A Body Corporate / Manager’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Tenants


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Living in a strata scheme means having different people from different backgrounds trying to live harmoniously together under one shared roof. With a solid set of by-laws agreed upon and implemented in the strata, together with an active owners’ corporation and body corporate manager overseeing the property, the risk of serious problems being encountered despite the mix of people can be greatly reduced. Non-compliance of by-laws can be the result of a resident forgetting or not being aware of a certain by-law. In this event a simple reminder can usually solve the problem.

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Unfortunately some strata schemes have tenants that regularly cause disruption to the strata. If your strata belongs to the latter and you have tenants who are already habitually ignoring and breaking the strata’s by-laws, here are the steps you need to do to control the situation. These are applicable for strata in Sydney and other areas in NSW.

  1. Serve the tenant with a notice to comply.

The owners’ corporation or the executive committee of the owners’ corporation can serve what is known as a notice to comply on the tenant indicating the by-law that was broken including the details of the breach. Following the serving of the notice, penalties can later be applied if the noncompliance continues. This notice should be sent to the said tenant by post.

  1. Seek for a mediation.

The strata can also lodge a request for mediation at NCAT (The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal) to attempt to mediate the issue and find a resolution.. During the mediation, an independent mediator will assist the two parties to try and fix the dispute and attempt to reach a settlement.

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  1. Make an application to the NCAT.

If a resolution still isn’t reached after the mediation, the strata can make an application to the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal. Be aware that mediation is required before you can lodge an application to NCAT. The adjudicator will then make a decision within 3 months based on the papers submitted. If a hearing is needed, the tribunal will preside over the matter.

Everybody wants to live in peace and nobody wants to experience any troubles especially in the place where they reside. But sometimes these things can’t be avoided, and it is the duty of the owners corporation and the person assigned to provide the strata management services to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the owners. To achieve this, sometimes drastic measures need to be done and when it comes to dealing with difficult tenants, the strata community needs to follow the three steps above to solve the issue.

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