Jonathan Chancellor | 18 February 2013

Company title disputes now off to the cheaper NSW Local Court

Company title disputes will be able to be heard in the NSW Local Court instead of the Supreme Court, under changes announced by NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith.

The new system will allow cheaper and more efficient dispute resolution, Greg Smith said.

The state has about 820 apartment blocks under company title, compared with more than 71,000 strata schemes.

“Until now, company title disputes have been typically heard in the Supreme Court with the cost of the proceedings preventing some residents from resolving conflict over issues such as noise, the use of common property and the raising of financial levies,” Mr Smith said.

“The NSW Government will enable the small claims division of the local court to deal with company title disputes so that the issues can be resolved quickly and with as little formality as possible.”

“The local court will also be able to refer matters to mediation, which could further reduce costs for residents of company title units.”

Company title is a system of communal land ownership where a person earns the right to live in a unit in a residential building by acquiring shares in a company that owns the building.

Before the introduction of Strata Title legislation in NSW in 1961, most unit blocks were held in company title.

“Company title is now relatively uncommon in NSW," Mr Smith said.

Strata title differs from company title by allowing people to own a unit in a building.

Disputes involving strata title units can be resolved in the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

However, a tribunal, such as the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, may not be able to be given the power to resolve Company Title disputes that arise under the Corporations Act 2001, which is a Commonwealth Act.

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