2.4 What if I have a complaint? | Owners Corporation Network

2.4 What if I have a complaint?

If you have an issue with your strata manager, try to find out as much as you can before complaining. Ask questions first, rather than tell or demand, then escalate where necessary or appropriate: It may be a misunderstanding, it may not be in their powers, they may be on holiday, they may have been instructed by the stratacommittee, they may be right and you may be wrong! Ask why they did or didn’t do something, or why they believe they are correct. Ask for the appropriate legislation or regulations explaining their answer. Ask other strata managers for their opinion; they should be delighted to assist where they can as they may be first in line in a tender situation. Check out the Owners Corporation Network of Australia’s website and forum, relevant legislation and their contract terms. If you feel there are legitimate grounds for concern then escalate your complaint to:

  1. Your strata committee:They may have some additional information that will shed light on or resolve your concerns.
  2. The strata manager’s supervisor:It is always worth asking to speak with the manager’s supervisor – just so that you can explain your concern and see if it can get resolved or answered at this level first.
  3. An external accountant or advisor:Depending on the issue it may be worth getting a second opinion. For legal and process issues ask a legal expert or solicitor, for financial questions ask an accountant to peruse the finances.
  4. Strata Governing Bodies/Institutes/Licensing Authoritiese.g. Strata Community Association or Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW). Most of these licensing bodies have a code of conduct and a complaints resolution system.
  5. Department of Fair Trading:Strata managers are legally appointed as an agent of your owners corporation. This places quite significant legal responsibilities on them. If they are not fulfilling their responsibilities appropriately then the relevant government department in your state would likely be interested.
  6. Terminate and retender the role:If they are still within the contractual period you will need to consider this move carefully. See section 2.6: Dismissing a strata manager. If it is past any contractual period usually only 3 months written notice is required. See Dismissing a strata manager 2.6.
  7. NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal: This is administered by the NSW Fair Trading. An Adjudicator can make decisions on disputes with a strata manager. An Adjudicator may appoint an alternative nominated person as your strata manager to carry out:
    • all the functions of owners corporation
    • all the functions of the executive committee and/or the chairperson, secretary or treasurer
    • only some of those functions.


Relevant NSW Legislation: Strata Schemes Management Act (2015)

Section 233: Order for settlement of dispute between adjoining strata schemes


What Members Say

"The whole strata community owes a huge debt of gratitude to you and the OCN executive. Much appreciated."

Robert, Darlinghurst

"I am very pleased with my membership of OCN, the discussions through sharing emails is very valuable in increasing my knowledge of strata living, the laws and EC responsibilities. I think I am better armed to tread the minefield of the managing agent responsibilities and the necessary action of the EC to monitor the contradictory interests of the agent."

Jim, Wollstonecraft

"I so appreciate being part of the OCN email forum. It provides a great opportunity for sharing ideas and learning"

Ingrid, Neutral Bay

"I must say that I have enjoyed and found consolation in the discussions that have been part of the email chain (forum). I did attend one general meeting and found that it was informative and the people "running the show" were knowledgeable and dedicated to the tasks that had taken on. In short, well done. You and the committee have and continue to support the Strata Community in a very professional manner."

Greg, Parramatta

"Nothing is easy in Strata World and we have been in building defects “mode” for some years – hopefully almost at an end but that process has been most demanding and difficult but again – greatly helped by the experience and wise counsel of other members of OCN."

Pat, St Leonards

"Keep up the good work, as many (if not most) strata schemes need your help, advice and representation at all levels of government."

Jann and John, St Ives

"I belong to OCN because of its professionalism.  I have found the meetings I have been to extremely well presented, to the point, and of course very topical and informative. Speakers on the whole certainly know their topic.  My role of Secretary last year was certainly assisted with the coverage regarding TPG & other subjects. Member newsletters are also of benefit as the topics are specific to strata matters."

Graham, East Balmain

I have enjoyed attending the quarterly OCN meetings and the exchange of emails between other Executive Committee Members and think OCN is playing an increasingly important role as a voice for strata dwellers and representing us at Government level. I wish the organisation continuing success in the future."

Pauline, Kings Cross

"The [forum] response to my question was amazing and really useful.  The OCN community is wonderful so thanks."

Jenny, Killara

"I would like to thank you all for the important effort that you are all putting in to look after apartment owners and tenants. It is so valuable and you are heroes. I would not have been able to deal with my duties as a strata chairman without your advice and assistance." 

Angela, Mascot

"The OCN is invaluable – many thanks."

Bill, Surry Hills

"OCN is proving invaluable"

Sue, Neutral Bay

"Thanks to all at OCN for your continuing efforts to keep us up to date with current strata information and advice...it has been very helpful to us"

Kate, Coogee

"When my wife & I first encountered a problematic Executive Committee I heard that OCN was a great help (from a Strata manager whom I knew) so we both joined and have gratefully used the on-line information sources. We continued to happily rely on OCN’s assistance when we progressed to Committee status & later as Chair & Secretary of our Committee. I still use OCN in my current role as Treasurer."

Peter, Chiswick

"Thanks to OCN for being such a rich resource of trustworthy information about strata matters."

Peter, Chiswick

"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for the very informative & interesting event today. The OCN team did an outstanding job in the organisation of this event & I enjoyed it thoroughly. The quality of speakers, the flow of conversation & interaction from the attendees - first class …& of course, the amazing Jimmy T - always a delight."

Sue, Epping

"OCN does a great job in providing a really valuable service to Strata owners."

Lois, Wollongong

"I am sure my appreciation of your good works is echoed by many in the Stratasphere. Keep up the good work."

John, Elizabeth Bay

"Once again, being able to discuss such things through this forum, helps clear the mind, puts things into perspective and helps one to understand their rights and to form a strategy if needs be. As a simple EC member trying to do what is in the best interests of lot owners, I truly value OCN and am grateful."

Pamela, Point Lookout

"The OCN is probably one of the best, most informed and most informative groups I have been involved with."

Alan, Maryville