FLAT CHAT WRAP https://www.flat-chat.com.au All about living in apartments (condos), from dealing with your committee to getting on with neighbours and – a dose of healthy skepticism about dubious developers. Tue, 02 Jun 2020 09:25:19 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/feed/podcast/ All about living in apartments (condos), from dealing with your committee to getting on with neighbours and - a dose of healthy skepticism about dubious developers. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean episodic Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams mail@flat-chat.com.au mail@flat-chat.com.au (Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams) © 2020 FLAT CHAT All about living in apartments (condos), from dealing with your committee to getting on with neighbours and - a dose of healthy skepticism about dubious developers. FLAT CHAT WRAP https://www.flat-chat.com.au/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/Flat-Chat-Podcast-Art-Resize.jpg https://www.flat-chat.com.au TV-G Sydney, Australia Weekly Podcast 76: Pet bans, live crabs and gov-love for holiday rentals https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-76-pet-bans-back/ Tue, 02 Jun 2020 07:05:25 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=50279 There’s plenty of variety in this week’s forum, from pets to concieges, and from tourism promotions to a survey that suggests lower-income individuals and families do it toughest in apartment blocks. The Podcast opens with an examination of the Tribunal Appeals Panel’s ruling that strata blocks can have “no-pets” by-laws after all. The verdicts issued last week were the results of two appeals against previous decisions by the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal that by-laws banning pets outright were harsh and discriminatory. Not so, says the Appeals Panel, and its findings have implications far beyond keeping pets in apartments. Most significantly, they reinforce the right of owners to create rules that some people won’t like (but the majority do). More than a doorman Then we talk to Deb Francis of A Class Concierges about how her team members have been handling the challenges of coronavirus and the lockdowns on strata communities, as well as the day-to-day dealing with residents of prestige buildings. Whether it’s being called on to offer advice on how to handle a live crab destined for the dinner table, or providing after-school care for a little boy whose parents were both working late, the concierge is the calm, on-call “butler” for everyone in their building. And it’s not all fun and games.  Concierges also occasionally have to deal with the dreadful day when a resident simply doesn’t respond to phone calls and knocks on the door. But there are the dangers of being too popular, too.  One of her staff had to join a gym after a resident insisted on providing a cooked breakfast and lunch every day. Gov love for Stayz exposed Later in the podcast, Jimmy and Sue discuss the imminent bounce-back of Airbnb and other short-term letting services, including Stayz (HomeAway) whose residential apartments are being promoted on the NSW government’s “Love NSW” tourism website. Then, a million miles from the world of concierges, pet by-law battles and holiday lets,  there’s the survey that reveals that low-income individuals and families are over-represented in apartments. We discuss why they are often the least well-equipped to deal with the challenges that apartment living presents, and how they are poorly represented by rental agents while landlords are kept in the dark. Finally, in his “Hey, Martha!”, Jimmy has discovered a smartphone app that allows you to cheer for your team when you are at home and they are playing behind closed doors. Listen here If you haven’t already done so you can subscribe to this podcast, completely free, on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or your favourite podcatcher. Click on subscribe, and you’ll get this podcast every week without even trying. And please give us a rating or review … it all helps to keep us going. There’s plenty of variety in this week’s forum, from pets to concieges, and from tourism promotions to a survey that suggests lower-income individuals and families do it toughest in apartment blocks. The Podcast opens with an examination of the Trib... There’s plenty of variety in this week’s forum, from pets to concieges, and from tourism promotions to a survey that suggests lower-income individuals and families do it toughest in apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The Podcast opens with an examination of the Tribunal Appeals Panel’s ruling that strata blocks can have “no-pets” by-laws after all.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The verdicts issued last week were the results of two appeals against previous decisions by the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal that by-laws banning pets outright were harsh and discriminatory.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Not so, says the Appeals Panel, and its findings have implications far beyond keeping pets in apartments.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Most significantly, they reinforce the right of owners to create rules that some people won’t like (but the majority do).<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> More than a doorman<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Then we talk to Deb Francis of A Class Concierges about how her team members have been handling the challenges of coronavirus and the lockdowns on strata communities, as well as the day-to-day dealing with residents of prestige buildings.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Whether it’s being called on to offer advice on how to handle a live crab destined for the dinner table, or providing after-school care for a little boy whose parents were both working late, the concierge is the calm, on-call “butler” for everyone in their building.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And it’s not all fun and games.  Concierges also occasionally have to deal with the dreadful day when a resident simply doesn’t respond to phone calls and knocks on the door.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> But there are the dangers of being too popular, too.  One of her staff had to join a gym after a resident insisted on providing a cooked breakfast and lunch every day.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Gov love for Stayz exposed<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Later in the podcast, Jimmy and Sue discuss the imminent bounce-back of Airbnb and other short-term letting services, including Stayz (HomeAway) whose residential apartments are being promoted on the NSW government’s “Love NSW” tourism website.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Then, a million miles from the world of concierges, pet by-law battles and holiday lets,  there’s the survey that reveals that low-income individuals and families are over-represented in apartments.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> We discuss why they are often the least well-equipped to deal with the challenges that apartment living presents, and how they are poorly represented by rental agents while landlords are kept in the dark.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Finally, in his “Hey, Martha!”, Jimmy has discovered a smartphone app that allows you to cheer for your team when you are at home and they are playing behind closed doors.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Listen here<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> If you haven’t already done so you can subscribe to this podcast, completely free, on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or your favourite podcatcher.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Click on subscribe, and you’ll get this podcast every week without even trying. And please give us a rating or review … it all helps to keep us going. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 38:24 Podcast 75 – The future is right on our doorsteps https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-75/ Tue, 26 May 2020 11:17:35 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=50176 We seem to be so caught up in the day-to-day of avoiding or dealing with the coronavirus, so it’s refreshing to know that some people are thinking of a future way beyond that. In this week’s podcast, Sue Williams revisits a story about an ambitious vision for a brand new city planned for the area near the new airport at Badgerys Creek. If the architects and planners have their way, it will be self-sustaining in energy and water and will even grow enough food to export to other areas. Is it a pipe dream?  The architects have been building communities in the deserts of the Gulf states so they know a bit about making the most of a hostile environment. But, asks Jimmy, how does that stack up against the cheap, cheerless and quick-fix options favoured by our politicians? Owners unite ... by Zoom Also in this podcast, we talk to Karen Stiles, the energetic executive officer of the Owners Corporation Network about how that key organisation is coping with the challenge of building a community of communities when coronavirus is trying to keep us all at home. The answer lies in technology, she says, and to prove it, they had a very successful seminar on how to keep the short-term letting wolves from the door, which OCN members (exclusively) can now download from their website. It was also Karen who inspired the name of this week’s podcast – wolves and mung beans, but you’ll have to listen to discover how (and we don't mean the coyotes in California that Sue mentions). But seriously, over the past 18 years OCN has grown into a significant and well-respected organisation which has won itself a seat at the table when policy-makers are deciding the shape of our futures in strata. You’ll realise why when Karen outlines her vision for the future of this organisation. Forced out Then, Jimmy relates the alarming tale of a woman who discovered there were 10 apartments in her building that had been let, short term, to people self-isolating after having been found to be at risk from coronavirus. Health experts advised her to get out of the apartment block for her own safety’s sake.  But it raises the question – who thinks the best way to isolate is to go into an apartment block where hundreds of people live (apart from the parasites and predators of the short-term letting industry)? And Sue’s “Hey Martha” is all about an old Temperance Hall, converted into luxury apartments … with a wine cellar. Listen here If you haven’t already done so you can subscribe to this podcast, completely free, on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or your favourite podcatcher. If the link doesn’t take you straight there, just search for Flat Chat Wrap, click on subscribe, and you’ll get this podcast every week without even trying. Oh, and give us a rating or review … it all helps to keep us going. We seem to be so caught up in the day-to-day of avoiding or dealing with the coronavirus, so it’s refreshing to know that some people are thinking of a future way beyond that. In this week’s podcast, Sue Williams revisits a story about an ambitious ... We seem to be so caught up in the day-to-day of avoiding or dealing with the coronavirus, so it’s refreshing to know that some people are thinking of a future way beyond that.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> In this week’s podcast, Sue Williams revisits a story about an ambitious vision for a brand new city planned for the area near the new airport at Badgerys Creek.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> If the architects and planners have their way, it will be self-sustaining in energy and water and will even grow enough food to export to other areas.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Is it a pipe dream?  The architects have been building communities in the deserts of the Gulf states so they know a bit about making the most of a hostile environment.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> But, asks Jimmy, how does that stack up against the cheap, cheerless and quick-fix options favoured by our politicians?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Owners unite ... by Zoom<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Also in this podcast, we talk to Karen Stiles, the energetic executive officer of the Owners Corporation Network about how that key organisation is coping with the challenge of building a community of communities when coronavirus is trying to keep us all at home.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The answer lies in technology, she says, and to prove it, they had a very successful seminar on how to keep the short-term letting wolves from the door, which OCN members (exclusively) can now download from their website.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> It was also Karen who inspired the name of this week’s podcast – wolves and mung beans, but you’ll have to listen to discover how (and we don't mean the coyotes in California that Sue mentions).<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> But seriously, over the past 18 years OCN has grown into a significant and well-respected organisation which has won itself a seat at the table when policy-makers are deciding the shape of our futures in strata.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> You’ll realise why when Karen outlines her vision for the future of this organisation.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Forced out<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Then, Jimmy relates the alarming tale of a woman who discovered there were 10 apartments in her building that had been let, short term, to people self-isolating after having been found to be at risk from coronavirus.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Health experts advised her to get out of the apartment block for her own safety’s sake.  But it raises the question – who thinks the best way to isolate is to go into an apartment block where hundreds of people live (apart from the parasites and predators of the short-term letting industry)?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And Sue’s “Hey Martha” is all about an old Temperance Hall, converted into luxury apartments … with a wine cellar.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Listen here<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> If you haven’t already done so you can subscribe to this podcast, completely free, on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or your favourite podcatcher.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> If the link doesn’t take you straight there, just search for Flat Chat Wrap, click on subscribe, and you’ll get this podcast every week without even trying.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Oh, and give us a rating or review … it all helps to keep us going. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 43:58 Podcast 74: Bully for you – how aggressive should strata lawyers be? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-74-bully-lawyers/ Tue, 19 May 2020 12:28:49 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49953 What is a strata lawyer’s job?  That’s the question we ask in the Flat Chat Wrap podcast this week. Is it to find a reasonable solution, based on strata law, so that all sides can feel that they have been treated fairly (even if their client has to concede some ground)? Or is it to go in all guns blazing, threatening and bullying the other party, using hypothetical situations where all the “ifs and ands” are lined up to make the target of their intimidation fear they could lose their home, not just the Tribunal case? A case of blatant legal bullying dropped into our laps this week and it gets a good airing on the podcast. Build your own ebook On a lighter note, we discuss what to do if you use all your free time at home to dust off that novel or non-fiction book that’s been gathering dust in the bottom of your desk (or languishing on a floppy disk from your old computer). How hard is it to self-publish an eBook.  Is it worth the effort? How important is it to have a good cover? We talk to accomplished author Grant Hyde who’s taken time from being a sidelined Qantas baggage handler and tour guide to publish on the internet a sexsational novel about the rise and fall of a very naughty footy player. You will find links to Grant’s ebooks and paperbacks here on Amazon, including his sailing ship adventures Islands of Gold and Lords of the Pacific.  And if you have a book in need of a cover, Grant’s graphic designer mate Stephen Fletcher of Big Impact Graphics can be contacted on fletchacha@gmail.com. $23 billion projects Later in the podcast, Sue talks about the “topping out” ceremony at the new 700-unit Pavilion project by Mirvac in the Olympic precinct – made unique because the workers all stood on balconies while the guests – limit of 10 –  performed a ceremony usually conducted on the roof, on the ground floor. On a more serious note, the story also discusses Mirvac’s $23billion portfolio of projects, fears of a 30 per cent drop in apartment prices and how social housing could save the post-covid economy.  That’s HERE. And finally, Sue’s “Hey Martha” is the brilliant take-down of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s confusing coronavirus message by British comedian Matt Lucas (Little Britain) and you can find a full report on the original HERE. Listen to the podcast here What is a strata lawyer’s job?  That’s the question we ask in the Flat Chat Wrap podcast this week. Is it to find a reasonable solution, based on strata law, so that all sides can feel that they have been treated fairly (even if their client has to ... What is a strata lawyer’s job?  That’s the question we ask in the Flat Chat Wrap podcast this week.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Is it to find a reasonable solution, based on strata law, so that all sides can feel that they have been treated fairly (even if their client has to concede some ground)?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Or is it to go in all guns blazing, threatening and bullying the other party, using hypothetical situations where all the “ifs and ands” are lined up to make the target of their intimidation fear they could lose their home, not just the Tribunal case?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> A case of blatant legal bullying dropped into our laps this week and it gets a good airing on the podcast.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Build your own ebook<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> On a lighter note, we discuss what to do if you use all your free time at home to dust off that novel or non-fiction book that’s been gathering dust in the bottom of your desk (or languishing on a floppy disk from your old computer).<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> How hard is it to self-publish an eBook.  Is it worth the effort? How important is it to have a good cover?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> We talk to accomplished author Grant Hyde who’s taken time from being a sidelined Qantas baggage handler and tour guide to publish on the internet a sexsational novel about the rise and fall of a very naughty footy player.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> You will find links to Grant’s ebooks and paperbacks here on Amazon, including his sailing ship adventures Islands of Gold and Lords of the Pacific.  And if you have a book in need of a cover, Grant’s graphic designer mate Stephen Fletcher of Big Impact Graphics can be contacted on fletchacha@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> $23 billion projects<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Later in the podcast, Sue talks about the “topping out” ceremony at the new 700-unit Pavilion project by Mirvac in the Olympic precinct – made unique because the workers all stood on balconies while the guests – limit of 10 –  performed a ceremony usually conducted on the roof, on the ground floor.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> On a more serious note, the story also discusses Mirvac’s $23billion portfolio of projects, fears of a 30 per cent drop in apartment prices and how social housing could save the post-covid economy.  That’s HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And finally, Sue’s “Hey Martha” is the brilliant take-down of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s confusing coronavirus message by British comedian Matt Lucas (Little Britain) and you can find a full report on the original HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Listen to the podcast here Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 39:59 Podcast 73 – stressed pets, property prices … plus James Valentine https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-73/ Tue, 12 May 2020 07:22:11 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49830 It’s an extra long Flat Chat Wrap this week, so strap yourselves in. First of all, there’s a discussion about how our pets could be getting stressed from getting too much attention. Apparently dogs and, especially, cats just need to be left alone sometimes, especially when they aren’t used to you hanging around the house all day. Resist the temptation to pat your napping cat on the head every time you walk past, says Sue Williams. And, of course, sleeping dogs should be left to lie. Then we have a chunk of JimmyT’s session on James Valentine last week, where issues like people installing cameras that look on to other residents property came up. By the way,  the answer that we didn’t get to (courtesy of Amanda Farmer, whose weekly podcast Jimmy was also on last week), was that you can pass a by-law forbidding owners from training cameras across common property, even when they’re installed on their lot properties. There was also a question about the height of balcony balustrades in older buildings – do you have to bring them up to code? And a tenant wanted to know if he had to move furniture from his car space when owners were allowed to have junk in theirs. You can also listen to the unadulterated version of James’ radio show from last Wednesday (May 6) on the ABC website HERE.   Finally, Sue  put on her property writer hat to discuss whether now is a good time to buy an apartment … or should we wait until prices drop even more?  You can read her story in Domain HERE. So much to listen to – just as well we can’t go to work! It’s an extra long Flat Chat Wrap this week, so strap yourselves in. First of all, there’s a discussion about how our pets could be getting stressed from getting too much attention. Apparently dogs and, especially, It’s an extra long Flat Chat Wrap this week, so strap yourselves in.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> First of all, there’s a discussion about how our pets could be getting stressed from getting too much attention.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Apparently dogs and, especially, cats just need to be left alone sometimes, especially when they aren’t used to you hanging around the house all day.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Resist the temptation to pat your napping cat on the head every time you walk past, says Sue Williams.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And, of course, sleeping dogs should be left to lie.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Then we have a chunk of JimmyT’s session on James Valentine last week, where issues like people installing cameras that look on to other residents property came up.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> By the way,  the answer that we didn’t get to (courtesy of Amanda Farmer, whose weekly podcast Jimmy was also on last week), was that you can pass a by-law forbidding owners from training cameras across common property, even when they’re installed on their lot properties.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> There was also a question about the height of balcony balustrades in older buildings – do you have to bring them up to code?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And a tenant wanted to know if he had to move furniture from his car space when owners were allowed to have junk in theirs.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> You can also listen to the unadulterated version of James’ radio show from last Wednesday (May 6) on the ABC website HERE.  <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Finally, Sue  put on her property writer hat to discuss whether now is a good time to buy an apartment … or should we wait until prices drop even more?  You can read her story in Domain HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> So much to listen to – just as well we can’t go to work! Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 48:13 Podcast 72 – Move it … while the politicians lose it https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-72-move-it/ Tue, 05 May 2020 08:25:59 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49685 Are you a gym junkie, hanging out for those palaces of pain, sweat and tears to re-open? Or are you just coming to the gradual conclusion that binge-watching TV while binge-eating corn chips and guacamole will come with a reckoning (somewhere around your waistline), some day soon. Well, if you're going to get moving, there's no time like the present - and time may be something of which you have plenty. So this week the podcast looks at the kind of exercise you could and probably should be doing in these plague-ridden days. Top fitness trainer Shannon Cleary Zooms in to roadtest a few home fitness programs for us and looks at some streaming exercise videos available online for no money! You can find links to the videos HERE. And she recalls who the somewhat surprising keenest audience was for her morning exercise show when she used to be on the telly. Scathing report Before we get down to that, this week’s podcast takes a look at a report issued last week in which the NSW government is taken to task over a raft of alleged failures directly related to apartment living. JimmyT and Sue consider why a scathing analysis of perceived failures in the areas of flammable cladding, certification and building defects barely rated a mention in the Press. OK, we have a global pandemic in full swing but does every story have to be about coronavirus? Apparently so (and we are just as guilty of that as anyone).  So you can expect the Upper House report has already found it’s way to a “nobody cares” file somewhere in Macquarie St. You'll find our comprehensive story on the report HERE. Live auctions return Finally, Sue tells us what a difference it will make to the world of real estate when live auctions and open homes return this weekend. You can read her story HERE. And she’ll explain how she accidentally turned her parents into addicts during the lockdown. It’s all in the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. And you can listen right here. Listen here Are you a gym junkie, hanging out for those palaces of pain, sweat and tears to re-open? Or are you just coming to the gradual conclusion that binge-watching TV while binge-eating corn chips and guacamole will come with a reckoning (somewhere around... Are you a gym junkie, hanging out for those palaces of pain, sweat and tears to re-open?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Or are you just coming to the gradual conclusion that binge-watching TV while binge-eating corn chips and guacamole will come with a reckoning (somewhere around your waistline), some day soon.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Well, if you're going to get moving, there's no time like the present - and time may be something of which you have plenty. So this week the podcast looks at the kind of exercise you could and probably should be doing in these plague-ridden days.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Top fitness trainer Shannon Cleary Zooms in to roadtest a few home fitness programs for us and looks at some streaming exercise videos available online for no money! You can find links to the videos HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And she recalls who the somewhat surprising keenest audience was for her morning exercise show when she used to be on the telly.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Scathing report<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Before we get down to that, this week’s podcast takes a look at a report issued last week in which the NSW government is taken to task over a raft of alleged failures directly related to apartment living.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> JimmyT and Sue consider why a scathing analysis of perceived failures in the areas of flammable cladding, certification and building defects barely rated a mention in the Press.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> OK, we have a global pandemic in full swing but does every story have to be about coronavirus?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Apparently so (and we are just as guilty of that as anyone).  So you can expect the Upper House report has already found it’s way to a “nobody cares” file somewhere in Macquarie St.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> You'll find our comprehensive story on the report HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Live auctions return<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Finally, Sue tells us what a difference it will make to the world of real estate when live auctions and open homes return this weekend. You can read her story HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And she’ll explain how she accidentally turned her parents into addicts during the lockdown.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> It’s all in the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. And you can listen right here.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Listen here Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 38:04 Podcast 71 – Redesigning flats for work and a legal view of solo meetings https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-71/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 06:00:24 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49619 Sometimes the way we want to live influences architecture, sometimes architecture influences the way we live. There are still older blocks dotted around Sydney’s harbour suburbs where someone who wanted a penthouse with a view, constructed several floors of units for rent to support (in so many ways) the fabulous pad on the roof. Some original apartment blocks in our inner-cities have tiny kitchens because they originally had restaurants and dining rooms on their roofs (and dumb waiter pulley systems to deliver meals to those who didn’t want to leave their apartments). In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Sue Williams discusses a feature she’s written that examines the effect of the current lockdown on the way apartments will be designed in the future. With more people working from home, two trains of thought are in motion.  One, working from home can be a great thing, either permanently or part-time. Two, our homes aren’t ideally set up to allow us to do that. Architects whom Sue has interviewed predict popular demand for proper studies, balconies and shared open spaces, as well as more clearly defined separate areas within the apartments so that residents can get away from each other when they need to. Even two-story apartments could be the next big thing. Home working injuries Sue also raises the issue of workplace injuries in the home – apparently your employer is responsible for your workplace safety, even when you are working off your own dining table. With that in mind, Jimmy explains how squeezing an invisible orange can help your posture, especially when you spend hours hunched over your laptop on a coffee table. A strata lawyer speaks Also in this week’s podcast Jimmy and Sue chat with specialist strata lawyer David Sachs of Sachs Gerace Lawyers about the new short-term letting by-law provision in NSW and the ability of owners corporations to hold general meetings electronically, despite the Catch-22 of not being able to hold the meetings required to permit electronic meetings. Jimmy pats himself on the back for coming up with the one-person EGM plan which David says is perfectly legal, but suggests holding a plebiscite first, to show that the majority of owners want approval for electronic meetings. FYI, since this podcast was recorded, the Queensland government has announced that all body corporate meetings can now be conducted remotely, via electronic interfaces and voting, without requiring prior approval of owners. Surely NSW and Victoria can’t be too far behind, and avoid the one-person EGMs that Jimmy suggested. One interesting observation from David is that  owner corps often “push the envelope” with their decisions to achieve a specific outcome, and they can operate for years until someone who wants something different decides to challenge them at a tribunal. Coronavirus guide Later, Jimmy explains why the NSW SCA guide to dealing with coronavirus is really good but also just a bit too much.  Should information for strata managers and building managers be lumped in with essential advise for owners, committees and other residents? As in this post, he says no. Sue’s “Hey Martha!” is about how Captain Tom Moore raised $55 million for British National Health Service charities … and got to top of the pops. And Jimmy chooses a video showing how a deaf dog discovers it’s time for “walkies”! Listen here Sometimes the way we want to live influences architecture, sometimes architecture influences the way we live. There are still older blocks dotted around Sydney’s harbour suburbs where someone who wanted a penthouse with a view, Sometimes the way we want to live influences architecture, sometimes architecture influences the way we live.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> There are still older blocks dotted around Sydney’s harbour suburbs where someone who wanted a penthouse with a view, constructed several floors of units for rent to support (in so many ways) the fabulous pad on the roof.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Some original apartment blocks in our inner-cities have tiny kitchens because they originally had restaurants and dining rooms on their roofs (and dumb waiter pulley systems to deliver meals to those who didn’t want to leave their apartments).<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Sue Williams discusses a feature she’s written that examines the effect of the current lockdown on the way apartments will be designed in the future.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> With more people working from home, two trains of thought are in motion.  One, working from home can be a great thing, either permanently or part-time. Two, our homes aren’t ideally set up to allow us to do that.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Architects whom Sue has interviewed predict popular demand for proper studies, balconies and shared open spaces, as well as more clearly defined separate areas within the apartments so that residents can get away from each other when they need to. Even two-story apartments could be the next big thing.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Home working injuries<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Sue also raises the issue of workplace injuries in the home – apparently your employer is responsible for your workplace safety, even when you are working off your own dining table.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> With that in mind, Jimmy explains how squeezing an invisible orange can help your posture, especially when you spend hours hunched over your laptop on a coffee table.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> A strata lawyer speaks<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Also in this week’s podcast Jimmy and Sue chat with specialist strata lawyer David Sachs of Sachs Gerace Lawyers about the new short-term letting by-law provision in NSW and the ability of owners corporations to hold general meetings electronically, despite the Catch-22 of not being able to hold the meetings required to permit electronic meetings.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Jimmy pats himself on the back for coming up with the one-person EGM plan which David says is perfectly legal, but suggests holding a plebiscite first, to show that the majority of owners want approval for electronic meetings.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> FYI, since this podcast was recorded, the Queensland government has announced that all body corporate meetings can now be conducted remotely, via electronic interfaces and voting, without requiring prior approval of owners.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Surely NSW and Victoria can’t be too far behind, and avoid the one-person EGMs that Jimmy suggested.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> One interesting observation from David is that  owner corps often “push the envelope” with their decisions to achieve a specific outcome, and they can operate for years until someone who wants something different decides to challenge them at a tribunal.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Coronavirus guide<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Later, Jimmy explains why the NSW SCA guide to dealing with coronavirus is really good but also just a bit too much.  Should information for strata managers and building managers be lumped in with essential advise for owners, committees and other residents? As in this post, he says no.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Sue’s “Hey Martha!” is about how Captain Tom Moore raised $55 million for British National Health Service charities … and got to top of the pops.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> And Jimmy chooses a video showing how a deaf dog discovers it’s time for “walkies”!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Listen here Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 35:59 Podcast 70 – renos and what to wear when working from home https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-70-renos/ Tue, 21 Apr 2020 08:12:34 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49521 In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss the competing and often conflicting needs of those who are working from home and those who are working on their homes. On the one hand, there’s never been a better time to catch up on those little jobs – and some big ones – around the flat. People who live in houses are doing it, getting to project manage their own renovations.  For apartment dwellers, it’s not so easy. And for people who are genuinely working from home, having their thoughts and Zoom conference calls interrupted by drilling, sawing and hammering is far from ideal. Other unintended consequences of the Lockdown are the growing piles of garbage in our bin areas as more of us work and eat at home, overflowing clothing and recycling bins as we take the opportunity to have a proper clear-out of the stuff we don’t use or wear any more. Are Boomers the last generation to hold on to clothes until they fall apart rather than go out of fashion? Jimmy recalls a World Cup football teeshirt he still owns after 30 years.  How does he know how old it is?  It has “Italia 90” on the front. Dressing for success All of which leads neatly to what we wear while we’re working from home and how it affects our sense of being at work when we haven’t left our front rooms. Sue references an article she recently had published in the Sydney Morning herald which features a friend, Alice Hidajat, who dresses in a different smart outfit every day to work from home … with her laptop perched on her ironing board. You can see nine of Alice’s WFH ensembles HERE, Sue’s “pyjama inspired” outfit and the extremely casual Warren Coleman at his computer screen. Moving house Speaking of Warren, regular listeners will recall we spoke to Warren a few weeks ago, pre-Lockdown, when he and his partner Therese were getting ready to sell the apartment they’d lived in for 30 years. They avoided the ban on house viewings and auctions by about a week, but had to do their removals under Lockdown conditions.  Jimmy and Sue catch up with Warren via Zoom and ask exactly how that worked out.  Apparently gloves and face masks come off fairly quickly when a sweat is worked up. Social climbers In this week’s “Hey Marthas” Sue honours 99 year old Captain Tom Moore who has raised $25 million (the figure keeps going up) for Britain’s National Health Service by walking sponsored laps of his garden Inspired by him, 90-year-old Margaret Payne, from Ardvar, Sutherland, is aiming to scale the equivalent of the 731 metres of Scottish mountain Suliven, on the stairs inside her Highlands home. She was aiming for $20,000 for the NHS and instead has raised $150,000 by climbing her stairs 282 times. As promised, Jimmy has calculated that if you wanted to do a virtual climb of say Mount Kosciuszko (all 2228 metres above sea level) that will take 13,105 steps (@17cm per riser) or 795 floors of a modern apartment block. Slightly less challenging, you could replicate the actual 863 metre climb from Thredbo to the top of the mountain, which would be 5076 steps or 308 floors. But it doesn’t count if you’re under 90 years old. Listen here   In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss the competing and often conflicting needs of those who are working from home and those who are working on their homes. - On the one hand, there’s never been a better time to catch up on those little... In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss the competing and often conflicting needs of those who are working from home and those who are working on their homes.<br /> <br /> On the one hand, there’s never been a better time to catch up on those little jobs – and some big ones – around the flat.<br /> <br /> People who live in houses are doing it, getting to project manage their own renovations.  For apartment dwellers, it’s not so easy.<br /> <br /> And for people who are genuinely working from home, having their thoughts and Zoom conference calls interrupted by drilling, sawing and hammering is far from ideal.<br /> <br /> Other unintended consequences of the Lockdown are the growing piles of garbage in our bin areas as more of us work and eat at home, overflowing clothing and recycling bins as we take the opportunity to have a proper clear-out of the stuff we don’t use or wear any more.<br /> <br /> Are Boomers the last generation to hold on to clothes until they fall apart rather than go out of fashion?<br /> <br /> Jimmy recalls a World Cup football teeshirt he still owns after 30 years.  How does he know how old it is?  It has “Italia 90” on the front.<br /> Dressing for success<br /> All of which leads neatly to what we wear while we’re working from home and how it affects our sense of being at work when we haven’t left our front rooms.<br /> <br /> Sue references an article she recently had published in the Sydney Morning herald which features a friend, Alice Hidajat, who dresses in a different smart outfit every day to work from home … with her laptop perched on her ironing board.<br /> <br /> You can see nine of Alice’s WFH ensembles HERE, Sue’s “pyjama inspired” outfit and the extremely casual Warren Coleman at his computer screen.<br /> Moving house<br /> Speaking of Warren, regular listeners will recall we spoke to Warren a few weeks ago, pre-Lockdown, when he and his partner Therese were getting ready to sell the apartment they’d lived in for 30 years.<br /> <br /> They avoided the ban on house viewings and auctions by about a week, but had to do their removals under Lockdown conditions.  Jimmy and Sue catch up with Warren via Zoom and ask exactly how that worked out.  Apparently gloves and face masks come off fairly quickly when a sweat is worked up.<br /> Social climbers<br /> In this week’s “Hey Marthas” Sue honours 99 year old Captain Tom Moore who has raised $25 million (the figure keeps going up) for Britain’s National Health Service by walking sponsored laps of his garden<br /> <br /> Inspired by him, 90-year-old Margaret Payne, from Ardvar, Sutherland, is aiming to scale the equivalent of the 731 metres of Scottish mountain Suliven, on the stairs inside her Highlands home.<br /> <br /> She was aiming for $20,000 for the NHS and instead has raised $150,000 by climbing her stairs 282 times.<br /> <br /> As promised, Jimmy has calculated that if you wanted to do a virtual climb of say Mount Kosciuszko (all 2228 metres above sea level) that will take 13,105 steps (@17cm per riser) or 795 floors of a modern apartment block.<br /> <br /> Slightly less challenging, you could replicate the actual 863 metre climb from Thredbo to the top of the mountain, which would be 5076 steps or 308 floors.<br /> <br /> But it doesn’t count if you’re under 90 years old.<br /> Listen here<br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 34:48 Podcast 69 – fostering pets, falling rents, failing tradies and TV flats https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast_69/ Tue, 14 Apr 2020 12:40:06 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49440 This week’s Flat Chat Wrap has just about everything; pets, tradies, TV shows set in apartments and, of course, Airbnb - plenty to keep your spirits up through the Lockdown. Before we get to Jimmy’s rant about Airbnb (Sue says he is “obsessed”), there are other issues you might want to wrap your headphones around. For instance, did you know you can foster a pet, and that’s foster, rather than adopt, which of course you can do too. But it seems there is a need for people who suddenly have the time and maybe the temperament to give injured, sick and recovering animals the level of TLC they might not otherwise enjoy. Really, if you’re seeking companionship and maybe adding a little purpose that’s suddenly missing from your life, but you’re not sure if you want to make a long-term commitment, this could be anything from a trial run to a stepping stone. It’s a win-win (unless the prospect of the emotional trauma of giving your new friend back seems worse than living alone for weeks).  You’ll hear more about it on the pod and can read about it HERE. Home invasions Then we get to short-term letting agencies, their hosts and various shenanigans all of which come under the category of trying to mitigate the disastrous effects of coronavirus on the global home invasion – sorry, sorry – “sharing” business by taking advantage of the current crisis and, potentially at least, putting apartment residents’ lives at risk. First they wanted to lure people having to self-isolate, including returned travellers, into their abandoned apartments in our homes. Then it was people for whom working from home wasn’t an option. Then it was frontline health workers who rightly wanted to avoid the chance of carrying infections into their family homes. As we’ve said many times, they present like a social service but behave like the corporate predators that they truly are. Sue says our empty hotel rooms are the best possible places to house people who need or want to be isolated. Unfortunately, we’d recorded the podcast before this news came out, taking that idea even further. By-laws: A cunning plan The latest outrage, which even has Sue spitting computer chips, sees Airbnb sending an email from its Irish HQ telling its NSW hosts not to worry about the new laws that allow buildings to ban them because, they say, we can’t hold the meetings to do that under social distancing regulations, and we can’t have electronic or paper meetings unless we’ve already agreed that at a proper meeting in person. What a bunch of charmers! But Jimmy has a cunning plan which he explains on the podcast; basically it involves one chairperson, a security guard and a copy of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act, Schedule 1, Section 17 (4). Good news for renters Moving on, Sue has good news for renters (and not so good for landlords) with rents plummeting and availability shooting up, especially in Hobart, which just happens to be the city where the State Government offered short-term holiday letting hosts free money if they would just put their properties back in the residential rental market. You hear more about the effects of the Lockdown on rents across Australia and read more about it HERE. Bad news for tradies It’s one of those unintended consequences but Sue has been working on a story about tradies who are doing it tough because strata managers, building managers, committees and individual owners are scared to allow them into their blocks in case they are carrying the virus. So while essential works are being ignored due to a large degree of over-caution, an annual industry worth $2 billion is losing 10 per cent of business per month, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon. Sue gives us the background to the story in the pod, by way of a preview. Keep an eye open for that one in the SMH or online in Domain. TV series set in apartments And finally we have a look at TV series set in flats and apartments,... This week’s Flat Chat Wrap has just about everything; pets, tradies, TV shows set in apartments and, of course, Airbnb - plenty to keep your spirits up through the Lockdown. - Before we get to Jimmy’s rant about Airbnb (Sue says he is “obsessed”), This week’s Flat Chat Wrap has just about everything; pets, tradies, TV shows set in apartments and, of course, Airbnb - plenty to keep your spirits up through the Lockdown.<br /> <br /> Before we get to Jimmy’s rant about Airbnb (Sue says he is “obsessed”), there are other issues you might want to wrap your headphones around.<br /> <br /> For instance, did you know you can foster a pet, and that’s foster, rather than adopt, which of course you can do too.<br /> <br /> But it seems there is a need for people who suddenly have the time and maybe the temperament to give injured, sick and recovering animals the level of TLC they might not otherwise enjoy.