SAT-01 State Administrative Tribunal

Version 1 – 21/03/2019

The information provided in this guide is not intended to amount to legal advice. Professional assistance may be required to determine the most appropriate action to protect your legal rights. Please read our Terms of Use on the Land Titles Registration policy and procedure guides web page. Landgate accepts no responsibility where parties print this guide and seek to rely on information that is out of date.

1 General

The uniqueness of strata schemes, combined with the Australian culture of defined ownership, sometimes results in misunderstandings and consequential disputes between lot owners. The Strata Titles Act (STA) provides some relief in resolving these problems through the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) who has powers to resolve disputes (formerly adjudicated by the Strata Titles Referee).

The SAT is located at Level 6, 565 Hay Street, PERTH WA  6000. They may also be contacted online at http://www.sat.justice.wa.gov.au where eForm applications are available. This website also provides access to decisions made in Strata related disputes. It may be beneficial for applicants to seek legal advice prior to making an application to SAT in order to gain a satisfactory outcome.

(scroll to top)

2 Applications to the State Administrative Tribunal

Before making an application to the SAT an applicant must comply with any relevant dispute resolution procedures. The by-laws set out in Schedules 1 and 2 of the STA include provisions for the convening of, conduct of and voting at general and council meetings and the regulation of various activities. By-laws in relation to procedures to be followed for the resolution of disputes as a prerequisite to the making of an application to the SAT may be made by the strata company or be set out in a management statement registered at the same time as the Strata Plan or Survey-Strata Plan.

The SAT is only able to make orders if the STA gives the SAT power to do so. Even when the STA gives the SAT certain powers, the STA, in some instances, limits the Orders that the SAT can make, e.g. s.121 limits the SAT’s powers where the title to land is in question. An application to the SAT must:

  • Set out the section(s) of the Act under which the application is made;
  • Set out the terms of the Order sought;

and

  • Set out reasons why it is thought that SAT is able to or should make the Order.

The SAT may request additional information and may make further enquiries and inspections. The SAT may dismiss an application if it is considered frivolous, vexatious, misconceived, or lacking in substance or if there is an unreasonable delay in compliance to a request for additional information.

Except in relation to an application for an Interim Order which is made in urgent circumstances, the SAT’s office will post a copy of an application to the strata company and to every affected person. When the strata company receives that notice it must immediately serve a copy on:

  • Each person who is a proprietor of a lot in the strata scheme;
  • Any mortgagee of a lot who has given the strata company written notice of that mortgage;

and

  • Each occupier of a lot who would be affected if the Order was made.

Each person receiving a copy of the notice is entitled to make a written submission to the SAT in relation to the application.

(scroll to top)

3 Orders of the State Administrative Tribunal

The SAT’s powers are set out in Part VI of the STA. These powers include a general power to make orders (s.83 (1)). The Referee may also make an Interim Order (s.82 of the SAT) if satisfied, on reasonable grounds, by reason of the urgent circumstances of the matter. A person affected by a SAT Order may lodge an appeal to the District Court not later than 21 days after the Order takes effect.

A person who fails to comply with an Order of the SAT is liable to prosecution in the Magistrates Court and, on conviction, may incur a penalty of up to $2,000.00 and a daily penalty of up to $200.00. It is up to the person benefiting from the Order or the strata company (unless the order is against the strata company) to commence the prosecution.

Most applications are made under s.83(1) of the STA. Specific orders that the SAT can make (i.e. not made under s.83) include those related to:

  • Insurance (s.88, 101, 103J, 103K and 103L).
  • By-laws (s.93, 95, 97 and 100).
  • Breaches of by-laws and payment of penalties (s.103I).
  • Use of common property (s.85 and 94).
  • Personal property that is common property (s.86 and 87).
  • Buildings, structures and alterations (s.103F and 103G).
  • Strata company levies (s.99 and 99A).
  • Emergency expenditure (s.47(2)).
  • Strata company meetings and resolutions (s.97, 100, 103, 103B, 103C, 103D, and 103M).
  • Variation of unit entitlements (s.103H).
  • Animals (s.91 and 92).
  • Contracts for service (s.103E)

and

  • Various other orders may be made by the Referee as set out in s.89, 90, 98, 102, 103A and 103N-R.

