Company title fight

For those of you who think strata living is the pits, here is an example of examples of how things could be so much worse … for instance, if you were living in a Company Title apartment.

Q: We live in a Company Title block of eight flats, four ground floor, four first floor. Three of the first floor flats have removed their carpet with resulting mayhem for owners below. We have been trying for three years now to get upstairs owners (all absentee investors) to re-carpet but they have ignored all requests to do so. Our Strata Manager advised us to contact the Office of Fair Trading and they advised us that we do have a legal the quiet enjoyment of our amenity and our strata manager has the power to enforce this, but the strata manager just keeps bouncing us back to Fair Trading. Any clues?
TC, Clovelly

A: First of all, your Strata manager is wrong – you are a Company Title block so you don’t come under Strata Law. The OFT is right (even though they have no jurisdiction in your case), your articles of association will almost certainly include a clause that forbids anyone from doing anything that interferes with the peaceful enjoyment of their property. The problem is that for Company Titles apartments, the one and only body that can enforce this when neighbours act up is the Supreme Court.

So think laterally. You may not have the cash necessary to take this to “m’learned friends” but you could get enough votes to agree to spend some money on upgrading the insulation between floors. OK, it means you are all subsidising the selfish bastards upstairs who don’t care how miserable your lives are, just so long as they can advertise polished floorboards to prospective tenants. But at least they’d be spending some of their precious money making your lives a lot more tolerable.

And there’s another new potential law – all Company Title apartment blocks should have to abide by basic Strata Law. More new laws next week.

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