<br /> <br /> Really, if you’re seeking companionship and maybe adding a little purpose that’s suddenly missing from your life, but you’re not sure if you want to make a long-term commitment, this could be anything from a trial run to a stepping stone.<br /> <br /> It’s a win-win (unless the prospect of the emotional trauma of giving your new friend back seems worse than living alone for weeks).  You’ll hear more about it on the pod and can read about it HERE.<br /> Home invasions<br /> Then we get to short-term letting agencies, their hosts and various shenanigans all of which come under the category of trying to mitigate the disastrous effects of coronavirus on the global home invasion – sorry, sorry – “sharing” business by taking advantage of the current crisis and, potentially at least, putting apartment residents’ lives at risk.<br /> <br /> First they wanted to lure people having to self-isolate, including returned travellers, into their abandoned apartments in our homes.<br /> <br /> Then it was people for whom working from home wasn’t an option. Then it was frontline health workers who rightly wanted to avoid the chance of carrying infections into their family homes.<br /> <br /> As we’ve said many times, they present like a social service but behave like the corporate predators that they truly are.<br /> <br /> Sue says our empty hotel rooms are the best possible places to house people who need or want to be isolated. Unfortunately, we’d recorded the podcast before this news came out, taking that idea even further.<br /> By-laws: A cunning plan<br /> The latest outrage, which even has Sue spitting computer chips, sees Airbnb sending an email from its Irish HQ telling its NSW hosts not to worry about the new laws that allow buildings to ban them because, they say, we can’t hold the meetings to do that under social distancing regulations, and we can’t have electronic or paper meetings unless we’ve already agreed that at a proper meeting in person.<br /> <br /> What a bunch of charmers! But Jimmy has a cunning plan which he explains on the podcast; basically it involves one chairperson, a security guard and a copy of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act, Schedule 1, Section 17 (4).<br /> Good news for renters<br /> Moving on, Sue has good news for renters (and not so good for landlords) with rents plummeting and availability shooting up, especially in Hobart, which just happens to be the city where the State Government offered short-term holiday letting hosts free money if they would just put their properties back in the residential rental market.<br /> <br /> You hear more about the effects of the Lockdown on rents across Australia and read more about it HERE.<br /> Bad news for tradies<br /> It’s one of those unintended consequences but Sue has been working on a story about tradies who are doing it tough because strata managers, building managers, committees and individual owners are scared to allow them into their blocks in case they are carrying the virus.<br /> <br /> So while essential works are being ignored due to a large degree of over-caution, an annual industry worth $2 billion is losing 10 per cent of business per month, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 38:12 Podcast 68: Six months of Sundays, classic movies, perfect pods https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-68-months-of-sundays/ Tue, 07 Apr 2020 06:51:11 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49367 In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. Jimmy and Sue look at the wealth of good advice about how to get through this crisis without the whole system falling around our ears. We log into a comprehensive newsletter that covers everything from managing facilities to online meeting etiquette for these days of Zoom and Skype. Even if your block is not  managed by our sponsors Strata Choice, you can access their Covid-19 Update page which is full of valuable advice and information. Levies losses At the same time as many of us are seeing a decline in our incomes, our strata schemes are facing increased costs simply because more people are working from home. Understandably, owners are looking to reduce their outgoings and the whole question of levies (or fees) raises its head.  However, it comes down to this: if you want to cut your levies, what services are you going to cut to make the savings? For owners corporations (body corporates), there’s the very real prospect of funds running out in the next quarter as owners who have lost their jobs can’t pay their levies on time. Now, those levies will be paid eventually – even if they have to be extracted from the sale of the unit concerned – but what happens in the interim? Lannock strata finance (another Flat Chat sponsor) is offering a line of credit through their Levy Assist Loans to owners corps to cover the shortfall.  However, that comes with its own complications: how do you collectively pay interest on a loan not everyone needed? The answer, unfortunately, may be to resist the temptation to waive penalty interest on the overdue levies – harsh as that may seem. Or you could just suck it up in the interests of sharing the pain. Would you dob? On a slightly different note, JimmyT and Sue Williams ask, would you dob in a neighbour who wasn’t socially isolating, whether it was hosting dinner parties or hanging out with their friends on common property? And what would you do if you were the secretary or chair who received the report? Informed and entertained And with a view to keeping ourselves informed and entertained during these isolated times Sue came up with a list of classic apartment-related movies,  See how many you would have chosen. Meanwhile, Jimmy talked about the political podcasts that keep him up to date with what’s happening elsewhere in the world, including NPR Politics, Pod Save the World, Guardian Politics Weekly and its Australian Cousin, the BBC’s Coronavirus Newscast and Embedded. And if you’re into property in all its glories, check out the Elephant in the Room, if only because they described Jimmy as “multi-talented” in the blurb for the episode on which he was a guest. Finally there's our best of frenemies, strata lawyer Amanda Palmer, who has just published her 208th episode ot the yourstrataproperty podcast. On a lighter note, to put a (wry) smile on your face, check out Judith Lucy’s Overwhelmed and Dying, Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb’s Chat 10 Looks 3  and the Friday Night Comedy on the BBC. Finally, not really a podcast, more of an audiobook and, admittedly, a bit of acquired taste, Ed Reardon’s Week is a radio sitcom about a failing writer and you can get the fourth series free if you sign up for a 30-day trial of Audible here. And Sue mentioned this brilliant coronavirus parody of Adele's Hello: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5azNpTwVk8 Play the podcast And finally, here’s where you can play our latest podcast:   In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. Jimmy and Sue look at the wealth of good advice about how to get through this crisis without the whole system falling around our ears. - We log into a comprehensive newsletter that covers everything from managing facilit... In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. Jimmy and Sue look at the wealth of good advice about how to get through this crisis without the whole system falling around our ears.<br /> <br /> We log into a comprehensive newsletter that covers everything from managing facilities to online meeting etiquette for these days of Zoom and Skype.<br /> <br /> Even if your block is not  managed by our sponsors Strata Choice, you can access their Covid-19 Update page which is full of valuable advice and information.<br /> Levies losses<br /> At the same time as many of us are seeing a decline in our incomes, our strata schemes are facing increased costs simply because more people are working from home.<br /> <br /> Understandably, owners are looking to reduce their outgoings and the whole question of levies (or fees) raises its head.  However, it comes down to this: if you want to cut your levies, what services are you going to cut to make the savings?<br /> <br /> For owners corporations (body corporates), there’s the very real prospect of funds running out in the next quarter as owners who have lost their jobs can’t pay their levies on time.<br /> <br /> Now, those levies will be paid eventually – even if they have to be extracted from the sale of the unit concerned – but what happens in the interim?<br /> <br /> Lannock strata finance (another Flat Chat sponsor) is offering a line of credit through their Levy Assist Loans to owners corps to cover the shortfall.  However, that comes with its own complications: how do you collectively pay interest on a loan not everyone needed?<br /> <br /> The answer, unfortunately, may be to resist the temptation to waive penalty interest on the overdue levies – harsh as that may seem. Or you could just suck it up in the interests of sharing the pain.<br /> Would you dob?<br /> On a slightly different note, JimmyT and Sue Williams ask, would you dob in a neighbour who wasn’t socially isolating, whether it was hosting dinner parties or hanging out with their friends on common property?<br /> <br /> And what would you do if you were the secretary or chair who received the report?<br /> Informed and entertained<br /> And with a view to keeping ourselves informed and entertained during these isolated times Sue came up with a list of classic apartment-related movies,  See how many you would have chosen.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Jimmy talked about the political podcasts that keep him up to date with what’s happening elsewhere in the world, including NPR Politics, Pod Save the World, Guardian Politics Weekly and its Australian Cousin, the BBC’s Coronavirus Newscast and Embedded.<br /> <br /> And if you’re into property in all its glories, check out the Elephant in the Room, if only because they described Jimmy as “multi-talented” in the blurb for the episode on which he was a guest. Finally there's our best of frenemies, strata lawyer Amanda Palmer, who has just published her 208th episode ot the yourstrataproperty podcast.<br /> <br /> On a lighter note, to put a (wry) smile on your face, check out Judith Lucy’s Overwhelmed and Dying, Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb’s Chat 10 Looks 3  and the Friday Night Comedy on the BBC.<br /> <br /> Finally, not really a podcast, more of an audiobook and, admittedly, a bit of acquired taste, Ed Reardon’s Week is a radio sitcom about a failing writer and you can get the fourth series free if you sign up for a 30-day trial of Audible here.<br /> <br /> And Sue mentioned this brilliant coronavirus parody of Adele's Hello: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5azNpTwVk8<br /> Play the podcast<br /> And finally, here’s where you can play our latest podcast:<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 35:55 Podcast 67: Airbnb bugged, gym junkies fret … and fun https://www.flat-chat.com.au/airbnb-gyms-fun/ Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:36:05 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49254 In this week’s extra-long Flat Chat Wrap, obsession with coronavirus is spreading like, well, a virus.  Jimmy and Sue discuss how it may be having a crippling effect on that other viral sensation from recent years … Airbnb. Not only are their potential guests staying home, whether or not they want to, there was the decision by Airbnb head office to waive all cancellation fees, plus NSW hosts are about to be hit with another blow … new laws coming in next week mean unit owners will be able to pass by-laws banning short-term holiday lets from their blocks. With many holiday letting hosts virtually dumping their properties on to the residential let market, that’s a lot of prime apartments and houses coming up for knock-down rents – well, compared to what they were getting from tourist. So there will be a lot of choice for renters, not least the decision of whether to go for long leases – in case the tourists come flooding back in Spring and they get turfed out to make way – or to gamble on there being even more uncertainty and disruption down the line when their flexibility will be at a premium. Jimmy and Sue discuss which are the best options. With many apartment gyms and pools being closed due to the coronavirus threat –  rather than being managed properly to avoid breaching the social distancing regulations, residents are having to fall back on their own resources.  J&S recommend the Centr fitness videos promoted by actor Chris Hemsworth with six weeks free membership. If that sounds too much like hard work, try the Seven-minute Body Weight workout – aka the “hotel workout” which you can do in your own home without any additional equipment.  There’s an excellent example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jru5B044HOs You can load versions of that on to your phone so you can take it with you (if you were allowed to go anywhere.)  By the way, Jimmy has heard that Fair Trading is about to issue guidelines that suggest the cautious committees who shut our strata gyms down may have gone too far. Meanwhile, you can do what J&S did which was to dig out all their old unused exercise gear – and there’s a lot of it – plus buy a couple of weights from a sports shop (if you can get them, Jimmy says they’re selling like toilet paper) then find an online workout that suits you. And if just the thought of exercise is stressing you out even more than fear of Covid-19, Sue recommends this article in The Conversation about enjoying the simple pleasures of life. And for Sue they include this hilarious video about a man who thinks he’s receiving a Skype call: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VHQj-6lBA. And finally, a song about what we do – or plan to do – during our coronavirus-enforced isolation, purloined from this BBC Sounds podcast of The Now Show. Listen to the podcast here In this week’s extra-long Flat Chat Wrap, obsession with coronavirus is spreading like, well, a virus.  Jimmy and Sue discuss how it may be having a crippling effect on that other viral sensation from recent years … Airbnb. - In this week’s extra-long Flat Chat Wrap, obsession with coronavirus is spreading like, well, a virus.  Jimmy and Sue discuss how it may be having a crippling effect on that other viral sensation from recent years … Airbnb.<br /> <br /> Not only are their potential guests staying home, whether or not they want to, there was the decision by Airbnb head office to waive all cancellation fees, plus NSW hosts are about to be hit with another blow … new laws coming in next week mean unit owners will be able to pass by-laws banning short-term holiday lets from their blocks.<br /> <br /> With many holiday letting hosts virtually dumping their properties on to the residential let market, that’s a lot of prime apartments and houses coming up for knock-down rents – well, compared to what they were getting from tourist.<br /> <br /> So there will be a lot of choice for renters, not least the decision of whether to go for long leases – in case the tourists come flooding back in Spring and they get turfed out to make way – or to gamble on there being even more uncertainty and disruption down the line when their flexibility will be at a premium.<br /> <br /> Jimmy and Sue discuss which are the best options.<br /> <br /> With many apartment gyms and pools being closed due to the coronavirus threat –  rather than being managed properly to avoid breaching the social distancing regulations, residents are having to fall back on their own resources.  J&S recommend the Centr fitness videos promoted by actor Chris Hemsworth with six weeks free membership.<br /> <br /> If that sounds too much like hard work, try the Seven-minute Body Weight workout – aka the “hotel workout” which you can do in your own home without any additional equipment.  There’s an excellent example here:<br /> <br /> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jru5B044HOs<br /> <br /> You can load versions of that on to your phone so you can take it with you (if you were allowed to go anywhere.)  By the way, Jimmy has heard that Fair Trading is about to issue guidelines that suggest the cautious committees who shut our strata gyms down may have gone too far.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, you can do what J&S did which was to dig out all their old unused exercise gear – and there’s a lot of it – plus buy a couple of weights from a sports shop (if you can get them, Jimmy says they’re selling like toilet paper) then find an online workout that suits you.<br /> <br /> And if just the thought of exercise is stressing you out even more than fear of Covid-19, Sue recommends this article in The Conversation about enjoying the simple pleasures of life.<br /> <br /> And for Sue they include this hilarious video about a man who thinks he’s receiving a Skype call: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VHQj-6lBA.<br /> <br /> And finally, a song about what we do – or plan to do – during our coronavirus-enforced isolation, purloined from this BBC Sounds podcast of The Now Show.<br /> Listen to the podcast here Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 37:57 Podcast 66 – Locked down and loaded up with medical misinformation https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-locked-down/ Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:08:38 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=49108 In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss Australia's coronavirus lockdown and what it means to people living in apartments. There’s the whole issue of returned travellers settling in to 14 days of self-isolation and whether or not they really will wear masks when they pass through common property, as government health measures demand. We look at lifts and whether or not we should travel in them with strangers.  And then there are gyms and pools, with news that some apartment blocks are shutting them down, just to be on the safe side. But what do you do when the government also advises you to exercise to boost your immunity?  Is the thump-thump of you exercising at home not really just revenge for the late night doof-doof of the downstairs neighbours’ sound system? Pets and hoarding are also on the agenda along with growing outrage over Airbnb hosts offering self-isolation packages in apartment blocks. Should we turn our asylum seeker detention centres into quarantine camps for suspected Covid-19 carriers and low-level sufferers? And there’s a fascinating clip from a BBC podcast about coronavirus misinformation, with Jimmy explaining how he fell for bogus medical advice passed on by a normally reliable strata source. And you can find a more detailed and expansive look at coronavirus conspiracies here. FYI, if you want the latest real and truly reliable information on Covid-19, log into the Federal Government Health website, the NSW Health website, and the Victoria Health website. There are also websites for Queensland, WA, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and the NT. Finally, on the bright side, there’s a virtual visit to a couple of zoos, with furry friends to keep you company during your less-than-splendid isolation. Melbourne Zoo has a live ‘animal-cam’ where you can watch cute snow leopard cubs, majestic giraffes, penguins and other animals. Meanwhile, Mogo Zoo on the NSW South Coast has a beautiful picture gallery and you can support these survivors of the recent bushfires who are doing it tough all over again with tourist numbers, obviously, having hit a new low. Enjoy.       In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss Australia's coronavirus lockdown and what it means to people living in apartments. - There’s the whole issue of returned travellers settling in to 14 days of self-isolation and whether or not they r... In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Jimmy and Sue discuss Australia's coronavirus lockdown and what it means to people living in apartments.<br /> <br /> There’s the whole issue of returned travellers settling in to 14 days of self-isolation and whether or not they really will wear masks when they pass through common property, as government health measures demand.<br /> <br /> We look at lifts and whether or not we should travel in them with strangers.  And then there are gyms and pools, with news that some apartment blocks are shutting them down, just to be on the safe side.<br /> <br /> But what do you do when the government also advises you to exercise to boost your immunity?  Is the thump-thump of you exercising at home not really just revenge for the late night doof-doof of the downstairs neighbours’ sound system?<br /> <br /> Pets and hoarding are also on the agenda along with growing outrage over Airbnb hosts offering self-isolation packages in apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> Should we turn our asylum seeker detention centres into quarantine camps for suspected Covid-19 carriers and low-level sufferers?<br /> <br /> And there’s a fascinating clip from a BBC podcast about coronavirus misinformation, with Jimmy explaining how he fell for bogus medical advice passed on by a normally reliable strata source. And you can find a more detailed and expansive look at coronavirus conspiracies here.<br /> <br /> FYI, if you want the latest real and truly reliable information on Covid-19, log into the Federal Government Health website, the NSW Health website, and the Victoria Health website. There are also websites for Queensland, WA, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and the NT.<br /> <br /> Finally, on the bright side, there’s a virtual visit to a couple of zoos, with furry friends to keep you company during your less-than-splendid isolation. Melbourne Zoo has a live ‘animal-cam’ where you can watch cute snow leopard cubs, majestic giraffes, penguins and other animals.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Mogo Zoo on the NSW South Coast has a beautiful picture gallery and you can support these survivors of the recent bushfires who are doing it tough all over again with tourist numbers, obviously, having hit a new low.<br /> <br /> Enjoy.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 36:27 Podcast 64: New rent laws but same old story with point-scoring pollies https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-rent-laws/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 13:40:41 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=48892 In this week’s Podcast, Jimmy and Sue examine the plusses and minuses in the new NSW rental laws, which tilt things in tenants’ favour but don’t go all the way. For instance, tenants will be able to make changes to their rented properties – subject to approval that can’t reasonably be refused – and they’ll be able to demand minimum standards of habitation. They’ll know what their break fees will be if they choose to end the lease and leave early, and they’ll have to be informed about anything significant regarding the property’s history – like, if it had previously been used to manufacture drugs (the example Fair Trading uses). And landlords will have to show them their apartment building's by-laws BEFORE they sign the lease for a flat. But there will still be the option of no-cause termination of leases for the landlords, who will only be required to give notice if they decide they want the tenant out for any reason – like, if they want to get another tenant in so they can put the rent up a lot. The old “my brother is getting married and needs somewhere to live” story will still be available as an excuse to evict the tenants so the landlord can charge the next residents a higher rent. That might even be more the case with the new laws limiting rent rises to one per year for ongoing tenancies. You’ll find a rundown of the whole comprehensive law changes HERE. Meanwhile we also look at why the NSW Liberals backed away from a law that would ban developers from being elected to local councils. [Spoiler Alert! It’s party politics.] If you recall the original  story a couple of weeks ago, the NSW Libs were about to thwart the Right in their party room and bring in a long overdue law. Now Labor have been trying to get in on the act. And we look at how the coronavirus is changing all our lives, and not always for the worse.  But first we have to cope with all the confusion and contradictions as different experts recommend different things … and then the politicians get involved. All that and more in this week’s extra-long edition of the Flat Chat Wrap. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.   In this week’s Podcast, Jimmy and Sue examine the plusses and minuses in the new NSW rental laws, which tilt things in tenants’ favour but don’t go all the way. - For instance, tenants will be able to make changes to their rented properties – subject ... In this week’s Podcast, Jimmy and Sue examine the plusses and minuses in the new NSW rental laws, which tilt things in tenants’ favour but don’t go all the way.<br /> <br /> For instance, tenants will be able to make changes to their rented properties – subject to approval that can’t reasonably be refused – and they’ll be able to demand minimum standards of habitation.<br /> <br /> They’ll know what their break fees will be if they choose to end the lease and leave early, and they’ll have to be informed about anything significant regarding the property’s history – like, if it had previously been used to manufacture drugs (the example Fair Trading uses).<br /> <br /> And landlords will have to show them their apartment building's by-laws BEFORE they sign the lease for a flat.<br /> <br /> But there will still be the option of no-cause termination of leases for the landlords, who will only be required to give notice if they decide they want the tenant out for any reason – like, if they want to get another tenant in so they can put the rent up a lot.<br /> <br /> The old “my brother is getting married and needs somewhere to live” story will still be available as an excuse to evict the tenants so the landlord can charge the next residents a higher rent.<br /> <br /> That might even be more the case with the new laws limiting rent rises to one per year for ongoing tenancies.<br /> <br /> You’ll find a rundown of the whole comprehensive law changes HERE.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile we also look at why the NSW Liberals backed away from a law that would ban developers from being elected to local councils. [Spoiler Alert! It’s party politics.] If you recall the original  story a couple of weeks ago, the NSW Libs were about to thwart the Right in their party room and bring in a long overdue law. Now Labor have been trying to get in on the act.<br /> <br /> And we look at how the coronavirus is changing all our lives, and not always for the worse.  But first we have to cope with all the confusion and contradictions as different experts recommend different things … and then the politicians get involved.<br /> <br /> All that and more in this week’s extra-long edition of the Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 35:26 Podcast 63: Cowboy builders, coronavirus and … toilet rolls https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-the-commish/ Tue, 10 Mar 2020 12:27:47 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=48817 JimmyT and Sue discuss his long chat with the building commissioner, what you can do to avoid coronavirus in your apartment block and how Sue learned about the great Australian toilet roll panic, all over the newspapers ... in India. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. JimmyT and Sue discuss his long chat with the building commissioner, what you can do to avoid coronavirus in your apartment block and how Sue learned about the great Australian toilet roll panic, all over the newspapers ... in India. - JimmyT and Sue discuss his long chat with the building commissioner, what you can do to avoid coronavirus in your apartment block and how Sue learned about the great Australian toilet roll panic, all over the newspapers ... in India.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 27:38 Podcast 62: Free strata managers, fire stupidity, locked-out landlord https://www.flat-chat.com.au/free-sm/ Tue, 03 Mar 2020 12:13:14 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=48726 In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, JimmyT and Sue Williams discusses the possibility of having free, or non-profit strata managers. Would it work, who would use the service and wouldn’t rich owners in boutique blocks just rort the system if it was done on the basis of the size of the building? Also they talk about the 100-year-old converted mansion where the owners ripped out a faulty alarm system and never got round to replacing it. And there’s the question of a tenant who has replaced the original handle on his rented apartment with an electronic key pad, which not only keeps the landlord locked out, but isn’t fire compliant. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, JimmyT and Sue Williams discusses the possibility of having free, or non-profit strata managers. - Would it work, who would use the service and wouldn’t rich owners in boutique blocks just rort the system if it was done ... In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, JimmyT and Sue Williams discusses the possibility of having free, or non-profit strata managers.<br /> <br /> Would it work, who would use the service and wouldn’t rich owners in boutique blocks just rort the system if it was done on the basis of the size of the building?<br /> <br /> Also they talk about the 100-year-old converted mansion where the owners ripped out a faulty alarm system and never got round to replacing it.<br /> <br /> And there’s the question of a tenant who has replaced the original handle on his rented apartment with an electronic key pad, which not only keeps the landlord locked out, but isn’t fire compliant.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 17:33 Podcast 61 – Electric cars and rogue parking with James Valentine https://www.flat-chat.com.au/electric-cars-jv/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 10:47:59 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=48599 Roughly once a month JimmyT drops into the ABC radio studios for a chat with James Valentine about strata and all the myriad related subjects This month they start off talking about charging electric cars in strata schemes but pretty soon the calls from JV's listeners start pouring in. One caller wants to know if the owners in two out of three buildings in the same strata scheme should be responsible for the cabling when the third building gets  NBN fibre to the basement, rather than fibre to the node that the other blocks have. Another caller in a duplex wants to know what to do when their neighbour (and half-owner) wants to render the external walls of their half, but the caller can't afford to match it. A frustrated member of a committee wants to know if there's anything they can do about owners who wilfully ignore warnings not to park in visitor parking. Also, who's responsible when goods stored in a garage get damaged by water pouring through in heavy rains? And is a flat occupied by different sets of employess of the company that owns it short-term letting?  And what do you do when the visiting employees ignore or flout the strata by-laws and rules? These questions were all addressed in the Flat Chat slot in James Valentine's Afternoons. You can catch up with the rest of James' daily shows HERE. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.   Roughly once a month JimmyT drops into the ABC radio studios for a chat with James Valentine about strata and all the myriad related subjects - This month they start off talking about charging electric cars in strata schemes but pretty soon the calls ... Roughly once a month JimmyT drops into the ABC radio studios for a chat with James Valentine about strata and all the myriad related subjects<br /> <br /> This month they start off talking about charging electric cars in strata schemes but pretty soon the calls from JV's listeners start pouring in.<br /> <br /> One caller wants to know if the owners in two out of three buildings in the same strata scheme should be responsible for the cabling when the third building gets  NBN fibre to the basement, rather than fibre to the node that the other blocks have.<br /> <br /> Another caller in a duplex wants to know what to do when their neighbour (and half-owner) wants to render the external walls of their half, but the caller can't afford to match it.<br /> <br /> A frustrated member of a committee wants to know if there's anything they can do about owners who wilfully ignore warnings not to park in visitor parking.<br /> <br /> Also, who's responsible when goods stored in a garage get damaged by water pouring through in heavy rains?<br /> <br /> And is a flat occupied by different sets of employess of the company that owns it short-term letting?  And what do you do when the visiting employees ignore or flout the strata by-laws and rules?<br /> <br /> These questions were all addressed in the Flat Chat slot in James Valentine's Afternoons. You can catch up with the rest of James' daily shows HERE.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 28:26 PODCAST 60 – Retirees rule, Airbnb lose and flooring fights https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-60-retired-bosses-and-airbnb-losses/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:30:15 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=48521 This week on the Flat Chat Wrap we ask whether retired business people are the best or the worst committee members you can have. Based on this column, Jimmy and Sue weigh the pros and cons of people who have experience and maturity, with the fact that they may also be used to getting their own way, are a little too keen to hold on to power when they get it, and often block the appointment of younger owners who want to make a contribution. Early retirees, with business smarts and energy to burn could be exactly what your block needs. Or they could be your worst nightmare. In another story, we look at how Airbnb has been touted as the answer to housing shortages in bushfire ravaged towns and rural areas. And we discuss why the global holiday letting company’s recent financial woes could mean they are about to expand, and come back even stronger. We hear a word of warning about taking owners to the tribunal even when you know you have them bang to rights on by-laws … because the Tribunal member might not be interested in strata law and by-laws and only sees things thorough the prism of personal ownership. And finally, if you can’t get enough of JimmyT’s dulcet tones, swing by The Elephant In The Room podcast where he was a guest a couple of weeks ago. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. This week on the Flat Chat Wrap we ask whether retired business people are the best or the worst committee members you can have. - Based on this column, Jimmy and Sue weigh the pros and cons of people who have experience and maturity, This week on the Flat Chat Wrap we ask whether retired business people are the best or the worst committee members you can have.<br /> <br /> Based on this column, Jimmy and Sue weigh the pros and cons of people who have experience and maturity, with the fact that they may also be used to getting their own way, are a little too keen to hold on to power when they get it, and often block the appointment of younger owners who want to make a contribution.<br /> <br /> Early retirees, with business smarts and energy to burn could be exactly what your block needs. Or they could be your worst nightmare.<br /> <br /> In another story, we look at how Airbnb has been touted as the answer to housing shortages in bushfire ravaged towns and rural areas.<br /> <br /> And we discuss why the global holiday letting company’s recent financial woes could mean they are about to expand, and come back even stronger.<br /> <br /> We hear a word of warning about taking owners to the tribunal even when you know you have them bang to rights on by-laws … because the Tribunal member might not be interested in strata law and by-laws and only sees things thorough the prism of personal ownership.<br /> <br /> And finally, if you can’t get enough of JimmyT’s dulcet tones, swing by The Elephant In The Room podcast where he was a guest a couple of weeks ago.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe to one of the links underneath the player at the top of this page … it’s completely free!  And if you enjoy the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 22:50 PODCAST 59 – Fire and rain, gym hijackers and paying for repairs https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-fire-rain/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:49:39 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=48450 In this week’s podcast, with the East Coast states of Australia only just having survived the bushfires, we are now dealing with torrential rain and floods. Sue has contacted the big property insurers to discover an astonishing amount of damage claims had been lodged as early as Monday morning after the weekend storms. And we examine what can go wrong in apartment blocks despite a feeling of being “above it all”. ‘This is when you discover how well your block really has been built,” Jimmy says, with one expert musing that, when you have horizontal rain in these quantities, something is bound to give. Later in the podcast, Jimmy and Sue discuss under what circumstances it’s okay for personal trainers (PTs) to use common property gyms for their clients. Inspired by this issue on the Forum, they look at the three basic circumstances under which you might find a PT in your gym.  One is fine, another is definitely not on but a third is borderline. But is a resident PT using the gym for commercial purposes really any different from an Airbnb host offering your shared facilities as part of their holiday rental package? Finally, we look at this Forum question of who pays for repairs and lost rent when your owners corporation needs to dig up your bathroom to fix a common property pipe. And before we go, take a listen to James Taylor’s Fire and Rain a tiny taste of which opens this week’s podcast. And, if you need cheering up, after all the real fire and rain that we’ve endured,  watch him with his updated version on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In this week’s podcast, with the East Coast states of Australia only just having survived the bushfires, we are now dealing with torrential rain and floods. - Sue has contacted the big property insurers to discover an astonishing amount of damage clai... In this week’s podcast, with the East Coast states of Australia only just having survived the bushfires, we are now dealing with torrential rain and floods.<br /> <br /> Sue has contacted the big property insurers to discover an astonishing amount of damage claims had been lodged as early as Monday morning after the weekend storms.<br /> <br /> And we examine what can go wrong in apartment blocks despite a feeling of being “above it all”.<br /> <br /> ‘This is when you discover how well your block really has been built,” Jimmy says, with one expert musing that, when you have horizontal rain in these quantities, something is bound to give.<br /> <br /> Later in the podcast, Jimmy and Sue discuss under what circumstances it’s okay for personal trainers (PTs) to use common property gyms for their clients.<br /> <br /> Inspired by this issue on the Forum, they look at the three basic circumstances under which you might find a PT in your gym.  One is fine, another is definitely not on but a third is borderline.<br /> <br /> But is a resident PT using the gym for commercial purposes really any different from an Airbnb host offering your shared facilities as part of their holiday rental package?<br /> <br /> Finally, we look at this Forum question of who pays for repairs and lost rent when your owners corporation needs to dig up your bathroom to fix a common property pipe.<br /> <br /> And before we go, take a listen to James Taylor’s Fire and Rain a tiny taste of which opens this week’s podcast.<br /> <br /> And, if you need cheering up, after all the real fire and rain that we’ve endured,  watch him with his updated version on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 25:29 PODCAST 58 – Dogs in pools and nutty neighbours https://www.flat-chat.com.au/dog-pool-notes/ Wed, 05 Feb 2020 08:40:51 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=48329 This week’s podcast topics have come straight off our front page and our Forum. For instance, how would you feel if an owner started allowing – maybe even encouraging – their dog to swim in the communal swimming pool. Now, many free-standing home owners allow their pets to swim in their pools.  And the pets clearly enjoy it. But does that mean we should allow dogs into our communal pools?  Aren’t there by-laws against that? Well, check yours but probably no, there won’t be.  There might be something about not allowing pets on common property, or keeping dogs on a leash. But hey, what if the dog is on a leash but in the pool?  JimmyT and Sue Williams dive into that one. Then there is the problem of what to do with persistently, deliberately and aggravatingly annoying neighbours. A while ago we talked about the deposed committee chair who took his revenge by calling up tradies working in the building and abusing them to the point that they refused to work there again. Fortunately, there is an answer in the form of an Apprehended Personal Violence Order which, despite it’s heavy-hitting title, can be used to prevent verbal abuse between neighbours and unrelated civilians. And finally, we look at the environmentally right-on apartment block in Redfern that’s been sold in its entirety to an investor … who plans to use it exclusively for Airbnb. That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-60-Dog-pool.mp3 If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us This week’s podcast topics have come straight off our front page and our Forum. - For instance, how would you feel if an owner started allowing – maybe even encouraging – their dog to swim in the communal swimming pool. - Now, This week’s podcast topics have come straight off our front page and our Forum.<br /> <br /> For instance, how would you feel if an owner started allowing – maybe even encouraging – their dog to swim in the communal swimming pool.<br /> <br /> Now, many free-standing home owners allow their pets to swim in their pools.  And the pets clearly enjoy it.<br /> <br /> But does that mean we should allow dogs into our communal pools?  Aren’t there by-laws against that?<br /> <br /> Well, check yours but probably no, there won’t be.  There might be something about not allowing pets on common property, or keeping dogs on a leash.<br /> <br /> But hey, what if the dog is on a leash but in the pool?  JimmyT and Sue Williams dive into that one.<br /> <br /> Then there is the problem of what to do with persistently, deliberately and aggravatingly annoying neighbours.<br /> <br /> A while ago we talked about the deposed committee chair who took his revenge by calling up tradies working in the building and abusing them to the point that they refused to work there again.<br /> <br /> Fortunately, there is an answer in the form of an Apprehended Personal Violence Order which, despite it’s heavy-hitting title, can be used to prevent verbal abuse between neighbours and unrelated civilians.<br /> <br /> And finally, we look at the environmentally right-on apartment block in Redfern that’s been sold in its entirety to an investor … who plans to use it exclusively for Airbnb.<br /> <br /> That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-60-Dog-pool.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 25:03 PODCAST 57: Developer database – why bank computers could say “no” https://www.flat-chat.com.au/dodgy-database/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:13:16 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=48220 Sue Williams is back in the Flat Chat Wrap co-chair this week as we discuss the proposed Dodgy Developer Database announced by the NSW government last week. Sue reckons it can only be a good thing to get all that information but is concerned that it might all be too complicated for ordinary owners to understand. Jimmy points out that he doesn’t think it will ever see the light of day, and even if it does, ordinary people won’t have access to it to begin with, and will eventually only get to see it if they pay. “Outrageous!” says Sue. “We pay for these things through our taxes.’ In any case, Jimmy says, it will be like the East Coast Fast Train line plan that gets trotted out at every election … a great idea that never gets out of the too-hard basket. One group of people who Jimmy thinks will be all over the proposed database (if it ever eventuates), apart from the council and state planners for whom it is apparently intended, will be the banks and other mortgage lenders. ‘Imagine,” says Jimmy, “You want to buy a unit off the plan, you have the deposit, a great credit rating, solid employment and your mortgage lender looks at the database and discovers your proposed developer has a poor rating.  Result? The computer says no!” “Would that be such a bad thing?” asks Sue. Another problem will be any large, high-profile developers with a poor customer service record.  What are they going to do when they discover they only have three stars when their direct rivals have five or six? Lawyers at 12 paces, probably. Elsewhere, we discuss whether it is reasonable to expect parents to tell their kids to play quietly on common property. One building in Sydney’s Western suburbs has threatened parents with $1100 fines for breaking the schemes noise by-laws by allowing their kids to play noisily on common property. As more families move into strata, is it fair to expect kids to be seen and not heard.? And Jimmy asks if his bike is technically a “roadworthy vehicle”.  He’s been pinged for parking his bike in his parking spot which, the strata scheme’s by-laws say, can only be occupied by “roadworthy vehicles”. Now, he doesn’t particularly want to park his bike there – it’s usually in the back of the car ready for the next ride.  But this does illustrate the angst and confusion that can be caused by a badly worded by-law. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us Sue Williams is back in the Flat Chat Wrap co-chair this week as we discuss the proposed Dodgy Developer Database announced by the NSW government last week. - Sue reckons it can only be a good thing to get all that information but is concerned that it... Sue Williams is back in the Flat Chat Wrap co-chair this week as we discuss the proposed Dodgy Developer Database announced by the NSW government last week.<br /> <br /> Sue reckons it can only be a good thing to get all that information but is concerned that it might all be too complicated for ordinary owners to understand.<br /> <br /> Jimmy points out that he doesn’t think it will ever see the light of day, and even if it does, ordinary people won’t have access to it to begin with, and will eventually only get to see it if they pay.<br /> <br /> “Outrageous!” says Sue. “We pay for these things through our taxes.’<br /> <br /> In any case, Jimmy says, it will be like the East Coast Fast Train line plan that gets trotted out at every election … a great idea that never gets out of the too-hard basket.<br /> <br /> One group of people who Jimmy thinks will be all over the proposed database (if it ever eventuates), apart from the council and state planners for whom it is apparently intended, will be the banks and other mortgage lenders.<br /> <br /> ‘Imagine,” says Jimmy, “You want to buy a unit off the plan, you have the deposit, a great credit rating, solid employment and your mortgage lender looks at the database and discovers your proposed developer has a poor rating.  Result? The computer says no!”<br /> <br /> “Would that be such a bad thing?” asks Sue.<br /> <br /> Another problem will be any large, high-profile developers with a poor customer service record.  What are they going to do when they discover they only have three stars when their direct rivals have five or six? Lawyers at 12 paces, probably.<br /> <br /> Elsewhere, we discuss whether it is reasonable to expect parents to tell their kids to play quietly on common property.<br /> <br /> One building in Sydney’s Western suburbs has threatened parents with $1100 fines for breaking the schemes noise by-laws by allowing their kids to play noisily on common property.<br /> <br /> As more families move into strata, is it fair to expect kids to be seen and not heard.?<br /> <br /> And Jimmy asks if his bike is technically a “roadworthy vehicle”.  He’s been pinged for parking his bike in his parking spot which, the strata scheme’s by-laws say, can only be occupied by “roadworthy vehicles”.<br /> <br /> Now, he doesn’t particularly want to park his bike there – it’s usually in the back of the car ready for the next ride.  But this does illustrate the angst and confusion that can be caused by a badly worded by-law.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 27:51 PODCAST 56 – Flat-hunting, packing and Swedish Death Cleaning https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podast-from-happy-feet-to-flat-hunting/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:45:14 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=48113 “It’s like heading down the runway while you are still building the plane” – no, we’re not talking about buying off the plan, but the pressures and perils of creating an Oscar-winning, multi-million-dollar animated Hollywood movie. We’re taking a slight detour this week into the world of comedy and show-business, in an interview with our good friend Warren Coleman, formerly of the Castanets Club comedy troupe but more recently a writer and co-director on Happy Feet and a writer on Happy Feet 2. Now, we do get to the question of apartments – specifically, what it’s like to be looking to buy and sell for the first time in 30 years – but we take a few side-roads along the way. We’ll hear how taking a hit comedy show on a multi-city tour of the USA can be like “hyper-flat-sharing” and we get essential travel tips from Davy Jones, formerly of the Monkees. But there's also how entering the apartment buying arena for the first time in a long time is a bit like dating after the end of a long-term relationship. ‘Until you make a commitment, you have to let any flat you like know that you’re still seeing other apartments, just like it's seeing other people,’ says Warren. And then there's packing.  