Building Defects And Owners Corporations – New Laws Start 1 Dec 2021

In February 2021, the Owners Corporation and Other Acts Amendment Act 2021 (the Act) was passed in Victoria. This will amend the previous legislation of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (the Previous Act). The new laws will take effect from 1 December 2021.

Issuing Proceedings

Under the Previous Act, an Owners Corporation must not bring legal proceedings unless it is authorised by special resolution to do so. A special resolution requires 75% of all members of the Owners Corporation to be in agreeance of the decision.

Under the new Act, if a matter is within the civil jurisdictional limit of the Magistrates’ Court and an Owners Corporation is authorised to do so by ordinary resolution, the Owners Corporation may commence any legal proceedings. An ordinary resolution only requires a majority of the votes cast to be in favour.  

However, if the claim is more than $100,000.00 (making it outside the civil jurisdictional limit of the Magistrates’ Court), the OC will require a special resolution to issue proceedings. 

For more information concerning Owners Corporation disputes regarding common property, read our blog here.

Claims under The Water Act

Section 16 of The Water Act 1989 (Vic) states that where there is an unreasonable flow of water from one person’s land to another’s which causes injury, damage to property or economic loss, then the person who caused the flow is liable to pay damages.

The amended Act has altered how Water Act claims are viewed. Now, any rainwater or other water that falls, occurs or flows on the common property (otherwise than in a waterway or a bore) is taken to be part of the common property and an Owners Corporation is an occupier of land to the extent that the land is common property.

This amendment may allow lot owners to act against an OC for flow of water from common property.

For more information regarding disputes over water ingress and damage, read our blog here.

Repairs & Maintenance 

Under the Previous Act, an OC must repair and maintain a service in or relating to a lot that is for the benefit of more than one lot and the common property.

However, under the new Act, lot owners, if they are expressly authorised by the OC, can carry out & maintain:

  • the common property of the Owners Corporation; or
  • a service in or relating to a lot that is for the benefit of more than one lot or the common property.

It is important to note if lot owners are to undertake such works and do not obtain express authority, they may be unable to recover the costs of the works from the OC.

Our Services

If you have concerns regarding your Owners Corporation following the proper guidelines of the amended OC Act, our professional team at Oldham Construction Lawyers are able to advise you on your entitlements and rights.

If you are unsure of your obligations and need further advice, please do not hesitate to call our Director, Daniel Oldham on (03) 9640 0002, or via email info@oclawyers.com.au.