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Pedantic tribunal no help here

Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday February 12, 2011

Jimmy Thomson

We are always telling strata owners to resolve serious problems through Fair Trading and the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. The latter, especially, is supposed to help ordinary people resolve issues without needing lawyers. "Supposed to" is the operative phrase.We recently heard from owners in a small, self-managed block who asked the CTTT to enforce a Notice To Comply for two owners' loud, disturbing noise and harassment and intimidation of other residents.They submitted a stack of evidence, including police reports and letters from real estate agents whose tenants had moved out because of the problem.When the tribunal member hearing the case said he hadn't been provided with the minutes of the first meeting at which the executive committee agreed to pursue the breaches, the owners asked for a brief adjournment to get the document, which they had on file. Instead, he dismissed the case entirely."What a joke," our reader says.A spokesman for the CTTT says: "Based on the evidence provided to the tribunal, the notice to comply with a bylaw was issued prior to a resolution being made by the owners corporation approving the issue of the notice and therefore was not issued in accordance with the act."The decision had been approved back in March last year. I've seen a copy of the minutes. It wasn't "provided" because the owners hadn't realised it was needed. They told the CTTT member but he wouldn't allow them to go to get it.This kind of pedantic pen-pushing and trial-by-nit-picking ordeal while people's lives are being impacted upon is exactly why the CTTT is at risk of losing significant respect within the strata community.You can join strata discussions or ask your own question on

© 2011 Sydney Morning Herald

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