teys lawyers brochure strata law resources & services for owners corporations & bodies corporate

Download TEYS Lawyers Brochure Strata Law Resources & Services for Owners Corporations & Bodies Corporate

Post on 09-May-2015




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TEYS Lawyers Brochure


  • 1.Strata Law Resources & Servicesfor Owners Corporations &Bodies Corporate

2. A Word From Our Founder & Principal Lawyer An increase in apartment living is a sign of the times in which we live. The ageing of ourpopulation, environmental concerns about urban sprawl, the shrinking number of those livingtogether in one household and housing affordability, all mean that there will be moreapartment living in the future. Yet surprisingly little is known about bodies corporate andowners corporations that govern common property in strata buildings and developments.Thats where TEYS Lawyers can help. We are a group of professionals dedicated solely tolegal issues arising in strata and community titled buildings throughout Australia. This hasbeen my passion for my entire working life. I have been a strata manager, developer andfinancier which has given me different perspectives about this form of living but first andforemost, I am a lawyer and fighting for the rights of people in strata living arrangements ismy calling.We are particularly strong in five areas: By-laws and rules to regulate the use of common property; Building defect litigation against builders and developers to fix bad workmanship; Strata community dispute resolution; Management rights and building management contract negotiation; and Levy and fee collection.I hope the information you find here will help you understand our distinctive approach tothese matters and that one of our lawyers will be able to help you get the best results for yourstrata community.Kind regardsMichael TeysFounder & Principal LawyerMichael Teys is the Founder and Principal Lawyer of TEYS Lawyers. He has a Bachelor ofLaws and practices exclusively in the area of strata title law. He is a Fellow of the AustralianCollege of Community Association Lawyers. He was formerly an Adjunct Lecturer withCharles Sturt University. He appears weekly on SKY News Business Channels PropertySuccess with Margaret Lomas and is a regular panellist for the property edition of YourMoney, Your Call for the same channel. You can read Michaels weekly blog atwww.michaelteys.com and follow him daily on Twitter at @MichaelTeys 3. 7 Activities That Drive Our Client Relationships A singular focus. We are a specialist strata law firm. We only act for strata titled property owners and theirowners corporations, bodies corporate and community associations.Dedicated to one client group. We have a strong conflict of interest policy that means we are absolutely free to representstrata title owners and their managers. We do not accept instructions from developers andbuilders and we will never act against a referring strata manager.A unique insight into strata management. We understand strata management acutely. Our Founder and Principal Lawyer, MichaelTeys has previously owned and run a large strata management business that operated inNew South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.Heavily focused on client training and resources. We invest heavily in educating our clients and referring strata managers. No other law firmpublishes the amount of material we do on strata law. By teaching, we continue to learn.Online fee disclosure and flexible billing methods. Our online fee disclosure billing system (Freshbooks) is quick and easy to understand. Wewill work on a fixed fee, an hourly rate or a retainer depending on your preference. We willnot charge for photocopying, couriers, postage, stationery and other minor expenses.Project management software for transparency. We use online project management and collaboration software (Basecamp) to deliver ourservices. This means clients, committees and their strata managers can all view at any timeour entire file and internal workings to check on the progress of their matter. This reduceswork for strata managers and committee members.Leveraging knowledge gained nationally. We practice nationally so we are alive to different issues arising in strata at different times inasdifferent places. We apply this knowledge across state and territory borders so we can usethe latest developments in strata law to get the best outcome for our clients wherever theyare located. 