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What is a strata lawyer?

Strata lawyers deal with legal matters relating to high-rise, multi-dwelling and mixed use buildings. Apartment buildings are often set up under strata law when a building or complex has a communal space of shared ownership. A strata agreement is created and will regulate the rights and obligations of the individuals that use this communal space. Usually such an agreement involves other users, often residents, contributing money to the upkeep of the common property. Strata complexes are found commonly in residential blocks, commercial units, retirement villages and caravan parks.

The work a strata lawyer completes is varied. It primarily involves working with developers and building management companies to formulate a strata agreement for the individuals using the common space. Additionally, a strata lawyer will deal with disputes surrounding the agreements from unit owners, building managers and body corporates. Disputes will usually concern poor building management, community disputes and building defects.

What can a strata lawyer do for me?

A strata lawyer can develop, revise and implement an appropriate strata agreement. They can advise both unit owners and building management as to their rights and obligations under the agreement. Strata law is specific and there are certain regulations imposed to limit what can be controlled under contract. With expertise in strata law, these lawyers draft enforceable agreements for developers in both commercial and residential premises.

5 tips when hiring a strata lawyer

If you are involved in a dispute regarding common property, consider these tips before consulting a lawyer:

  1. Read over your building’s strata agreement. You strata agreement or by-laws will be the best starting point to determining you have a claim. Ensure you read this and consult your lawyer with any questions.
  2. Determine what you want out by engaging with a strata lawyer. For a developer, this might be the creation of an enforceable strata agreement. For a unit owner, general advice might be wanted or the effective resolution of a dispute.
  3. The lawyer will provide you with a retainer, ensure you read this, it will inform you of the obligations held by both of you as well as the costs.
  4. Research the lawyer you are working with. It is a good idea to determine if the lawyer usually devises documents for developers as opposed to a lawyer that has experience resolving disputes.
  5. If engaged in a dispute, prepare any evidence you may have. This will help the lawyer come to a quick resolution, often it is a good idea to put this into a timeline form.