The Victorian Coalition Government has released draft legislation to enable neighbourhood disputes in company title buildings to be determined at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien released an Exposure Draft of the Company Titles (Home Units) Bill for public comment. The Bill will enable disputes relating to neighbourhood matters in company title buildings to be heard at VCAT rather than through the court system.
"The Coalition Government made a commitment to simplify the process relating to neighbourhood disputes," Mr O'Brien said.
"This announcement will save time and money for residents and building managers, and allow the courts to deal with more significant cases," Mr O'Brien said.
In company title buildings, the block of units is owned by a company, and residents obtain their right to occupy or rent out a unit by buying shares in that company. These arrangements are regulated under the Commonwealth Corporations Act, such that any disputes must currently be heard in the court system.
This includes neighbourhood matters, such as disputes over noise, pets or general property maintenance.
"In 2008 a case regarding a dispute over a building's 'no pets' rule took 10 months and cost more than $50,000 in court fees," Mr O'Brien said.
"It is not practical that this kind of dispute had to go to the Supreme Court rather than VCAT.
"The current system means that neighbourhood disputes in company title buildings that are not resolved internally are being heard in the courts and this is costly and time consuming for everyone involved.
"The proposed legislation will simplify dispute resolution processes for anyone living in a company title building by allowing them to take their neighbourhood disputes to VCAT.
"Allowing these cases to be heard at VCAT will harmonise the framework for resolving neighbourhood disputes with the regime for owners corporations.
"The changes will provide residents of company title buildings with a faster, more efficient process to deal with disputes over matters such as the use of common property and the external appearance of units.
"Over the next six weeks until 21 September, stakeholders and members of the public will be invited to provide their views and comments on the Exposure Draft. The Victorian Government will use this input in finalising the Bill for Parliament," Mr O'Brien said.
To view the Exposure Draft and make a submission, visit