4. By-Laws and Rules By-laws and rules regulate the use of common property. They are fundamental to the goodfunctioning of a strata community. Unfortunately, they tend to be written before a building iscompleted and often do not meet the needs of the community they are meant to serve.Our work in this area includes. Specific by-laws and rules (for example, animals and parking)Exclusive use and special privileges by-laws and rulesReview and update of current and proposed by-laws and rulesAudit of existing by-laws and rulesRegistration of by-laws and rulesWhat makes our by-law and rules service unique. Easy to understand language Fact sheets for owners to explain the need for the by-law or rule Fixed fees for by-law and rule preparation and registration and reasonable hourly rates for customisation Compliant with the latest cases and rulings on the topic Usually done in 48 hours CASE STUDY A review of by-laws past their use by date A scheme came to us with a set of by-laws written for their building when it was completed 18 years ago. They had some troublesome new owners behaving badly around their pool. They got a copy of the by-laws from their strata manager and realized that this behaviour was not covered. The language was also out-dated and referred to laws that were no longer current. They came to us with a set of by-laws from their neighbouring building that they quite liked. We wrote a new set of by-laws for them using modern language and used the neighbours set as a guide for matters to cover. We were able to safeguard previous approvals for renovations, improvements and permissions granted under the old by-laws. Also, we advised that restrictions on the minimum age of pool users was discriminatory and therefore unlawful. We charged a fixed fee for this work in accordance with the estimate accepted by the committee. 5. Helpful fact sheets. The best by-laws in the world wont change a thing if your strata community does notunderstand what they are about and why.We have identified 25 common by-laws and rules and have prepared a fact sheet on eachone to help our clients and their managers clarify the problem they are seeking to addressand ensure they get the outcome they want.These fact sheets, which are tailored to the law and practice of each state and territory, arethen useful in communication with the broader owners group about the need for the by-lawor rule and how it will be interpreted.Our fact sheets about by-laws and rules: Define the behavioural problem to be addressed; Describe the solution; and Summarised in a short paragraph the latest cases, rulings and adjudications on therelevant by-law or rule.Fact sheets you might find interesting. Air conditioning Fire services call-outs Parking controls Alterations to lots Floor coverings Roof areas Animals Hot water services Anti-smoking Balcony enclosures Overcrowding Solar Panels BBQs Garbage Disposal Towing CarsTEYS Lawyers training resources for by-laws and rules. Apart from our fact sheets, we have developed a popular 1-hour training module for strataowners and managers on by-laws and rules. This covers:1. 5 step formula for making valid by-laws;2. Examples of invalid by-laws;3. Controversial by-laws to be avoided;4. Tips on enforcing by-laws; and5. Suggestions about improving by-laws. 6. Building Defects Latest research shows that of respondents who owned a property built since 1997, almosttwo-thirds had ongoing defects in the building (Easthope et al, Managing Major Repairs inResidential Strata Developments in NSW City Futures, UNSW, 2009)The typical legal approach to this problem.... Typically, owners upon discovering defects, engage a consultant to produce a large report,several inches thick. This is then served on a builder with a demand that rectification work bedone within a specified time otherwise legal proceedings will be commenced.While this practice reflects the usual course, the reality is that it reinforces an adversarialapproach. Indeed this approach is out-dated and runs counter to new thinking in theconstruction industry that is increasingly relationship-based.Consequently, when the builder receives the report, usually viewed as an ambit claim, thebuilder immediately takes up a defensive position which leads the parties to an expensiveand long drawn out fight.Many lawyers and consultants take this approach not so much because it is an outcome thatsuits lawyers and consultants (which it does), but moreover, because of laziness and a lackof imagination.We are approaching building defect problems in an entirely new way. TEYS Lawyers has been able to achieve rectification of defects worth millions of dollars withan entirely new collaborative approach. We have developed this with a consultant who isable to communicate effectively. This approach has the following characteristics:It engages with the builder as an equal;It facilitates an open, full and frank discussion with the builder in a without prejudice context (before battle lines are drawn);It assists the builder in finding a solution to the problem which the builder doesnt necessarily know as having caused the problem in the first place;The agreed solution may be a practical one which satisfies both parties rather than an ambit claim which just antagonises our opponents for no benefit;Legal proceedings are an implied (rather than explicit) threat to encourage the builder to engage in the process; andOnce agreement is reached, it is recorded in a deed avoiding litigation. 7. CASE STUDYLess is always more in building defect casesAn owners corporation with over 200 lots had significant water penetration affecting most units. Theowners, went directly to an expert and commissioned a defects report. The report was extensive but oncloser examina


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