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Strata building defects? How to gain access if denied

Strata building defects can quickly sour the relationship between owners and builders.  This creates an issue where the builder is attempting to access the building to attend to the rectification of strata building defects that are found in an inspection report. Below we outline how the strata building bond and inspection scheme (the Scheme) under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (the Act) will overcome this obstacle.

The Scheme is a protection mechanism for purchasers of the strata properties to ensure that strata building defects are rectified. The Scheme requires a bond of 2% of the contract price to allow for identified defects to be rectified,[1] however, there is also a requirement for the builder to rectify all identified defects.[2]

For more information on the defect bond scheme, view our article here.

Why would you need access to the site?

If the interim report[3] identifies strata building defects, the builder responsible for the defects will need to attend the site and rectify the defects prior to the final inspection and report.

The builder needs to provide at least 14 days written notice to the owner corporation, the developer, the owner or any occupier of the lot that they intend to enter any part of the strata lot to rectify the defective work. This can be done through the online portal.

The online portal administers the Scheme and all written notices under the Act can be completed through the portal. The portal facilitates the scheme and notifies interested parties, such as the builder, building inspectors, owners corporation and the Secretary when notifications are lodged or when reports are uploaded.

Following the notice, the relevant parties are to agree for a suitable time for the builder to access to lot. Where there are significant defects (for example waterproofing in the bathrooms), the length of the access required could be quite substantial.

What happens when you are denied access to rectify strata building defects?

If a builder is denied access to the strata lot or common property (or the parties cannot agree to a reasonable time or length of the access), the builder may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) to seek an order for access. The Tribunal may make an order requiring the occupier of the strata lot or any person that is allowed access to provide access to the builder in order to rectify the defects.

If you have any questions regarding your obligations under the Act or the role of the Tribunal in providing you access to a strata lot, please do not hesitate to contact Morrissey Law + Advisory.

This article was prepared by Hamish Geddes and Mary Ann Wen.

Disclaimer: This publication by Morrissey Law & Advisory is for general information and commentary only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to any matters or transactions that may arise in relation with communication.

[1] Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) s207.

[2] Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) s206.

[3] Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) s199.

Disclaimer: This publication by Morrissey Law & Advisory is for general information and commentary only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to any matters or transactions that may arise in relation with communication.

2018-09-10T10:19:20+00:00 August 31st, 2018|Construction Law, Dispute Resolution, Home Building, Strata Defects|