The NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal’s jurisdiction pursuant to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 was the focus of the recent decisions in Owners – Strata Plan No 74835 v Pullicin and The Owners – Strata Plan No 80412 v Vickery.
That Act imposes a statutory duty on the Owners Corporation to maintain and repair common property and any property vested in by the owners of the lots and further provides a mechanism for an owner of a lot in a strata plan to recover from the Owners Corporation as damages any loss as a result of a contravention of that statutory duty.
In the proceedings, the Tribunal determined that it does not have jurisdiction to order the payment of compensation for the Owners Corporations failure to comply with the statutory duty. Any such action should now be commenced in the Local, District of Supreme Court depending on the quantum of the claim.
The Appeal Panel concluded that legislation must express powers to make orders or impliedly confer or impose jurisdiction or order making power on the Tribunal before the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to make any orders. The Appeal Panel confirmed general words such as “to settle a complaint or dispute”, which were relied on in prior cases, do not impose or confer power on the Tribunal to make an order for damages.