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Editions

Lawyers explain Watergate

30 Apr 2013

Lawyers explain Watergate Image

The team of lawyers who represented the Watergate Owner’s Corporation (OC) during the Building Appeals Board serviced apartment case held a public briefing on the implications of the decision last month.

The presentation, on April 23 in Docklands, was attended by owners corporations, strata managers, residents and lawyers and focused on the decision and its wider consequences.

Tom Bacon, who represented the OC during the appeal, presented information about the BAB decision and explained why the OC had joined the appeal.

He also commented on the building upgrades now necessary should serviced apartments operate at Watergate.

He said in order for the building to be upgraded to Class 3 specifications (as the BAB determination found was necessary), OCs must pass a special resolution.

Accordingly, the result of Paul Salter’s Supreme Court action (reported on page 2) will determine if serviced apartments will continue to operate in the Watergate building.

If, like the BAB, the Supreme Court finds that building upgrades are necessary for serviced apartments to operate in Class 2 buildings it is very unlikely the OC would pass the resolution necessary to allow upgrades of common property.   

Michael Teys, founder and principal lawyer of the firm that represented the OC, also spoke about the wider implications of the Watergate decision.

“Once or twice a year there is a decision that affects the way we manage our strata property. This year that case is Watergate,” Mr Teys said.

He reminded OCs of their obligation to inform insurers if serviced apartments are operating in their buildings.

He said OCs must advise insurers if the nature of occupation changes as to increase the risk of loss, damage or the likelihood of liability losses. He said if OCs failed to do so, their policies could be voided.

Mr Teys also announced the firm would be opening an office in Docklands, a sign that further action by owners corporations against serviced apartment operators could soon be expected.

 

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