As you can imagine, there's a lot of accumulated stuff to get rid of  - or not - after 30 years in the one flat. Due you use Marie Kondo's "does it bring me joy?" filter for all your stuff, or do you go hard core and use the Swedish Death Cleaning method.  Yes, that's a thing ... it's even a book. But we also hear about Happy Feet producer/director George Miller’s seat-of-the-pants genius, what it’s like to be nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and even a Logie, and what you do when you can’t find out if you’ve won because your party hosts are recording it to watch it later. All in all, it’s a very different Flat Chat Wrap this week … but it’s a lot of fun. If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us “It’s like heading down the runway while you are still building the plane” – no, we’re not talking about buying off the plan, but the pressures and perils of creating an Oscar-winning, multi-million-dollar animated Hollywood movie. - “It’s like heading down the runway while you are still building the plane” – no, we’re not talking about buying off the plan, but the pressures and perils of creating an Oscar-winning, multi-million-dollar animated Hollywood movie.<br /> <br /> We’re taking a slight detour this week into the world of comedy and show-business, in an interview with our good friend Warren Coleman, formerly of the Castanets Club comedy troupe but more recently a writer and co-director on Happy Feet and a writer on Happy Feet 2.<br /> <br /> Now, we do get to the question of apartments – specifically, what it’s like to be looking to buy and sell for the first time in 30 years – but we take a few side-roads along the way.<br /> <br /> We’ll hear how taking a hit comedy show on a multi-city tour of the USA can be like “hyper-flat-sharing” and we get essential travel tips from Davy Jones, formerly of the Monkees.<br /> <br /> But there's also how entering the apartment buying arena for the first time in a long time is a bit like dating after the end of a long-term relationship. ‘Until you make a commitment, you have to let any flat you like know that you’re still seeing other apartments, just like it's seeing other people,’ says Warren.<br /> <br /> And then there's packing.  As you can imagine, there's a lot of accumulated stuff to get rid of  - or not - after 30 years in the one flat.<br /> <br /> Due you use Marie Kondo's "does it bring me joy?" filter for all your stuff, or do you go hard core and use the Swedish Death Cleaning method.  Yes, that's a thing ... it's even a book.<br /> <br /> But we also hear about Happy Feet producer/director George Miller’s seat-of-the-pants genius, what it’s like to be nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and even a Logie, and what you do when you can’t find out if you’ve won because your party hosts are recording it to watch it later.<br /> <br /> All in all, it’s a very different Flat Chat Wrap this week … but it’s a lot of fun.<br /> <br /> If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams 33:02 PODCAST 55 – Privacy poppycock, powers of attorney and pets in peril https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-55-privacy-poppycock-powers-of-attorney-and-pets-in-peril/ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 23:19:50 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-55-privacy-poppycock-powers-of-attorney-and-pets-in-peril This week in the podcast we revisit the vexed question of whether or not you should be allowed to view other owners’ email addresses. The SCA (Strata Community Australia – aka, the strata managers) website says this in its FAQ for apartment block neophytes: How do I obtain the phone number/email address/postal address of members of the committee? Due to privacy laws you only have the legal right to obtain the postal address of lot owners, which you can request from the strata manager, or if the scheme is self-managed, the committee. In other words, no email addresses for mere owners. Now, we’ve had this discussion running on the Forum for a while and I, JimmyT, have to admit I got it wrong. I said that because the strata Act doesn’t require you to provide your email address, then that wasn’t part of the strata roll and was therefore private. But hang on a minute, the strata Act does require owners to provide their email addresses.  And if strata managers and committees are using them to send out notices, agendas and minutes, they are part of the records of the business of the strata scheme anyway. So how come strata managers say you can’t have them? Privacy, they say.  But corporations with a turnover of less than $3 million a year – e.g. most strata schemes – aren’t covered by the federal privacy laws, and even if you were in a mega complex that did qualify, the privacy laws are superseded by laws that require information to be provided … like the strata Act. So here on the Flat Chat Wrap  podcast we are calling this out – especially since one of our readers took their strata managers and strata scheme all the way to the Supreme Court in WA and got a definitive ruling that they were entitled to see and use the email addresses of all the other owners. That's quite a saga, as we explain. You will often hear it said that sending someone an unsolicited email is an invasion of privacy.  How exactly can that be the case?  It may be an invasion of their email inbox, but that’s about it. Sure, sending complete strangers unwanted emails is spam. But co-owners in the same apartment block, with myriad common interests and concerns? In any case, the recipient doesn’t have to read it, and they can block the sender with the click of a ticked box, should they so desire. Personally, I would rather another owner emailed me and told me they were worried about decisions made by the committee, than hope and pray that the reason I don't hear any complaints is becasue they can't get past the fake privacy filter. Call us cynical, but we think the real issue is that too many committees and strata managers don’t want the instant, costless communication that emails offer.  Why?  Because, with half the strata units in Australia owned by investors, with snail mail often only going to their agents, the results could be unpredictable, to say the least, if owners with a grievance were able to communicate with each other and start asking awkward questions. So the next time your strata manager refuses to let you see other owners email addresses, stick your iPod buds in their earholes and make them listen to our podcast. Elsewhere in the Flat Chat Wrap, we look at what happens to proxy votes and Powers of Attorney when the owner of the property dies. {NB: This podcast has been corrected since it was first published} And we issue a warning to pet owners, especially the parents of pugs and bulldogs and their ilk, about the combined dangers of smoke and heat. That’s all there in this week’s podcast. This week in the podcast we revisit the vexed question of whether or not you should be allowed to view other owners’ email addresses. - The SCA (Strata Community Australia – aka, the strata managers) website says this in its FAQ for apartment block ne... This week in the podcast we revisit the vexed question of whether or not you should be allowed to view other owners’ email addresses.<br /> <br /> The SCA (Strata Community Australia – aka, the strata managers) website says this in its FAQ for apartment block neophytes:<br /> How do I obtain the phone number/email address/postal address of members of the committee?<br /> Due to privacy laws you only have the legal right to obtain the postal address of lot owners, which you can request from the strata manager, or if the scheme is self-managed, the committee.<br /> In other words, no email addresses for mere owners. Now, we’ve had this discussion running on the Forum for a while and I, JimmyT, have to admit I got it wrong.<br /> <br /> I said that because the strata Act doesn’t require you to provide your email address, then that wasn’t part of the strata roll and was therefore private.<br /> <br /> But hang on a minute, the strata Act does require owners to provide their email addresses.  And if strata managers and committees are using them to send out notices, agendas and minutes, they are part of the records of the business of the strata scheme anyway.<br /> <br /> So how come strata managers say you can’t have them?<br /> <br /> Privacy, they say.  But corporations with a turnover of less than $3 million a year – e.g. most strata schemes – aren’t covered by the federal privacy laws, and even if you were in a mega complex that did qualify, the privacy laws are superseded by laws that require information to be provided … like the strata Act.<br /> <br /> So here on the Flat Chat Wrap  podcast we are calling this out – especially since one of our readers took their strata managers and strata scheme all the way to the Supreme Court in WA and got a definitive ruling that they were entitled to see and use the email addresses of all the other owners. That's quite a saga, as we explain.<br /> <br /> You will often hear it said that sending someone an unsolicited email is an invasion of privacy.  How exactly can that be the case?  It may be an invasion of their email inbox, but that’s about it. Sure, sending complete strangers unwanted emails is spam.<br /> <br /> But co-owners in the same apartment block, with myriad common interests and concerns? In any case, the recipient doesn’t have to read it, and they can block the sender with the click of a ticked box, should they so desire.<br /> <br /> Personally, I would rather another owner emailed me and told me they were worried about decisions made by the committee, than hope and pray that the reason I don't hear any complaints is becasue they can't get past the fake privacy filter.<br /> <br /> Call us cynical, but we think the real issue is that too many committees and strata managers don’t want the instant, costless communication that emails offer.  Why?  Because, with half the strata units in Australia owned by investors, with snail mail often only going to their agents, the results could be unpredictable, to say the least, if owners with a grievance were able to communicate with each other and start asking awkward questions.<br /> <br /> So the next time your strata manager refuses to let you see other owners email addresses, stick your iPod buds in their earholes and make them listen to our podcast.<br /> <br /> Elsewhere in the Flat Chat Wrap, we look at what happens to proxy votes and Powers of Attorney when the owner of the property dies. {NB: This podcast has been corrected since it was first published}<br /> <br /> And we issue a warning to pet owners, especially the parents of pugs and bulldogs and their ilk, about the combined dangers of smoke and heat.<br /> <br /> That’s all there in this week’s podcast. FLAT CHAT 28:08 Podcast 54 – Bushfires, unit blocks and stray cats https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-54-bushfires-unit-blocks-and-stray-cats/ Wed, 08 Jan 2020 01:46:21 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-54-bushfires-unit-blocks-and-stray-cats This week’s podcast is about the bushfires.  For a change, apartments are not portrayed in the media as the worst possible way to live in Australia. That’s not to say unit blocks are immune from danger and disruption; as the original article points out, you still have to protect them from fire and floating embers. And can you imagine what would happen if the flames nudged up to a block clad in flammable composite?  We’d have our own Grenfell Tower right here. Thankfully, the reality for most apartment dwellers in country and seaside areas is a lot less dramatic.  Our country town apartment blocks tend to be a lot smaller, however, that brings its own problems. It they’re not high enough to legally require fire sprinklers, you can reasonably assume they don’t have them.  And it was internal sprinklers that arguably saved residents in our two major cladding fires – in the Lacrosse and Neo200 blocks in Melbourne – from suffering tragic consequences. So rural residents are just as keen to keep their smaller blocks free from flames. Meanwhile, they are suffering some of the less obvious effects of the devastating blazes, even when they are far from their front doors. Power outages mean their lifts have to be shut down and their mobile phones are not the lifelines they once were.  Phone lines are also likely to be cut, as are main roads. Plug in radios are useless lumps of plastic while a desperate search for the right sized cells for the old battery powerd transistor radio.  This week Narooma saw 500 metre queues for petrol ... when the pumps could operate. Shops have been running out of essentials, tourists have been trapped, others have turned back and chosen other areas for the holidays.  And toiurist present another issue for apartment residents.  Do your neighbours even know where the evacuation centre is if things take a turn for the worst. But on top of all that, there is the fear that this worst bushfire catastrophe in living memory could flare up again and wreak its havoc in their town. We also point people to a friend’s Facebook page where she’s raising money for Wires, to help all the injured animals On a slightly lighter note, JimmyT and Sue discuss the issue of what to do about stray cats … and how they evoke strong emotions in otherwise placid people. All of which leads to Jimmy’s “insult to injury” memory of what happened after a tom cat crawled into his recently robbed car. But as problems go, stray cats and car break-ins are pretty far down the list of our priorities right now. Lessons are being leaned from these bushfires – we can only hope there’s something left that will allow us to put them into practice. This week’s podcast is about the bushfires.  For a change, apartments are not portrayed in the media as the worst possible way to live in Australia. - That’s not to say unit blocks are immune from danger and disruption; as the original article points ... This week’s podcast is about the bushfires.  For a change, apartments are not portrayed in the media as the worst possible way to live in Australia.<br /> <br /> That’s not to say unit blocks are immune from danger and disruption; as the original article points out, you still have to protect them from fire and floating embers.<br /> <br /> And can you imagine what would happen if the flames nudged up to a block clad in flammable composite?  We’d have our own Grenfell Tower right here.<br /> <br /> Thankfully, the reality for most apartment dwellers in country and seaside areas is a lot less dramatic.  Our country town apartment blocks tend to be a lot smaller, however, that brings its own problems.<br /> <br /> It they’re not high enough to legally require fire sprinklers, you can reasonably assume they don’t have them.  And it was internal sprinklers that arguably saved residents in our two major cladding fires – in the Lacrosse and Neo200 blocks in Melbourne – from suffering tragic consequences.<br /> <br /> So rural residents are just as keen to keep their smaller blocks free from flames. Meanwhile, they are suffering some of the less obvious effects of the devastating blazes, even when they are far from their front doors.<br /> <br /> Power outages mean their lifts have to be shut down and their mobile phones are not the lifelines they once were.  Phone lines are also likely to be cut, as are main roads. Plug in radios are useless lumps of plastic while a desperate search for the right sized cells for the old battery powerd transistor radio.  This week Narooma saw 500 metre queues for petrol ... when the pumps could operate.<br /> <br /> Shops have been running out of essentials, tourists have been trapped, others have turned back and chosen other areas for the holidays.  And toiurist present another issue for apartment residents.  Do your neighbours even know where the evacuation centre is if things take a turn for the worst.<br /> <br /> But on top of all that, there is the fear that this worst bushfire catastrophe in living memory could flare up again and wreak its havoc in their town.<br /> <br /> We also point people to a friend’s Facebook page where she’s raising money for Wires, to help all the injured animals<br /> <br /> On a slightly lighter note, JimmyT and Sue discuss the issue of what to do about stray cats … and how they evoke strong emotions in otherwise placid people.<br /> <br /> All of which leads to Jimmy’s “insult to injury” memory of what happened after a tom cat crawled into his recently robbed car.<br /> <br /> But as problems go, stray cats and car break-ins are pretty far down the list of our priorities right now.<br /> <br /> Lessons are being leaned from these bushfires – we can only hope there’s something left that will allow us to put them into practice. FLAT CHAT 24:04 Flat Chat Wrap 51 – Email privacy, off-the-plan protections and owner revolts https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-51-email-privacy-off-the-plan-protections-and-owner-revolts/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:14:43 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-51-email-privacy-off-the-plan-protections-and-owner-revolts Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast. A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, with JimmyT trying to establish where or not it’s true that the law forbids strata managers from revealing owners’ email addresses in the strata roll (in NSW). Certainly, that’s what the strata managers say but neither strata law nor privacy laws seem to back that up. So why would the SCA – the strata managers’ professional body – advise its members not to pass email addresses to owners who are otherwise entitled to view all strata records? One sophisticated piece of strata management software – Rockend – even has a button you can click to hide email addresses from prying eyes. Could it be that this is one line of communication that strata managers and other strata professionals want to stay closed. Consider this, if you live in a block of 100 units and you want to run a campaign to get yourself voted on to your strata committee, that’s a lot of letters to print, envelopes to stuff and stamps to buy. One email, 100 addresses, total cost, zip. If your campaign is to get the committee or strata manager sacked, how much of an advantage is it that they have access to email addresses and you don’t!?! So, are you entitled to see other owners’ email addresses?  You’ll have to listen to the pod. Also in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap we look at the fateful day four years ago when Jimmy told then Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello about a story Sue Williams was writing about “sunset clawbacks”. It was a loophole in the law whereby developers would deliberately delay the completion of off-the-plan apartments, invoke the sunset clause to return the purchasers’ deposits, then put the units on the market again to take advantage of soaring property values. On Sunday, new laws came in that should put paid to those dodgy dealings for good, and provide much-needed protection for off-the-plan purchasers. And finally, Jimmy previews his column in this weekend’s financial review in which he explains how a softly-softly approach to moving the bullies and buffoons from your strata committee can work much more effectively than direct confrontation. Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast. - A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast.<br /> <br /> A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, with JimmyT trying to establish where or not it’s true that the law forbids strata managers from revealing owners’ email addresses in the strata roll (in NSW).<br /> <br /> Certainly, that’s what the strata managers say but neither strata law nor privacy laws seem to back that up.<br /> <br /> So why would the SCA – the strata managers’ professional body – advise its members not to pass email addresses to owners who are otherwise entitled to view all strata records?<br /> <br /> One sophisticated piece of strata management software – Rockend – even has a button you can click to hide email addresses from prying eyes.<br /> <br /> Could it be that this is one line of communication that strata managers and other strata professionals want to stay closed.<br /> <br /> Consider this, if you live in a block of 100 units and you want to run a campaign to get yourself voted on to your strata committee, that’s a lot of letters to print, envelopes to stuff and stamps to buy. One email, 100 addresses, total cost, zip.<br /> <br /> If your campaign is to get the committee or strata manager sacked, how much of an advantage is it that they have access to email addresses and you don’t!?!<br /> <br /> So, are you entitled to see other owners’ email addresses?  You’ll have to listen to the pod.<br /> <br /> Also in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap we look at the fateful day four years ago when Jimmy told then Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello about a story Sue Williams was writing about “sunset clawbacks”.<br /> <br /> It was a loophole in the law whereby developers would deliberately delay the completion of off-the-plan apartments, invoke the sunset clause to return the purchasers’ deposits, then put the units on the market again to take advantage of soaring property values.<br /> <br /> On Sunday, new laws came in that should put paid to those dodgy dealings for good, and provide much-needed protection for off-the-plan purchasers.<br /> <br /> And finally, Jimmy previews his column in this weekend’s financial review in which he explains how a softly-softly approach to moving the bullies and buffoons from your strata committee can work much more effectively than direct confrontation. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST : Email privacy, off-the-plan protection and power grabs https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-privacy/ Tue, 03 Dec 2019 13:28:51 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=45650 Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast. A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, with JimmyT trying to establish where or not it’s true that the law forbids strata managers from revealing owners’ email addresses in the strata roll (in NSW). Certainly, that’s what the strata managers say but neither strata law nor privacy laws seem to back that up. So why would the SCA – the strata managers’ professional body – advise its members not to pass email addresses to owners who are otherwise entitled to view all strata records? One sophisticated piece of strata management software – Rockend – even has a button you can click to hide email addresses from prying eyes. Could it be that this is one line of communication that strata managers and other strata professionals want to stay closed. Consider this, if you live in a block of 100 units and you want to run a campaign to get yourself voted on to your strata committee, that’s a lot of letters to print, envelopes to stuff and stamps to buy. One email, 100 addresses, total cost, zip. If your campaign is to get the committee or strata manager sacked, how much of an advantage is it that they have access to email addresses and you don’t!?! So, are you entitled to see other owners’ email addresses?  You’ll have to listen to the pod. Also in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap we look at the fateful day four years ago when Jimmy told then Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello about a story Sue Williams was writing about “sunset clawbacks”. It was a loophole in the law whereby developers would deliberately delay the completion of off-the-plan apartments, invoke the sunset clause to return the purchasers’ deposits, then put the units on the market again to take advantage of soaring property values. On Sunday, new laws came in that should put paid to those dodgy dealings for good, and provide much-needed protection for off-the-plan purchasers. And finally, Jimmy previews his column in this weekend’s financial review in which he explains how a softly-softly approach to moving the bullies and buffoons from your strata committee can work much more effectively than direct confrontation. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-51-Privacy.mp3  If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast. - A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, Privacy, consumer protections and how to engineer radical change in your apartment block are the main topics for discussion in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast.<br /> <br /> A heated discussion in the Forum has spilled over into the pod, with JimmyT trying to establish where or not it’s true that the law forbids strata managers from revealing owners’ email addresses in the strata roll (in NSW).<br /> <br /> Certainly, that’s what the strata managers say but neither strata law nor privacy laws seem to back that up.<br /> <br /> So why would the SCA – the strata managers’ professional body – advise its members not to pass email addresses to owners who are otherwise entitled to view all strata records?<br /> <br /> One sophisticated piece of strata management software – Rockend – even has a button you can click to hide email addresses from prying eyes.<br /> <br /> Could it be that this is one line of communication that strata managers and other strata professionals want to stay closed.<br /> <br /> Consider this, if you live in a block of 100 units and you want to run a campaign to get yourself voted on to your strata committee, that’s a lot of letters to print, envelopes to stuff and stamps to buy. One email, 100 addresses, total cost, zip.<br /> <br /> If your campaign is to get the committee or strata manager sacked, how much of an advantage is it that they have access to email addresses and you don’t!?!<br /> <br /> So, are you entitled to see other owners’ email addresses?  You’ll have to listen to the pod.<br /> <br /> Also in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap we look at the fateful day four years ago when Jimmy told then Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello about a story Sue Williams was writing about “sunset clawbacks”.<br /> <br /> It was a loophole in the law whereby developers would deliberately delay the completion of off-the-plan apartments, invoke the sunset clause to return the purchasers’ deposits, then put the units on the market again to take advantage of soaring property values.<br /> <br /> On Sunday, new laws came in that should put paid to those dodgy dealings for good, and provide much-needed protection for off-the-plan purchasers.<br /> <br /> And finally, Jimmy previews his column in this weekend’s financial review in which he explains how a softly-softly approach to moving the bullies and buffoons from your strata committee can work much more effectively than direct confrontation.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-51-Privacy.mp3<br /> <br />  If you want to get new episodes of the Flat Chat Wrap and as soon as they are posted, just subscribe (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap 50 – AirbnBS blitz, pet bans balked, bad neighours https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-50-airbnbs-blitz-pet-bans-balked-bad-neighours/ Wed, 27 Nov 2019 01:19:38 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-50-airbnbs-blitz-pet-bans-balked-bad-neighours Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat wrap which means we have been doing this for almost a year. And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist. For instance, co-presenter Sue Williams has had enough of Airbnb – or, at least, stories about them.  She has a point but when you are dealing with a super-aggressive interloper in the property market, you have to keep tabs on them. What have they done now?  Well, they have launched their campaign against “red tape” that they say will make it harder for ordinary working families to be able to afford seaside holidays? What red tape are they talking about? We can only assume it’s the regulations that will make it easier for holiday let guests to escape from fires and easier for the authorities to work out who’s running holiday rentals. Are they such bad things? Meanwhile, yet another major inner-city apartment block has had its "no-pets" by-law overturned  and looks to be heading for an appeal. Sue reckons this has gone beyond the right of owners corporations to establish by-laws banning animals and is now about whether or not strata schemes can make their own rules for living as they wish. Also this week we talk about the worst neighbours we’ve ever had  and who the perfect neighbour might be.  And we touch on the latest popular names for pets. That’s all in the latest Flat Chat Wrap Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat wrap which means we have been doing this for almost a year. - And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist. - For instance, Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat wrap which means we have been doing this for almost a year.<br /> <br /> And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist.<br /> <br /> For instance, co-presenter Sue Williams has had enough of Airbnb – or, at least, stories about them.  She has a point but when you are dealing with a super-aggressive interloper in the property market, you have to keep tabs on them.<br /> <br /> What have they done now?  Well, they have launched their campaign against “red tape” that they say will make it harder for ordinary working families to be able to afford seaside holidays?<br /> <br /> What red tape are they talking about?<br /> <br /> We can only assume it’s the regulations that will make it easier for holiday let guests to escape from fires and easier for the authorities to work out who’s running holiday rentals. Are they such bad things?<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, yet another major inner-city apartment block has had its "no-pets" by-law overturned  and looks to be heading for an appeal.<br /> <br /> Sue reckons this has gone beyond the right of owners corporations to establish by-laws banning animals and is now about whether or not strata schemes can make their own rules for living as they wish.<br /> <br /> Also this week we talk about the worst neighbours we’ve ever had  and who the perfect neighbour might be.  And we touch on the latest popular names for pets.<br /> <br /> That’s all in the latest Flat Chat Wrap FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: We hit 50 … Airbnb, pet bans and nasty neighbours https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-50-airbnb-pets/ Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:31:18 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=45162 Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat Wrap which means we have been doing this - the podcast thing - for almost a year. And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist. For instance, co-presenter Sue Williams has had enough of Airbnb – or, at least, stories about them.  She has a point but when you are dealing with a super-aggressive interloper in the property market, you have to keep tabs on them. What have they done now?  Well, they have launched their campaign against “red tape” that they say will make it harder for ordinary working families to be able to afford seaside holidays? What red tape are they talking about? We can only assume it’s the regulations that will make it easier for holiday let guests to escape from fires and easier for the authorities to work out who’s running holiday rentals. Are they such bad things? Meanwhile, yet another major inner-city apartment block has had its "no-pets" by-law overturned  and looks to be heading for an appeal. Sue reckons this has gone beyond the right of owners corporations to establish by-laws banning animals and is now about whether or not strata schemes can make their own rules for living as they wish. Also this week we talk about the worst neighbours we’ve ever had  and who the perfect neighbour might be.  And we touch on the latest popular names for pets. That’s all in the latest Flat Chat Wrap.  By the way, the podcast may have been going for a year but the website has been going for … what 15 years? That must be why the podcast has such a unique perspective. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-50-Airbnb.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat Wrap which means we have been doing this - the podcast thing - for almost a year. - And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist. - For instance, Amazingly, this is our 50th Flat Chat Wrap which means we have been doing this - the podcast thing - for almost a year.<br /> <br /> And yet, the same topics come up, time after time, albeit with the occasional (welcome) twist.<br /> <br /> For instance, co-presenter Sue Williams has had enough of Airbnb – or, at least, stories about them.  She has a point but when you are dealing with a super-aggressive interloper in the property market, you have to keep tabs on them.<br /> <br /> What have they done now?  Well, they have launched their campaign against “red tape” that they say will make it harder for ordinary working families to be able to afford seaside holidays?<br /> <br /> What red tape are they talking about?<br /> <br /> We can only assume it’s the regulations that will make it easier for holiday let guests to escape from fires and easier for the authorities to work out who’s running holiday rentals. Are they such bad things?<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, yet another major inner-city apartment block has had its "no-pets" by-law overturned  and looks to be heading for an appeal.<br /> <br /> Sue reckons this has gone beyond the right of owners corporations to establish by-laws banning animals and is now about whether or not strata schemes can make their own rules for living as they wish.<br /> <br /> Also this week we talk about the worst neighbours we’ve ever had  and who the perfect neighbour might be.  And we touch on the latest popular names for pets.<br /> <br /> That’s all in the latest Flat Chat Wrap.  By the way, the podcast may have been going for a year but the website has been going for … what 15 years?<br /> <br /> That must be why the podcast has such a unique perspective.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-50-Airbnb.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap 49 – Half-million dollar defamation damage https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-49-half-million-dollar-defamation-damage/ Tue, 19 Nov 2019 19:24:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-49-half-million-dollar-defamation-damage-1 This week’s podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about how we can get a bit too relaxed when we’re planning our holidays from our “lock up and leave” apartment. The first item refers to the recent Court of Appeals decision in the case of the Manly apartment block chair who earlier this year won $120,000 in damages after alleging he’d been defamed by a tenant in an internal email war. However, the Appeals Court decided there was no defamation – due to qualified privilege attached to internal discussions in a corporation – and even if there had been, the payout was excessive. So the $120,000 hit was rescinded and all costs were awarded against the chair.  With those costs estimated at $400,000, that’s a half-million reversal for the chair. All of that led to a discussion about what you should and shouldn’t say, especially online.  Basically, all legal considerations aside, a little civility and respect goes a long way … and keeps you out of trouble. Then we look at the curious case of the misrepresented minutes, in which one Flatchatter received the minutes of their AGM from the strata manager, only to find they didn’t properly reflect the content of the meeting or the decisions made. Does the committee now need to wait until the next AGM to fix them?  We say no.  The secretary takes precedence over the strata manager and he or she can issue a more accurate set of minutes and instruct the strata manager to distribute those. Was there jiggery-pokery involved? “Never ascribe to malice anything that could just as easily be explained by stupidity” is our motto at Flat Chat. And finally, we look at how “lock up and leave” living can make you a bit lazy when it comes to packing and preparing for your holidays. More sunglasses than underpants?  Some miscalculation there, we think.  And we also take a moment to promote our sister travel website Mildrover.com  where you’ll find a lot of travel features, some bargain holiday deals – and even advice on how to pack. This week’s podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about how we can get ... This week’s podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about how we can get a bit too relaxed when we’re planning our holidays from our “lock up and leave” apartment.<br /> <br /> The first item refers to the recent Court of Appeals decision in the case of the Manly apartment block chair who earlier this year won $120,000 in damages after alleging he’d been defamed by a tenant in an internal email war.<br /> <br /> However, the Appeals Court decided there was no defamation – due to qualified privilege attached to internal discussions in a corporation – and even if there had been, the payout was excessive.<br /> <br /> So the $120,000 hit was rescinded and all costs were awarded against the chair.  With those costs estimated at $400,000, that’s a half-million reversal for the chair.<br /> <br /> All of that led to a discussion about what you should and shouldn’t say, especially online.  Basically, all legal considerations aside, a little civility and respect goes a long way … and keeps you out of trouble.<br /> <br /> Then we look at the curious case of the misrepresented minutes, in which one Flatchatter received the minutes of their AGM from the strata manager, only to find they didn’t properly reflect the content of the meeting or the decisions made.<br /> <br /> Does the committee now need to wait until the next AGM to fix them?  We say no.  The secretary takes precedence over the strata manager and he or she can issue a more accurate set of minutes and instruct the strata manager to distribute those.<br /> <br /> Was there jiggery-pokery involved? “Never ascribe to malice anything that could just as easily be explained by stupidity” is our motto at Flat Chat.<br /> <br /> And finally, we look at how “lock up and leave” living can make you a bit lazy when it comes to packing and preparing for your holidays.<br /> <br /> More sunglasses than underpants?  Some miscalculation there, we think.  And we also take a moment to promote our sister travel website Mildrover.com  where you’ll find a lot of travel features, some bargain holiday deals – and even advice on how to pack. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Defamation, fake minutes and holiday packing disasters https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-defamation/ Tue, 19 Nov 2019 12:15:41 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=44974 This week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about how we can get a bit too relaxed when we’re planning our holidays from our “lock up and leave” apartments. The first item refers to the recent Court of Apeals decision in the case of the Manly apartment block chair who won $120,000 in damages after alleging he’s been defamed by a tenant in an internal email war. However, the Appeals Court decided there was no defamation – due to qualified privilege attached to internal discussions in a corporation – and even if there had been the payout was excessive. So the $120,000 hit was rescinded and all costs were awarded against the chair.  With those costs estimated at $400,000, that’s a half-million reversal for the chair. All of that led to a discussion about what you should and shouldn’t say, especially online.  Basically, all legal considerations aside, a little civility and respect goes a long way … and keeps you out of trouble. Then we look at the curious case of the misrepresented minutes, in which one Flatchatter received the minutes of their AGM from the strata manager, only to find they didn’t properly reflect the content of the meeting or the decisions made. Does the committee now need to wait until the next AGM to fix them?  We say no.  The secretary takes precedence over the strata manager and he or she can issue a more accurate set of minutes and instruct the strata manager to distribute those. Was there jiggery-pokery involved? “Never ascribe to malice anything that could just as easily be explained by stupidity” is our motto at Flat Chat. And finally, we look at how “lock up and leave” living can make you a bit lazy when it comes to packing and preparing for your holidays. More sunglasses than underpants?  Some miscalculation there, we think.  And we also take a moment to promote our sister travel website Mildrover.com  where you’ll find a lot of travel features, some bargain holiday deals – and even advice on how to pack. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-49-Defamation-decision.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.   This week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about ... This week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast features JimmyT and Sue Williams examining the half-million dollar turnaround in a strata defamation case, a discussion about who’s the boss in a strata scheme – the committee or the strata manager – and a chat about how we can get a bit too relaxed when we’re planning our holidays from our “lock up and leave” apartments.<br /> <br /> The first item refers to the recent Court of Apeals decision in the case of the Manly apartment block chair who won $120,000 in damages after alleging he’s been defamed by a tenant in an internal email war.<br /> <br /> However, the Appeals Court decided there was no defamation – due to qualified privilege attached to internal discussions in a corporation – and even if there had been the payout was excessive.<br /> <br /> So the $120,000 hit was rescinded and all costs were awarded against the chair.  With those costs estimated at $400,000, that’s a half-million reversal for the chair.<br /> <br /> All of that led to a discussion about what you should and shouldn’t say, especially online.  Basically, all legal considerations aside, a little civility and respect goes a long way … and keeps you out of trouble.<br /> <br /> Then we look at the curious case of the misrepresented minutes, in which one Flatchatter received the minutes of their AGM from the strata manager, only to find they didn’t properly reflect the content of the meeting or the decisions made.<br /> <br /> Does the committee now need to wait until the next AGM to fix them?  We say no.  The secretary takes precedence over the strata manager and he or she can issue a more accurate set of minutes and instruct the strata manager to distribute those.<br /> <br /> Was there jiggery-pokery involved? “Never ascribe to malice anything that could just as easily be explained by stupidity” is our motto at Flat Chat.<br /> <br /> And finally, we look at how “lock up and leave” living can make you a bit lazy when it comes to packing and preparing for your holidays.<br /> <br /> More sunglasses than underpants?  Some miscalculation there, we think.  And we also take a moment to promote our sister travel website Mildrover.com  where you’ll find a lot of travel features, some bargain holiday deals – and even advice on how to pack.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-49-Defamation-decision.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap 48 – Flats grow, Government ducks, Airbnb strife https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-48-flats-grow-government-ducks-airbnb-strife/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:48:36 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-48-flats-grow-government-ducks-airbnb-strife-1 We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters? Or did we never really need all that space to begin with?  You’ll never guess where the largest new apartments are … and Jimmy wonders what a rumpus room  really is. Also in the podcast, we hop into Building Commissioner David Chandler about apartment purchasers and “buyer beware”.  Sue (Williams) is furious and Jimmy calls it “victim blaming”. It seems the government has just parked the whole problem of defects, and cladding for that matter, passing the buck to the people at the bottom who have no choice but to cop it sweet and pay for other people’s mistakes. At least the future looks brighter for apartment quality … until the government’s mates water down the legislation to cut down on “red tape”. And finally, we look at what’s going on with Airbnb.  They have taken a few hits in the past week or two but Sue reckons the one that will hurt most is the announcement that the Tax Office is planning to target holiday let tax cheats – short-term letting hosts who haven’t declared their additional earnings or have claimed too much against tax for the costs of running their ‘business’. We reckon the threat of the tax man is more of a worry to STHL hosts  than all the by-laws, tribunals and three-strikes codes of conduct combined. And finally, we have new theme music and stings.  It’s a bit rockier and stronger, because we plan to be a lot tougher on slack politicians, dodgy developers and bad neighbours for the next year or two.  Let us know what you think If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters? - We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters?<br /> <br /> Or did we never really need all that space to begin with?  You’ll never guess where the largest new apartments are … and Jimmy wonders what a rumpus room  really is.<br /> <br /> Also in the podcast, we hop into Building Commissioner David Chandler about apartment purchasers and “buyer beware”.  Sue (Williams) is furious and Jimmy calls it “victim blaming”.<br /> <br /> It seems the government has just parked the whole problem of defects, and cladding for that matter, passing the buck to the people at the bottom who have no choice but to cop it sweet and pay for other people’s mistakes.<br /> <br /> At least the future looks brighter for apartment quality … until the government’s mates water down the legislation to cut down on “red tape”.<br /> <br /> And finally, we look at what’s going on with Airbnb.  They have taken a few hits in the past week or two but Sue reckons the one that will hurt most is the announcement that the Tax Office is planning to target holiday let tax cheats – short-term letting hosts who haven’t declared their additional earnings or have claimed too much against tax for the costs of running their ‘business’.<br /> <br /> We reckon the threat of the tax man is more of a worry to STHL hosts  than all the by-laws, tribunals and three-strikes codes of conduct combined.<br /> <br /> And finally, we have new theme music and stings.  It’s a bit rockier and stronger, because we plan to be a lot tougher on slack politicians, dodgy developers and bad neighbours for the next year or two.  Let us know what you think<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST – Flats get bigger, Government ducks, Airbnb in strife https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-flats-get-bigger-government-ducks-airbnb-in-strife/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:41:47 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/podcast-flats-get-bigger-government-ducks-airbnb-in-strife-1 We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters? Or did we never really need all that space to begin with?  You’ll never guess where the largest new apartments are … and Jimmy wonders what a rumpus room  really is. Also in the podcast, we hop into Building Commissioner David Chandler about apartment purchasers and “buyer beware”.  Sue (Williams) is furious and Jimmy calls it “victim blaming”. It seems the government has just parked the whole problem of defects, and cladding for that matter, passing the buck to the people at the bottom who have no choice but to cop it sweet and pay for other people’s mistakes. At least the future looks brighter for apartment quality … until the government’s mates water down the legislation to cut down on “red tape”. And finally, we look at what’s going on with Airbnb.  They have taken a few hits in the past week or two but Sue reckons the one that will hurt most is the announcement that the Tax Office is planning to target holiday let tax cheats – short-term letting hosts who haven’t declared their additional earnings or have claimed too much against tax for the costs of running their 'business'. We reckon the threat of the tax man is more of a worry to STHL hosts  than all the by-laws, tribunals and three-strikes codes of conduct combined. And finally, we have new theme music and stings.  It’s a bit rockier and stronger, because we plan to be a lot tougher on slack politicians, dodgy developers and bad neighbours from here on in.  Let us know what you think If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters? - We cover a lot of ground in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, starting with the surprising news that new apartments are getting bigger while houses are getting smaller.  Is it all about downsizing and empty nesters?<br /> <br /> Or did we never really need all that space to begin with?  You’ll never guess where the largest new apartments are … and Jimmy wonders what a rumpus room  really is.<br /> <br /> Also in the podcast, we hop into Building Commissioner David Chandler about apartment purchasers and “buyer beware”.  Sue (Williams) is furious and Jimmy calls it “victim blaming”.<br /> <br /> It seems the government has just parked the whole problem of defects, and cladding for that matter, passing the buck to the people at the bottom who have no choice but to cop it sweet and pay for other people’s mistakes.<br /> <br /> At least the future looks brighter for apartment quality … until the government’s mates water down the legislation to cut down on “red tape”.<br /> <br /> And finally, we look at what’s going on with Airbnb.  