Compensation for inconvenience | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Compensation for inconvenience
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TruleEConcerned
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05/09/2017 - 3:58 pm
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Good afternoon all,

Last November I raised a query and received a few replies (some quite knowledgeable) but alas the links provided to me by some no longer work.

My question now is slightly different.

The OC is about to repair a balcony (which all agree is structurally defective) for which one owner has exclusive use. At the AGM last year he asked for compensation (a fixed sum up to $5,000) from the OC so he could give his tenants a rent holiday while they put up with the noise from all the jack hammering. This was approved by the OC.

It just dawned on me that my tenants will suffer as well given they live just under where the jack hammering will take place.

My research indicates that the SSMA does not provide for compensation pmts but such pmts can be made if the OC wants to make them.

My question is: what avenues do I have if when I seek identical compensation from the OC, the OC decides not to compensate me for the rent abatement I feel is due to my tenants for putting up with very loud and inconveniencing repairs which singularly benefit one owner and are paid for by the OC?

Thank you.

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Sir Humphrey
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06/09/2017 - 12:07 pm
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Is the access to the balcony which is to be repaired via the unit that has exclusive use of it?  If so, then the tenants of that unit would seem to be suffering rather more if they have to accommodate access for tradies traipsing through their place. 

Sometimes neighbours have work done and you just have to put up with a bit of noise and disruption. 

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TruleEConcerned
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06/09/2017 - 12:49 pm
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Sir Humphrey,

You are right. The balcony is accessed through the unit that has exclusive use. I agree that they deserve compensation given tradesmen would traverse their lot to make the repairs.

But after the repairs are made they ALONE will enjoy the fancy balcony.

Maybe they deserve more (some would say less) compensation than my tenants deserve, but my point is that my tenants deserve some compensation for their home and home-office being severely disturbed with no benefit to them by way of enjoying the improvements on the balcony.

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JimmyT
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06/09/2017 - 5:33 pm
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Maybe you could 'reverse engineer' this.  Get your tenants to send you a letter asking for a rent holiday to compensate for the noise and dust.  

Arrange a mediation through Fair Trading or the Community Justice Centres and agree to a fair rent reduction.  Then you can take that figure to the Owners Corp and let them argue why they shouldn't pay it. 

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scotlandx
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06/09/2017 - 6:23 pm
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Some time ago we had a long running saga associated with the replacement of our back stairs.  We went for a three year period where none of us could use our back doors or the stairs, because there were no stairs, and there was no access to the courtyard. The noise and mess etc. during construction was considerable.  Nobody claimed compensation, including the owners who had tenants. 

While I am not sure what went down between the tenants and their landlords, all of the owners knew that if they claimed compensation they would effectively be paying for it, because it would come out of the OC's funds, and the money could be put to better use.

It is my understanding that tenants can claim compensation for a breach of a duty by the landlord, which may include things like reasonable peace and enjoyment of the property.  The question is do you want to encourage the tenants to do that?  

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TruleEConcerned
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10/09/2017 - 7:59 pm
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Jimmy

 

Yours is a good idea, but I see one possible snag.

I have not alerted the tenants to the forthcoming inconvenience.

What if my tenants write me the letter you suggest and seek reasonable compensation, say half the rent, which at mediation (between I assume me and the OC), the OC rejects? Or worse still, don’t even turn up to NCAT's mediation?

Could I be stuck having to give them a rent holiday out of my own pocket?

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TruleEConcerned
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10/09/2017 - 8:13 pm
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Hi Scotlandx

At the most, 2 lot owners (apart from the lot owner alone benefiting from the works) will suffer inconvenience.

Your point on the compensation coming from all the owners’ funds is correct, but to date the Strata Committee’s members have dipped into Owners’ funds for their benefit. They have had overpriced repairs made to OC assets they use (for which the OC is responsible to repair) and bluntly refused tenders or cheaper options supplied to other lot owners. They also let contracts (at inflated prices) to a friend, without seeking tenders for the works. They reminded me that all they need is one quote. When I pushed the matter, they retroactively "approved" invoices.

As mentioned in my first post, the OC offered compensation to the lot owner who, along with his tenants, will enjoy the new terrace, to the exclusion of every other owner.

I know the noise will be horrific given comments made to me by two SC members when I queried the upcoming works and believe that my tenants' right to peace & enjoyment  will suffer.

I don't feel it right that the OC should escape liability for compensating the 2 lots that will suffer greatly.

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