If you cannot find a solution yourself after a dispute arises between you and another unit owner there are avenues to turn to.
The Tenancy Tribunal:
If you have a dispute with your unit title property about an amount less than $50,000 you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for mediation or adjudication, although they cannot hear disputes relating to the title of land or the application of insurance money.
Cost associated with applying to the Tenancy are $850 for non-complex cases and $3,300 for complex cases.
The District Court hears disputes relating to insurance money up to $50,000 and other disputes between $50,000 and $350,000, although not disputes relating to the title of land.
The High Court hears disputes relating to the title of land, disputes relating to insurance money over $50,000 and other disputes over $350,000.
Applying for an administrator:
The body corporate, or anyone with a financial or ownership interest, can apply to the High Court for an administrator to be appointed if they believe that the body corporate is not managing its affairs effectively.
The court has a high level of discretion over whether it appoints an administrator, but has historically factored in considerations such as whether owners were deadlocked and whether the body corporate had previously made undemocratic decisions.
If an administrator is appointed, they take full control of the affairs of the body corporate from unit owners and the body corporate committee.
A final word:
The situation relating to unit title ownership and body corporates may seem a little daunting to the uninitiated but a little research, such as reading this article, can help you understand the main rules around them.
And as with any important property purchase, you may want to engage specialist advice to bolster your understanding, such as having your lawyer look over the pre-disclosure before you buy a unit title property.
Yes, there are some specific cost, rights and responsibilities involved with unit title ownership. But there can also be advantages, such as being able to acquiring a more affordable property than if you only pursue the quarter-acre, freestanding home dream. Some owners in well-run body corporates truly appreciate this type of ownership, in which decisions about maintenance and costs are not solely their own responsibility.
The most important thing is that you understand the basics of unit title ownership before embarking on one.