They have taken a few hits in the past week or two but Sue reckons the one that will hurt most is the announcement that the Tax Office is planning to target holiday let tax cheats – short-term letting hosts who haven’t declared their additional earnings or have claimed too much against tax for the costs of running their 'business'.<br /> <br /> We reckon the threat of the tax man is more of a worry to STHL hosts  than all the by-laws, tribunals and three-strikes codes of conduct combined.<br /> <br /> And finally, we have new theme music and stings.  It’s a bit rockier and stronger, because we plan to be a lot tougher on slack politicians, dodgy developers and bad neighbours from here on in.  Let us know what you think<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please share with a friend, (especially in strata) and leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. FLAT CHAT clean Flat Chat Wrap 47 – terror threats and a baffling unit block raffle https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-47-terror-threats-and-a-baffling-unit-block-raffle/ Tue, 05 Nov 2019 22:25:32 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-47-terror-threats-and-a-baffling-unit-block-raffle This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between. Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cladding on them? Is it the risk of terrorism, as they say … or is it just potential vandalism … or the effect on property prices? Jimmy has his own conspiracy theory … and it sounds all too plausible. Then Sue explains why, when you are buying an investment, you should go for somewhere better than the place you live in. What!?!  How does that work?  Why should your tenants live in a better place than you do? And finally, they discuss the strangest raffle prize ever – a whole apartment block worth $6.4 million in sunny Queensland. At $10 a pop, it would have to be worth a shot … but then, as Jimmy explains, there could be a downside. That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between. - Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cl... This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between.<br /> <br /> Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cladding on them?<br /> <br /> Is it the risk of terrorism, as they say … or is it just potential vandalism … or the effect on property prices?<br /> <br /> Jimmy has his own conspiracy theory … and it sounds all too plausible.<br /> <br /> Then Sue explains why, when you are buying an investment, you should go for somewhere better than the place you live in.<br /> <br /> What!?!  How does that work?  Why should your tenants live in a better place than you do?<br /> <br /> And finally, they discuss the strangest raffle prize ever – a whole apartment block worth $6.4 million in sunny Queensland.<br /> <br /> At $10 a pop, it would have to be worth a shot … but then, as Jimmy explains, there could be a downside.<br /> <br /> That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap FLAT CHAT clean Flat Chat Wrap #47 – Terror threats, buying big and a baffling raffle https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-47-terror-threats-buying-big-and-a-baffling-raffle/ Tue, 05 Nov 2019 13:14:45 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=44198 This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between. Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cladding on them? Is it the risk of terrorism, as they say … or is it just potential vandalism … or the effect on property prices? Jimmy has his own conspiracy theory … and it sounds all too plausible. Then Sue explains why, when you are buying an investment, you should go for somewhere better than the place you live in. What!?!  How does that work?  Why should your tenants live in a better place than you do? And finally, they discuss the strangest raffle prize ever – a whole apartment block worth $6.4 million in sunny Queensland. At $10 a pop, it would have to be worth a shot … but then, as Jimmy explains, there could be a downside. That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-47-Cladding-list.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between. - Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cl... This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams tackle subjects that range from the sinister to the sublimely ridiculous … with some practical advice for investors in between.<br /> <br /> Why won’t the government release the lists of the 444 buildings that have flammable cladding on them?<br /> <br /> Is it the risk of terrorism, as they say … or is it just potential vandalism … or the effect on property prices?<br /> <br /> Jimmy has his own conspiracy theory … and it sounds all too plausible.<br /> <br /> Then Sue explains why, when you are buying an investment, you should go for somewhere better than the place you live in.<br /> <br /> What!?!  How does that work?  Why should your tenants live in a better place than you do?<br /> <br /> And finally, they discuss the strangest raffle prize ever – a whole apartment block worth $6.4 million in sunny Queensland.<br /> <br /> At $10 a pop, it would have to be worth a shot … but then, as Jimmy explains, there could be a downside.<br /> <br /> That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-47-Cladding-list.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #46 – cracking down on by-law breachers and bad builders https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-46-cracking-down-on-by-law-breachers-and-bad-builders/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 19:04:58 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-46-cracking-down-on-by-law-breachers-and-bad-builders JimmyT thinks of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason) as he's going in hard on two very different targets. Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or face a 50 percent increase, or even more if they decide to challenge it at the Tribunal and lose. Harsh?  Not harsh enough, he reckons, for people who play the system so that only the victims and people doing the right thing are the ones that suffer. Then he thinks it's time the state government went after the developers who set out to build crappy apartment blocks then shut down their off-the-shelf company before they have to fix the many defects left behind by their shoddy work. "Sell their homes to pay for the repairs and put them in jail - that'll encourage the others to do the right thing." Finally, there's the ruling from Queensland where a magistrates court has overurned a strata commissioner block on an Airbnb ban in a gated  community.  The body corporate imposed the ban, the commissioner revoked it but the magistrate overturned the ruling because he believes the government wants communities to be able to set their own rules. And just as a side note, Jimmy takes issue with some anti-pet lobbyists who said he's been "played" by the pro-pet campaigners last week. Now that's hard!   JimmyT thinks of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason) as he's going in hard on two very different targets. - Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or face a 50... JimmyT thinks of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason) as he's going in hard on two very different targets.<br /> <br /> Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or face a 50 percent increase, or even more if they decide to challenge it at the Tribunal and lose. Harsh?  Not harsh enough, he reckons, for people who play the system so that only the victims and people doing the right thing are the ones that suffer.<br /> <br /> Then he thinks it's time the state government went after the developers who set out to build crappy apartment blocks then shut down their off-the-shelf company before they have to fix the many defects left behind by their shoddy work. "Sell their homes to pay for the repairs and put them in jail - that'll encourage the others to do the right thing."<br /> <br /> Finally, there's the ruling from Queensland where a magistrates court has overurned a strata commissioner block on an Airbnb ban in a gated  community.  The body corporate imposed the ban, the commissioner revoked it but the magistrate overturned the ruling because he believes the government wants communities to be able to set their own rules.<br /> <br /> And just as a side note, Jimmy takes issue with some anti-pet lobbyists who said he's been "played" by the pro-pet campaigners last week.<br /> <br /> Now that's hard!<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Getting tough on breachers and builders https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-cracking-down-hard-on-breachers-and-builders/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 08:10:50 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=44011 JimmyT was thinking of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat  as he's going in hard on two very different targets (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason). Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or face a 50 percent increase, or even more if they decide to challenge it at the Tribunal and lose. Harsh?  Not harsh enough, he reckons, for people who play the system so that only the victims and people doing the right thing are the ones that suffer. Then he thinks it's time the state government went after the developers who set out to build crappy apartment blocks then shut down their off-the-shelf company before they have to fix the many defects left behind by their shoddy work. "Sell their homes to pay for the repairs and put them in jail - that'll encourage the others to do the right thing." Finally, there's the ruling from Queensland where a magistrates court has overurned a strata commissioner block on an Airbnb ban in a gated  community.  The body corporate imposed the ban, the commissioner revoked it but the magistrate overturned the ruling because he believes the government wants communities to be able to set their own rules. And just as a side note, Jimmy takes issue with some anti-pet lobbyists who said he's been "played" by the pro-pet campaigners last week. Now that's hard! https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-46-Hard-Chat.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. JimmyT was thinking of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat  as he's going in hard on two very different targets (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason). - Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or fa... JimmyT was thinking of changing the name of this week's episode to Hard Chat  as he's going in hard on two very different targets (but won't because he's scared of Tom Gleason).<br /> <br /> Firstly, he wants by-law breachers to either accept instant fines or face a 50 percent increase, or even more if they decide to challenge it at the Tribunal and lose. Harsh?  Not harsh enough, he reckons, for people who play the system so that only the victims and people doing the right thing are the ones that suffer.<br /> <br /> Then he thinks it's time the state government went after the developers who set out to build crappy apartment blocks then shut down their off-the-shelf company before they have to fix the many defects left behind by their shoddy work. "Sell their homes to pay for the repairs and put them in jail - that'll encourage the others to do the right thing."<br /> <br /> Finally, there's the ruling from Queensland where a magistrates court has overurned a strata commissioner block on an Airbnb ban in a gated  community.  The body corporate imposed the ban, the commissioner revoked it but the magistrate overturned the ruling because he believes the government wants communities to be able to set their own rules.<br /> <br /> And just as a side note, Jimmy takes issue with some anti-pet lobbyists who said he's been "played" by the pro-pet campaigners last week.<br /> <br /> Now that's hard!<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-46-Hard-Chat.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #45 – Airbnb bubble at bursting point? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-45-airbnb-bubble-at-bursting-point/ Tue, 22 Oct 2019 21:05:22 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-45-airbnb-bubble-at-bursting-point It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine. The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion which is bringing a bit of rural Australia into our homes … and maybe getting some of us out of the city and into the country. You can see some of the videos HERE. But the rest of the news is pretty gloomy for Airbnb and the other short-term holiday letting industry. As related elsewhere on this page, a major Airbnb-related (but not connected) management firm, AndChill, has gone bust with $3.6 million in debts. Then there’s the squeeze on holiday lets from insurers and the tax office, all exacerbated by the growing push for holiday let registers. Your home and contents insurance probably doesn’t cover you for damage done by (and to) holiday let guests. And the ATO is getting names and numbers from the sgencies to tell them who is letting flats, where they’re letting them and how much they might be making from them. Oh, and you might want to check if you have overdone the tax deductions for costs related to the flat you’ve been letting to holiday guests. It’s enough to drive a host to drink … preferably in a country pub. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns     It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine. - The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion whic... It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine.<br /> <br /> The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion which is bringing a bit of rural Australia into our homes … and maybe getting some of us out of the city and into the country. You can see some of the videos HERE.<br /> <br /> But the rest of the news is pretty gloomy for Airbnb and the other short-term holiday letting industry.<br /> <br /> As related elsewhere on this page, a major Airbnb-related (but not connected) management firm, AndChill, has gone bust with $3.6 million in debts.<br /> <br /> Then there’s the squeeze on holiday lets from insurers and the tax office, all exacerbated by the growing push for holiday let registers.<br /> <br /> Your home and contents insurance probably doesn’t cover you for damage done by (and to) holiday let guests.<br /> <br /> And the ATO is getting names and numbers from the sgencies to tell them who is letting flats, where they’re letting them and how much they might be making from them.<br /> <br /> Oh, and you might want to check if you have overdone the tax deductions for costs related to the flat you’ve been letting to holiday guests.<br /> <br /> It’s enough to drive a host to drink … preferably in a country pub.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Holiday lets under cloud but country pubs offer light relief https://www.flat-chat.com.au/airbnb-gloom/ Tue, 22 Oct 2019 10:15:16 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=43711 It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine. The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion which is bringing a bit of rural Australia into our homes … and maybe getting some of us out of the city and into the country. You can see some of the videos HERE. But the rest of the news is pretty gloomy for Airbnb and the other short-term holiday letting industry. As related elsewhere on this page, a major Airbnb-related (but not connected) management firm, AndChill, has gone bust with $3.6 million in debts. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-45-airbnb-squeeze.mp3 Then there’s the squeeze on holiday lets from insurers and the tax office, all exacerbated by the growing push for holiday let registers. Your home and contents insurance probably doesn’t cover you for damage done by (and to) holiday let guests. And the ATO is getting names and numbers from the sgencies to tell them who is letting flats, where they’re letting them and how much they might be making from them. Oh, and you might want to check if you have overdone the tax deductions for costs related to the flat you’ve been letting to holiday guests. It’s enough to drive a host to drink … preferably in a country pub. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns     It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine. - The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion whic... It’s a short and (hopefully) sweet Flat Chat Wrap this week with JimmyT flying solo as he looks at the clouds gathering over Airbnb and other holiday letting websites – and one ray of sunshine.<br /> <br /> The bright spot is Airbnb’s country pubs promotion which is bringing a bit of rural Australia into our homes … and maybe getting some of us out of the city and into the country. You can see some of the videos HERE.<br /> <br /> But the rest of the news is pretty gloomy for Airbnb and the other short-term holiday letting industry.<br /> <br /> As related elsewhere on this page, a major Airbnb-related (but not connected) management firm, AndChill, has gone bust with $3.6 million in debts.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-45-airbnb-squeeze.mp3<br /> <br /> Then there’s the squeeze on holiday lets from insurers and the tax office, all exacerbated by the growing push for holiday let registers.<br /> <br /> Your home and contents insurance probably doesn’t cover you for damage done by (and to) holiday let guests.<br /> <br /> And the ATO is getting names and numbers from the sgencies to tell them who is letting flats, where they’re letting them and how much they might be making from them.<br /> <br /> Oh, and you might want to check if you have overdone the tax deductions for costs related to the flat you’ve been letting to holiday guests.<br /> <br /> It’s enough to drive a host to drink … preferably in a country pub.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #44 – Pet death threat and dodgy votes https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-44-pet-death-threat-and-dodgy-votes/ Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:17:48 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-44-pet-death-threat-and-dodgy-votes In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in before the appeal is heard may have to be “put down”. Is it a valid threat as there is a window when there is no active by-law?  Lawyers at ten paces, we think. And what if the Appeals Tribunal says, yes, you can have a no-pets by-law … but not that one?  Are there now enough angry people in the building to block a new by-law?  This one could run and run. On the subject of votes and “overwhelming majorities”, we discuss scenarios where a 90 percent vote for or against something, can be very deceptive – with one example tuning out to be just 36 percent of owners, rather than the 90 percent claimed. At what point do Tribunal decision set legal precedents?  Not at the basic level, that’s for sure.  And do humans have an inalienable right to keep pets?  How about the right to choose to live in a building that doesn’t have them? In the future, will developers write into the strata management documents that a block is pet-friendly or pet-free?  The former seems more likely with between 30 and 60 per cent of Australian families owning pets.  Would you reall want to reduce your potential sales or rental market by about half? Sue reveals that Cunard cruise ships now allow pets on board and even have kennels for when Mummy and Daddy go ashore. Jimmy recalls the time he wrote a promotional video about taking pets on holiday for Tourism NSW – only for the launch to be abandoned when the then tourism minister was caught with his pants down, literally, at an office party. We discuss some of the strange things people put on their apartment block roofs – like vegetable gardens, chickens and bees – and whether you should speak up when you see someone behaving badly in your strata scheme. It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in before the appe... In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in before the appeal is heard may have to be “put down”.<br /> <br /> Is it a valid threat as there is a window when there is no active by-law?  Lawyers at ten paces, we think.<br /> <br /> And what if the Appeals Tribunal says, yes, you can have a no-pets by-law … but not that one?  Are there now enough angry people in the building to block a new by-law?  This one could run and run.<br /> <br /> On the subject of votes and “overwhelming majorities”, we discuss scenarios where a 90 percent vote for or against something, can be very deceptive – with one example tuning out to be just 36 percent of owners, rather than the 90 percent claimed.<br /> <br /> At what point do Tribunal decision set legal precedents?  Not at the basic level, that’s for sure.  And do humans have an inalienable right to keep pets?  How about the right to choose to live in a building that doesn’t have them?<br /> <br /> In the future, will developers write into the strata management documents that a block is pet-friendly or pet-free?  The former seems more likely with between 30 and 60 per cent of Australian families owning pets.  Would you reall want to reduce your potential sales or rental market by about half?<br /> <br /> Sue reveals that Cunard cruise ships now allow pets on board and even have kennels for when Mummy and Daddy go ashore.<br /> <br /> Jimmy recalls the time he wrote a promotional video about taking pets on holiday for Tourism NSW – only for the launch to be abandoned when the then tourism minister was caught with his pants down, literally, at an office party.<br /> <br /> We discuss some of the strange things people put on their apartment block roofs – like vegetable gardens, chickens and bees – and whether you should speak up when you see someone behaving badly in your strata scheme.<br /> <br /> It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST – Pet warning and dodgy voting stats https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-44-pet-warning-and-dodgy-votes/ Tue, 15 Oct 2019 08:39:42 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=43372 SHOW NOTES In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in before the appeal is heard may have to be “put down”. Is it a valid threat as there may be a window when there is no active by-law?  Lawyers at ten paces, we think. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-44-pets-bees.mp3 And what if the Appeals Tribunal says, yes, you can have a no-pets by-law … but not that one?  Are there now enough angry people in the building to block a new by-law?  This one could run and run. On the subject of votes and “overwhelming majorities”, we discuss scenarios where a 90 percent vote for or against something, can be very deceptive – with one example tuning out to be just 36 percent of owners, rather than the 90 percent claimed. At what point do Tribunal decision set legal precedents?  Not at the basic level, that’s for sure.  And do humans have an inalienable right to keep pets?  How about the right to choose to live in a building that doesn’t have them? In the future, will developers write into the strata management documents that a block is pet-friendly or pet-free?  The former seems more likely with between 30 and 60 per cent of Australian families owning pets.  Would you reall want to reduce your potential sales or rental market by about half? Sue reveals that Cunard cruise ships now allow pets on board and even have kennels for when Mummy and Daddy go ashore. Jimmy recalls the time he wrote a promotional video about taking pets on holiday for Tourism NSW – only for the launch to be abandoned when the then tourism minister was caught with his pants down, literally, at an office party. We discuss some of the strange things people put on their apartment block roofs – like vegetable gardens, chickens and bees – and whether you should speak up when you see someone behaving badly in your strata scheme. It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox  or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns SHOW NOTES In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in bef... SHOW NOTES<br /> In this week’s podcast JimmyT and Sue Williams look again at the issue of the overturning of the pet ban by-law in one of Sydneys biggest and poshest apartment blocks, in the wake of the warning by the committee that any pets brought in before the appeal is heard may have to be “put down”.<br /> Is it a valid threat as there may be a window when there is no active by-law?  Lawyers at ten paces, we think.<br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-44-pets-bees.mp3<br /> And what if the Appeals Tribunal says, yes, you can have a no-pets by-law … but not that one?  Are there now enough angry people in the building to block a new by-law?  This one could run and run.<br /> On the subject of votes and “overwhelming majorities”, we discuss scenarios where a 90 percent vote for or against something, can be very deceptive – with one example tuning out to be just 36 percent of owners, rather than the 90 percent claimed.<br /> <br /> At what point do Tribunal decision set legal precedents?  Not at the basic level, that’s for sure.  And do humans have an inalienable right to keep pets?  How about the right to choose to live in a building that doesn’t have them?<br /> <br /> In the future, will developers write into the strata management documents that a block is pet-friendly or pet-free?  The former seems more likely with between 30 and 60 per cent of Australian families owning pets.  Would you reall want to reduce your potential sales or rental market by about half?<br /> <br /> Sue reveals that Cunard cruise ships now allow pets on board and even have kennels for when Mummy and Daddy go ashore.<br /> <br /> Jimmy recalls the time he wrote a promotional video about taking pets on holiday for Tourism NSW – only for the launch to be abandoned when the then tourism minister was caught with his pants down, literally, at an office party.<br /> <br /> We discuss some of the strange things people put on their apartment block roofs – like vegetable gardens, chickens and bees – and whether you should speak up when you see someone behaving badly in your strata scheme.<br /> <br /> It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox  or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Dardanelle Towers, Episode 3 – Sniffing Glue https://www.flat-chat.com.au/dardanelle-towers-episode-3-sniffing-glue/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 17:09:47 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/podcast-dardanelle-towers-episode-3 Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culprit. Parking, terrorism and a health scare dominated the most recent meeting of the Dardanelle Towers executive committee. The parking issue came to the fore when Bernard, our long-suffering chairman was heading off to work only to discover that the locks on his car had been super-glued. Bernard’s car, a Subaru Forester, was his pride and joy. He’d had problems in the past with people “accidentally” using his space because it was close to visitor parking, and blocking him in because it was close to the lifts, but this was the first time his car had actually been vandalised. Suspicion immediately fell on the occupant of 511 who is suing us (or being sued by us) in three different courts on three different issues, one of which is his perceived right to park his spare car in visitors’ parking on the grounds that he owns a share of it and visitors don’t. This, like the rest of his cases, seems to be related to his inability to read, understand or accept strata law and by-laws – or all three. In any case, 511’s involvement in the Uhu Incident (as it is now known) was quickly refuted when Mrs Alexander (the All-Seeing Eye) informed us that he had left the building at 6.45 am the day before and had distinctly been heard saying “International Airport”. Mrs Alexander had also noted that 511 had tossed his suitcase and carry-on bag into the boot of the cab with remarkable ease, suggesting, she said, that they might have been empty, which she found suspicious. Bernard remarked that he had seen 511 in the gym many times, which may have accounted for the apparent lack of effort. Elena noted that she often travels overseas with the minimum in her bags so she can fill them up with clothes bought overseas. Ms Tran concurred. She could get a complete season’s wardrobe in Hoi An for less than the Uber fare to the airport. Everyone looked at Lady Luckby, who never lets an opportunity for casual if ingenuous racism pass, but she said nothing. Mrs A had also gone very quiet, something that did not go unnoticed by Elena. Eventually, responding to Elena’s narrowing eyes, Mrs A confessed that she had considered 511’s activity bizarre enough to warrant a call to the terrorism hotline. Elena sighed in exasperation. Mrs A had done exactly the same when she saw her relatives gathering outside our building on their way to a Lebanese wedding. One cousin had been deported – he had only overstayed his visa by a week so he could be at the wedding – and the groom barely made it to the church (they were, like the majority of Lebanese in Australia, devoutly Christian). “You can’t be too careful,” Mrs A said, as she had at the time of the wedding fiasco. “This building could be a prime target.” “I know we have two blocks,” Bernard grumbled, “but we’re hardly the Twin Towers.” He was unusually grumpy but then he had every right to be. The glueing of his car had prevented him meeting a couple of important clients, not to mention the hassle and expense of replacing the locks. It was then that Jonathan said he had a confession to make. He’d had an unexpected visitor who may have caused some confusion in the car park. In truth, his visitor was only unexpected in that he hadn’t expected her to say yes when he invited her to come round for a drink. And he was absolutely certain that she hadn’t only turned up because he offered her safe overnight parking while she went to a friend’s hen party ... although she did only stay with him for one white wine spritzer and he didn’t see her again until lunchtime the next day when she needed to be let out of the car park. There was considerable amusement when everyone realised that Jonathan, the great keeper of the by-laws, Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culp... Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culprit.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Parking, terrorism and a health scare dominated the most recent meeting of the Dardanelle Towers executive committee.<br /> The parking issue came to the fore when Bernard, our long-suffering chairman was heading off to work only to discover that the locks on his car had been super-glued. Bernard’s car, a Subaru Forester, was his pride and joy.<br /> <br /> He’d had problems in the past with people “accidentally” using his space because it was close to visitor parking, and blocking him in because it was close to the lifts, but this was the first time his car had actually been vandalised.<br /> <br /> Suspicion immediately fell on the occupant of 511 who is suing us (or being sued by us) in three different courts on three different issues, one of which is his perceived right to park his spare car in visitors’ parking on the grounds that he owns a share of it and visitors don’t. This, like the rest of his cases, seems to be related to his inability to read, understand or accept strata law and by-laws – or all three.<br /> <br /> In any case, 511’s involvement in the Uhu Incident (as it is now known) was quickly refuted when Mrs Alexander (the All-Seeing Eye) informed us that he had left the building at 6.45 am the day before and had distinctly been heard saying “International Airport”.<br /> <br /> Mrs Alexander had also noted that 511 had tossed his suitcase and carry-on bag into the boot of the cab with remarkable ease, suggesting, she said, that they might have been empty, which she found suspicious.<br /> <br /> Bernard remarked that he had seen 511 in the gym many times, which may have accounted for the apparent lack of effort. Elena noted that she often travels overseas with the minimum in her bags so she can fill them up with clothes bought overseas. Ms Tran concurred. She could get a complete season’s wardrobe in Hoi An for less than the Uber fare to the airport.<br /> <br /> Everyone looked at Lady Luckby, who never lets an opportunity for casual if ingenuous racism pass, but she said nothing. Mrs A had also gone very quiet, something that did not go unnoticed by Elena. Eventually, responding to Elena’s narrowing eyes, Mrs A confessed that she had considered 511’s activity bizarre enough to warrant a call to the terrorism hotline.<br /> <br /> Elena sighed in exasperation. Mrs A had done exactly the same when she saw her relatives gathering outside our building on their way to a Lebanese wedding. One cousin had been deported – he had only overstayed his visa by a week so he could be at the wedding – and the groom barely made it to the church (they were, like the majority of Lebanese in Australia, devoutly Christian).<br /> <br /> “You can’t be too careful,” Mrs A said, as she had at the time of the wedding fiasco. “This building could be a prime target.”<br /> <br /> “I know we have two blocks,” Bernard grumbled, “but we’re hardly the Twin Towers.” He was unusually grumpy but then he had every right to be. The glueing of his car had prevented him meeting a couple of important clients, not to mention the hassle and expense of replacing the locks.<br /> <br /> It was then that Jonathan said he had a confession to make. He’d had an unexpected visitor who may have caused some confusion in the car park.<br /> <br /> In truth, his visitor was only unexpected in that he hadn’t expected her to say yes when he invited her to come round for a drink. And he was absolutely certain that she hadn’t only turned up because he offered her safe overnight parking while she went to a friend’s hen party ... although she did only stay with him for one white wine spritzer and he didn’t see her again until lunchtime the next day when s... FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Dardanelle Towers – Episode 3: Sniffing Glue https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-dardanelle-towers-episode-3-sniffing-glue/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 06:16:28 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=43131 Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culprit.   https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Dardanelle-Towers-3.mp3   Parking, terrorism and a health scare dominated the most recent meeting of the Dardanelle Towers strata committee. The parking issue came to the fore when Bernard, our long-suffering chairman was heading off to work only to discover that the locks on his car had been super-glued. Bernard’s car, a Subaru Forester, was his pride and joy. He’d had problems in the past with people “accidentally” using his space because it was close to visitor parking, and blocking him in because it was close to the lifts, but this was the first time his car had actually been vandalised. Suspicion immediately fell on the occupant of 511 who is suing us (or being sued by us) in three different courts on three different issues, one of which is his perceived "right" to park his spare car in visitors’ parking on the grounds that he owns a share of it and visitors don’t. This, like the rest of his cases, seems to be related to his inability to read, understand or accept strata law and by-laws – or all three. In any case, 511’s involvement in the Uhu Incident (as it is now known) was quickly refuted when Mrs Alexander (the All-Seeing Eye) informed us that he had left the building at 6.45 am the day before and had distinctly been heard saying “International Airport”. Mrs Alexander had also noted that 511 had tossed his suitcase and carry-on bag into the boot of the cab with remarkable ease, suggesting, she said, that they might have been empty, which she found suspicious. Bernard remarked that he had seen 511 in the gym many times, which may have accounted for the apparent lack of effort. Elena noted that she often travels abroad with the minimum in her bags so she can fill them up with clothes bought overseas. Ms Tran concurred. She could get a complete season’s wardrobe in Hoi An for less than the Uber fare to the airport. Everyone looked at Lady Luckby, who never lets an opportunity for casual if ingenuous racism pass, but she said nothing. Mrs A had also gone very quiet, something that did not go unnoticed by Elena. Eventually, responding to Elena’s narrowing eyes, Mrs A confessed that she had considered 511’s activity bizarre enough to warrant a call to the terrorism hotline. Elena sighed in exasperation. Mrs A had done exactly the same when she saw her relatives gathering outside our building on their way to a Lebanese wedding. One cousin had been deported – he had only overstayed his visa by a week so he could be at the wedding – and the groom barely made it to the church (they were, like the majority of Lebanese in Australia, devoutly Christian). “You can’t be too careful,” Mrs A said, as she had at the time of the wedding fiasco. “This building could be a prime target.” “I know we have two blocks,” Bernard grumbled, “but we’re hardly the Twin Towers.” He was unusually grumpy but then he had every right to be. The glueing of his car had prevented him meeting a couple of important clients, not to mention the hassle and expense of replacing the locks. It was then that Jonathan said he had a confession to make. He’d had an unexpected visitor who may have caused some confusion in the car park. In truth, his visitor was only unexpected in that he hadn’t expected her to say yes when he invited her to come round for a drink. And he was absolutely certain that she hadn’t only turned up because he offered her safe overnight parking while she went to a friend’s hen party ... although she did only stay with him for one white wine spritzer and he didn’t see her again until lunchtime the next day when she needed to be let out of the car park. There was considerable amusement when everyone r... Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culp... Blame the bank holiday, the Rugby World Cup or the need for a break, but we thought we'd revisit our old friends at the fictional (or is it?) apartment block Dardanelle Towers, where suspicion of vandalism in the car park has fallen on an unlikely culprit.<br />  <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Dardanelle-Towers-3.mp3<br />  <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Parking, terrorism and a health scare dominated the most recent meeting of the Dardanelle Towers strata committee.<br /> <br /> The parking issue came to the fore when Bernard, our long-suffering chairman was heading off to work only to discover that the locks on his car had been super-glued. Bernard’s car, a Subaru Forester, was his pride and joy.<br /> <br /> He’d had problems in the past with people “accidentally” using his space because it was close to visitor parking, and blocking him in because it was close to the lifts, but this was the first time his car had actually been vandalised.<br /> <br /> Suspicion immediately fell on the occupant of 511 who is suing us (or being sued by us) in three different courts on three different issues, one of which is his perceived "right" to park his spare car in visitors’ parking on the grounds that he owns a share of it and visitors don’t. This, like the rest of his cases, seems to be related to his inability to read, understand or accept strata law and by-laws – or all three.<br /> <br /> In any case, 511’s involvement in the Uhu Incident (as it is now known) was quickly refuted when Mrs Alexander (the All-Seeing Eye) informed us that he had left the building at 6.45 am the day before and had distinctly been heard saying “International Airport”.<br /> <br /> Mrs Alexander had also noted that 511 had tossed his suitcase and carry-on bag into the boot of the cab with remarkable ease, suggesting, she said, that they might have been empty, which she found suspicious.<br /> <br /> Bernard remarked that he had seen 511 in the gym many times, which may have accounted for the apparent lack of effort. Elena noted that she often travels abroad with the minimum in her bags so she can fill them up with clothes bought overseas. Ms Tran concurred. She could get a complete season’s wardrobe in Hoi An for less than the Uber fare to the airport.<br /> <br /> Everyone looked at Lady Luckby, who never lets an opportunity for casual if ingenuous racism pass, but she said nothing. Mrs A had also gone very quiet, something that did not go unnoticed by Elena. Eventually, responding to Elena’s narrowing eyes, Mrs A confessed that she had considered 511’s activity bizarre enough to warrant a call to the terrorism hotline.<br /> <br /> Elena sighed in exasperation. Mrs A had done exactly the same when she saw her relatives gathering outside our building on their way to a Lebanese wedding. One cousin had been deported – he had only overstayed his visa by a week so he could be at the wedding – and the groom barely made it to the church (they were, like the majority of Lebanese in Australia, devoutly Christian).<br /> <br /> “You can’t be too careful,” Mrs A said, as she had at the time of the wedding fiasco. “This building could be a prime target.”<br /> <br /> “I know we have two blocks,” Bernard grumbled, “but we’re hardly the Twin Towers.” He was unusually grumpy but then he had every right to be. The glueing of his car had prevented him meeting a couple of important clients, not to mention the hassle and expense of replacing the locks.<br /> <br /> It was then that Jonathan said he had a confession to make. He’d had an unexpected visitor who may have caused some confusion in the car park.<br /> <br /> In truth, his visitor was only unexpected in that he hadn’t expected her to say yes when he invited her to come round for a drink. And he was absolutely certain that she hadn’t only turned up because he offered her safe overnight parking while she went to a friend’s hen party ... Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #43 – Airbnb under pump, pet ban lifted and free money https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-43-airbnb-under-pump-pet-ban-lifted-and-free-money/ Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:06:11 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-43-airbnb-under-pump-pet-ban-lifted-and-free-money We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest. Yes, you know all about negative gearing and you may have even encountered negative equity, but Sue was hearing about negative interest at a Property Summit sponsored by The Australian Financial Review and Commercial Real Estate. But before we get to that, do you get the feeling that the walls are closing in on Airbnb in Australia? It’s not just the new regulations being considered by the NSW government, now WA has come up with its own plans for holiday letting in the not-so-wild West (which you can read all about HERE). Which leads us to wonder, what was Victoria thinking when it basically handed over the keys to the high-rise kingdom to holiday letting landlords?  It’s not just about tourist dollars, we (okay, I) reckon the Victorian state government actively hates strata residents. Maybe they despise us because we are home owners, or because we have chosen to rent an apartment rather than a house like the one our parents used to live in. But wherever the complete lack of empathy comes from, apartment pioneers are making it easier for politicians to grow the city without having to build a new freeway every six months. A little respect and concern, please. Sue Williams, meanwhile, has tracked down a story that could mean the end of pet bans in all but a few apartment blocks in NSW After years of trying to overturn a blanket ban on pets in the huge Elan high-rise in Kings Cross, one owner there has finally had a win at NCAT. A senior Tribunal Member has decreed that the Elan’s by-law banning all pets under any circumstances (apart from assistance animals) is “discriminatory and oppressive”. Campaigners hope this will lead to all similar blanket bans across NSW being rescinded.  But what about the people whose religion or health concerns don’t allow them to live in the same buildings as animals? And finally Sue was at a Property Summit last week, where she found out all about negative interest.  That's where banks will basically pay you to take a loan with them, in the hope that you’ll stay with them when the ten-year fixed term runs out. Ten years of free money?  Sign me up now!  That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap Podcast. We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest. - Yes, We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest.<br /> <br /> Yes, you know all about negative gearing and you may have even encountered negative equity, but Sue was hearing about negative interest at a Property Summit sponsored by The Australian Financial Review and Commercial Real Estate.<br /> <br /> But before we get to that, do you get the feeling that the walls are closing in on Airbnb in Australia? It’s not just the new regulations being considered by the NSW government, now WA has come up with its own plans for holiday letting in the not-so-wild West (which you can read all about HERE).<br /> <br /> Which leads us to wonder, what was Victoria thinking when it basically handed over the keys to the high-rise kingdom to holiday letting landlords?  It’s not just about tourist dollars, we (okay, I) reckon the Victorian state government actively hates strata residents.<br /> <br /> Maybe they despise us because we are home owners, or because we have chosen to rent an apartment rather than a house like the one our parents used to live in.<br /> <br /> But wherever the complete lack of empathy comes from, apartment pioneers are making it easier for politicians to grow the city without having to build a new freeway every six months. A little respect and concern, please.<br /> <br /> Sue Williams, meanwhile, has tracked down a story that could mean the end of pet bans in all but a few apartment blocks in NSW<br /> <br /> After years of trying to overturn a blanket ban on pets in the huge Elan high-rise in Kings Cross, one owner there has finally had a win at NCAT. A senior Tribunal Member has decreed that the Elan’s by-law banning all pets under any circumstances (apart from assistance animals) is “discriminatory and oppressive”.<br /> <br /> Campaigners hope this will lead to all similar blanket bans across NSW being rescinded.  But what about the people whose religion or health concerns don’t allow them to live in the same buildings as animals?<br /> <br /> And finally Sue was at a Property Summit last week, where she found out all about negative interest.  That's where banks will basically pay you to take a loan with them, in the hope that you’ll stay with them when the ten-year fixed term runs out.<br /> <br /> Ten years of free money?  Sign me up now!  That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap Podcast. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Airbnb curbs, pet ban by-law bounced and free money https://www.flat-chat.com.au/airbnb-pets-money/ Tue, 01 Oct 2019 13:20:59 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=42917 We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest. Yes, you know all about negative gearing and you may have even encountered negative equity, but Sue was hearing about negative interest at a Property Summit sponsored by The Australian Financial Review and Commercial Real Estate. But before we get to that, do you get the feeling that the walls are closing in on Airbnb in Australia? It’s not just the new regulations being considered by the NSW government, now WA has come up with its own plans for holiday letting in the not-so-wild West (which you can read all about HERE). Which leads us to wonder, what was Victoria thinking when it basically handed over the keys to the high-rise kingdom to holiday letting landlords?  It’s not just about tourist dollars, we (okay, I) reckon the Victorian state government actively hates strata residents. Maybe they despise us because we are home owners, or because we have chosen to rent an apartment rather than a house like the one our parents used to live in. But wherever the complete lack of empathy comes from, apartment pioneers are making it easier for politicians to grow the city without having to build a new freeway every six months. A little respect and concern, please. Sue Williams, meanwhile, has tracked down a story that could mean the end of pet bans in all but a few apartment blocks in NSW After years of trying to overturn a blanket ban on pets in the huge Elan high-rise in Kings Cross, one owner there has finally had a win at NCAT. A senior Tribunal Member has decreed that the Elan’s by-law banning all pets under any circumstances (apart from assistance animals) is “discriminatory and oppressive”. Campaigners hope this will lead to all similar blanket bans across NSW being rescinded.  But what about the people whose religion or health concerns don’t allow them to live in the same buildings as animals? And finally Sue was at a Property Summit last week, where she found out all about negative interest.  That's where banks will basically pay you to take a loan with them, in the hope that you’ll stay with them when the ten-year fixed term runs out. Ten years of free money?  Sign me up now!  That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-43-Airbnb-pets-property-summit.mp3 You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted – just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest. - Yes, We cover a lot of ground in this week’s chat with journalist and author Sue Williams, including two old favourites – Airbnb and pet bans - and a brand new concept (to us at least) negative interest.<br /> <br /> Yes, you know all about negative gearing and you may have even encountered negative equity, but Sue was hearing about negative interest at a Property Summit sponsored by The Australian Financial Review and Commercial Real Estate.<br /> <br /> But before we get to that, do you get the feeling that the walls are closing in on Airbnb in Australia? It’s not just the new regulations being considered by the NSW government, now WA has come up with its own plans for holiday letting in the not-so-wild West (which you can read all about HERE).