Bush builder is a strata outlaw



Living in our ivory (OK, concrete and glass) towers in the city, we tend to forget there are tens of thousands of apartment residents out there in the bush.

Some of them are so far away that it seems news that there are strata laws hasn’t quite reached them.

Flat Chat has been approached by one owner in a small strata scheme whose builder-developer has decided only to apply the bits of strata law that suit him, and otherwise run the block using common sense.

Anyone who has ever lived in a strata scheme run by common sense and ‘bush law’ is probably having horror flashbacks just reading that.

You can read the original posts from our reader here.

This country developer hasn’t sold many units so he has decided that the two people who have bought in should share the running costs of the building equally with him (he has retained one double-sized unit for himself).

So the two initial residents got a levies bill that basically took all the running costs of the building and divided them three ways.  Common sense, right?

Wrong.  For a start, there is still building work going on and the gardens are being heavily watered.

More importantly, strata law says you can only charge levies according to the unit entitlements, so there is no way the other owners should suffer because of his failure to sell all the units.

Now, because the new owners have failed to pay the inflated bills, the developer is saying they are in breach of their levies and, when they hold the first AGM, they will not be entitled to vote.

He’s also agreed a caretaker contract worth $26,000 a year without consulting the new owners and has added substantial sums to levies bills after he has issued them.

There are so many things wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to start.  My concern for our reader is that Mr Commonsense will get so far down the track it will take a posse of strata lawyers to untangle the mess, and that will cost these two owners and their new neighbours time and money.

My advice has been to pay a lawyer now to save money later.  But it’s times like this you wish there really was such a thing as StrataKops who could step in and put this dingo developer back in his box.

Cartoon courtesy of Shakespeare in the Sydney Morning Herald, Domain.

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