Older people living in strata-titled apartments are often unsure of how to solve problems such as repairs, levies and disputes with other residents.

In the past people who needed individual legal advice or assistance on their issues had to pay a private solicitor for advice, which could be very expensive.

In 2017, the NSW government funded Seniors Rights Service, the community legal centre for older people in NSW, to provide free and confidential legal advice service for people with questions about strata issues.

People over 60 living in strata-titled units, townhouses or retirement villages can now call Seniors Rights Service on 1800 424 079 for free legal advice. People under 60 can call Marrickville Legal Centre on (02) 9559 2899.

Recently Seniors Rights Service spoke to a strata owner with water leakage from behind her bathroom tiles.

The strata owner had tried to resolve the dispute by writing to the strata committee of the owners’ corporation, and the strata managing agent, but there was no agreement on what should be done.

One of the issues was who was responsible for the water leakage. If it came from another unit, or from the common property, the owner should not have had to pay for repairs.

In this case, the lawyer advised the client get three different expert reports from plumbers, setting out the damage, the likely cause, the work needed to complete the repairs and the likely cost, to be sent to the strata committee with a deadline for a response. If there was no agreement the owner could call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 to arrange free and confidential mediation.

Seniors Rights Service is running information sessions on strata living with local libraries throughout NSW for older people, where lawyers will talk about strata living and the law.

To book a strata information session for a group or for free legal advice on any aspect of strata living, call Seniors Rights Service on 1800 424 079.

Seniors Rights Service is a community legal centre that protects the rights of older people. It provides free and confidential legal advice, aged care advocacy, and rights-based education.

This is information only, not legal advice. If you have a legal problem call Seniors Rights Service directly, or see your lawyer.

Contact Seniors Rights Service

P (02) 9281 3600    P 1800 424 079

[email protected]     www.seniorsrightsservice.org.au