What is strata mediation?
Strata mediation is a type of negotiation process in which parties involved in a strata dispute seek the assistance of an impartial mediator appointed by NSW Fair Trading to assist them resolve their dispute and hopefully achieve a settlement.
Is Strata Mediation Confidential?
Yes. It is imporant to note that any admissions made during mediation being conducted cannot be referred to in proceedings before any court, tribunal or body – see section 132(4) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW) (“SSMA”).
Some lot owners produce documents for the purpose of, or in the course of, or as a result of, a mediation session. Lot owners should exercise caution as to what documents they produce as any copy of such document is not admissible in evidence in any procieedings before any court, tribunal or body – see section 132(5) of the SSMA.
Is Strata Mediation Mandatory?
Attendance at a strata mediation by a respondent to a strata mediation application is voluntary. However, strata mediation must generally be attempted by the applicant to resolve a dispute before the applicany can proceed to apply for NCAT adjudicator’s orders under the SSMA.
Common Disputes The Subject Of Strata Mediation
Most disputes brought to strata mediation include, without limitation, disputes about:
(a) maintenance and repair of common property
(b) smoking and nuisance
(c) noise issues
(d) the validity of meetings and notices of meeting
(e) the keeping of animals
(f) parking on common property
(g) breaches of by-laws
(h) insurance matters
What Type Of Matters Are Excluded From Strata Mediation?
Strata mediation is not required to be attempted to seek adjudicator’s orders for the appointment of a compulsory strata managing agent, re-allocation of unit entitlements and penalty disputes.
Can I Enforce Any Settlement Reached At A Strata Mediation?
Yes. Any settlement reached may be made into an enforceable order by an Adjudicator where the parties agree.
How Can A Strata Lawyer Help Me?
In our view, strata mediation is an opportunity for the parties to sit together and tell their side of the story, talk about the dispute openly and what they want to achieve from the strata mediation.
A strata lawyer can help you by focussing on the real issues in dispute, explore your available options (legal and non-legal), strategise and negotiate a possible settlement.
If you need assistance preparing for a strata mediation, or require legal representation at such a mediation, we can help.
Please note that the information contained in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon. You should obtain legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely on the content of this article.