<br /> <br /> Which leads us to wonder, what was Victoria thinking when it basically handed over the keys to the high-rise kingdom to holiday letting landlords?  It’s not just about tourist dollars, we (okay, I) reckon the Victorian state government actively hates strata residents.<br /> <br /> Maybe they despise us because we are home owners, or because we have chosen to rent an apartment rather than a house like the one our parents used to live in.<br /> <br /> But wherever the complete lack of empathy comes from, apartment pioneers are making it easier for politicians to grow the city without having to build a new freeway every six months. A little respect and concern, please.<br /> <br /> Sue Williams, meanwhile, has tracked down a story that could mean the end of pet bans in all but a few apartment blocks in NSW<br /> <br /> After years of trying to overturn a blanket ban on pets in the huge Elan high-rise in Kings Cross, one owner there has finally had a win at NCAT. A senior Tribunal Member has decreed that the Elan’s by-law banning all pets under any circumstances (apart from assistance animals) is “discriminatory and oppressive”.<br /> <br /> Campaigners hope this will lead to all similar blanket bans across NSW being rescinded.  But what about the people whose religion or health concerns don’t allow them to live in the same buildings as animals?<br /> <br /> And finally Sue was at a Property Summit last week, where she found out all about negative interest.  That's where banks will basically pay you to take a loan with them, in the hope that you’ll stay with them when the ten-year fixed term runs out.<br /> <br /> Ten years of free money?  Sign me up now!  That’s all on this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-43-Airbnb-pets-property-summit.mp3<br /> <br /> You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted – just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #42 – Strata chatting, straight out of the box https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-42-strata-chatting-straight-out-of-the-box/ Wed, 25 Sep 2019 00:03:52 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-43-strata-comunications-straight-out-of-the-box For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection between communication and community falling asunder at the doors of apartment blocks. If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communications system – and probably contained higher than average numbers of people able to grasp the fundamentals – it would be modern apartment blocks. People have experimented with Facebook pages and dedicated websites – but as soon as the people who set them up get fed up with having to run it, or cop more than their fair share of abuse from the block’s whingers – it all falls apart. Then, a couple of years ago, along came Stratabox (one of our sponsors). This week, I went along to co-founder Paul Chevrot’s house so who could explain what Stratabox is, how it works and who’s it for. Basically, it’s an online platform where you can put all your records, by-laws and basic building information, plus you can have virtual committee meetings, vote on issues, and raise complaints about things that need fixed or even neighbours who are misbehaving. You can book a move in or out of the block or use of facilities, discuss issues long before there’s a vote, and chat about the outcomes of decisions that have been made. You can alert your strata committee or strata manager to problems or canvass other owners about possible solutions (rather than hoping someone on the strata committee actually understands, rather than having your choices limited by the extent of their knowledge and experience. One of the interesting things that emerged from our chat was that Paul doesn’t expect every subscriber to use every aspect of the platform.  Just because it has everything you might need to help your committee run your block smoothy and efficiently, doesn’t mean you have to use all its facilities. You can sign up for a free trial of Stratabox right HERE or by clicking on the ad on the Flat Chat pages. By the way, apologies for the sound quality on the recording which occasionally makes me sound as if I’m at the bottom of a well.  Poor acoustics, inadequate equipment and pilot error all contributed. It’ll be better next week, I promise.   For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection between communication and community falling asunder at the doors of apartment blocks. - If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communications system – and probably contained h... For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection between communication and community falling asunder at the doors of apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communications system – and probably contained higher than average numbers of people able to grasp the fundamentals – it would be modern apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> People have experimented with Facebook pages and dedicated websites – but as soon as the people who set them up get fed up with having to run it, or cop more than their fair share of abuse from the block’s whingers – it all falls apart.<br /> <br /> Then, a couple of years ago, along came Stratabox (one of our sponsors).<br /> <br /> This week, I went along to co-founder Paul Chevrot’s house so who could explain what Stratabox is, how it works and who’s it for.<br /> <br /> Basically, it’s an online platform where you can put all your records, by-laws and basic building information, plus you can have virtual committee meetings, vote on issues, and raise complaints about things that need fixed or even neighbours who are misbehaving.<br /> <br /> You can book a move in or out of the block or use of facilities, discuss issues long before there’s a vote, and chat about the outcomes of decisions that have been made.<br /> <br /> You can alert your strata committee or strata manager to problems or canvass other owners about possible solutions (rather than hoping someone on the strata committee actually understands, rather than having your choices limited by the extent of their knowledge and experience.<br /> <br /> One of the interesting things that emerged from our chat was that Paul doesn’t expect every subscriber to use every aspect of the platform.  Just because it has everything you might need to help your committee run your block smoothy and efficiently, doesn’t mean you have to use all its facilities.<br /> <br /> You can sign up for a free trial of Stratabox right HERE or by clicking on the ad on the Flat Chat pages.<br /> <br /> By the way, apologies for the sound quality on the recording which occasionally makes me sound as if I’m at the bottom of a well.  Poor acoustics, inadequate equipment and pilot error all contributed.<br /> <br /> It’ll be better next week, I promise.<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Stratabox and building communities through communication https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-stratabox/ Tue, 24 Sep 2019 14:11:06 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=42719 For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection (or lack thereof) between communication and community and how it seems to fall asunder at the doors of apartment blocks. If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communications system – and probably contained higher than average numbers of people able to grasp the fundamentals – it would be modern apartment blocks. People have experimented with Facebook pages and dedicated websites – but as soon as the people who set them up get fed up with having to run it, or cop more than their fair share of abuse from the block’s whingers – it all falls apart. Then, a couple of years ago, along came Stratabox (one of our sponsors). This week, I went along to co-founder Paul Chevrot’s house so who could explain what Stratabox is, how it works and who it's for. Basically, it’s an online platform where you can put all your records, by-laws and basic building information, plus you can have virtual committee meetings, vote on issues, and raise complaints about things that need fixed or even neighbours who are misbehaving. You can book a move in or out of the block or use of facilities, discuss issues long before there’s a vote, and chat about the outcomes of decisions that have been made. You can alert your strata committee or strata manager to problems or canvass other owners about possible solutions (rather than hoping someone on the strata committee actually understands, rather than having your choices limited by the extent of their knowledge and experience. One of the interesting things that emerged from our chat was that Paul doesn’t expect every subscriber to use every aspect of the platform.  Just because it has everything you might need to help your committee run your block smoothy and efficiently, doesn’t mean you have to use all its facilities. You can sign up for a free trial of Stratabox right HERE or by clicking on the ad on the Flat Chat pages. By the way, apologies for the sound quality on the recording which occasionally makes me sound as if I’m at the bottom of a well.  Poor acoustics, inadequate equipment and pilot error all contributed. It’ll be better next week, I promise. You can listen to the podcast right here. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-43-Stratabox.mp3 You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection (or lack thereof) between communication and community and how it seems to fall asunder at the doors of apartment blocks. - If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communication... For years I have been struck by the irony of the connection (or lack thereof) between communication and community and how it seems to fall asunder at the doors of apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> If there was anywhere that not only needed an internal communications system – and probably contained higher than average numbers of people able to grasp the fundamentals – it would be modern apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> People have experimented with Facebook pages and dedicated websites – but as soon as the people who set them up get fed up with having to run it, or cop more than their fair share of abuse from the block’s whingers – it all falls apart.<br /> <br /> Then, a couple of years ago, along came Stratabox (one of our sponsors).<br /> <br /> This week, I went along to co-founder Paul Chevrot’s house so who could explain what Stratabox is, how it works and who it's for.<br /> <br /> Basically, it’s an online platform where you can put all your records, by-laws and basic building information, plus you can have virtual committee meetings, vote on issues, and raise complaints about things that need fixed or even neighbours who are misbehaving.<br /> <br /> You can book a move in or out of the block or use of facilities, discuss issues long before there’s a vote, and chat about the outcomes of decisions that have been made.<br /> <br /> You can alert your strata committee or strata manager to problems or canvass other owners about possible solutions (rather than hoping someone on the strata committee actually understands, rather than having your choices limited by the extent of their knowledge and experience.<br /> <br /> One of the interesting things that emerged from our chat was that Paul doesn’t expect every subscriber to use every aspect of the platform.  Just because it has everything you might need to help your committee run your block smoothy and efficiently, doesn’t mean you have to use all its facilities.<br /> <br /> You can sign up for a free trial of Stratabox right HERE or by clicking on the ad on the Flat Chat pages.<br /> <br /> By the way, apologies for the sound quality on the recording which occasionally makes me sound as if I’m at the bottom of a well.  Poor acoustics, inadequate equipment and pilot error all contributed.<br /> <br /> It’ll be better next week, I promise.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the podcast right here.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-43-Stratabox.mp3<br /> <br /> You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #41 – The future of apartments … bees vs locusts https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-41-the-future-of-apartments-bees-vs-locusts/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 18:23:52 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-41-the-future-of-apartments-bees-vs-locusts We write and talk a lot about property developers in Flat Chat – not often in positive terms – but we rarely get the chance to hear their side of the story, at least, untainted by promotional spin for some new project or another. So it was a pleasure to sit down recently with Chris Johnson, CEO of the Urban Taskforce, and get his views on what is happening in the world of apartment development for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. Chris is the former State Architect for NSW and Urban Taskforce represents the top developers in the country, so he knows a fair bit about the subject.  On top of that, he is as passionate about apartment living as we are – although from a slightly different perspective. The discussion in this week’s podcast is wide-ranging and occasionally surprising. We can’t ignore the issue of defects in new buildings, not least because of the damage that has done to public confidence.  It could take years to recover but Chirs believes the only way is up – literally – as cities reach their physical and geographical limits. He believes the days of the McMansion are numbered, partly because you can’t fit any more houses into the space available but also because there's a sea change in public thinking. We are moving away from the “I, me, mine” mindset into more collaborative, sharing communities, he says.  He cites a development in Roseberry where there is a childcare centre right on the ground floor, so it obviously attracts families. However, those families take it a stage further, with parents taking turns to host “play dates” where all the kids can go to different unit blocks each of which has its own playground - yes, they have children's playgrounds - and swimming pools that they don't have to worry about maintaining.  It certainly gives the lie to the old thinking that apartments are no place for young families. You can find out more about that in an Urban Taskforce publication about why people love apartment living. Elsewhere in our wide-ranging discussion, Chris muses about why registration of architects and engineers wouldn’t have prevented the crisis at the Opal building – the internationally known architects and engineers on that project would “get registration with their eyes closed” – and why a return to council-based certification wouldn’t have prevented the issues in the Mascot Tower (it was certified by the local council). However, Chris does think there’s merit in a continuing “duty of care” from builders to apartment owners while making every contractor and sub-contractor take responsibility for their work in the construction of an apartment block. He also thinks the “missing middle” in home building is unlikely to be filled with town-houses, if only because of the flawed economics of replacing a single dwelling with two terraced houses. Instead he foresees a spread of European style, medium-rise, four or five story blocks – small enough not to lose human scale and deter communities but tall enough to merit installing the lifts that down-sizing baby boomers will demand. There’s all that and more in this week’s podcast. You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. We write and talk a lot about property developers in Flat Chat – not often in positive terms – but we rarely get the chance to hear their side of the story, at least, untainted by promotional spin for some new project or another. - We write and talk a lot about property developers in Flat Chat – not often in positive terms – but we rarely get the chance to hear their side of the story, at least, untainted by promotional spin for some new project or another.<br /> <br /> So it was a pleasure to sit down recently with Chris Johnson, CEO of the Urban Taskforce, and get his views on what is happening in the world of apartment development for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast.<br /> <br /> Chris is the former State Architect for NSW and Urban Taskforce represents the top developers in the country, so he knows a fair bit about the subject.  On top of that, he is as passionate about apartment living as we are – although from a slightly different perspective.<br /> <br /> The discussion in this week’s podcast is wide-ranging and occasionally surprising.<br /> <br /> We can’t ignore the issue of defects in new buildings, not least because of the damage that has done to public confidence.  It could take years to recover but Chirs believes the only way is up – literally – as cities reach their physical and geographical limits.<br /> <br /> He believes the days of the McMansion are numbered, partly because you can’t fit any more houses into the space available but also because there's a sea change in public thinking.<br /> <br /> We are moving away from the “I, me, mine” mindset into more collaborative, sharing communities, he says.  He cites a development in Roseberry where there is a childcare centre right on the ground floor, so it obviously attracts families.<br /> <br /> However, those families take it a stage further, with parents taking turns to host “play dates” where all the kids can go to different unit blocks each of which has its own playground - yes, they have children's playgrounds - and swimming pools that they don't have to worry about maintaining.  It certainly gives the lie to the old thinking that apartments are no place for young families.<br /> <br /> You can find out more about that in an Urban Taskforce publication about why people love apartment living.<br /> <br /> Elsewhere in our wide-ranging discussion, Chris muses about why registration of architects and engineers wouldn’t have prevented the crisis at the Opal building – the internationally known architects and engineers on that project would “get registration with their eyes closed” – and why a return to council-based certification wouldn’t have prevented the issues in the Mascot Tower (it was certified by the local council).<br /> <br /> However, Chris does think there’s merit in a continuing “duty of care” from builders to apartment owners while making every contractor and sub-contractor take responsibility for their work in the construction of an apartment block.<br /> <br /> He also thinks the “missing middle” in home building is unlikely to be filled with town-houses, if only because of the flawed economics of replacing a single dwelling with two terraced houses.<br /> <br /> Instead he foresees a spread of European style, medium-rise, four or five story blocks – small enough not to lose human scale and deter communities but tall enough to merit installing the lifts that down-sizing baby boomers will demand.<br /> <br /> There’s all that and more in this week’s podcast.<br /> <br /> You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: The buzz on strata – it’s locusts V bees https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-41/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:04:43 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=42277 Are you a locust or a bee?  Those are the divisions appearing between residents in Australia as many of us move from the more acquisitive, self-centred lifestyle typified by the McMansion in the suburbs, to a more communal, sharing way of life that you increasingly find in apartments. In this week's podcast we talk to Chris Johnson, CEO of the Urban Taskforce, who predicts a more communal way of life as more of us move from houses into apartments. Chris is the former State Architect for NSW and Urban Taskforce represents the top developers in the country, so he knows a fair bit about the subject.  On top of that, he is as passionate about apartment living as we are – although from a slightly different perspective. The discussion in this week’s podcast is wide-ranging and occasionally surprising. We can’t ignore the issue of defects in new buildings, not least because of the damage that has done to public confidence.  It could take years to recover but Chirs believes the only way is up – literally – as cities reach their physical and geographical limits. He believes the days of the McMansion are numbered, partly because you can’t fit any more houses into the space available but also because there is a sea change in public thinking. We are moving away from the “I, me, mine” mindset into more collaborative, sharing communities, he says.  He cites a development in Roseberry where there is a childcare centre right on the ground floor, so it obviously attracts families. However, those families take it a stage further, with parents taking turns to host “play dates” where all the kids can go to different unit blocks each of which has its own playground.  It certainly gives the lie to the old thinking that apartments are no place for young families. You can find out more about that in an Urban Taskforce publication about why people love apartment living. Elsewhere in our wide-ranging discussion, Chris muses about why registration of architects and engineers wouldn’t have prevented the crisis at the Opal building – the internationally known architects and engineers on that project would “get registration with their eyes closed” – and why a return to council-based certification wouldn’t have prevented the issues in the Mascot Tower (it was certified by the local council). However, Chris does think there’s merit in a continuing “duty of care” from builders to apartment owners while making every contractor and sub-contractor take responsibility for their work in the construction of an apartment block. He also thinks the “missing middle” in home building is unlikely to be filled with town-houses, if only because of the flawed economics of replacing a single dwelling with two terraced houses. Instead he foresees a spread of European style, medium-rise, four or five story blocks – small enough not to lose human scale and deter communities but tall enough to merit installing the lifts that down-sizing baby boomers will demand. There’s all that and more in this week’s podcast. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-42-Chris-Johnson.mp3 You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. Are you a locust or a bee?  Those are the divisions appearing between residents in Australia as many of us move from the more acquisitive, self-centred lifestyle typified by the McMansion in the suburbs, to a more communal, Are you a locust or a bee?  Those are the divisions appearing between residents in Australia as many of us move from the more acquisitive, self-centred lifestyle typified by the McMansion in the suburbs, to a more communal, sharing way of life that you increasingly find in apartments.<br /> <br /> In this week's podcast we talk to Chris Johnson, CEO of the Urban Taskforce, who predicts a more communal way of life as more of us move from houses into apartments.<br /> <br /> Chris is the former State Architect for NSW and Urban Taskforce represents the top developers in the country, so he knows a fair bit about the subject.  On top of that, he is as passionate about apartment living as we are – although from a slightly different perspective.<br /> <br /> The discussion in this week’s podcast is wide-ranging and occasionally surprising.<br /> <br /> We can’t ignore the issue of defects in new buildings, not least because of the damage that has done to public confidence.  It could take years to recover but Chirs believes the only way is up – literally – as cities reach their physical and geographical limits.<br /> <br /> He believes the days of the McMansion are numbered, partly because you can’t fit any more houses into the space available but also because there is a sea change in public thinking.<br /> <br /> We are moving away from the “I, me, mine” mindset into more collaborative, sharing communities, he says.  He cites a development in Roseberry where there is a childcare centre right on the ground floor, so it obviously attracts families.<br /> <br /> However, those families take it a stage further, with parents taking turns to host “play dates” where all the kids can go to different unit blocks each of which has its own playground.  It certainly gives the lie to the old thinking that apartments are no place for young families.<br /> <br /> You can find out more about that in an Urban Taskforce publication about why people love apartment living.<br /> <br /> Elsewhere in our wide-ranging discussion, Chris muses about why registration of architects and engineers wouldn’t have prevented the crisis at the Opal building – the internationally known architects and engineers on that project would “get registration with their eyes closed” – and why a return to council-based certification wouldn’t have prevented the issues in the Mascot Tower (it was certified by the local council).<br /> <br /> However, Chris does think there’s merit in a continuing “duty of care” from builders to apartment owners while making every contractor and sub-contractor take responsibility for their work in the construction of an apartment block.<br /> <br /> He also thinks the “missing middle” in home building is unlikely to be filled with town-houses, if only because of the flawed economics of replacing a single dwelling with two terraced houses.<br /> <br /> Instead he foresees a spread of European style, medium-rise, four or five story blocks – small enough not to lose human scale and deter communities but tall enough to merit installing the lifts that down-sizing baby boomers will demand.<br /> <br /> There’s all that and more in this week’s podcast.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-42-Chris-Johnson.mp3<br /> <br /> You can subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer completely free as soon as they are posted - just click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, share them with friends and, if you can, leave us a review and rating .  Thanks for listening. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #40 – the end of parking as we know it https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-40-the-end-of-parking-as-we-know-it/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:19:57 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-40-the-end-of-parking-as-we-know-it This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much. First up, JimmyT and Sue Williams talk about why parking spaces are no longer at such a premium (despite one that previously sold at auction for $260,000 coming up for sale). People who live near transport hubs don’t need cars as much as they used to and the flawed economics of paying for a lump of steel to sit in a car space all week, waiting for you to maybe go for a drive, just don’t add up, especially when there are car-sharing services like Go-Get literally on strata owners doorsteps. We also touch on parking space sharing and an innovative idea being trialled in multi-story car parks in Brisbane, where empty floors are turned into overnight shelters for homeless people, complete with showers, toilets, security and even hairdressers. And talking of homelessness, we kick the tyres of a couple of other innovative ideas – next generation boarding houses and co-living spaces. In both cases, these are blocks where studio units are smaller than normal – with tiny kettle and microwave spaces and small bathrooms – but that’s compensated by large shared kitchens and social areas and other facilities like gyms and swimming pools. As Sue reports, even luxury apartment developer Crown are looking at getting into co-living in a big way, with plans to add value to the communities with gym, cooking, yoga and music classes.  In fact, CEO Iwan Sunito thinks these classes are such a good idea he plans to look at extending them to his residential apartment blocks. One downside Sue discovered with the co-living and next-gen boarding houses already operating in Sydney is that many of the properties are already listed on holiday letting ewebsites like Airbnb. So much for easing the affordable housing crisis! And on the subject of Airbnb, in the second part of their conversation, Jimmy and Jane Hearn, vice-chair of the Owners Corporation Network, explore why the online letting agency is against the proposed register. We can guess why – a register would expose all the illicit lets, as has occurred elsewhere in the world, with Tokyo seeing a drop of 80 per cent in listings when a register was brought in there last year. But will it stick?  Not without serious penalties and measures to allow owners corporations to check on how the apartments in their buildings are being used, say our podders.  And that may be a bridge too far for our pro-Airbnb, anti-apartment resident politicians.   This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much. - First up, This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much.<br /> <br /> First up, JimmyT and Sue Williams talk about why parking spaces are no longer at such a premium (despite one that previously sold at auction for $260,000 coming up for sale).<br /> <br /> People who live near transport hubs don’t need cars as much as they used to and the flawed economics of paying for a lump of steel to sit in a car space all week, waiting for you to maybe go for a drive, just don’t add up, especially when there are car-sharing services like Go-Get literally on strata owners doorsteps.<br /> <br /> We also touch on parking space sharing and an innovative idea being trialled in multi-story car parks in Brisbane, where empty floors are turned into overnight shelters for homeless people, complete with showers, toilets, security and even hairdressers.<br /> <br /> And talking of homelessness, we kick the tyres of a couple of other innovative ideas – next generation boarding houses and co-living spaces.<br /> <br /> In both cases, these are blocks where studio units are smaller than normal – with tiny kettle and microwave spaces and small bathrooms – but that’s compensated by large shared kitchens and social areas and other facilities like gyms and swimming pools.<br /> <br /> As Sue reports, even luxury apartment developer Crown are looking at getting into co-living in a big way, with plans to add value to the communities with gym, cooking, yoga and music classes.  In fact, CEO Iwan Sunito thinks these classes are such a good idea he plans to look at extending them to his residential apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> One downside Sue discovered with the co-living and next-gen boarding houses already operating in Sydney is that many of the properties are already listed on holiday letting ewebsites like Airbnb.<br /> <br /> So much for easing the affordable housing crisis!<br /> <br /> And on the subject of Airbnb, in the second part of their conversation, Jimmy and Jane Hearn, vice-chair of the Owners Corporation Network, explore why the online letting agency is against the proposed register.<br /> <br /> We can guess why – a register would expose all the illicit lets, as has occurred elsewhere in the world, with Tokyo seeing a drop of 80 per cent in listings when a register was brought in there last year.<br /> <br /> But will it stick?  Not without serious penalties and measures to allow owners corporations to check on how the apartments in their buildings are being used, say our podders.  And that may be a bridge too far for our pro-Airbnb, anti-apartment resident politicians.<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: The death of parking and student flats for grown-ups https://www.flat-chat.com.au/parking-boarding-co-living/ Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:28:55 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=42027 This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much. First up, JimmyT and Sue Williams talk about why parking spaces are no longer at such a premium (despite one that previously sold at auction for $260,000 coming up for sale). People who live near transport hubs don’t need cars as much as they used to and the flawed economics of paying for a lump of steel to sit in a car space all week, waiting for you to maybe go for a drive at the weekend, just don’t add up, especially when there are car-sharing services like Go-Get literally on strata residents' doorsteps. We also touch on parking space sharing and an innovative idea being trialled in multi-story car parks in Brisbane, where empty floors are turned into overnight shelters for homeless people, complete with showers, toilets, security and even hairdressers. And talking of homelessness, we kick the tyres of a couple of other innovative ideas – next generation boarding houses and co-living spaces. In both cases, these are blocks where studio units are smaller than normal – with tiny kettle and microwave spaces and small bathrooms – but that’s compensated by large shared kitchens and social areas and other facilities like gyms and swimming pools. As Sue reports, even luxury apartment developer Crown are looking at getting into co-living in a big way, with plans to add value to the communities with gym, cooking, yoga and music classes.  In fact, CEO Iwan Sunito thinks these classes are such a good idea he plans to look at extending them to his residential apartment blocks. One downside Sue discovered with the co-living and next-gen boarding houses already operating in Sydney is that many of the properties are already listed on holiday letting websites like Airbnb. So much for easing the affordable housing crisis! And on the subject of Airbnb, in the second part of their conversation, Jimmy and Jane Hearn, vice-chair of the Owners Corporation Network, explore why the online letting agency is against the proposed register. We can guess why – a register would expose all the illicit lets, as has occurred elsewhere in the world, with Tokyo seeing a drop of 80 per cent in listings when a register was brought in there last year. But will it stick?  Not without serious penalties backed by measures to allow owners corporations to check on how the apartments in their buildings are being used, say our podders.  And that may be a bridge too far for our pro-Airbnb, anti-apartment resident politicians. You can listen to it right here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-40-Parking-co-living-and-Airbnb.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a review and rating – it helps people to find us. This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much. - First up, This week the Flat Chat Wrap podders look at the ridiculous cost of parking spaces, the new forms of flat-sharing and we finish off our chat with Jane Hearn about the proposed short-term letting register – and why Airbnb hates it so much.<br /> <br /> First up, JimmyT and Sue Williams talk about why parking spaces are no longer at such a premium (despite one that previously sold at auction for $260,000 coming up for sale).<br /> <br /> People who live near transport hubs don’t need cars as much as they used to and the flawed economics of paying for a lump of steel to sit in a car space all week, waiting for you to maybe go for a drive at the weekend, just don’t add up, especially when there are car-sharing services like Go-Get literally on strata residents' doorsteps.<br /> <br /> We also touch on parking space sharing and an innovative idea being trialled in multi-story car parks in Brisbane, where empty floors are turned into overnight shelters for homeless people, complete with showers, toilets, security and even hairdressers.<br /> <br /> And talking of homelessness, we kick the tyres of a couple of other innovative ideas – next generation boarding houses and co-living spaces.<br /> <br /> In both cases, these are blocks where studio units are smaller than normal – with tiny kettle and microwave spaces and small bathrooms – but that’s compensated by large shared kitchens and social areas and other facilities like gyms and swimming pools.<br /> <br /> As Sue reports, even luxury apartment developer Crown are looking at getting into co-living in a big way, with plans to add value to the communities with gym, cooking, yoga and music classes.  In fact, CEO Iwan Sunito thinks these classes are such a good idea he plans to look at extending them to his residential apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> One downside Sue discovered with the co-living and next-gen boarding houses already operating in Sydney is that many of the properties are already listed on holiday letting websites like Airbnb.<br /> <br /> So much for easing the affordable housing crisis!<br /> <br /> And on the subject of Airbnb, in the second part of their conversation, Jimmy and Jane Hearn, vice-chair of the Owners Corporation Network, explore why the online letting agency is against the proposed register.<br /> <br /> We can guess why – a register would expose all the illicit lets, as has occurred elsewhere in the world, with Tokyo seeing a drop of 80 per cent in listings when a register was brought in there last year.<br /> <br /> But will it stick?  Not without serious penalties backed by measures to allow owners corporations to check on how the apartments in their buildings are being used, say our podders.  And that may be a bridge too far for our pro-Airbnb, anti-apartment resident politicians.<br /> <br /> You can listen to it right here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-40-Parking-co-living-and-Airbnb.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a review and rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #39 – Loopholes and pitfalls in new Airbnb regs https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-39-loopholes-and-pitfalls-in-new-airbnb-regs/ Tue, 03 Sep 2019 22:02:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-39-loopholes-and-pitfalls-in-new-airbnb-regs-1 Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the proposed new laws are not what they seem. The 180-day cap on whole-home lets  can be extended by your local council, there’s a mysterious 21-night option that doesn’t count against the cap and Airbnb is gearing up to fight really tough fire safety regulations (which are fine by Stayz, by the way). This week’s podcast welcomes Deputy Chair of the Owners Corporation Network Jane Hearn who gives us a fascinating insight into the loopholes and pitfalls lurking in the new short-term holiday letting regulations that are currently up for discussion. It’s an interesting perspective. The government has allowed itself to be corralled into focussing on the social impact of holiday lets – noise and disruption – at the expense of, arguably, more serious issues like the impact on rents, housing availability and the “hollowing” of our cities where prime properties are given over to holiday lets. It’s quite clear that the Government’s attempts to mould one-size-fits-all regulations into the various needs of rural, coastal, inner city communities, living in houses and apartments, is likely to make no one happy. The influence of outside forces on the liveability of our homes seems to be of zero concern compared to the revenue from tourist dollars.  Once again, apartment residents are a cash cow for the government, or perhaps we are geese whose golden eggs are staring to crack like jerry-built apartment blocks. One thing to come out of the podcast is for everyone who doesn’t want short-term letting in their buildings and who doesn’t have a holiday letting by-law on their books to get one now. The OCN has devised an off-the-peg by-law that you can buy for a fifth of the normal fees – and this one will stick through any legal challenges the online letting agencies can throw at them (it says here). But seriously, once the regs are in place, the next battleground for apartment blocks will be by-laws and you can bet that any strata building that that doesn’t already have one, and where short-term lets are a growing issue, is suddenly going to find 25 percent of owners rocking up to general meetings, in person or by proxy,  to make sure that mothership in San Francisco doesn’t lose any prime properties that can be kept open. Does that sound a little bit paranoid? Look at the 300-plus identical Astroturf (fake grassroots) letters already sent to Planning NSW to object to the regulations we are now discussing. And if Crazy JimmyT doesn’t fire you up, have a listen to Jane Hearn – a calm voice of experience and reason that will scare the proxies off you! Finally, you can make your submission to the discussion process by going to the Planning NSW portal.  Don’t wait – you only have till September 11. Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the proposed new laws are not what they seem. The 180-day cap on whole-home lets  can be extended by your local council, Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the proposed new laws are not what they seem. The 180-day cap on whole-home lets  can be extended by your local council, there’s a mysterious 21-night option that doesn’t count against the cap and Airbnb is gearing up to fight really tough fire safety regulations (which are fine by Stayz, by the way). This week’s podcast welcomes Deputy Chair of the Owners Corporation Network Jane Hearn who gives us a fascinating insight into the loopholes and pitfalls lurking in the new short-term holiday letting regulations that are currently up for discussion. It’s an interesting perspective. The government has allowed itself to be corralled into focussing on the social impact of holiday lets – noise and disruption – at the expense of, arguably, more serious issues like the impact on rents, housing availability and the “hollowing” of our cities where prime properties are given over to holiday lets. It’s quite clear that the Government’s attempts to mould one-size-fits-all regulations into the various needs of rural, coastal, inner city communities, living in houses and apartments, is likely to make no one happy. The influence of outside forces on the liveability of our homes seems to be of zero concern compared to the revenue from tourist dollars.  Once again, apartment residents are a cash cow for the government, or perhaps we are geese whose golden eggs are staring to crack like jerry-built apartment blocks. One thing to come out of the podcast is for everyone who doesn’t want short-term letting in their buildings and who doesn’t have a holiday letting by-law on their books to get one now. The OCN has devised an off-the-peg by-law that you can buy for a fifth of the normal fees – and this one will stick through any legal challenges the online letting agencies can throw at them (it says here). But seriously, once the regs are in place, the next battleground for apartment blocks will be by-laws and you can bet that any strata building that that doesn’t already have one, and where short-term lets are a growing issue, is suddenly going to find 25 percent of owners rocking up to general meetings, in person or by proxy,  to make sure that mothership in San Francisco doesn’t lose any prime properties that can be kept open. Does that sound a little bit paranoid? Look at the 300-plus identical Astroturf (fake grassroots) letters already sent to Planning NSW to object to the regulations we are now discussing. And if Crazy JimmyT doesn’t fire you up, have a listen to Jane Hearn – a calm voice of experience and reason that will scare the proxies off you! Finally, you can make your submission to the discussion process by going to the Planning NSW portal.  Don’t wait – you only have till September 11. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Loopholes and pitfalls in new holiday letting rules https://www.flat-chat.com.au/airbnb-loopholes/ Tue, 03 Sep 2019 12:17:15 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=41690 Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the new laws are not what they seem. The 180-day cap on whole-home lets can be extended by your local council, there’s a mysterious 21-night option that doesn’t count against the cap and Airbnb is gearing up to fight really tough fire safety regulations (which are fine by Stayz, by the way). In this week’s podcast JimmyT welcomes Vice-Chair of the Owners Corporation Network Jane Hearn who gives us a fascinating insight into the loopholes and pitfalls lurking in the new short-term holiday letting regulations that are currently up for discussion. It’s an interesting perspective. The government has allowed itself to be corralled into focussing on the social impact of holiday lets – noise and disruption – at the expense of, arguably, more serious issues like the impact on rents, housing availability and the “hollowing” of our cities where prime properties are given over to holiday lets. It’s quite clear that the Government’s attempts to mould one-size-fits-all regulations into the various needs of rural, coastal, inner city communities, living in houses and apartments, is likely to make no one happy. The influence of outside forces on the liveability of our homes seems to be of zero concern compared to the revenue from tourist dollars.  Once again, apartment residents are a cash cow for the government, or perhaps we are geese whose golden eggs are staring to crack like jerry-built apartment blocks. One thing to come out of the podcast is for everyone who doesn’t want short-term letting in their buildings and who doesn’t have a holiday letting by-law on their books to get one now. The OCN has devised an off-the-peg by-law that you can buy for a fifth of the normal fees – and this one will stick through any legal challenges the online letting agencies can throw at them (it says here). But seriously, once the regs are in place, the next battleground for apartment blocks will be by-laws and you can bet that any strata building that that doesn’t already have one, and where short-term lets are a growing issue, is suddenly going to find 25 percent of owners rocking up to general meetings, in person or by proxy,  to make sure that mothership in San Francisco doesn’t lose any prime properties that can be kept open. Does that sound a little bit paranoid? Look at the 300-plus identical Astroturf (fake grassroots) letters already sent to Planning NSW to object to the regulations we are now discussing. And if Crazy JimmyT doesn’t fire you up, have a listen to Jane Hearn – a calm voice of experience and reason that will scare the proxies off you! Finally, you can make your submission to the discussion process by going to the Planning NSW portal.  Don’t wait – you only have till September 11. You can listen to the Podcast right here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-39-Jane-Hearn-part-1a.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the new laws are not what they seem. - The 180-day cap on whole-home lets can be extended by your local council, there’s a mysterious 21-night option that doesn... Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe into the Airbnb discussion, it turns out the new laws are not what they seem.<br /> <br /> The 180-day cap on whole-home lets can be extended by your local council, there’s a mysterious 21-night option that doesn’t count against the cap and Airbnb is gearing up to fight really tough fire safety regulations (which are fine by Stayz, by the way).<br /> <br /> In this week’s podcast JimmyT welcomes Vice-Chair of the Owners Corporation Network Jane Hearn who gives us a fascinating insight into the loopholes and pitfalls lurking in the new short-term holiday letting regulations that are currently up for discussion.<br /> <br /> It’s an interesting perspective. The government has allowed itself to be corralled into focussing on the social impact of holiday lets – noise and disruption – at the expense of, arguably, more serious issues like the impact on rents, housing availability and the “hollowing” of our cities where prime properties are given over to holiday lets.<br /> <br /> It’s quite clear that the Government’s attempts to mould one-size-fits-all regulations into the various needs of rural, coastal, inner city communities, living in houses and apartments, is likely to make no one happy.<br /> <br /> The influence of outside forces on the liveability of our homes seems to be of zero concern compared to the revenue from tourist dollars.  Once again, apartment residents are a cash cow for the government, or perhaps we are geese whose golden eggs are staring to crack like jerry-built apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> One thing to come out of the podcast is for everyone who doesn’t want short-term letting in their buildings and who doesn’t have a holiday letting by-law on their books to get one now.<br /> <br /> The OCN has devised an off-the-peg by-law that you can buy for a fifth of the normal fees – and this one will stick through any legal challenges the online letting agencies can throw at them (it says here).<br /> <br /> But seriously, once the regs are in place, the next battleground for apartment blocks will be by-laws and you can bet that any strata building that that doesn’t already have one, and where short-term lets are a growing issue, is suddenly going to find 25 percent of owners rocking up to general meetings, in person or by proxy,  to make sure that mothership in San Francisco doesn’t lose any prime properties that can be kept open.<br /> <br /> Does that sound a little bit paranoid? Look at the 300-plus identical Astroturf (fake grassroots) letters already sent to Planning NSW to object to the regulations we are now discussing.<br /> <br /> And if Crazy JimmyT doesn’t fire you up, have a listen to Jane Hearn – a calm voice of experience and reason that will scare the proxies off you!<br /> <br /> Finally, you can make your submission to the discussion process by going to the Planning NSW portal.  Don’t wait – you only have till September 11.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the Podcast right here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-39-Jane-Hearn-part-1a.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating – it helps people to find us. