    I really enjoyed your blog on unjust by-laws.
    A member of the SC (12-lot complex in NSW) is trying to pass a by-law at the AGM (as part of the required by-law review) where no pet would be allowed and the SC would not be required to refuse an owner to keep their pet.
    If the by-law passes, what can I do? Take this to NCAT? What’s the procedure?

    • sorry I meant “…and the SC could unreasonably refuse an owner the right to keep their pet…”

    • Hi Anthony, you have two choices: the first is to rally support of lot owners to make sure that it does not pass. The second is to go through the mediation process and then onto NCAT for orders that the by-law is in breach of section 139 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. If you are uncertain as to the evidence required and submissions you should seek legal advice. Allison

  3. Hi Allison, just found you after doing a search on strata by-laws – maybe you can help? There’s an apartment for sale in our building, with the agent advertising it as a two bedroom apartment with a “potential third bedroom”. Well, guess what – that third bedroom has already been built – including skirting boards. “By the tenants” says the agent, but I’d say it’s by the owners. It looks to me like student rental as the floors and carpets inside are filthy. I’ve told our building managers, but trying to find out is there any way the sale can be stopped until the illegal bedroom is removed from the apartment, at the owners’ cost? Like a caveat or injunction, or something like that? I’m not a lawyer (you may have guessed) but I’m on the owners’ committee. Given that the owners are in China I think the only thing that will make them take any notice of this is the threat of a hefty fine – or are fines regulated by NCAT? Help! I’d really appreciate any suggestions you have. cheers, David

    • Hi David, I’ll send you an email off line. The gist of my response is that the OC should consider taking urgent action in NCAT to require the unauthorised work to be removed and the common property to be reinstated. Allison

  4. thanks for the email Allison and all that very useful information. I’ll keep you advised. Thanks, David

  5. Hi Allison
    3 owners in our NSW strata of 10 wish to increase the committee of 5 to 7
    At the last 3 AGMs the existing committee have garnished sufficient unit entitlements to restrict the committee to 5 maintaining their control.
    To get rid of a committee can a general meeting be called to elect a new committee. And if elected the old committee must vacate their office?
    Between annual AGMs are there other ways to roll a committee or increase numbers on the committee without a member vacating their position?
    Kind Regards.

  6. I submitted this question back in January and invite anyone to comment. I would appreciate some guidance.
    John Taylor

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your patience. As you could probably tell as I have not written a blog for while strata-law has been busy. I suggest you look at section 35(1) (d) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) for how to remove a person from a strata committee between general meetings.

  7. Hi Allison
    Thank you for your insightful posts – our strata committee has learned a lot over the years !
    NCAT recently issued an order to a lot owner to pay $25K “immediately” to our owners corporation however it remains unpaid.
    We registered the order with the Local Court & understand we have 12 years to enforce it.
    Just like strata levy arrears – can this debt be put against the lot ? i.e. in the event the lot is sold, the owners corporation will be paid out of the proceeds of the sale.

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