This ACT lot owner has been using the incorrect parking space and storage cage for the past 11 years. Christopher Kerin, Kerin Benson Lawyers provides the following information.
Question: New management tells me the car park and storage cage I bought and have been using for the past 11 years are not really mine. The new areas are smaller and hard to access. What recourse do I have?
I purchased my 2 bedroom Unit in the ACT approximately 11 years ago. The complex is around 40 years old.
The listing agent was also the complex manager (being licensed to sell only within the complex) and showed me the associated car park and 3 metre square storage cage adjacent to the car park and I have happily used both for 11 years. In other words, I relied on his representations when forming my decision to purchase.
Suddenly, (with new management) I have been informed that according to a ‘newly discovered’ strata plan, my storage cage and car park are not the ones I have been using all this time; that is, not the ones that were sold to me by the previous manager.
Ordinarily, this would not much matter.
The ‘new’ storage cage I am told I now own is only half the size. More importantly, the car park is smaller. It is barely usable with very little room to open the driver’s door. It is necessary to park almost encroaching on the adjacent car park to be able to open the door.
Is there any way to dispute this?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this and the cost of taking action will likely overshadow any benefit.
Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this and the cost of taking action will likely overshadow any benefit.
The possible avenues which should be looked at are:
- misleading and deceptive conduct by the selling agent; and
- negligence on the part of your solicitor / conveyancer in failing to point out the correct unit subsidiaries.
The likely problems are:
- given 11 years have passed since the purchase, there are some threshold limitation period issues you will need to overcome (which may be quite difficult);
- the loss incurred by you could likely be exceeded by the legal costs of recovering this loss; and
- any related documentation is probably no longer around and any memory of the relevant events and conversations will be reduced. This will make proving your case difficult.
On balance, from a commercial perspective, there is little that can be done that will likely result in any material improvement of your position.
This post appears in Strata News #263.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
After more detailed information dealing with Strata Law in the ACT? Chris Kerin’s Guide to ACT Strata Law is now available.
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