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #38 – Mediation, revolution and crazy planning objections https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-38-mediation-revolution-and-crazy-planning-objections/ Tue, 27 Aug 2019 22:10:41 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-38-mediation-revolution-and-crazy-planning-objections This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution. First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, mediation is an obligatory precursor to asking for an adjudication at your state tribunal. In Victoria it kind of is too, but isn’t really.  It’s called conciliation there, and is more of a recommended option than an obligation. How much it harms your case if you don’t even try to resolve it, is hard to say – depends on who is hearing your case at the tribunal, probably. For many people involved in disputes, it’s just a box to be ticked off before you put on the boxing gloves and get in the ring for the real fight. Others turn up, fired up with righteous indignation, clutching a sheaf of by-laws and print-outs from the Flat Chat Forum, only to discover the mediator is more life coach and less umpire than they would like. In short, unless the respondent in your case is prepared to concede defeat because they can sense failure and humiliation at the Tribunal, you are either going to have to cede some ground yourself, or gird your loins for phase two of the fight. And it has to be said that I many cases the other side of the argument doesn’t even show up.  Why? Because they don’t have to. Moving on, we discuss how to get rid of a “despotic, neurotic and psychotic” chair of an apartment block – and again it’s different in all the states. In NSW you have to pass a special resolution at general meeting to remove any or all of the owners from a committee.  However, the committee can replace any office-bearer just by voting another of their number into the role. It’s similar in Victoria but in Queensland the general meeting chooses the office-bearers even before they elect the committee.  That means only a general meeting can sack an officer of the body corporate. Oh, and there’s a couple of quirky rules that don’t exist anywhere else that can get you kicked off a committee in Queensland. And finally, introduced by a song from Groucho Marx, Sue meets architect Daniel Meszaros who has collected a whole bunch of crazy objections neighbours put up to prevent developments and turned them into cartoons that you can see HERE. This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution. - First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution.<br /> <br /> First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, mediation is an obligatory precursor to asking for an adjudication at your state tribunal.<br /> <br /> In Victoria it kind of is too, but isn’t really.  It’s called conciliation there, and is more of a recommended option than an obligation. How much it harms your case if you don’t even try to resolve it, is hard to say – depends on who is hearing your case at the tribunal, probably.<br /> <br /> For many people involved in disputes, it’s just a box to be ticked off before you put on the boxing gloves and get in the ring for the real fight.<br /> <br /> Others turn up, fired up with righteous indignation, clutching a sheaf of by-laws and print-outs from the Flat Chat Forum, only to discover the mediator is more life coach and less umpire than they would like.<br /> <br /> In short, unless the respondent in your case is prepared to concede defeat because they can sense failure and humiliation at the Tribunal, you are either going to have to cede some ground yourself, or gird your loins for phase two of the fight.<br /> <br /> And it has to be said that I many cases the other side of the argument doesn’t even show up.  Why? Because they don’t have to.<br /> <br /> Moving on, we discuss how to get rid of a “despotic, neurotic and psychotic” chair of an apartment block – and again it’s different in all the states.<br /> <br /> In NSW you have to pass a special resolution at general meeting to remove any or all of the owners from a committee.  However, the committee can replace any office-bearer just by voting another of their number into the role.<br /> <br /> It’s similar in Victoria but in Queensland the general meeting chooses the office-bearers even before they elect the committee.  That means only a general meeting can sack an officer of the body corporate.<br /> <br /> Oh, and there’s a couple of quirky rules that don’t exist anywhere else that can get you kicked off a committee in Queensland.<br /> <br /> And finally, introduced by a song from Groucho Marx, Sue meets architect Daniel Meszaros who has collected a whole bunch of crazy objections neighbours put up to prevent developments and turned them into cartoons that you can see HERE. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Mediation, revolution and crazy Nimby objections https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-mediation-revolution-and-crazy-nimby-objections/ Tue, 27 Aug 2019 12:35:37 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=41383 This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution. First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, mediation is an obligatory precursor to asking for an adjudication at your state tribunal. In Victoria it kind of is too, but isn’t really.  It’s called conciliation there, and is more of a recommended option than an obligation. How much it harms your case if you don’t even try to resolve it, is hard to say – depends on who is hearing your case at the tribunal, probably. For many people involved in disputes, it’s just a box to be ticked off before you put on the boxing gloves and get in the ring for the real fight. Others turn up, fired up with righteous indignation, clutching a sheaf of by-laws and print-outs from the Flat Chat Forum, only to discover the mediator is more life coach and less umpire than they would like. In short, unless the respondent in your case is prepared to concede defeat, perhaps because they can sense failure and humiliation at the Tribunal, you are either going to have to cede some ground yourself, or gird your loins for phase two of the fight. And it has to be said that I many cases the other side of the argument doesn’t even show up.  Why? Because they don’t have to. Moving on, we discuss how to get rid of a “despotic, neurotic and psychotic” chair of an apartment block – and again it’s different in all the states. In NSW you have to pass a special resolution at general meeting to remove any or all of the owners from a committee.  However, the committee can replace any office-bearer just by voting another of their number into the role. It’s similar in Victoria but in Queensland the general meeting chooses the office-bearers even before they elect the committee.  That means only a general meeting can sack an officer of the body corporate. Oh, and there’s a couple of quirky rules that don’t exist anywhere else that can get you kicked off a committee in Queensland. And finally, introduced by a song from Groucho Marx, Sue meets architect Daniel Meszaros who has collected a whole bunch of crazy objections neighbours put up to prevent developments and turned them into cartoons that you can see HERE. You can listen to the podcast right here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-38-conflicts.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.   This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution. - First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, This week the Flat Chat Wrap podcast is all about conflict and various forms of resolution … including revolution.<br /> <br /> First Sue Williams and I take a look at we take a look at mediation and what it actually means. In NSW and Queensland, mediation is an obligatory precursor to asking for an adjudication at your state tribunal.<br /> <br /> In Victoria it kind of is too, but isn’t really.  It’s called conciliation there, and is more of a recommended option than an obligation. How much it harms your case if you don’t even try to resolve it, is hard to say – depends on who is hearing your case at the tribunal, probably.<br /> <br /> For many people involved in disputes, it’s just a box to be ticked off before you put on the boxing gloves and get in the ring for the real fight.<br /> <br /> Others turn up, fired up with righteous indignation, clutching a sheaf of by-laws and print-outs from the Flat Chat Forum, only to discover the mediator is more life coach and less umpire than they would like.<br /> <br /> In short, unless the respondent in your case is prepared to concede defeat, perhaps because they can sense failure and humiliation at the Tribunal, you are either going to have to cede some ground yourself, or gird your loins for phase two of the fight.<br /> <br /> And it has to be said that I many cases the other side of the argument doesn’t even show up.  Why? Because they don’t have to.<br /> <br /> Moving on, we discuss how to get rid of a “despotic, neurotic and psychotic” chair of an apartment block – and again it’s different in all the states.<br /> <br /> In NSW you have to pass a special resolution at general meeting to remove any or all of the owners from a committee.  However, the committee can replace any office-bearer just by voting another of their number into the role.<br /> <br /> It’s similar in Victoria but in Queensland the general meeting chooses the office-bearers even before they elect the committee.  That means only a general meeting can sack an officer of the body corporate.<br /> <br /> Oh, and there’s a couple of quirky rules that don’t exist anywhere else that can get you kicked off a committee in Queensland.<br /> <br /> And finally, introduced by a song from Groucho Marx, Sue meets architect Daniel Meszaros who has collected a whole bunch of crazy objections neighbours put up to prevent developments and turned them into cartoons that you can see HERE.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the podcast right here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/flat-chat-38-conflicts.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes on your phone, tablet or computer as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating – it helps people to find us.<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #37 – Defects loans, Airbnb rules and sex in the spa https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-37-defects-loans-airbnb-rules-and-sex-in-the-spa-2/ Tue, 20 Aug 2019 22:04:39 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-37-defects-loans-airbnb-rules-and-sex-in-the-spa It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex. Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-interest or even no-interest loans from the government. We reckon it’s better than nothing but it’s not enough.  Anyone who has ever suffered through the agonies of realising you have defects in your building, then having to fight your developer to get them fixed - if you can even find them before they phoenix into a puff of smoke – and then face raising the cash because the only people legally obliged to fix defects, regardless of who’s to blame for them, are the apartment owners. We reckon, apart from the developers and builders,  the people who have contributed most to the problem and benefitted most from it, are our successive governments, Labour and Liberal, who have become addicted to the revenue from building booms to the point where they have sold apartment owners down the river. So come on. Forget all this loans nonsense and compensate us for all the grief you’ve either caused or enabled.   There’s more on this HERE. Next cab off the rank is the government’s discussion paper on Airbnb-style holiday lets. As you will read in my Australian Financial Review column this weekend (posted here a couple of days later, Stayz has welcomed one of the proposals while Airbnb is decidedly lukewarm about the whole thing. There’s a mandatory code of conduct and an industry-managed registry of holiday lets (why does that fill me with a sense of cynical dread?) plus extraordinarily strict fire regulations which we think with do more to curb short-term holiday lets than the other two combined. Again, there’s also more on that HERE. And finally, Sue brings a tale of what happened when a friend spotted a couple having sex in the complex’s communal spa pool.  Think that sound a bit weird, wait till you hear who they were! And to think Airbnb routinely fights holiday let registers on the grounds of privacy! It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: You can read all the material around the holiday letting discussion paper, and make a submission, starting HERE. And you can read Jimmy AFR piece online HERE (if you have a subscription).  It will be in print and then on this website at the weekend. Jimmy Thomson’s website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Sue Williams Website It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex. Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-int... It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex.<br /> <br /> Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-interest or even no-interest loans from the government.<br /> <br /> We reckon it’s better than nothing but it’s not enough.  Anyone who has ever suffered through the agonies of realising you have defects in your building, then having to fight your developer to get them fixed - if you can even find them before they phoenix into a puff of smoke – and then face raising the cash because the only people legally obliged to fix defects, regardless of who’s to blame for them, are the apartment owners.<br /> <br /> We reckon, apart from the developers and builders,  the people who have contributed most to the problem and benefitted most from it, are our successive governments, Labour and Liberal, who have become addicted to the revenue from building booms to the point where they have sold apartment owners down the river.<br /> <br /> So come on. Forget all this loans nonsense and compensate us for all the grief you’ve either caused or enabled.   There’s more on this HERE.<br /> <br /> Next cab off the rank is the government’s discussion paper on Airbnb-style holiday lets.<br /> <br /> As you will read in my Australian Financial Review column this weekend (posted here a couple of days later, Stayz has welcomed one of the proposals while Airbnb is decidedly lukewarm about the whole thing.<br /> <br /> There’s a mandatory code of conduct and an industry-managed registry of holiday lets (why does that fill me with a sense of cynical dread?) plus extraordinarily strict fire regulations which we think with do more to curb short-term holiday lets than the other two combined. Again, there’s also more on that HERE.<br /> <br /> And finally, Sue brings a tale of what happened when a friend spotted a couple having sex in the complex’s communal spa pool.  Think that sound a bit weird, wait till you hear who they were!<br /> <br /> And to think Airbnb routinely fights holiday let registers on the grounds of privacy! It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> You can read all the material around the holiday letting discussion paper, and make a submission, starting HERE.<br /> <br /> And you can read Jimmy AFR piece online HERE (if you have a subscription).  It will be in print and then on this website at the weekend.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br /> Sue Williams Website FLAT CHAT 31:21 PODCAST: Defect loans, Airbnb rules and sneaky sex in the spa https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-defect-loans-airbnb-rules-and-sneaky-sex-in-the-spa/ Tue, 20 Aug 2019 12:39:11 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=40961 It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex. Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-interest or even no-interest loans from the government. We reckon it’s better than nothing but it’s not enough.  Anyone who has ever suffered through the agonies of realising you have defects in your building, then having to fight your developer to get them fixed - if you can even find them before they phoenix into a puff of smoke – and then face raising the cash because the only people legally obliged to fix defects, regardless of who’s to blame for them, are the apartment owners. We reckon, apart from the developers and builders,  the people who have contributed most to the problem and benefitted most from it, are our successive governments, Labour and Liberal, who have become addicted to the revenue from building booms to the point where they have sold apartment owners down the river. So come on. Forget all this loans nonsense and compensate us for all the grief you’ve either caused or enabled.   There’s more on this HERE. Next cab off the rank is the government’s discussion paper on Airbnb-style holiday lets. As you will read in my Australian Financial Review column this weekend (posted here a couple of days later, Stayz has welcomed one of the proposals while Airbnb is decidedly lukewarm about the whole thing. There’s a mandatory code of conduct and an industry-managed registry of holiday lets (why does that fill me with a sense of cynical dread?) plus extraordinarily strict fire regulations which we think with do more to curb short-term holiday lets than the other two combined. Again, there’s also more on that HERE. And finally, Sue brings a tale of what happened when a friend spotted a couple having sex in the complex’s communal spa pool.  Think that sound a bit weird, wait till you hear who they were! And to think Airbnb routinely fights holiday let registers on the grounds of privacy! It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap. You can listen to the podcast right here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-37-STHL-regulations.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: You can read all the material around the holiday letting discussion paper, and make a submission, starting HERE. And you can read Jimmy AFR piece online HERE (if you have a subscription).  It will be in print and then on this website at the weekend. Jimmy Thomson’s website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Sue Williams Website It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex. - Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-i... It’s a real mixed bag in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast – finance, Airbnb and sneaky sex.<br /> <br /> Sue Williams and I start our dissection of the week’s strata news by looking at the suggestion that people suffering under building defects might get low-interest or even no-interest loans from the government.<br /> <br /> We reckon it’s better than nothing but it’s not enough.  Anyone who has ever suffered through the agonies of realising you have defects in your building, then having to fight your developer to get them fixed - if you can even find them before they phoenix into a puff of smoke – and then face raising the cash because the only people legally obliged to fix defects, regardless of who’s to blame for them, are the apartment owners.<br /> <br /> We reckon, apart from the developers and builders,  the people who have contributed most to the problem and benefitted most from it, are our successive governments, Labour and Liberal, who have become addicted to the revenue from building booms to the point where they have sold apartment owners down the river.<br /> <br /> So come on. Forget all this loans nonsense and compensate us for all the grief you’ve either caused or enabled.   There’s more on this HERE.<br /> <br /> Next cab off the rank is the government’s discussion paper on Airbnb-style holiday lets.<br /> <br /> As you will read in my Australian Financial Review column this weekend (posted here a couple of days later, Stayz has welcomed one of the proposals while Airbnb is decidedly lukewarm about the whole thing.<br /> <br /> There’s a mandatory code of conduct and an industry-managed registry of holiday lets (why does that fill me with a sense of cynical dread?) plus extraordinarily strict fire regulations which we think with do more to curb short-term holiday lets than the other two combined. Again, there’s also more on that HERE.<br /> <br /> And finally, Sue brings a tale of what happened when a friend spotted a couple having sex in the complex’s communal spa pool.  Think that sound a bit weird, wait till you hear who they were!<br /> <br /> And to think Airbnb routinely fights holiday let registers on the grounds of privacy! It’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the podcast right here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-37-STHL-regulations.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> You can read all the material around the holiday letting discussion paper, and make a submission, starting HERE.<br /> <br /> And you can read Jimmy AFR piece online HERE (if you have a subscription).  It will be in print and then on this website at the weekend.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br /> Sue Williams Website Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #36 – From block parties to hijacked high-rises https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-36-from-block-parties-to-hijacked-high-rises/ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 14:01:50 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-36-apartments-around-the-world-and-we-are-far-from-the-worst It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wrong with strata living (and many things that are right). Academic researchers, by contrast, meticulously record numerous interviews, often with clearly identified and authoritative subjects, referencing other studies and reports, to reach carefully considered conclusions. One such diligent researcher is Dr Hazel Easthope of UNSW who joined us this week for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast to discuss her new book The Politics and Practices of Apartment Living which has just been published by Edgar Elgar in the UK. In the podcast we discuss why she wrote the book – basically to get a handle on all this rapidly evolving lifestyle and its challenges, and how people are coping with it in different countries – and why she wrote it the way she did. The book is structured, she says, to follow the entire life cycle of an apartment block, from the planning stage to the eventual extinction of the strata scheme for renewal or even demolition. What she discovered was that, even though different parts of the world have different strata systems, everyone has basically the same issues – defects, lack of communication within the blocks and with their committees and managers, selfish residents and lack of understanding of rights and responsibilities. One universal issue was the lack of concern for and communication with tenants, who are routinely locked out of information, decision-making and community activities. This, of course, is hugely ironic since renters make up more than half the residents of  apartment blocks and are basically financing half the investment in strata homes (along with, in Australia, the subsidies provided by taxpayers via negative gearing). Hazel Easthope highlighted efforts in community building in Vancouver, with “street parties” and volunteer concierges, but she also talked about the problem of hijacked buildings in South Africa. There, in the “white flight” that followed the end of apartheid, luxury apartments in the posher parts of Johannesburg were abandoned by their owners, taken over by squatters, allowed to deteriorate with power cut off, affecting lifts, lights, sewerage and water supplies, and then criminal gangs moved in to “manage” them. The city council is trying to recover the buildings for paying renters but the problem is that with the majority of strata owners long gone, mostly overseas, there is no one to sign off on the legally required documents. And finally, she tells a funny but alarming story about what happened when two different companies were contracted to complete vital work on the same building. All in all, it’s a fascinating discussion about a very interesting book.         It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wrong with strata living (... It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wrong with strata living (and many things that are right).<br /> <br /> Academic researchers, by contrast, meticulously record numerous interviews, often with clearly identified and authoritative subjects, referencing other studies and reports, to reach carefully considered conclusions.<br /> <br /> One such diligent researcher is Dr Hazel Easthope of UNSW who joined us this week for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast to discuss her new book The Politics and Practices of Apartment Living which has just been published by Edgar Elgar in the UK.<br /> <br /> In the podcast we discuss why she wrote the book – basically to get a handle on all this rapidly evolving lifestyle and its challenges, and how people are coping with it in different countries – and why she wrote it the way she did.<br /> <br /> The book is structured, she says, to follow the entire life cycle of an apartment block, from the planning stage to the eventual extinction of the strata scheme for renewal or even demolition.<br /> <br /> What she discovered was that, even though different parts of the world have different strata systems, everyone has basically the same issues – defects, lack of communication within the blocks and with their committees and managers, selfish residents and lack of understanding of rights and responsibilities.<br /> <br /> One universal issue was the lack of concern for and communication with tenants, who are routinely locked out of information, decision-making and community activities.<br /> <br /> This, of course, is hugely ironic since renters make up more than half the residents of  apartment blocks and are basically financing half the investment in strata homes (along with, in Australia, the subsidies provided by taxpayers via negative gearing).<br /> <br /> Hazel Easthope highlighted efforts in community building in Vancouver, with “street parties” and volunteer concierges, but she also talked about the problem of hijacked buildings in South Africa.<br /> <br /> There, in the “white flight” that followed the end of apartheid, luxury apartments in the posher parts of Johannesburg were abandoned by their owners, taken over by squatters, allowed to deteriorate with power cut off, affecting lifts, lights, sewerage and water supplies, and then criminal gangs moved in to “manage” them.<br /> <br /> The city council is trying to recover the buildings for paying renters but the problem is that with the majority of strata owners long gone, mostly overseas, there is no one to sign off on the legally required documents.<br /> <br /> And finally, she tells a funny but alarming story about what happened when two different companies were contracted to complete vital work on the same building.<br /> <br /> All in all, it’s a fascinating discussion about a very interesting book.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: From block parties to hijacked high-rises https://www.flat-chat.com.au/listen-author-reveals-our-strata-system-is-far-from-the-worlds-worst/ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 08:00:21 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=40476 It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources, anecdotal 'evidence' and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wrong with strata living (and many things that are right). Academic researchers, by contrast, meticulously record numerous interviews, often with clearly identified and authoritative subjects, referencing other studies and reports, to reach carefully considered conclusions. One such diligent researcher is Dr Hazel Easthope of UNSW City Futures department, who joined us this week for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast to discuss her new book The Politics and Practices of Apartment Living which has just been published by Edgar Elgar in the UK. In the podcast we discuss why she wrote the book – basically to get a handle on all this rapidly evolving lifestyle and its challenges, and how people are coping with it in different countries – and why she wrote it the way she did. The book is structured, she says, to follow the entire life cycle of an apartment block, from the planning stage to the eventual extinction of the strata scheme for renewal or even demolition. What she discovered was that, even though different parts of the world have different strata systems, everyone has basically the same issues – defects, lack of communication within the blocks and with their committees and managers, selfish residents and lack of understanding of rights and responsibilities. One universal issue was the lack of concern for and communication with tenants, who are routinely locked out of information, decision-making and community activities. This, of course, is hugely ironic since renters make up more than half the residents of  apartment blocks and are basically financing half the investment in strata homes (along with, in Australia, the subsidies provided by taxpayers via negative gearing). Hazel Easthope highlighted efforts in community building in Vancouver, with “street parties” and volunteer concierges, but she also talked about the problem of hijacked buildings in South Africa. There, in the “white flight” that followed the end of apartheid, luxury apartments in one of the posher parts of Johannesburg were abandoned by their owners, taken over by squatters, allowed to deteriorate with power cut off, affecting lifts, lights, sewerage and water supplies, and then criminal gangs moved in to “manage” them. The city council is trying to recover the buildings for paying renters but the problem is that with the majority of strata owners long gone, mostly overseas, there is no one to sign off on the legally required documents. And finally, she tells a funny but alarming story about what happened when two different companies were contracted to complete vital work on the same building. All in all, it’s a fascinating discussion about a very interesting book and you can hear it right here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-36-Easthope.mp3 If you want to read Hazel Easthope's book in hardback,  you can have it for a bargain price of 45 UK pounds (that’s 35 per cent off) from Edward Elgar publishing by going to www.e-elgar.com. Once the book is in your basket, enter “EAST35” in the discount code box (after delivery details). You can also sample the contents of the book there. This offer ends on September 31. Alternatively, you can get an online copy considerably cheaper by clicking on one of the ebook options on that page (but beware that the GooglePay option is in US dollars). To subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us... It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources, anecdotal 'evidence' and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wron... It would be fair to say that Flat Chat’s approach to apartment living and strata law over the years has been robustly non-academic.  We use often cite anonymous sources, anecdotal 'evidence' and unverified reports to build a picture of all that is wrong with strata living (and many things that are right).<br /> <br /> Academic researchers, by contrast, meticulously record numerous interviews, often with clearly identified and authoritative subjects, referencing other studies and reports, to reach carefully considered conclusions.<br /> <br /> One such diligent researcher is Dr Hazel Easthope of UNSW City Futures department, who joined us this week for the Flat Chat Wrap podcast to discuss her new book The Politics and Practices of Apartment Living which has just been published by Edgar Elgar in the UK.<br /> <br /> In the podcast we discuss why she wrote the book – basically to get a handle on all this rapidly evolving lifestyle and its challenges, and how people are coping with it in different countries – and why she wrote it the way she did.<br /> <br /> The book is structured, she says, to follow the entire life cycle of an apartment block, from the planning stage to the eventual extinction of the strata scheme for renewal or even demolition.<br /> <br /> What she discovered was that, even though different parts of the world have different strata systems, everyone has basically the same issues – defects, lack of communication within the blocks and with their committees and managers, selfish residents and lack of understanding of rights and responsibilities.<br /> <br /> One universal issue was the lack of concern for and communication with tenants, who are routinely locked out of information, decision-making and community activities.<br /> <br /> This, of course, is hugely ironic since renters make up more than half the residents of  apartment blocks and are basically financing half the investment in strata homes (along with, in Australia, the subsidies provided by taxpayers via negative gearing).<br /> <br /> Hazel Easthope highlighted efforts in community building in Vancouver, with “street parties” and volunteer concierges, but she also talked about the problem of hijacked buildings in South Africa.<br /> <br /> There, in the “white flight” that followed the end of apartheid, luxury apartments in one of the posher parts of Johannesburg were abandoned by their owners, taken over by squatters, allowed to deteriorate with power cut off, affecting lifts, lights, sewerage and water supplies, and then criminal gangs moved in to “manage” them.<br /> <br /> The city council is trying to recover the buildings for paying renters but the problem is that with the majority of strata owners long gone, mostly overseas, there is no one to sign off on the legally required documents.<br /> <br /> And finally, she tells a funny but alarming story about what happened when two different companies were contracted to complete vital work on the same building.<br /> <br /> All in all, it’s a fascinating discussion about a very interesting book and you can hear it right here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-36-Easthope.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to read Hazel Easthope's book in hardback,  you can have it for a bargain price of 45 UK pounds (that’s 35 per cent off) from Edward Elgar publishing by going to www.e-elgar.com. Once the book is in your basket, enter “EAST35” in the discount code box (after delivery details). You can also sample the contents of the book there. This offer ends on September 31.<br /> <br /> Alternatively, you can get an online copy considerably cheaper by clicking on one of the ebook options on that page (but beware that the GooglePay option is in US dollars).<br /> <br /> To subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #35 – Apartments go to the movies … and see more than they should https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-35-apartments-go-to-the-movies-and-see-more-than-they-should/ Tue, 06 Aug 2019 20:58:16 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-35-apartments-go-to-the-movies-and-see-more-than-they-should  If you live in apartments for long enough it’s almost impossible not to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should. But sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and an innocent, accidental glance turns into a look that lingers longer that it ought. OK that's understandable , but then there’s out and out voyeurism, when someone spends way too much time spying on their neighbours. It’s the latter that forms the theme of Rear Window, a movie that television historian Andrew Mercado and I discuss in the second part of our podcast about fictional apartment blocks in TV and film. Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window turned 65 this month, its world premiere having been staged on August 4, 1954.  Having watched it (again) last weekend, I can say it still stands the test of time. Stewart plays a news photographer temporarily confined to a wheelchair who amuses himself by watching the goings on in apartments across the alleyway, then becomes convinced he has witnessed a murder. The view, supposedly the back alley of a Greenwich Village, New York block, was actually a specially built set on Paramount studio’s movie lot in Hollywood. But if nothing else, the discussion brought home to me how your memory can play tricks on you. Firstly, I thought I’d never seen it before, but it all came back to me when I watched it again (on Foxtel, for $3.95).  Then, as I say on the podcast, I envisaged Stewart looking through a telescope.  In fact, it’s a camera with a telephoto lens. And finally, largely thanks to the publicity picture above, I was sure it was in in black and white but in was actually in glorious Technicolour (and well worth a look whether you’ve seen it before, or not). Andrew and I also talk about The Apartment (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine) which seems very odd in these days of “me too”, since it centres around an office worker who feels obliged to lend his apartment to his boss so he (the boss) can have an affair with his secretary.  See, back in the day, that’s what people thought apartments were for. Green Card, the movie directed by Peter Weir gets a mention which leads to a discussion about how some of the characters in TV sitcoms could afford to live in these huge apartments in New York. It’s a pretty wide-ranging chat and at least it lets us see another side to apartment living that isn’t under the cloud of defects and cladding. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE. Jimmy Thomson’s website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns    If you live in apartments for long enough it’s almost impossible not to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should. -  If you live in apartments for long enough it’s almost impossible not to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should.<br /> <br /> But sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and an innocent, accidental glance turns into a look that lingers longer that it ought.<br /> <br /> OK that's understandable , but then there’s out and out voyeurism, when someone spends way too much time spying on their neighbours.<br /> <br /> It’s the latter that forms the theme of Rear Window, a movie that television historian Andrew Mercado and I discuss in the second part of our podcast about fictional apartment blocks in TV and film.<br /> <br /> Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window turned 65 this month, its world premiere having been staged on August 4, 1954.  Having watched it (again) last weekend, I can say it still stands the test of time.<br /> <br /> Stewart plays a news photographer temporarily confined to a wheelchair who amuses himself by watching the goings on in apartments across the alleyway, then becomes convinced he has witnessed a murder.<br /> <br /> The view, supposedly the back alley of a Greenwich Village, New York block, was actually a specially built set on Paramount studio’s movie lot in Hollywood. But if nothing else, the discussion brought home to me how your memory can play tricks on you.<br /> <br /> Firstly, I thought I’d never seen it before, but it all came back to me when I watched it again (on Foxtel, for $3.95).  Then, as I say on the podcast, I envisaged Stewart looking through a telescope.  In fact, it’s a camera with a telephoto lens.<br /> <br /> And finally, largely thanks to the publicity picture above, I was sure it was in in black and white but in was actually in glorious Technicolour (and well worth a look whether you’ve seen it before, or not).<br /> <br /> Andrew and I also talk about The Apartment (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine) which seems very odd in these days of “me too”, since it centres around an office worker who feels obliged to lend his apartment to his boss so he (the boss) can have an affair with his secretary.  See, back in the day, that’s what people thought apartments were for.<br /> <br /> Green Card, the movie directed by Peter Weir gets a mention which leads to a discussion about how some of the characters in TV sitcoms could afford to live in these huge apartments in New York.<br /> <br /> It’s a pretty wide-ranging chat and at least it lets us see another side to apartment living that isn’t under the cloud of defects and cladding.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: When a look through a window lingers longer than it should https://www.flat-chat.com.au/listen-when-a-look-through-a-window-lingers-longer-than-it-should/ Tue, 06 Aug 2019 04:14:11 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=40035 If you live in apartments for long enough, at some point you're bound to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should. But sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and an innocent, accidental glance turns into a look that lingers longer that it ought. But then there’s out and out voyeurism, when someone spends way too much time spying on their neighbours. It’s the latter that forms the theme of Rear Window, a movie that television historian Andrew Mercado and I discuss in the second part of our podcast about fictional apartment blocks in TV and film. Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window turned 65 this month, its world premiere having been staged on August 4, 1954.  Having watched it (again) last weekend, I can say it still stands the test of time. Stewart plays a news photographer temporarily confined to a wheelchair who amuses himself by watching the goings on in apartments across the alleyway, then becomes convinced he has witnessed a murder. The view, supposedly the back alley of a Greenwich Village, New York block, was actually a specially built set on Paramount studio’s movie lot in Hollywood. But if nothing else, the discussion brought home to me how your memory can play tricks on you. Firstly, I thought I’d never seen it before, but it all came back to me when I watched it again (on Foxtel, for $3.95).  Then, as I say on the podcast, I envisaged Stewart looking through a telescope.  In fact, it’s a camera with a telephoto lens. And finally, largely thanks to the publicity picture above, I was sure it was in in black and white but in was actually in glorious Technicolour (and well worth a look whether you’ve seen it before, or not). Andrew and I also talk about The Apartment (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine) which seems very odd in these days of “me too”, since it centres around an office worker who feels obliged to lend his apartment to his boss so he (the boss) can have an affair with his secretary.  See, back in the day, that’s what people thought apartments were for. Green Card, the movie directed by Peter Weir gets a mention which leads to a discussion about how some of the characters in TV sitcoms could afford to live in these huge apartments in New York. It’s a pretty wide-ranging chat and at least it lets us see another side to apartment living that isn’t under the cloud of defects and cladding. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-chat-35-Screen-2.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us. OTHER LINKS: You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE. Jimmy Thomson’s website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns   If you live in apartments for long enough, at some point you're bound to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should. - If you live in apartments for long enough, at some point you're bound to catch a glimpse into other people’s lives. Most of us look away, hoping that the same courtesy will be afforded to us by anyone inadvertently seeing more than they should.<br /> <br /> But sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and an innocent, accidental glance turns into a look that lingers longer that it ought.<br /> <br /> But then there’s out and out voyeurism, when someone spends way too much time spying on their neighbours.<br /> <br /> It’s the latter that forms the theme of Rear Window, a movie that television historian Andrew Mercado and I discuss in the second part of our podcast about fictional apartment blocks in TV and film.<br /> <br /> Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window turned 65 this month, its world premiere having been staged on August 4, 1954.  Having watched it (again) last weekend, I can say it still stands the test of time.<br /> <br /> Stewart plays a news photographer temporarily confined to a wheelchair who amuses himself by watching the goings on in apartments across the alleyway, then becomes convinced he has witnessed a murder.<br /> <br /> The view, supposedly the back alley of a Greenwich Village, New York block, was actually a specially built set on Paramount studio’s movie lot in Hollywood. But if nothing else, the discussion brought home to me how your memory can play tricks on you.<br /> <br /> Firstly, I thought I’d never seen it before, but it all came back to me when I watched it again (on Foxtel, for $3.95).  Then, as I say on the podcast, I envisaged Stewart looking through a telescope.  In fact, it’s a camera with a telephoto lens.<br /> <br /> And finally, largely thanks to the publicity picture above, I was sure it was in in black and white but in was actually in glorious Technicolour (and well worth a look whether you’ve seen it before, or not).<br /> <br /> Andrew and I also talk about The Apartment (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine) which seems very odd in these days of “me too”, since it centres around an office worker who feels obliged to lend his apartment to his boss so he (the boss) can have an affair with his secretary.  See, back in the day, that’s what people thought apartments were for.<br /> <br /> Green Card, the movie directed by Peter Weir gets a mention which leads to a discussion about how some of the characters in TV sitcoms could afford to live in these huge apartments in New York.<br /> <br /> It’s a pretty wide-ranging chat and at least it lets us see another side to apartment living that isn’t under the cloud of defects and cladding.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-chat-35-Screen-2.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subscribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts.  And if you like our podcasts, please leave us a rating - it helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #34 – Tall storeys: TV dramas set in apartment blocks https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-34-tall-storeys-tv-dramas-set-in-apartment-blocks/ Tue, 30 Jul 2019 12:11:36 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-34-apartments-that-feature-in-aussie-tv-dramas There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both. So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows that were set in apartment blocks, especially Australian shows. And for that, there is no better person to sit at the Flat Chat microphone than producer, critic, writer, broadcaster, media podcaster and now cinema owner Andrew Mercado. Andrew is a total Number 96 geek, not least because he produced the TV doco Number 96 … The Final Years. So, once we’ve heard about the joys of cinema ownership, that’s where we start our discussion. It turns out that Number 96 was intended to be a vertical version of the UK’s Coronation St, which was very popular when the series was first devised by David Sale for Network 10 in 1972. Television history will show that it went way beyond that in terms of its content, characters and shockingly liberal use of nudity (certainly for the time). We then move on to my own show, Breakers – didn’t you know JimmyT was writing TV dramas before he ever typed a word about strata? – and how that fell foul of different censorship laws in Australia and the UK. In Australia at the time, TV stations could show PG-rated stuff in the afternoons when kids were at school, but in the UK, it was general release stuff during the afternoons, which caused a problem with the BBC who had bought the series. This was an issue because we had the first gay teenager as a permanent character in a teen soap (as well as the first Aboriginal kid as a permanent role). For his efforts to push the envelope, Jimmy was exposed in his former newspaper in Scotland as “The man who wants to bring under-age gay sex to afternoon TV.”  Talk about fake news! Moving on, we chat about how the Secret Life of Us could have been shot in Sydney … and why it wasn’t. We look at Wonderland which Jimmy says was Breakers for grown-ups – partly because it was created by Sarah Walker, the senior writer on that show. Andrew reckons Wonderland was “too nice”, an opinion backed up by Sarah – who, by a weird coincidence, Jimmy bumped into the next day – who confirmed the network only wanted positive stories. Oh, and she denies it was Breakers for grown-ups; she says they were trying to make Sex and the City for Australia. And finally, we talk about The Heights, the serial drama set in a Housing Commission apartment block which, in their wisdom, the network commissioned as half-hours then decided to run in one-hour blocks complete with two sets of titles and credits. It’s still a very good show, Jimmy and Andrew agree, and they love the fact that you can binge on the whole series on iView. Having rambled on about TV for way too long, Andrew and Jimmy’s chat about the movies and American TV shows set in apartments will have to wait till next week. You can also hear Andrew talking about television and movies on his Mediaweek podcast HERE. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both. - So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows that were set in ... There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both.<br /> <br /> So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows that were set in apartment blocks, especially Australian shows.<br /> <br /> And for that, there is no better person to sit at the Flat Chat microphone than producer, critic, writer, broadcaster, media podcaster and now cinema owner Andrew Mercado.<br /> <br /> Andrew is a total Number 96 geek, not least because he produced the TV doco Number 96 … The Final Years. So, once we’ve heard about the joys of cinema ownership, that’s where we start our discussion.<br /> <br /> It turns out that Number 96 was intended to be a vertical version of the UK’s Coronation St, which was very popular when the series was first devised by David Sale for Network 10 in 1972.<br /> <br /> Television history will show that it went way beyond that in terms of its content, characters and shockingly liberal use of nudity (certainly for the time).