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Family letting out unit but no contact address
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Not An Apartment
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06/07/2017 - 2:31 pm
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Small block with only two resident-owners.  The third last left about 2-3 mths ago, moving into a family property and handing management of his unit to grandchildren. 
 
Neither he nor his grandchildren have notified the strata management company. Our strata manager has tried various avenues to make contact:  e-mail and messages to mobile have gone unanswered, land-line has been disconnected and paper letter has been sent to the only address we have for him - the unit he's recently vacated. 
 
Unit has been rented out, informally, and problems have developed and are escalating.
 
Our strata manager says she has never encountered this before.  What avenues can I suggest to her to track down contact details for owner, or grandchildren for whom we have no surnames. 
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Lady Penelope
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06/07/2017 - 11:34 pm
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From lawaccess.nsw.gov.au  comes this suggestion for finding out details of the address of an absentee neighbour so I am guessing the same process would apply for an absentee owner within your strata scheme.

"Your local council will generally have the address and contact details of the owner of the property neighbouring yours. The council may agree to give you this information. You can:

 

  • ​​​​​make an informal application for access to information, or
  • fill out an 'Access Application' form." 

You could also try a title Search. A last resort may be to employ the services of a solicitor, or a private investigator.

Can you speak to the grandchildren and ask for the address? Can you explain to the grandchildren that preparing and maintaining the strata roll (including an address for service of notices) is mandatory and if not maintained may result in a fine?

SSMA 2015 [s177] and [s178] outline this requirement.

177 Owners corporation must prepare strata roll

An owners corporation must prepare and maintain a strata roll in accordance with this Division.

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

 

178 Content of strata roll

 

(1) Information about lots The following information must be recorded in the strata roll in relation to a particular lot in the strata scheme:

(a) the name of the holder of the estate in fee simple in the lot (in the case of a freehold strata scheme) or the holder of the leasehold estate in the lot (in the case of a leasehold strata scheme),

(b) an address for service of notices,

(c) an Australian postal address, and an email address if the holder has one, if not provided as the address for service,

(d) the name of the holder’s agent (if any) appointed in accordance with this Act and the agent’s address for service of notices,

(e) information provided under a strata interest notice,

(f) information provided under a tenancy notice.

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JimmyT
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07/07/2017 - 7:07 am
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It's not just that.  Under section 258 the owner must notify the Owners Corp of a change of tenant (see below).

And there is another more cost-effective way of tracing the owner.  If there is a genuine debt against the lot (for non-payment of levies, for instance) you can employ a strata debt collection service with all reasonable charges involved in collecting the debt payable by the debtor.  Debt collection agencies have all the means of tracing people at their disposal.  

This is what I would be telling the tenants - your landlords are about to be charged thousands of dollars in debt collection fees and strata fines if they don't contact the strata manager immediately.

258 Tenancy notice to be given to owners corporation of leases or subleases

 (1) If a lot is leased, the lessor must give notice of the lease, in accordance with this section, to the owners corporation not later than 14 days after the commencement of the lease

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units

(2) If a lot is subleased, the sub-lessor must give notice of the sublease, in accordance with this section, to the owners corporation not later than 14 days after the commencement of the sublease

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units

(3) If a lease or sublease of a lot is assigned, the assignor must give notice of the assignment, in accordance with this section, to the owners corporation not later than 14 days after the execution of the assignment

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

(4) The notice must be in writing and specify:

(a) the name of the tenant and an address for service of the tenant, and

b) the date of commencement or assignment of the lease or sublease, as the case requires, and

(c) the name of any agent acting for the owner in respect of the lease or sublease.

Note : An address for service of notices may be an Australian postal address or other electronic address, including an email address (see section 261).

(5) This section does not apply to the lease of a lot by the lessor of a strata leasehold scheme to a lessee who is the owner of a lot.

(6) A notice under this section is to be given to the original owner if it is given during the initial period of the owners corporation for a strata scheme.

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Not An Apartment
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07/07/2017 - 4:39 pm
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Thanks for above suggestions. The info re 'a genuine debt.....for non-payment of levies' would have been useful some weeks ago, but the previous qtrs levies had been issued several weeks before our AGM in May; there was no mention of being in arrears.  Contacting the grandkids is beyond us - we have no surnames for them and only contact we have is through the grandad who isn't responding to anything!

In the intervening couple of weeks, the residents of unit have been asked to keep their bins in their garage - they have now moved all their bins outside, near the clothesline.  The rubbish bin is almost overflowing, and stinking, but they didn't put it out for collection on Tue;  so it seems they believe that resistance will win out - maybe they think everyone else will move?

I've spoken to the Strata Mng Co. again; she's had no contact thus far and says she's reqd to make three attempts, so will do the rounds of all the contacts they have for the owner once more, this time including advice of what will result from another unanswered set of communications and the further action that can be taken.  Hopefully, this will encourage someone to take their responsibilities seriously.  Meanwhile, next week I'll speak to the Council to see if I can get any updated info to pass onto the SM.        Cheers.......NAA.

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Digby
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15/08/2017 - 11:37 am
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Hi, 

Just a though, authorise your strata manager to search the LPI in nsw which may uncover the last recorded people of interest in the property. 

If council rates have not been paid for some period of time  they could enforce a court order to sell the property after all effects have been exhausted to find the owner.  

 Kind regards

Digby

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