Is a strata committee responsible for taking action against bullying? – Joan, NSW
If residents and owners in a strata complex are being harassed, intimidated, bullied and victimised by another owner in the complex, is a strata committee responsible for stopping bullying and taking action on the harassment?
– Joan, NSW
Harassment and intimidation is never okay. Unfortunately, under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and regulations, strata committees are not directly responsible for handling such cases. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot help you.
Here is what you can do:
- The first step is to find out if it is an isolated case or if other lot owners are also facing similar problems from the person doing the harassing. If more people are facing the same issue, your case for taking action becomes all that much stronger. Make sure to keep all records handy – photographs, communication, witnesses, etc. that can help you make a case to prove that harassment has taken place.
- If your property by-laws do not address these issues already, you may urge your committee to have them included in your next annual general meeting (AGM). By-laws can be modified from time to time, to include new issues for the common good of the strata property. Moreover they are applicable to all strata property owners without exception and are enforceable by the Tribunal (NCAT) in your state.
- Your strata committee can help mediate disputes and disagreements between lot owners. They can work towards establishing common rules and drafting by-laws that outline how misbehaviour from other owners, residents and guests should be handled. They can also issue warning notices to the offender on your behalf. Formulating and modifying by-laws, as well as issuing warning notices requires majority owner approval, at the annual general meeting – so make sure to bring these cases to the fore at the meetings.
- If there has been a physical attack or threat, your strata committee can also help you apply for an apprehended violence order (AVO) that will prohibit the offender from approaching the victim in anyway. If the offender disregards the AVO, they can be arrested immediately.
Here is an update on New South Wales reforms on tenancy laws that protect the rights and interests of domestic violence victims. To stay in the know of all legislation updates, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.