A lot owner from QLD has a question about suing other lot owners for compensation due to lack of garden maintenance in their scheme. Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal provides the following response.
Question: I very dissatisfied with the level of garden maintenance and the apparent apathy of our committee. Can I claim compensation from the other lot owners?
I am a Lot owner who is very dissatisfied with the level of garden maintenance and the apparent apathy of our committee as they have contributed to the problem by voting to turn off our common area irrigation system roughly 2 years or more ago. I have complained, I have communicated with the office for body corporate services, all dead ends.
Once the common area garden at the front of my lot was almost completely dead, I took over the care of it as it was unsightly and I believe killing property value. I have for the last at least 2 years used my time, money and cost of water to maintain this garden myself. I have insisted that the onsite managers no longer touch it and was informed I had to apply to the committee to be able to look after it.. basically let it die again as they are getting sick of my noise.
I have been reading about the farmstock case, I realise this was an onsite manager but on the basis of the ruling – It is a general rule applicable to every contract that each party agrees, by implication, to do all such things as are necessary on his part to enable the other party to have the benefit of the contract.
Do I have the avenue for recourse? Not only are the committee & onsite manager not doing all things necessary to enable at least this party (me) to have the full benefit of the contract, neither are the other lot owners whether they care or not. I’ve also paid additional funds from my own pocket, time and manual labour to a task that technically I am already paying for.
I would think I am due compensation at least???
Answer: Before we start suing people for compensation, consider these questions.
I think before we start suing people for compensation I think the starting point would be to understand:-
- Who has obligations with respect to the area
- Whether they have been met
- If not, seeking to force them to be met – via the Commissioner’s Office
- Then looking at it after that.
The reality is though that the costs of proceedings for something of this nature would more than likely well and truly outweigh the benefit any compensation actually sought
This post appears in Strata News #197.