<br /> <br /> We then move on to my own show, Breakers – didn’t you know JimmyT was writing TV dramas before he ever typed a word about strata? – and how that fell foul of different censorship laws in Australia and the UK.<br /> <br /> In Australia at the time, TV stations could show PG-rated stuff in the afternoons when kids were at school, but in the UK, it was general release stuff during the afternoons, which caused a problem with the BBC who had bought the series.<br /> <br /> This was an issue because we had the first gay teenager as a permanent character in a teen soap (as well as the first Aboriginal kid as a permanent role).<br /> <br /> For his efforts to push the envelope, Jimmy was exposed in his former newspaper in Scotland as “The man who wants to bring under-age gay sex to afternoon TV.”  Talk about fake news!<br /> <br /> Moving on, we chat about how the Secret Life of Us could have been shot in Sydney … and why it wasn’t.<br /> <br /> We look at Wonderland which Jimmy says was Breakers for grown-ups – partly because it was created by Sarah Walker, the senior writer on that show.<br /> <br /> Andrew reckons Wonderland was “too nice”, an opinion backed up by Sarah – who, by a weird coincidence, Jimmy bumped into the next day – who confirmed the network only wanted positive stories.<br /> <br /> Oh, and she denies it was Breakers for grown-ups; she says they were trying to make Sex and the City for Australia.<br /> <br /> And finally, we talk about The Heights, the serial drama set in a Housing Commission apartment block which, in their wisdom, the network commissioned as half-hours then decided to run in one-hour blocks complete with two sets of titles and credits.<br /> <br /> It’s still a very good show, Jimmy and Andrew agree, and they love the fact that you can binge on the whole series on iView.<br /> <br /> Having rambled on about TV for way too long, Andrew and Jimmy’s chat about the movies and American TV shows set in apartments will have to wait till next week.<br /> <br /> You can also hear Andrew talking about television and movies on his Mediaweek podcast HERE.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns FLAT CHAT clean LISTEN: TV dramas set in apartment blocks https://www.flat-chat.com.au/apartments-on-tv/ Tue, 30 Jul 2019 02:21:56 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=39765 There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both. So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows and movies that were set in apartment blocks, especially Australian shows. And for that, there is no better person to sit at the Flat Chat microphone than producer, critic, writer, broadcaster, media podcaster and now cinema owner Andrew Mercado. Andrew is a total Number 96 geek, not least because he produced the TV doco Number 96 … The Final Years. So, once we’ve heard about the joys of cinema ownership, that’s where we start our discussion. It turns out that Number 96 was intended to be a vertical version of the UK’s Coronation St, which was very popular when the series was first devised by David Sale for Network 10 in 1972. Television history will show that it went way beyond that in terms of its content, characters and shockingly liberal use of nudity (certainly for the time). We then move on to my own show, Breakers – didn’t you know JimmyT was writing TV dramas before he ever typed a word about strata? – and how that fell foul of different censorship laws in Australia and the UK. In Australia at the time, TV stations could show PG-rated stuff in the afternoons when kids were at school, but in the UK, it was general release stuff during the afternoons, which caused a problem with the BBC who had bought the series. This was an issue because we had the first gay teenager as a permanent character in a teen soap (as well as the first Aboriginal kid as a permanent role). For his efforts to push the envelope, Jimmy was exposed in his former newspaper in Scotland as “The man who wants to bring under-age gay sex to afternoon TV.”  Talk about fake news! Moving on, we chat about how the Secret Life of Us could have been shot in Sydney … and why it wasn’t. We look at Wonderland which Jimmy says was Breakers for grown-ups – partly because it was created by Sarah Walker, the senior writer on that show. Andrew reckons Wonderland was “too nice”, an opinion backed up by Sarah – who, by a weird coincidence, Jimmy bumped into the next day – who confirmed the network only wanted positive stories. Oh, and she denies it was Breakers for grown-ups; she says they were trying to make Sex and the City for Australia. And finally, we talk about The Heights, the serial drama set in a Housing Commission apartment block which, in their wisdom, the network commissioned as half-hours then decided to run in one-hour blocks complete with two sets of titles and credits. It’s still a very good show, Jimmy and Andrew agree, and they love the fact that you can binge on the whole series on iView. Having rambled on about TV for way too long, Andrew and Jimmy’s chat about the movies and American TV shows set in apartments will have to wait till next week. You can listen to the Flat Chat Wrap HERE: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-chat-34-Screen-1.mp3 Or you can go here and listen on Youtube If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subcribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - every little helps people to find us. You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE. OTHER LINKS: Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both. - So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows and movies that w... There’s so much doom and gloom around strata at the moment you feel you’re missing out if your apartment block isn’t on fire, falling down or both.<br /> <br /> So we’ve decided to lighten the load in this week’s podcast with a look at TV shows and movies that were set in apartment blocks, especially Australian shows.<br /> <br /> And for that, there is no better person to sit at the Flat Chat microphone than producer, critic, writer, broadcaster, media podcaster and now cinema owner Andrew Mercado.<br /> <br /> Andrew is a total Number 96 geek, not least because he produced the TV doco Number 96 … The Final Years. So, once we’ve heard about the joys of cinema ownership, that’s where we start our discussion.<br /> <br /> It turns out that Number 96 was intended to be a vertical version of the UK’s Coronation St, which was very popular when the series was first devised by David Sale for Network 10 in 1972.<br /> <br /> Television history will show that it went way beyond that in terms of its content, characters and shockingly liberal use of nudity (certainly for the time).<br /> <br /> We then move on to my own show, Breakers – didn’t you know JimmyT was writing TV dramas before he ever typed a word about strata? – and how that fell foul of different censorship laws in Australia and the UK.<br /> <br /> In Australia at the time, TV stations could show PG-rated stuff in the afternoons when kids were at school, but in the UK, it was general release stuff during the afternoons, which caused a problem with the BBC who had bought the series.<br /> <br /> This was an issue because we had the first gay teenager as a permanent character in a teen soap (as well as the first Aboriginal kid as a permanent role).<br /> <br /> For his efforts to push the envelope, Jimmy was exposed in his former newspaper in Scotland as “The man who wants to bring under-age gay sex to afternoon TV.”  Talk about fake news!<br /> <br /> Moving on, we chat about how the Secret Life of Us could have been shot in Sydney … and why it wasn’t.<br /> <br /> We look at Wonderland which Jimmy says was Breakers for grown-ups – partly because it was created by Sarah Walker, the senior writer on that show.<br /> <br /> Andrew reckons Wonderland was “too nice”, an opinion backed up by Sarah – who, by a weird coincidence, Jimmy bumped into the next day – who confirmed the network only wanted positive stories.<br /> <br /> Oh, and she denies it was Breakers for grown-ups; she says they were trying to make Sex and the City for Australia.<br /> <br /> And finally, we talk about The Heights, the serial drama set in a Housing Commission apartment block which, in their wisdom, the network commissioned as half-hours then decided to run in one-hour blocks complete with two sets of titles and credits.<br /> <br /> It’s still a very good show, Jimmy and Andrew agree, and they love the fact that you can binge on the whole series on iView.<br /> <br /> Having rambled on about TV for way too long, Andrew and Jimmy’s chat about the movies and American TV shows set in apartments will have to wait till next week.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the Flat Chat Wrap HERE:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-chat-34-Screen-1.mp3<br /> <br /> Or you can go here and listen on Youtube<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Youtube. You can also subcribe on  Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) or here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - every little helps people to find us.<br /> <br /> You can also hear Andrew talking about television on his Mediaweek podcast HERE.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #33 – Commercial tenants, caretakers versus Airbnb, and wandering pot plants https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-33-commercial-tenants-caretakers-versus-airbnb-and-wandering-pot-plants/ Tue, 23 Jul 2019 19:08:23 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-33-commercial-tenants-caretakers-versus-airbnb-and-wandering-pot-plants How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home? These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildings on Sydney’s North Shore (and discussed in our podcast) where the very loosely defined approval for commercial development inside a residential building means that, in one instance, what was intended to be a gym looks like it’s going to be an open plan office, while a similar fate awaits what was supposed to be half a dozen separate small business attracting very little foot traffic. You can read the whole story by following the link to Sue Willams story at the end but it got us talking about whether owners corporations (bodies corporate) have the right to decide what kind of businesses occupy the commercial spaces in their buildings – and should they have that right if they don’t? Also in the podcast, JimmyT hops into two of his hobby horses in one discussion when he chats about a phenomenon detected in Queensland where Airbnb is apparently undermining the viability of some on-site caretaker managers. Just to recap, the pre-sale of onsite management rights is something that Jimmy frequently describes as legalised corruption. Illegal everywhere else in Australia, it’s a grubby cash grab in the Queensland law that allows developers to sell the management rights to as-yet unbuilt apartment blocks. That means the eventual owners not only have no say in the terms and conditions of the contracts, which can be for 25 years, they are obliged to pay inflated levies to cover the cost of the purchase. However, recent changes in strata law in Queensland mean that owners are no longer obliged to go through the on-site caretakers when they want to rent their properties to holidaymakers. Enter Airbnb which not only takes a much lower cut of the rent, it allows the owners to rent their properties to whomever they want.  Now, Jimmy has been a long-standing critic of Airbnb commercial set-ups in residential buildings but this, he says, may be a rare case of two wrongs making a right.  In any case, holiday rentals have long been part of the strata scene in Queensland so it's not like they are turning purely residential blocks into hotels. And finally we have the sad case of a stolen pot plant, as reported in our Forum.  Sue, who tends to see the best in people has some interesting thoughts on how a residents’ cleaner could be seen taking a pot plant from common property and get away with it. Jimmy blames the cleaner’s employer.  How could that work?  For that you’ll need to listen to the podcast which is also available on Youtube OTHER LINKS Sue’s story on the commercial blocks Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns   How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home? - These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildin... How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home?<br /> <br /> These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildings on Sydney’s North Shore (and discussed in our podcast) where the very loosely defined approval for commercial development inside a residential building means that, in one instance, what was intended to be a gym looks like it’s going to be an open plan office, while a similar fate awaits what was supposed to be half a dozen separate small business attracting very little foot traffic.<br /> <br /> You can read the whole story by following the link to Sue Willams story at the end but it got us talking about whether owners corporations (bodies corporate) have the right to decide what kind of businesses occupy the commercial spaces in their buildings – and should they have that right if they don’t?<br /> <br /> Also in the podcast, JimmyT hops into two of his hobby horses in one discussion when he chats about a phenomenon detected in Queensland where Airbnb is apparently undermining the viability of some on-site caretaker managers.<br /> <br /> Just to recap, the pre-sale of onsite management rights is something that Jimmy frequently describes as legalised corruption. Illegal everywhere else in Australia, it’s a grubby cash grab in the Queensland law that allows developers to sell the management rights to as-yet unbuilt apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> That means the eventual owners not only have no say in the terms and conditions of the contracts, which can be for 25 years, they are obliged to pay inflated levies to cover the cost of the purchase.<br /> <br /> However, recent changes in strata law in Queensland mean that owners are no longer obliged to go through the on-site caretakers when they want to rent their properties to holidaymakers.<br /> <br /> Enter Airbnb which not only takes a much lower cut of the rent, it allows the owners to rent their properties to whomever they want.  Now, Jimmy has been a long-standing critic of Airbnb commercial set-ups in residential buildings but this, he says, may be a rare case of two wrongs making a right.  In any case, holiday rentals have long been part of the strata scene in Queensland so it's not like they are turning purely residential blocks into hotels.<br /> <br /> And finally we have the sad case of a stolen pot plant, as reported in our Forum.  Sue, who tends to see the best in people has some interesting thoughts on how a residents’ cleaner could be seen taking a pot plant from common property and get away with it.<br /> <br /> Jimmy blames the cleaner’s employer.  How could that work?  For that you’ll need to listen to the podcast which is also available on Youtube<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS<br /> <br /> Sue’s story on the commercial blocks<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Space invaders, Airbnb v caretakers and purloined pot plants https://www.flat-chat.com.au/commercial-space-invaders/ Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:45:07 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=39211 How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home? These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildings on Sydney’s North Shore (and discussed in our podcast) where the very loosely defined approval for commercial development inside a residential building means that, in one instance, what was intended to be a gym looks like it’s going to be an open plan office, while a similar fate awaits what was supposed to be half a dozen separate small business attracting very little foot traffic. You can read the whole story by following the link at the end but it got us talking about whether owners corporations (bodies corporate) have the right to decide what kind of businesses occupy the commercial spaces in their buildings – and should they have that right if they don’t? Also in the podcast, JimmyT gets on two of his hobby horses in one discussion when he chats about a phenomenon detected in Queensland where Airbnb is apparently undermining the viability of some on-site caretaker managers. Just to recap, the pre-sale of onsite management rights is something that Jimmy frequently describes as legalised corruption. Illegal everywhere else in Australia, it’s a grubby cash grab in the law that allows developers to sell the management rights to as-yet unbuilt apartment blocks. That means the eventual owners not only have no say in the terms and conditions of the contracts, which can be for 25 years, they are obliged to pay inflated levies to cover the cost of the purchase. However, recent changes in strata law in Queensland mean that owners are no longer obliged to go through the on-site caretakers when they want to rent their properties out to holidaymakers. Enter Airbnb which not only takes a much lower cut of the rent, it allows the owners to rent their properties to whomever they want.  Now, Jimmy has been a long-standing critic of Airbnb commercial set-ups in residential buildings but this, he says, may be a rare case of two wrongs making a right. And finally we have the sad case of a stolen pot plant, as reported in our Forum.  Sue, who tends to see the best in people has some interesting thoughts on how a residents’ cleaner could be seen taking a pot plant from common property and get away with it. Jimmy blames the cleaner’s employer.  How could that work?  For that you’ll need to listen to the podcast. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-33-Commercial-share.mp3 And it’s also available on YouTube. OTHER LINKS Sue’s story on the commercial blocks Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns   How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home? - These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildin... How would you feel if you suddenly had 50 to 100 strangers walking through your lobby every day, clogging up the lifts just when you are trying to get to work or when you come home?<br /> <br /> These are the fears raised by residents of two neighbouring buildings on Sydney’s North Shore (and discussed in our podcast) where the very loosely defined approval for commercial development inside a residential building means that, in one instance, what was intended to be a gym looks like it’s going to be an open plan office, while a similar fate awaits what was supposed to be half a dozen separate small business attracting very little foot traffic.<br /> <br /> You can read the whole story by following the link at the end but it got us talking about whether owners corporations (bodies corporate) have the right to decide what kind of businesses occupy the commercial spaces in their buildings – and should they have that right if they don’t?<br /> <br /> Also in the podcast, JimmyT gets on two of his hobby horses in one discussion when he chats about a phenomenon detected in Queensland where Airbnb is apparently undermining the viability of some on-site caretaker managers.<br /> <br /> Just to recap, the pre-sale of onsite management rights is something that Jimmy frequently describes as legalised corruption.<br /> <br /> Illegal everywhere else in Australia, it’s a grubby cash grab in the law that allows developers to sell the management rights to as-yet unbuilt apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> That means the eventual owners not only have no say in the terms and conditions of the contracts, which can be for 25 years, they are obliged to pay inflated levies to cover the cost of the purchase.<br /> <br /> However, recent changes in strata law in Queensland mean that owners are no longer obliged to go through the on-site caretakers when they want to rent their properties out to holidaymakers.<br /> <br /> Enter Airbnb which not only takes a much lower cut of the rent, it allows the owners to rent their properties to whomever they want.  Now, Jimmy has been a long-standing critic of Airbnb commercial set-ups in residential buildings but this, he says, may be a rare case of two wrongs making a right.<br /> <br /> And finally we have the sad case of a stolen pot plant, as reported in our Forum.  Sue, who tends to see the best in people has some interesting thoughts on how a residents’ cleaner could be seen taking a pot plant from common property and get away with it.<br /> <br /> Jimmy blames the cleaner’s employer.  How could that work?  For that you’ll need to listen to the podcast.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-33-Commercial-share.mp3<br /> <br /> And it’s also available on YouTube.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS<br /> <br /> Sue’s story on the commercial blocks<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Time we had a Tripadvisor for unit block builders? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/time-we-had-a-tripadvisor-for-tower-blocks/ Sat, 20 Jul 2019 22:10:12 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=39118 With defects on the minds of everyone in the apartment world, there’s a whole lot of finger pointing going on. Developers are saying engineers should be certified, strata owners say developers should be certified, and some people say anyone thinking of buying an apartment should be certified (but not in the same way). But it makes you wonder, when everything in our lives has some kind of rating, why don’t the people behind the biggest single purchases most of us will ever make have to compete for consumer credibility? You decide to go on holiday and before you’ve even checked the price of flights, you are scouring Tripadvisor to see how other travellers rate the hotels where you’re thinking of staying. You need a new kettle and you go to internet comparison sites looking for the fastest, quietest or funkiest appliances which, after all, are only required to boil water. Whitegoods have star ratings based on their energy usage (or lack thereof). Restaurants, airlines, consumer goods, cars, credit cards and insurance – they all get some sort of rating. So why not apartment blocks, developers and builders? Don't miss our podcast on this - Click Here Okay, for a start, would they accept the opinions of non-industry assessors?  And if not, how valuable would their self-assessment be? To answer to that, we should look at what star ratings do for that other essential – food. A few years ago the food industry effectively hijacked the consumer advice system intended to indicate the relative health values of foods. That would explain why a certain breakfast cereal, which would rate just over one star on a sensible system, currently gets four stars out of five. That’s also why packaging confusingly reveals what percentage of your estimated daily calorie intake a portion of the food represents, rather than clearly telling you how many calories, fat and sugar it contains. What does this have to do with apartment blocks?  If history is anything to go by, our state governments will develop amnesia about how we got into this mess –developers hiring their choice of certifiers who approved their substandard buildings – and let the industry set its own rules. Expect to hear shameless equivocation as the pollies explain how the people best placed to fix the problem are those who caused it. Okay, yes, there are plenty of good, honest developers who’d rather chew concrete than knowingly build substandard homes. But where have they been for the past 20 years while confidence in their industry has been eroded by cowboys and chancers? Talk about a conspiracy of silence! So here’s a plan for proper consumer protections: a star ratings system.  We start by wiping the slate clean, with every developer and builder getting three silver stars. However, every time they fail to rectify defects, and they lose in court or at a tribunal, they also lose a star. And every year that they survive without a significant legal challenge over defects, they gain one, graduating from silver to gold as their reputation for excellence and integrity is enhanced. Eventually, you will have a seven-tier star rating that ranges from no stars to three gold stars, which will become as valuable to developers and builders – and consumers – as chefs hats are to restaurants. I hear whispers that the Owners Corporation Network – the peak body for apartment owners – is considering introducing some kind of Choice-like ratings system. They’d better move fast before the industry’s own star scheme is wheeled in, carrying all the integrity, credibility and social value of a reality TV dating show. A version of this column first appeared in the Australian Financial Review. With defects on the minds of everyone in the apartment world, there’s a whole lot of finger pointing going on. - Developers are saying engineers should be certified, strata owners say developers should be certified, With defects on the minds of everyone in the apartment world, there’s a whole lot of finger pointing going on.<br /> <br /> Developers are saying engineers should be certified, strata owners say developers should be certified, and some people say anyone thinking of buying an apartment should be certified (but not in the same way).<br /> <br /> But it makes you wonder, when everything in our lives has some kind of rating, why don’t the people behind the biggest single purchases most of us will ever make have to compete for consumer credibility?<br /> <br /> You decide to go on holiday and before you’ve even checked the price of flights, you are scouring Tripadvisor to see how other travellers rate the hotels where you’re thinking of staying.<br /> <br /> You need a new kettle and you go to internet comparison sites looking for the fastest, quietest or funkiest appliances which, after all, are only required to boil water.<br /> <br /> Whitegoods have star ratings based on their energy usage (or lack thereof). Restaurants, airlines, consumer goods, cars, credit cards and insurance – they all get some sort of rating. So why not apartment blocks, developers and builders?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Don't miss our podcast on this - Click Here<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Okay, for a start, would they accept the opinions of non-industry assessors?  And if not, how valuable would their self-assessment be?<br /> <br /> To answer to that, we should look at what star ratings do for that other essential – food.<br /> <br /> A few years ago the food industry effectively hijacked the consumer advice system intended to indicate the relative health values of foods.<br /> <br /> That would explain why a certain breakfast cereal, which would rate just over one star on a sensible system, currently gets four stars out of five.<br /> <br /> That’s also why packaging confusingly reveals what percentage of your estimated daily calorie intake a portion of the food represents, rather than clearly telling you how many calories, fat and sugar it contains.<br /> <br /> What does this have to do with apartment blocks?  If history is anything to go by, our state governments will develop amnesia about how we got into this mess –developers hiring their choice of certifiers who approved their substandard buildings – and let the industry set its own rules.<br /> <br /> Expect to hear shameless equivocation as the pollies explain how the people best placed to fix the problem are those who caused it.<br /> <br /> Okay, yes, there are plenty of good, honest developers who’d rather chew concrete than knowingly build substandard homes.<br /> <br /> But where have they been for the past 20 years while confidence in their industry has been eroded by cowboys and chancers? Talk about a conspiracy of silence!<br /> <br /> So here’s a plan for proper consumer protections: a star ratings system.  We start by wiping the slate clean, with every developer and builder getting three silver stars.<br /> <br /> However, every time they fail to rectify defects, and they lose in court or at a tribunal, they also lose a star.<br /> <br /> And every year that they survive without a significant legal challenge over defects, they gain one, graduating from silver to gold as their reputation for excellence and integrity is enhanced.<br /> <br /> Eventually, you will have a seven-tier star rating that ranges from no stars to three gold stars, which will become as valuable to developers and builders – and consumers – as chefs hats are to restaurants.<br /> <br /> I hear whispers that the Owners Corporation Network – the peak body for apartment owners – is considering introducing some kind of Choice-like ratings system.<br /> <br /> They’d better move fast before the industry’s own star scheme is wheeled in, carrying all the integrity, credibility and social value of a reality TV dating show.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #32 – Time we had a star rating for the best and worst developers and builders https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-32-time-we-had-a-star-rating-for-the-best-and-worst-developers-and-builders/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:29:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-32-time-we-had-a-star-rating-for-the-best-and-worst-developers-and-builders-1 In this week's Podcast, Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss why it is that we can get ratings and comparisons for just about everything we buy ... except the largest purchase most of us will ever make.  And they float the idea of people being given (and losing) a licence to live in strata. We have a friend called Royce who wouldn’t buy so much as a toothbrush without checking online to see if it was the best design (at the best price) for his specific dental needs. He is so notorious for his exhaustive product checking that our group of friends refers to the process as “Roycing”. For instance, you say you’re thinking of buying a particular brand of new TV and someone says “Oh, have you Royced it?” We were reminded about that this week, after my piece in last weekend’s Australian Financial Review about how to avoid buying an apartment with built-in problems, when we realised there is no independent ratings system for apartment blocks, builders or developers. So in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, journalist and author Sue Williams and I ask why it is that you can go online and get people’s opinions of hotels and resorts on websites like Tripadvisor (and others), but you can’t get any unbiased, independent reviews of developers, builders and even apartment blocks. That segued into our chat about how a star rating might work.  We think you could start with everyone getting three stars, which they could lose by poor service and bad behaviour, and gain by just providing a decent service.  We’re not talking about losing points for having a building with defects – it’s more about how they deal with the defects once they have been discovered. If a developer compels their apartment owners to take them to court, and then they lose the case, that’s a silver star gone immediately. On the other hand, if they have a good record of dealing with owners’ issues, in a timely and reasonable fashion, those silver stars turn gold.   Could it work? Yes, but, to be honest, we are more likely to have some half-cocked voluntary code of conduct foisted on us. But all that chat about bad actors on the developer and builder side, got us talking about a similar system for strata residents.  We came up with the idea of a licence to live in strata, which everyone got for free as soon as they signed up to rent or buy, but then lost points – and eventually the ability to live in strata completely – if they turned out to be antisocial pains in the ass. Moving on, Sue told us about the giant loophole in strata law that means you can get orders issued by NCAT but then they don’t have the power to enforce them if the subject of the order just ignores them We also talked about who pays the power bills when residents put their own washing machines and dryers in common property laundries. And we discussed residents who own more cars than parking spots, who permanently use visitor parking as atheir own. Should you crack down on them, even when there’s plenty of visitor parking to spare? Or is it, to use that phrase beloved of lawyers around the world, “a matter of principle”? That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-32-Ratings.mp3 And it’s also available on YouTube. OTHER LINKS Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns   In this week's Podcast, Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss why it is that we can get ratings and comparisons for just about everything we buy ... except the largest purchase most of us will ever make.  And they float the idea of people being given ... In this week's Podcast, Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss why it is that we can get ratings and comparisons for just about everything we buy ... except the largest purchase most of us will ever make.  And they float the idea of people being given (and losing) a licence to live in strata.<br /> We have a friend called Royce who wouldn’t buy so much as a toothbrush without checking online to see if it was the best design (at the best price) for his specific dental needs. He is so notorious for his exhaustive product checking that our group of friends refers to the process as “Roycing”.<br /> For instance, you say you’re thinking of buying a particular brand of new TV and someone says “Oh, have you Royced it?”<br /> We were reminded about that this week, after my piece in last weekend’s Australian Financial Review about how to avoid buying an apartment with built-in problems, when we realised there is no independent ratings system for apartment blocks, builders or developers.<br /> So in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, journalist and author Sue Williams and I ask why it is that you can go online and get people’s opinions of hotels and resorts on websites like Tripadvisor (and others), but you can’t get any unbiased, independent reviews of developers, builders and even apartment blocks.<br /> That segued into our chat about how a star rating might work.  We think you could start with everyone getting three stars, which they could lose by poor service and bad behaviour, and gain by just providing a decent service. <br /> We’re not talking about losing points for having a building with defects – it’s more about how they deal with the defects once they have been discovered.<br /> If a developer compels their apartment owners to take them to court, and then they lose the case, that’s a silver star gone immediately.<br /> On the other hand, if they have a good record of dealing with owners’ issues, in a timely and reasonable fashion, those silver stars turn gold.  <br /> Could it work? Yes, but, to be honest, we are more likely to have some half-cocked voluntary code of conduct foisted on us.<br /> But all that chat about bad actors on the developer and builder side, got us talking about a similar system for strata residents. <br /> We came up with the idea of a licence to live in strata, which everyone got for free as soon as they signed up to rent or buy, but then lost points – and eventually the ability to live in strata completely – if they turned out to be antisocial pains in the ass.<br /> Moving on, Sue told us about the giant loophole in strata law that means you can get orders issued by NCAT but then they don’t have the power to enforce them if the subject of the order just ignores them<br /> We also talked about who pays the power bills when residents put their own washing machines and dryers in common property laundries.<br /> And we discussed residents who own more cars than parking spots, who permanently use visitor parking as atheir own. Should you crack down on them, even when there’s plenty of visitor parking to spare?<br /> Or is it, to use that phrase beloved of lawyers around the world, “a matter of principle”?<br /> That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap:<br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-32-Ratings.mp3<br /> And it’s also available on YouTube.<br /> OTHER LINKS<br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> Sue Williams website FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: A star rating system for developers, builders … and residents https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-a-star-rating-system-developers-builders-and-strata-residents/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 04:36:05 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38736 We have a friend called Royce who wouldn’t buy so much as a toothbrush without checking online to see if it was the best design (at the best price) for his specific dental needs. He is so notorious for his exhaustive product checking that our group of friends refers to the process as “Roycing”. For instance, you say you’re thinking of buying a particular brand of new TV and someone says “Oh, have you Royced it?” We were reminded about that this week, after my piece in last weekend’s Australian Financial Review about how to avoid buying an apartment with built-in problems, when we realised there is no independent ratings system for apartment blocks, builders or developers. So in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, journalist and author Sue Williams and I ask why it is that you can go online and get people’s opinions of hotels and resorts on websites like Tripadvisor (and others), but you can’t get any unbiased, independent reviews of developers, builders and even apartment blocks. That segued into our chat about how a star rating might work.  We think you could start with everyone getting three stars, which they could lose by poor service and bad behaviour, and gain by just providing a decent service. We’re not talking about losing points for having a building with defects – it’s more about how they deal with the defects once they have been discovered. If a developer compels their apartment owners to take them to court, and then they lose the case, that’s a silver star gone immediately. On the other hand, if they have a good record of dealing with owners’ issues, in a timely and reasonable fashion, those silver stars turn gold. Could it work? Yes, but, to be honest, we are more likely to have some half-cocked voluntary code of conduct foisted on us.  You can read more on this HERE. But all that chat about bad actors on the developer and builder side, got us talking about a similar system for strata residents. We came up with the idea of a licence to live in strata, which everyone got for free as soon as they signed up to rent or buy, but then lost points – and eventually the ability to live in strata completely – if they turned out to be antisocial pains in the ass. Moving on, Sue told us about the giant loophole in strata law that means you can get orders issued by NCAT but then they don’t have the power to enforce them if the subject of the order just ignores them We also talked about who pays the power bills when residents put their own washing machines and dryers in common property laundries. And we discussed residents who own more cars than parking spots, who permanently use visitor parking as atheir own. Should you crack down on them, even when there’s plenty of visitor parking to spare? Or is it, to use that phrase beloved of lawyers around the world, “a matter of principle”? That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-32-Ratings.mp3 And it’s also available on YouTube. OTHER LINKS Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns   We have a friend called Royce who wouldn’t buy so much as a toothbrush without checking online to see if it was the best design (at the best price) for his specific dental needs. He is so notorious for his exhaustive product checking that our group of ... We have a friend called Royce who wouldn’t buy so much as a toothbrush without checking online to see if it was the best design (at the best price) for his specific dental needs. He is so notorious for his exhaustive product checking that our group of friends refers to the process as “Roycing”.<br /> <br /> For instance, you say you’re thinking of buying a particular brand of new TV and someone says “Oh, have you Royced it?”<br /> <br /> We were reminded about that this week, after my piece in last weekend’s Australian Financial Review about how to avoid buying an apartment with built-in problems, when we realised there is no independent ratings system for apartment blocks, builders or developers.<br /> <br /> So in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, journalist and author Sue Williams and I ask why it is that you can go online and get people’s opinions of hotels and resorts on websites like Tripadvisor (and others), but you can’t get any unbiased, independent reviews of developers, builders and even apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> That segued into our chat about how a star rating might work.  We think you could start with everyone getting three stars, which they could lose by poor service and bad behaviour, and gain by just providing a decent service.<br /> <br /> We’re not talking about losing points for having a building with defects – it’s more about how they deal with the defects once they have been discovered.<br /> <br /> If a developer compels their apartment owners to take them to court, and then they lose the case, that’s a silver star gone immediately.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, if they have a good record of dealing with owners’ issues, in a timely and reasonable fashion, those silver stars turn gold.<br /> <br /> Could it work? Yes, but, to be honest, we are more likely to have some half-cocked voluntary code of conduct foisted on us.  You can read more on this HERE.<br /> <br /> But all that chat about bad actors on the developer and builder side, got us talking about a similar system for strata residents.<br /> <br /> We came up with the idea of a licence to live in strata, which everyone got for free as soon as they signed up to rent or buy, but then lost points – and eventually the ability to live in strata completely – if they turned out to be antisocial pains in the ass.<br /> <br /> Moving on, Sue told us about the giant loophole in strata law that means you can get orders issued by NCAT but then they don’t have the power to enforce them if the subject of the order just ignores them<br /> <br /> We also talked about who pays the power bills when residents put their own washing machines and dryers in common property laundries.<br /> <br /> And we discussed residents who own more cars than parking spots, who permanently use visitor parking as atheir own. Should you crack down on them, even when there’s plenty of visitor parking to spare?<br /> <br /> Or is it, to use that phrase beloved of lawyers around the world, “a matter of principle”?<br /> <br /> That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-32-Ratings.mp3<br /> <br /> And it’s also available on YouTube.<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website<br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #31 – Tip of the defects iceberg and why it’s such a massive problem https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-31-tip-of-the-defects-iceberg-and-why-its-such-a-massive-problem/ Tue, 09 Jul 2019 18:43:35 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-31-tip-of-the-defects-iceberg-and-why-it39s-such-a-massive-problem In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the revelation that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects  iceberg. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams have been writing about apartment block defects – and other, happier apartment-related issues – for more than 15 years. In this episode of the Flat Chat Wrap, Sue recalls the time more than a decade ago that a feature on defects almost cost her job, when a property writer with a close personal relationship with a developer, saw her expose on apartment block defects and called her friend. The developer called the editor and threatened to pull all their advertising if the story went ahead. The editor caved in.  Sue offered her resignation but it was turned down (although she is now a freelance working mostly for other publications). That’s just part of the reason that the whole grubby business of building defects, government lack of interest (to the point almost of collusion) and corporate cover-ups have led to the point we are at now where ordinary people don’t know for sure whether or not their apartment is going to have serious building problems at some point. This episode looks at two of the root causes of the problem – phoenixing and lack of “duty of care” and how they can, together, leave apartment owners with little or no consumer protection. Phoenixing is when a development company builds an apartment block and then goes into liquidation when the claims for defect rectification come in. However, a similar company with similar or identical directors can then rise from the ashes of the previous entity and do the same thing over and over again. “Duty of care” or the lack of it relates to a legal precedent established last year that said builders only have a responsibility to apartment block developers, not to the people who bought the apartments. One of the legal arguments was that they couldn’t have contract responsibility to the apartment owners through their owners’ corporation (body corporate) since that body didn’t exist when the contracts were signed. So you can see, remove the developer (who has gone into voluntary liquidation), and the apartment owner is left high and dry. NSW is planning to create the position of Building Commissioner to deal with these and other problems, including the certification of engineers and developers. We’ll be watching with interest to see how that pans out. On a happier note, Sue has also been looking at the winners of the NSW Architecture Awards and some of the innovative designs that caught the judges’ eyes. LINKS: SMH feature on defects Sue Williams on Architecture awards Flat Chat Website Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the revelation that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects  iceberg. - Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams have been writing about apartment bl... In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the revelation that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects  iceberg.<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams have been writing about apartment block defects – and other, happier apartment-related issues – for more than 15 years.<br /> <br /> In this episode of the Flat Chat Wrap, Sue recalls the time more than a decade ago that a feature on defects almost cost her job, when a property writer with a close personal relationship with a developer, saw her expose on apartment block defects and called her friend.<br /> <br /> The developer called the editor and threatened to pull all their advertising if the story went ahead. The editor caved in.  Sue offered her resignation but it was turned down (although she is now a freelance working mostly for other publications).<br /> <br /> That’s just part of the reason that the whole grubby business of building defects, government lack of interest (to the point almost of collusion) and corporate cover-ups have led to the point we are at now where ordinary people don’t know for sure whether or not their apartment is going to have serious building problems at some point.<br /> <br /> This episode looks at two of the root causes of the problem – phoenixing and lack of “duty of care” and how they can, together, leave apartment owners with little or no consumer protection.<br /> <br /> Phoenixing is when a development company builds an apartment block and then goes into liquidation when the claims for defect rectification come in. However, a similar company with similar or identical directors can then rise from the ashes of the previous entity and do the same thing over and over again.<br /> <br /> “Duty of care” or the lack of it relates to a legal precedent established last year that said builders only have a responsibility to apartment block developers, not to the people who bought the apartments.<br /> <br /> One of the legal arguments was that they couldn’t have contract responsibility to the apartment owners through their owners’ corporation (body corporate) since that body didn’t exist when the contracts were signed.<br /> <br /> So you can see, remove the developer (who has gone into voluntary liquidation), and the apartment owner is left high and dry.<br /> <br /> NSW is planning to create the position of Building Commissioner to deal with these and other problems, including the certification of engineers and developers. We’ll be watching with interest to see how that pans out.<br /> <br /> On a happier note, Sue has also been looking at the winners of the NSW Architecture Awards and some of the innovative designs that caught the judges’ eyes.<br /> <br /> LINKS:<br /> <br /> SMH feature on defects<br /> <br /> Sue Williams on Architecture awards<br /> <br /> Flat Chat Website<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website <br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: When defect disaster warnings were covered up https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-how-defects-disaster-warnings-were-ignored-and-censored/ Tue, 09 Jul 2019 11:08:15 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38602 In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the claims that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects iceberg. This comes as no surprise to JimmyT and Sue Williams, who have been writing about apartment block defects – and other, happier apartment-related issues – for almost two decades, meeting a response that ranged from complete lack of interest to virtual censorship. In this episode of the Flat Chat Wrap, Sue recalls the time 15 years ago that a hard news feature on defects almost cost her job, when a (then) property writer saw her newspaper expose on apartment block defects and called a developer mate to warn him. The developer called the editor and threatened to pull all the company's advertising if the story went ahead. The editor caved in.  