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OC proposes short-stay appeal

03 Sep 2015

OC proposes short-stay appeal Image

The Watergate Owners’ Corporation (OC) plans to appeal the recent Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) short-stay decision at the Supreme Court.

The OC will this month hold a general meeting with the intention of passing a special resolution to allow it to pursue the legal action.

In June, VCAT member Linda Rowland found that the OC did not have the power to make a rule prohibiting stays of less than 30 days.

The decision affected not only the Watergate building, but also other OCs throughout the state, as it effectively means OCs can’t make rules preventing short-term letting.

Watergate OC chair Barbara Francis said the committee was hopeful of achieving a special resolution at the September 14 meeting.

“We have received legal advice which says there is grounds for an appeal,” Ms Francis said.

For a special resolution to be passed at the general meeting it would require the support of 75 per cent of owners.

However, the OC can achieve an interim special resolution if more than 50 per cent of owners support the motion and less than 25 per cent oppose it.

If less than 25 per cent of owners oppose the motion in the following 29 days it will then be passed as special resolution.

Docklands Executive Apartments operator Paul Salter said he was unsure whether owners had been completely informed about the Supreme Court action being proposed.

"Owners need to make informed decisions, but I do not believe they are in a position to do so, because I, as an owner, am still waiting on answers I have been seeking for more than one month," Mr Salter said.

Mr Salter claimed he had not received responses to enquiries  sent to the OC.

Mr Salter claimed the OC had spent more than $150,000 in legal fees at the Building Appeals Board and estimated it had spent a further $100,000 at VCAT. He said the OC now wanted to spend an estimated $100,000 at the Supreme Court, exposing owners to paying further costs if it loses.

If the OC is successful in achieving a special resolution, the Supreme Court appeal would be the second time the matter of short-stays at the Watergate has been tested by the court.

Issues relating to short stays at Watergate have also appeared at the Building Appeals Board, the Supreme Court’s Court of Appeals and, most recently, VCAT.

The VCAT decision the OC plans to appeal was made after the OC took action against nine Watergate lot owners over alleged breaches of the OC rules.

The OC alleged owners had breached the rules through the use of their apartments as short-stay accommodation as part of Mr Salter’s Docklands Executive Apartments business.

In her written decision, published on June 29, Member Rowland said she proposed to dismiss the Watergate OC’s application.

Member Rowlands is expected to make her final orders regarding the case and make a decision regarding costs at a hearing on September 15.

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