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Cut power to curb party animals

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This Flat Chat column in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Domain section was based on THIS DISCUSSION on the Flat Chat Forum.

We’re moving into party season, with footy finals, the Melbourne Cup, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, not to mention the ‘let’s just have a Barbie cos we can’ shindigs, all offering opportunities for us to let down our hair.

Sadly, it’s also an opportunity for any dickheads who may live near us to show why they should never have been allowed to buy or rent an apartment.

There’s an ongoing discussion on the Flat Chat website about whether a building manager or EC member can legally cut off the electricity to a flat where residents are holding a particularly noisy party,  in breach of by-laws and local council regulations.

Leading strata lawyer Stephen Goddard believes that building managers or EC representatives not only can legally pull the plug but they should.

“Bearing in mind that a lot of strata law is untested – that is, specific items have not been challenged and ruled upon in a superior court, such as the Supreme Court – then we have to go on the balance of what the laws intend.

“There is a responsibility for owners corporations to allow services to be supplied to units but they also have a responsibility to uphold strata law, enforce their own by-laws and observe council regulations that may apply.  There is another a duty of care on residents to abide by the by-laws.

“Sound is just like smoke or odour.  Every occupier has a duty to keep the noise, smell or smoke within their lot space and not invade a neighbour’s home with their lifestyle.  And that is the duty which is and should be imposed by law.

“I would argue that the collective responsibilities of the owners corp and the resident in these areas outweighs the expectation that services like power will be maintained at all times,” he said.

“In fact, I wouldn’t just say owners corps and their employees can cut off power to an apartment causing an extreme noise nuisance, I would say they MUST, provided they are not endangering lives by doing so.”

The beauty of this is that the power cut doesn’t just stop the music, it will cost the party people around $1000 to call an electrician to restore the juice in the middle of a weekend night.

So, if your fuse board is in a securely locked cupboard, everybody can enjoy a silent night. There’s more on this HERE.

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