Common property boundaries and the Water Act – who is liable for unreasonable flows of water into an apartment?

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has published a decision which provides some further clarity as to how a Plan of Subdivision is interpreted to determine the boundaries between the common property and the lots. The decision illustrates the difficulties faced by owners corporations and their members in determining liability for unreasonable flows of water into a lot. Continue reading

Supreme Court confirms that OCs must carry out works to common property to avoid discrimination against persons with disabilities

The Victorian Supreme Court has upheld an earlier decision by VCAT which found that owners corporations provide “services” in relation to common property for the purposes of s44 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.  The practical effect of this decision is that owners corporations are obliged to make “reasonable adjustments” to the common property to avoid discrimination against persons with disabilities. Continue reading

OCs may be obliged to carry out works to upgrade access for persons with disabilities

In Black v Owners Corporation OC1-POS539033E [2018] VCAT 185, a resident developed a disability which required her to use a wheelchair or scooter.  She had difficulty accessing her apartment because she was unable to operate the entry doors and the ramp from the car park was unsafe for her.  The resident sought an order that the OC make adjustments to the common property so she could access the building independently. Continue reading

The Tribunal’s power to make “any order it considers fair” is not unlimited

The Supreme Court has re-iterated that legislative provisions providing a broad power for VCAT to make orders as it sees fit do have their limitations.  The Tribunal can only apply a remedy if there is a separate legal right which can be identified enabling it to do so.  If the right is identified, the broad power provision to make orders enables wide remedies to be applied to exercise that right.

In relation to owners corporations, the limitation applies to s165 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 which states that in determining an owners corporation dispute, the Tribunal “may make any order it considers fair”.

The issue was discussed in Energy Technology Australia Pty Ltd v Owners Corporation PS 439401J [2017] VSC 145. Continue reading