VCAT Sneak Peek Lot Owners Take Care When Bringing a Claim Against OC to VCAT 18 September 2013

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Lot owners must be cautious in bringing a claim against their Owners Corporation to VCAT, as they may be footing the Owners Corporations legal costs if their claim is not substantiated...

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VCAT Sneak Peek Lot Owners Take Care When Bringing a Claim Against OC to VCAT 18 September 2013

  1. 1.   A Sneak Peek at the Latest VCAT Strata Decisions Lot owners must be cautious in bringing a claim against their Owners Corporation to VCAT, as they may be footing the Owners Corporations legal costs if their claim is not substantiated… The general rule in VCAT is that each party bears its own costs for the proceedings. This reflects the purpose of VCAT “to promote equal access to justice by minimizing costs as far as practicable”. However, a recent case in VCAT demonstrated an exception to this rule where a lot owner applicant was required to pay the legal fees of the Owners Corporation respondent. The lot owner sought an order that the Owners Corporation install, and bear the cost of new airconditioning ductwork in the common property roof solely to benefit the lot owner. The lot owner was unsuccessful in seeking this order, and accordingly the Owners Corporation applied to the VCAT for a costs order. The proceedings were complex and therefore required expensive representation for the Owners Corporation. In addition the lot owner’s case was found to be opportunistic and ungrounded in fact and law. The Owners Corporation provided a reasonable solution to the issue before the hearing. For these reasons it was held that the lot owner put the Owners Corporation at considerable expense in unreasonable circumstances, and thus it was fair to order that the lot owner pay the costs of the Owners Corporation. Case Reference: Circle Developments Pty Ltd v Owners Corporation PS 1897 [2013] VCAT 1509 (12 July 2013) 18 September 2013 www.teyslawyers.com.au Nicole Wilde, Senior Solicitor, TEYS Lawyers Melbourne (03) 9600 1128 © Copyright TEYS Lawyers 2013

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