Interim orders last for 3 months, or until the principal order is made. They can be renewed for a further 3 months.

(scroll to top)

4 Appeals

On payment of the prescribed fee, a Notice of Appeal may be lodged with the SAT within 21 days after the order takes effect.

The parties who may appeal include the following:

  • The applicant for the order.
  • A person who made a submission to the SAT (and was entitled to do so).
  • A person required by the order to do or refrain from doing a specific act.

The grounds of appeal against a principal order are unlimited. An appeal against an interim order can only be made on the grounds that the SAT acted unreasonably.

Appeals are made to the District Court. The District Court may admit further evidence and with respect to an interim order of the SAT, revoke the order or dismiss the appeal. In any other case the District Court may affirm, vary or revoke the SAT’s order, substitute its own order or dismiss the appeal.

(scroll to top)

5 Registration of an Order of the State Administrative Tribunal

Orders made pursuant to s.93, 94, 99A, 100, 103A, 103H, 103J, 103P, 103Q and 103R of the STA as amended must be registered at Landgate and they will take effect upon registration or at any later date specified in the order.

The SAT may also direct that any particular order is required to be registered on the strata/survey-strata plan.

Registration of the order is achieved by producing a certified copy of the order attached to a General Application Form (formerly Form A5).

A notation of the Order will be endorsed on the strata/survey-strata plan in its Schedule of Encumbrances.

(scroll to top)

6 Registration of an Order by the State Administrative Tribunal to Vary the Unit Entitlement

Upon the application of a proprietor of a lot or the strata company, the SAT may make an order varying the unit entitlement set out on a strata/survey-strata plan.

The SAT will not accept an application unless it is accompanied by:

  • a certificate of the strata company in the manner of a Certificate of the Strata Company (Form 12) from the STGR to authorise the application

and

  • a certificate by a licensed valuer (Form 3).
  • Note:

Where the proprietor of a lot cannot obtain a certificate of the strata company (Form 12), and the SAT considers that the failure of a strata company to authorise by special resolution an application under s.16 is inequitable, the SAT may, by order, exercise the function conferred on the strata company under s.16(2) (a) and authorise the application (see s.98 of the STA).

Notice of an application to SAT shall be served in accordance with s.16 (3) of the STA as amended.

Registration is achieved by producing a certified copy of the order of the SAT with an application made by the Strata Company or by the lot proprietor on a General Application Form (formerly Form A5).

If the strata titles were created and registered under the Strata Titles Act 1966, the duplicate certificates of title (if any) are to be produced.

(See also STR-06 Modifications to an Existing Strata/Survey-Strata Scheme, Section 4 Re-Allocation of Unit Entitlement on a Strata/Survey-Strata Plan.)

(scroll to top)

7 Registration of an Order of the State Administrative Tribunal with Regard to Retirement Village Disputes

Section 77A of the STA as amended transferred the powers of the Strata Titles Referee to the Retirement Villages Disputes Tribunal, in cases where a retirement village is a development under the STA as amended. The Tribunal issued orders on the same grounds or matters as the Strata Titles Referee.

Section 77A of the STA has now been repealed. On 4 January 2005 the SAT came into being and took over the judicial or adjudicative functions of the Strata Titles Referee and the Retirement Villages Disputes Tribunal.

Registration of these orders is achieved by producing a certified copy of the order attached to a General Application Form (formerly Form A5).

A notation of the Order will be endorsed on the strata/survey-strata plan in its Schedule of Encumbrances.

(scroll to top)


This page was last updated on: 21 Jun 2019