Sue offered her resignation but it was turned down (she is now a freelance writer and author, mostly working for another publication). That’s just part of the reason that the whole grubby business of building defects, government lack of interest (to the point almost of collusion) and corporate cover-ups have led to the situation we are in now where ordinary people live with the fear that their apartment is going to have serious building problems at some point. This podcast looks at two of the root causes of the problem – phoenixing and lack of “duty of care” and how they can, together, leave apartment owners with little or no consumer protection. Phoenixing is when a development company builds an apartment block and then goes into liquidation when the claims for defect rectification come in (if not before). However, a similar company with similar or identical directors can then rise from the ashes of the previous entity and do the same thing over and over again. “Duty of care” or the lack of it relates to a legal precedent established last year that said builders only have a responsibility to apartment block developers, not to the people who bought the apartments. One of the legal arguments was that they couldn’t have contract responsibility to the apartment owners through their owners’ corporation (body corporate) since that body didn’t exist when the contracts were signed. So you can see, remove the developer (who has gone into voluntary liquidation), and the apartment owner is left high and dry. NSW is planning to create the position of Building Commissioner to deal with these and other problems, including the certification of engineers and developers. We’ll be watching with interest to see how that pans out. On a happier note, Sue has also been looking at the winners of the NSW Architecture Awards and some of the innovative designs that caught the judges’ eyes. That's all in theis week's Flat Chat Wrap: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-31-Tip-of-the-iceberg.mp3 And on Youtube HERE: OTHER LINKS: SMH feature on defects Sue Williams on Architecture awards Jimmy Thomson’s website Sue Williams website Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the claims that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects iceberg. - This comes as no surprise to JimmyT and Sue Williams, In this week’s episode of the Flat Chat Wrap we look at the claims that the Opal and Mascot towers “disasters” are just the tip of a very large apartment block defects iceberg.<br /> <br /> This comes as no surprise to JimmyT and Sue Williams, who have been writing about apartment block defects – and other, happier apartment-related issues – for almost two decades, meeting a response that ranged from complete lack of interest to virtual censorship.<br /> <br /> In this episode of the Flat Chat Wrap, Sue recalls the time 15 years ago that a hard news feature on defects almost cost her job, when a (then) property writer saw her newspaper expose on apartment block defects and called a developer mate to warn him.<br /> <br /> The developer called the editor and threatened to pull all the company's advertising if the story went ahead. The editor caved in.  Sue offered her resignation but it was turned down (she is now a freelance writer and author, mostly working for another publication).<br /> <br /> That’s just part of the reason that the whole grubby business of building defects, government lack of interest (to the point almost of collusion) and corporate cover-ups have led to the situation we are in now where ordinary people live with the fear that their apartment is going to have serious building problems at some point.<br /> <br /> This podcast looks at two of the root causes of the problem – phoenixing and lack of “duty of care” and how they can, together, leave apartment owners with little or no consumer protection.<br /> <br /> Phoenixing is when a development company builds an apartment block and then goes into liquidation when the claims for defect rectification come in (if not before). However, a similar company with similar or identical directors can then rise from the ashes of the previous entity and do the same thing over and over again.<br /> <br /> “Duty of care” or the lack of it relates to a legal precedent established last year that said builders only have a responsibility to apartment block developers, not to the people who bought the apartments.<br /> <br /> One of the legal arguments was that they couldn’t have contract responsibility to the apartment owners through their owners’ corporation (body corporate) since that body didn’t exist when the contracts were signed.<br /> <br /> So you can see, remove the developer (who has gone into voluntary liquidation), and the apartment owner is left high and dry.<br /> <br /> NSW is planning to create the position of Building Commissioner to deal with these and other problems, including the certification of engineers and developers. We’ll be watching with interest to see how that pans out.<br /> <br /> On a happier note, Sue has also been looking at the winners of the NSW Architecture Awards and some of the innovative designs that caught the judges’ eyes. That's all in theis week's Flat Chat Wrap:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-31-Tip-of-the-iceberg.mp3<br /> <br /> And on Youtube HERE:<br /> <br /> OTHER LINKS:<br /> <br /> SMH feature on defects<br /> <br /> Sue Williams on Architecture awards<br /> <br /> Jimmy Thomson’s website<br /> <br /> Sue Williams website <br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Australian Financial Review columns Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #30 – Three kinds of insurance and a few facts that will shock you https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-30-three-kinds-of-insurance-and-a-few-facts-that-will-shock-you/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 15:52:51 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-30-three-kinds-of-insurance-and-a-few-facts-that-will-shock-you Jimmy Thomson investigates four different kinds of insurance (including Airbnb) and why telling one little white lie about whether or not you were allowed to have short-term letting in your apartment could invalidate your cover. He's joined by Steve Tchepak, Acting Head of Underwriting at our sponsors CHU Insurance. Jimmy Thomson investigates four different kinds of insurance (including Airbnb) and why telling one little white lie about whether or not you were allowed to have short-term letting in your apartment could invalidate your cover. - Jimmy Thomson investigates four different kinds of insurance (including Airbnb) and why telling one little white lie about whether or not you were allowed to have short-term letting in your apartment could invalidate your cover.<br /> <br /> He's joined by Steve Tchepak, Acting Head of Underwriting at our sponsors CHU Insurance. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Everything you never knew about strata insurance https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-everything-you-never-knew-about-strata-insurance/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 07:00:29 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38390 One of the big questions around the recent Mascot Tower problems was why didn't the building insurance kick in, rather than the state government having to bail the owners corporation out with emergency funding. The simple answer is that it looked very much like a building defect and that's not covered by ordinary strata insurance. So what is strata insurance -  the compulsory one that covers the building and the common property, and is paid for by the Owners Corporation - and what does it cover? There are a lot of questions and more than a few surprising answers around strata insurance. Did you know that strata insurance also covers the fixtures and fitings in your apartment? Do you know what those fixtures and fittings are? Did you know that you can apply for a payout from strata insurance yourself, even if your strata committee or strata manager refuses to pass on the claim? Do you know what landlord insurance is, and what it covers? Why is it that if you go directly to the strata insurer (rather than a strata manager or broker) you don't get a discount equivalent to their commission? Does changing a garage into a habitable room change the building insurance? Can you get Airbnb insurance for your flat? What would you need to do to have your insurance invalidated? (Clue: it would have to be something really bad or dishonest). All these questions and more are answered by our guest in this week's podcast, Steve Tchepak from our sponsors CHU Insurance. Enjoy. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-30-Insurance.mp3 And the podcast is also available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYuceKMkp8Y One of the big questions around the recent Mascot Tower problems was why didn't the building insurance kick in, rather than the state government having to bail the owners corporation out with emergency funding. - One of the big questions around the recent Mascot Tower problems was why didn't the building insurance kick in, rather than the state government having to bail the owners corporation out with emergency funding.<br /> <br /> The simple answer is that it looked very much like a building defect and that's not covered by ordinary strata insurance. So what is strata insurance -  the compulsory one that covers the building and the common property, and is paid for by the Owners Corporation - and what does it cover?<br /> <br /> There are a lot of questions and more than a few surprising answers around strata insurance.<br /> <br /> Did you know that strata insurance also covers the fixtures and fitings in your apartment?<br /> Do you know what those fixtures and fittings are?<br /> Did you know that you can apply for a payout from strata insurance yourself, even if your strata committee or strata manager refuses to pass on the claim?<br /> Do you know what landlord insurance is, and what it covers?<br /> Why is it that if you go directly to the strata insurer (rather than a strata manager or broker) you don't get a discount equivalent to their commission?<br /> Does changing a garage into a habitable room change the building insurance?<br /> Can you get Airbnb insurance for your flat?<br /> What would you need to do to have your insurance invalidated? (Clue: it would have to be something really bad or dishonest).<br /> <br /> All these questions and more are answered by our guest in this week's podcast, Steve Tchepak from our sponsors CHU Insurance. Enjoy.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-30-Insurance.mp3<br /> <br /> And the podcast is also available on Youtube:<br /> <br /> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYuceKMkp8Y Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #29 – the great Mascot Tower giveaway … and what it means about cladding https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-29-the-great-mascot-tower-giveaway-and-what-it-means-about-cladding/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 18:18:56 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-29-the-great-mascot-tower-giveaway-and-what-it-means-about-cladding Confronted by images of residents of Mascot Tower evacuating the building, the NSW government has moved relatively swiftlly to plug the accommodation gap with a loan to the Owners Corporation to cover the cost of emergency billets for the owners and renters. As JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss in this week's podcast, the state government's loan may never have to be paid back, because they think they know what (and who) caused the structural damage and it's eminently possible it wasn't building defects. And even if it does turn out to be defects - and the block is well out of warranties - the loan may never have to be paid back "at the government's discretion." Meanwhile we ask, if you can find money to rehouse evacuees (quite rightly), what about all the people facing massive bills to remediate flammable cladding which is only on buildings, risking life and limb, because of the slack attitudes of a procession of governments in this state. You're happy to take our stamp duty - how about offering us some protections?  That's all in this week's podcast ... and more. Confronted by images of residents of Mascot Tower evacuating the building, the NSW government has moved relatively swiftlly to plug the accommodation gap with a loan to the Owners Corporation to cover the cost of emergency billets for the owners and re... Confronted by images of residents of Mascot Tower evacuating the building, the NSW government has moved relatively swiftlly to plug the accommodation gap with a loan to the Owners Corporation to cover the cost of emergency billets for the owners and renters.<br /> <br /> As JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss in this week's podcast, the state government's loan may never have to be paid back, because they think they know what (and who) caused the structural damage and it's eminently possible it wasn't building defects.<br /> <br /> And even if it does turn out to be defects - and the block is well out of warranties - the loan may never have to be paid back "at the government's discretion."<br /> <br /> Meanwhile we ask, if you can find money to rehouse evacuees (quite rightly), what about all the people facing massive bills to remediate flammable cladding which is only on buildings, risking life and limb, because of the slack attitudes of a procession of governments in this state.<br /> <br /> You're happy to take our stamp duty - how about offering us some protections?  That's all in this week's podcast ... and more. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Mascot Tower sinking but residents kept afloat by loans https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-mascot-tower-sinking-but-residents-kept-afloat/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 14:29:57 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38295 This week in the Podcast we look at the Mascot Tower story and the apparently generous offer by Fair Trading to bankroll emergency accommodation for residents. They are saying it’s a one-off, as they must.  If NSW Fair Trading let it be known that they were in the market for payouts to help people with building defects, the queues of the duped and dudded would be longer than the lines for the new iPhone. The interesting aspect of all this is that Fair Trading are saying that the Mascot Tower may be crumbling but there is every chance that it isn’t defective - it just wasn't designed to have its foundations undermined. With engineers claiming it is literally sinking, they may have a point. Experts are already looking closely at a building site next door. Another theory gaining a lot of ground is that other developments in the area haven’t taken into account the relatively high water table – the level of water beneath the surface of the ground – and that has, literally, undermined the foundations of the Mascot. To put this another way, the Mascot Tower could have been perfectly adequate and built to code, but then other building work in the area changed the environment in a way with which it was not designed to cope. Another theory is that all new buildings in the area were designed to allow for this but some of them weren’t built to their approved design, and that has had a knock-on effect. Whatever the reason, it could well be that the residents of the Mascot will not have to pay the expected millions of dollars required to fix their block, because the authorities have other builders and developers in their sights. But there is another aspect to this.  Stories are already doing the rounds that nobody trusts - or should trust - apartment buildings.  That is bad news for Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson.  He says there's a crisis of confidence in the apartment duilding industry, which is palpably true.  He can only hope that there's not a crisis of construction. All of this and lot more – including what this means (if anything) to buildings with flammable cladding – are discussed in this week’s podcast. Now, don’t get too excited, but our Flat Chat podcast listens quietly sneaked past the 10,000 mark last weekend. How significant is that? I don’t know but any figure with four zeroes gets my attention. So Yaaaay for us! OK, enough of the wild celebration, you can listen to the latest podcast here … https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-29-Mascot-loans.mp3 And now it’s on Youtube, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a73XqF4w4Ao If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts. This week in the Podcast we look at the Mascot Tower story and the apparently generous offer by Fair Trading to bankroll emergency accommodation for residents. - They are saying it’s a one-off, as they must. This week in the Podcast we look at the Mascot Tower story and the apparently generous offer by Fair Trading to bankroll emergency accommodation for residents.<br /> <br /> They are saying it’s a one-off, as they must.  If NSW Fair Trading let it be known that they were in the market for payouts to help people with building defects, the queues of the duped and dudded would be longer than the lines for the new iPhone.<br /> <br /> The interesting aspect of all this is that Fair Trading are saying that the Mascot Tower may be crumbling but there is every chance that it isn’t defective - it just wasn't designed to have its foundations undermined.<br /> <br /> With engineers claiming it is literally sinking, they may have a point. Experts are already looking closely at a building site next door.<br /> <br /> Another theory gaining a lot of ground is that other developments in the area haven’t taken into account the relatively high water table – the level of water beneath the surface of the ground – and that has, literally, undermined the foundations of the Mascot.<br /> <br /> To put this another way, the Mascot Tower could have been perfectly adequate and built to code, but then other building work in the area changed the environment in a way with which it was not designed to cope.<br /> <br /> Another theory is that all new buildings in the area were designed to allow for this but some of them weren’t built to their approved design, and that has had a knock-on effect.<br /> <br /> Whatever the reason, it could well be that the residents of the Mascot will not have to pay the expected millions of dollars required to fix their block, because the authorities have other builders and developers in their sights.<br /> <br /> But there is another aspect to this.  Stories are already doing the rounds that nobody trusts - or should trust - apartment buildings.  That is bad news for Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson.  He says there's a crisis of confidence in the apartment duilding industry, which is palpably true.  He can only hope that there's not a crisis of construction.<br /> <br /> All of this and lot more – including what this means (if anything) to buildings with flammable cladding – are discussed in this week’s podcast.<br /> <br /> Now, don’t get too excited, but our Flat Chat podcast listens quietly sneaked past the 10,000 mark last weekend.<br /> <br /> How significant is that? I don’t know but any figure with four zeroes gets my attention. So Yaaaay for us!<br /> <br /> OK, enough of the wild celebration, you can listen to the latest podcast here …<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-29-Mascot-loans.mp3<br /> <br /> And now it’s on Youtube, too:<br /> <br /> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a73XqF4w4Ao<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #28 – Residents out on the street as another Faulty Tower crumbles https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-28-residents-out-on-the-street-as-another-faulty-tower-crumbles/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 19:10:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-28-residents-out-on-the-street-as-another-faulty-tower-crumbles Residents of the 130-plus apartments in the Mascot Tower apartment block in Sydney's South were evacuated over the weekend when cracks in walls and supporting beams suddenly widened. JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss what this means for the residents of this block and all the others built in Sydney to the same standards around the same time. And they come up with a proposal to at least stem the waves of panic and confusion the next time this happens as, they say, it surely will ... Residents of the 130-plus apartments in the Mascot Tower apartment block in Sydney's South were evacuated over the weekend when cracks in walls and supporting beams suddenly widened. JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss what this means for the residents of ... Residents of the 130-plus apartments in the Mascot Tower apartment block in Sydney's South were evacuated over the weekend when cracks in walls and supporting beams suddenly widened. JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss what this means for the residents of this block and all the others built in Sydney to the same standards around the same time. And they come up with a proposal to at least stem the waves of panic and confusion the next time this happens as, they say, it surely will ... FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Mascot Tower crisis brings defects closer to home https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-mascot-tower-crisis-brings-defects-closer-to-home/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:41:48 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38162 For obvious reasons, our podcast this week is about the Mascot Tower crisis. We recorded the podcast before we were aware of the story in today's Financial Review revealing that the developer and builder of the property next door, as well as the local council,  were already facing legal action because of disturbance caused by the construction of another residential  tower in the adjoining lot. Anyway, our podcast explores a number of other issues, including what we can do to  prevent this from happening again, and what we should do when it inevitably does. You can listen to the podcast just by clicking the play button.  And if you prefer to read, a lightly edited transcript of the podcast is further down the page.  Enjoy! If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating … especially if you like the podcasts. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-28-Mascot.mp3 PODCAST #28 - A Transcript JIMMY:   Cracks appear in another apartment block in Sydney and residents are evacuated at the last minute. What can we do to stop a crisis turning into a catastrophe? I'm Jimmy Thomson. I write the flat chat column in the Fin Review and edit the Flat Chat website .. SUE:     And I'm Sue Williams, journalist and author. JIMMY:   And this is the Flat Chat Wrap. MUSIC JIMMY:     Okay, Sue. We just had another example of of cracks appearing in a building. People turfed out onto the street, not able to take their belongings or their their pets or whatever. What do we do? What's happening? What's going on? SUE:     It's horrendous that this could happen again, isn't it, so close to Opal Tower? It's just unthinkable, but then it makes you think that how many other blocks are there, with cracks, waiting to be discovered as well. JIMMY:     Well, when you think about it, the government is saying, oh, we're going to tighten regulations, which they said they were going to do after Opal, but even if they had, even if they’d brought in their building commissioner that they're talking about, would it really have made any difference? I don't think so. This was always going to happen when it was going to happen. SUE:     Right. It's very difficult to say because I guess the inquiry hasn't found out exactly what the problems are yet. They haven't discovered who is responsible? It's always hard when you've got developers using subcontractors, you know, are they actually supervising them well enough and they probably aren't. One has to think, and at a time we've got so much self certification, that seems to be a huge issue as well. JIMMY:  Well, certainly at the time this was built, back in the bad old days when the developers were allowed to choose their certifier. If they knew what was good for them, the certifiers wouldn't not certify a building. We can't assume that's what happened in this case. We shouldn't assume anything really until more investigation has been done. My theory is that the combination of possibly poor building, possibly the building next door has been blamed and it's sitting over the airport railway line. So there's constant rumbling of trains underneath. I don't know if they even hear them, but you know all these tiny little things, it's the butterfly beats its wings on the Amazon and it causes a storm. SUE:     So no, that's right. But in the meantime you, you've got to feel terribly sorry for the owners and the tenants who kind of been left in limbo really not knowing what's going to happen. Obviously the tenants having to pay rent to live in places elsewhere, owners who were living there or having to find alternative accommodation. This is a terrible situation in the 21st century in Sydney and if we get a reputation for our buildings crumbling, For obvious reasons, our podcast this week is about the Mascot Tower crisis. We recorded the podcast before we were aware of the story in today's Financial Review revealing that the developer and builder of the property next door, For obvious reasons, our podcast this week is about the Mascot Tower crisis. We recorded the podcast before we were aware of the story in today's Financial Review revealing that the developer and builder of the property next door, as well as the local council,  were already facing legal action because of disturbance caused by the construction of another residential  tower in the adjoining lot.<br /> <br /> Anyway, our podcast explores a number of other issues, including what we can do to  prevent this from happening again, and what we should do when it inevitably does.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the podcast just by clicking the play button.  And if you prefer to read, a lightly edited transcript of the podcast is further down the page.  Enjoy!<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it’s completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating … especially if you like the podcasts.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-28-Mascot.mp3<br /> <br /> PODCAST #28 - A Transcript<br /> <br /> JIMMY:   Cracks appear in another apartment block in Sydney and residents are evacuated at the last minute. What can we do to stop a crisis turning into a catastrophe? I'm Jimmy Thomson. I write the flat chat column in the Fin Review and edit the Flat Chat website ..<br /> <br /> SUE:     And I'm Sue Williams, journalist and author.<br /> <br /> JIMMY:   And this is the Flat Chat Wrap.<br /> <br /> MUSIC<br /> <br /> JIMMY:     Okay, Sue. We just had another example of of cracks appearing in a building. People turfed out onto the street, not able to take their belongings or their their pets or whatever. What do we do? What's happening? What's going on?<br /> <br /> SUE:     It's horrendous that this could happen again, isn't it, so close to Opal Tower? It's just unthinkable, but then it makes you think that how many other blocks are there, with cracks, waiting to be discovered as well.<br /> <br /> JIMMY:     Well, when you think about it, the government is saying, oh, we're going to tighten regulations, which they said they were going to do after Opal, but even if they had, even if they’d brought in their building commissioner that they're talking about, would it really have made any difference? I don't think so. This was always going to happen when it was going to happen.<br /> <br /> SUE:     Right. It's very difficult to say because I guess the inquiry hasn't found out exactly what the problems are yet. They haven't discovered who is responsible? It's always hard when you've got developers using subcontractors, you know, are they actually supervising them well enough and they probably aren't. One has to think, and at a time we've got so much self certification, that seems to be a huge issue as well.<br /> <br /> JIMMY:  Well, certainly at the time this was built, back in the bad old days when the developers were allowed to choose their certifier. If they knew what was good for them, the certifiers wouldn't not certify a building. We can't assume that's what happened in this case. We shouldn't assume anything really until more investigation has been done. My theory is that the combination of possibly poor building, possibly the building next door has been blamed and it's sitting over the airport railway line. So there's constant rumbling of trains underneath. I don't know if they even hear them, but you know all these tiny little things, it's the butterfly beats its wings on the Amazon and it causes a storm.<br /> <br /> SUE:     So no, that's right. But in the meantime you, you've got to feel terribly sorry for the owners and the tenants who kind of been left in limbo really not knowing what's going to happen. Obviously the tenants having to pay rent to live in places elsewhere, owners who were living there or having to find a... Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #27 – Ghost towers, cladding costs and power games https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-27-ghost-towers-cladding-costs-and-power-games/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 22:47:36 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-27-ghost-towers-cladding-costs-and-power-games This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the brand new empty flats that investors are "warehousing" - keeping them locked up and unlived in -  until the property market improves. Then there's the new report about the massive costs facing owners in buildings with flammable cladding - and why our state governments need to do more to help owners. .And finally a look at people who get elected to their strata committees for all the worst reasons. Please enjoy ... share ... like ... subscribe.   This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the brand new empty flats that investors are "warehousing" - keeping them locked up and unlived in -  until the property market improves. - Then there's the new report about the massive costs facing owners in... This week, JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the brand new empty flats that investors are "warehousing" - keeping them locked up and unlived in -  until the property market improves.<br /> <br /> Then there's the new report about the massive costs facing owners in buildings with flammable cladding - and why our state governments need to do more to help owners.<br /> <br /> .And finally a look at people who get elected to their strata committees for all the worst reasons.<br /> <br /> Please enjoy ... share ... like ... subscribe.<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Ghost flats a huge tax break … with added James Valentine https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-ghost-apartments-with-added-james-valentine/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 14:48:24 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38046 Since our last podcast took us to Russia, we thought we’d stay a lot closer to home with this week’s. A story in the Australian newspaper caught our eye, concerning growing signs that  investors are prepared to mothball their brand-new, off-the-plan apartments. Rather than put their units on the market when both rents and property prices are in a downward spiral, some investors are locking them up until prospects improve. How can this make financial sense?  Well, it may be a massive and totally legal tax dodge. If they have zero income, through no rent, and it isn't their home (because no one lives there) then they are going to make maximum bucks on their negative gearing. All their costs like rates and levies can be set against their other income. Not only that, they may also receive huge tax breaks on various aspects of depreciation, all the time the apartment is sitting gathering value when the market starts to turn. According to property depreciation experts Washington Brown, purchasers of an $850,000 unit could save $135,000 in depreciation allowances in ten years. Now, I’m no tax expert but, even assuming it takes five years for the market to get back to where it was, adding depreciation and negative gearing allowances, and taking into account average sized levies, the ghost apartment owner could save about $100,000 in tax breaks in that time. And then in five years, he or she has a brand new apartment to sell or rent at something approaching the value they paid for – and all for doing nothing except switch off the lights. It’s a gamble but not as much as it seems at first. Meanwhile, our state government supports the idea of scrapping negative gearing.  Wonder how they’ll feel about tax breaks encouraging investors to shutter new homes that should be available for families. By the way, Sue Williams and I don’t even get to the tax issue in our podcast, but we do discuss the social and economic implications for all the people who actually live in these “ghost” blocks. You can hear it here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-27-Ghost-towers.mp3 And if you missed my monthly session with James Valentine this week, you can hear that HERE. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) and here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - every little helps people to find us.     Since our last podcast took us to Russia, we thought we’d stay a lot closer to home with this week’s. - A story in the Australian newspaper caught our eye, concerning growing signs that  investors are prepared to mothball their brand-new, Since our last podcast took us to Russia, we thought we’d stay a lot closer to home with this week’s.<br /> <br /> A story in the Australian newspaper caught our eye, concerning growing signs that  investors are prepared to mothball their brand-new, off-the-plan apartments.<br /> <br /> Rather than put their units on the market when both rents and property prices are in a downward spiral, some investors are locking them up until prospects improve.<br /> <br /> How can this make financial sense?  Well, it may be a massive and totally legal tax dodge.<br /> <br /> If they have zero income, through no rent, and it isn't their home (because no one lives there) then they are going to make maximum bucks on their negative gearing. All their costs like rates and levies can be set against their other income.<br /> <br /> Not only that, they may also receive huge tax breaks on various aspects of depreciation, all the time the apartment is sitting gathering value when the market starts to turn.<br /> <br /> According to property depreciation experts Washington Brown, purchasers of an $850,000 unit could save $135,000 in depreciation allowances in ten years.<br /> <br /> Now, I’m no tax expert but, even assuming it takes five years for the market to get back to where it was, adding depreciation and negative gearing allowances, and taking into account average sized levies, the ghost apartment owner could save about $100,000 in tax breaks in that time.<br /> <br /> And then in five years, he or she has a brand new apartment to sell or rent at something approaching the value they paid for – and all for doing nothing except switch off the lights.<br /> <br /> It’s a gamble but not as much as it seems at first.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, our state government supports the idea of scrapping negative gearing.  Wonder how they’ll feel about tax breaks encouraging investors to shutter new homes that should be available for families.<br /> <br /> By the way, Sue Williams and I don’t even get to the tax issue in our podcast, but we do discuss the social and economic implications for all the people who actually live in these “ghost” blocks.<br /> <br /> You can hear it here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-27-Ghost-towers.mp3<br /> <br /> And if you missed my monthly session with James Valentine this week, you can hear that HERE.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher) and here on Spotify.  And  if you like the podcasts, please leave us a rating - every little helps people to find us.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Reasons why you should – and shouldn’t – get elected to your committee https://www.flat-chat.com.au/reasons-why-you-should-and-shouldnt-get-elected/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 07:25:18 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=38034 Do you ever get the urge to stand for election to your strata committee?  Are you convinced you could do a better job than the existing members? Do you want to join but keep being frozen out at the AGM? Our colleague Sue Williams has written a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Domain section on whether or not you should join your strata committee. The answer to that question, by the way, is yes … and no. You can read Sue’s piece HERE. Meanwhile, here are our five reasons you should join your committee … and five reasons you really shouldn’t. FIVE GOOD REASONS TO JOIN YOUR STRATA COMMITTEE You want to do your bit for the community. Yes, we live in an age when being called a “good citizen” is almost an insult, but if strata living is going to work, it has to be more “one for all and all for one”, than every man or woman for themselves. You have valuable skills to offer Are you an accountant, interior designer, trained mediator, lawyer, architect, builder, tradie or possess any of the other many skill sets that might be useful in a strata scheme? Yes, the owners corp could contract any of these jobs out to paid professionals, but even if they do, isn’t it great to have someone on the inside looking out. If you have knowledge, skills and experience, why not share them with your neighbours? You see problems (and know how to fix them) The second part of that headline is probably the most important. It’s all very well to be able to spot issues that need fixing, but it’s a whole other thing to know what the fix is. Although there’s a lot to be said for getting people to agree that there is a problem – a major hurdle in many strata schemes – but if you have a solution, that’s gold! You have the time and energy It’s one of the truisms of strata that the very people you want on your committee are often too busy earning the money to pay their mortgages to come home and dive into an avalanche of emails and meetings. But if you have the time and energy as well as the inclination, go for it. If you don’t, someone who has neither will. You want to learn Maybe you are new to strata and, far from thinking you have all the answers, you don’t even know half of the questions.  That’s OK.  Strata is full of know-alls who haven’t even read their own by-laws, let alone looked at the strata Act or Regulations. So join in with an open mind, listen more than you speak and read everything there is to read so that you can contribute effectively now and into the future.   AND FIVE BAD REASONS FOR GETTING ELECTED … Pursuing your own agenda It could be as simple as wanting to make sure your planned renovations go through or a desire to make sure levies are kept to an absolute minimum, regardless of the long-term needs of the building. In the first instance, at the very least while you are making sure you get approval for the spa bath on your balcony (but doing nothing else) you could be keeping someone who has a genuine contribution to make from sitting on the committee. At worst, your own financial concerns could be eroding the value of everyone else’s unit.  OK, you’re on a fixed income; OK, you’re not intending to sell any time soon so property values are of no interest to you. But blocking sensible and essential expenditure just to save yourself a few dollars, is just a wee bit selfish, isn’t it? Keeping an eye on things So you are a self-appointed StrataKop monitoring every decision, are you? You’re going through agendas and minutes with a forensic eye for detail, holding up every discussion with a demand for further explanation and investigation? If that’s you, unless your committee has been getting away with all sorts of corrupt and damaging behaviour, you are probably not helping.  Even worse, you are occupying a seat that might have been taken by someone with more positive intent. Maybe it’s time to start building bridges rather than barriers. Do you ever get the urge to stand for election to your strata committee?  Are you convinced you could do a better job than the existing members? Do you want to join but keep being frozen out at the AGM? - Do you ever get the urge to stand for election to your strata committee?  Are you convinced you could do a better job than the existing members? Do you want to join but keep being frozen out at the AGM?<br /> <br /> Our colleague Sue Williams has written a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Domain section on whether or not you should join your strata committee.<br /> <br /> The answer to that question, by the way, is yes … and no.<br /> <br /> You can read Sue’s piece HERE.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, here are our five reasons you should join your committee … and five reasons you really shouldn’t.<br /> FIVE GOOD REASONS TO JOIN YOUR STRATA COMMITTEE<br /> <br /> You want to do your bit for the community.<br /> <br /> Yes, we live in an age when being called a “good citizen” is almost an insult, but if strata living is going to work, it has to be more “one for all and all for one”, than every man or woman for themselves.<br /> <br /> You have valuable skills to offer<br /> <br /> Are you an accountant, interior designer, trained mediator, lawyer, architect, builder, tradie or possess any of the other many skill sets that might be useful in a strata scheme?<br /> <br /> Yes, the owners corp could contract any of these jobs out to paid professionals, but even if they do, isn’t it great to have someone on the inside looking out. If you have knowledge, skills and experience, why not share them with your neighbours?<br /> <br /> You see problems (and know how to fix them)<br /> <br /> The second part of that headline is probably the most important. It’s all very well to be able to spot issues that need fixing, but it’s a whole other thing to know what the fix is.<br /> <br /> Although there’s a lot to be said for getting people to agree that there is a problem – a major hurdle in many strata schemes – but if you have a solution, that’s gold!<br /> <br /> You have the time and energy<br /> <br /> It’s one of the truisms of strata that the very people you want on your committee are often too busy earning the money to pay their mortgages to come home and dive into an avalanche of emails and meetings.<br /> <br /> But if you have the time and energy as well as the inclination, go for it. If you don’t, someone who has neither will.<br /> <br /> You want to learn<br /> <br /> Maybe you are new to strata and, far from thinking you have all the answers, you don’t even know half of the questions.  That’s OK.  Strata is full of know-alls who haven’t even read their own by-laws, let alone looked at the strata Act or Regulations.<br /> <br /> So join in with an open mind, listen more than you speak and read everything there is to read so that you can contribute effectively now and into the future.<br /> <br />  <br /> AND FIVE BAD REASONS FOR GETTING ELECTED …<br /> <br /> Pursuing your own agenda<br /> <br /> It could be as simple as wanting to make sure your planned renovations go through or a desire to make sure levies are kept to an absolute minimum, regardless of the long-term needs of the building.<br /> <br /> In the first instance, at the very least while you are making sure you get approval for the spa bath on your balcony (but doing nothing else) you could be keeping someone who has a genuine contribution to make from sitting on the committee.<br /> <br /> At worst, your own financial concerns could be eroding the value of everyone else’s unit.  OK, you’re on a fixed income; OK, you’re not intending to sell any time soon so property values are of no interest to you.<br /> <br /> But blocking sensible and essential expenditure just to save yourself a few dollars, is just a wee bit selfish, isn’t it?<br /> <br /> Keeping an eye on things<br /> <br /> So you are a self-appointed StrataKop monitoring every decision, are you? You’re going through agendas and minutes with a forensic eye for detail, holding up every discussion with a demand for further explanation and inv... Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean PODCAST: Apartment living in the new Russia … and a $120K email https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-apartment-living-in-the-new-russia-and-a-120k-email/ Thu, 30 May 2019 12:11:19 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37843 A big chunk of this week's podcast is taken up with discussing  how worried we should be about the defamation case taken by the chairman of a small strata building in Manly (you can read all about it here), and what that means to those of us who like nothing more than firing off angry emails to vent our spleen at the powers that be in our apartment blocks. But before that, our regular correspondent Sue Williams has just returned from a trip to Russia where apartment living is much more common than here - but is a very different experience. And off air we were told a story that might explain why President Vladimir Putin is so popular in Russia today. Back in the days before the fall of the USSR, everybody in Russian cities lived rent free in admittedly tiny apartments provided by the government. People were not allowed to own property as that went against Russian Communist principles. After the fall in 1991,  people were basically given the flat they lived in, to own.  But then the criminal gangs started moving in and residents were told they'd be given a house in the outskirts of the cities, or somewhere else entirely, but they had to give their city flat to the mobsters. Those who refused often met a grisly fate. Enter Former KGB chief Putin, who rode to power in 1999 on the back of a tough law and order program. Ruthless and resourceful, he was able to turn the gangsters' fear tactics back on them and suddenly Russian people were no longer afraid of being thrown out of their own homes. Now, what has happened since that is that Putin, according to some observers, has reached an understanding with the higher echelons of the "Vory" as the Russian Mafia is often known, that as long as they don't represent  a threat to the state, they can go about their nefarious business  - although the low-level criminals will still be investigated and prosecuted when a case can be made. But in the meantime, President Putin has the undying gratitude of his people who can turn a blind eye to the excesses of the super-rich oligarchs because they feel safe, resulting in a 75 per cent vote in favour at the last Russian election. Whether or not that story is entirely true is worthy of some conjecture, but the fact that many Russians love Putin because they see him as the tough guy who made them feel safer explains a lot - including why Donald Trump is so keen to get himself some of that Putin magic. You can hear Sue Williams impressions of what it's like to live in an apartment in Russia in this week's podcast. By the way, subscribers to our podcasts will have received this a couple of days ago (partly because I am writing this from a little town three hours out of Tokyo). If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-26-Russia.mp3 A big chunk of this week's podcast is taken up with discussing  how worried we should be about the defamation case taken by the chairman of a small strata building in Manly (you can read all about it here), A big chunk of this week's podcast is taken up with discussing  how worried we should be about the defamation case taken by the chairman of a small strata building in Manly (you can read all about it here), and what that means to those of us who like nothing more than firing off angry emails to vent our spleen at the powers that be in our apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> But before that, our regular correspondent Sue Williams has just returned from a trip to Russia where apartment living is much more common than here - but is a very different experience.<br /> <br /> And off air we were told a story that might explain why President Vladimir Putin is so popular in Russia today.<br /> <br /> Back in the days before the fall of the USSR, everybody in Russian cities lived rent free in admittedly tiny apartments provided by the government. People were not allowed to own property as that went against Russian Communist principles.<br /> <br /> After the fall in 1991,  people were basically given the flat they lived in, to own.  But then the criminal gangs started moving in and residents were told they'd be given a house in the outskirts of the cities, or somewhere else entirely, but they had to give their city flat to the mobsters. Those who refused often met a grisly fate.<br /> <br /> Enter Former KGB chief Putin, who rode to power in 1999 on the back of a tough law and order program. Ruthless and resourceful, he was able to turn the gangsters' fear tactics back on them and suddenly Russian people were no longer afraid of being thrown out of their own homes.<br /> <br /> Now, what has happened since that is that Putin, according to some observers, has reached an understanding with the higher echelons of the "Vory" as the Russian Mafia is often known, that as long as they don't represent  a threat to the state, they can go about their nefarious business  - although the low-level criminals will still be investigated and prosecuted when a case can be made.<br /> <br /> But in the meantime, President Putin has the undying gratitude of his people who can turn a blind eye to the excesses of the super-rich oligarchs because they feel safe, resulting in a 75 per cent vote in favour at the last Russian election.<br /> <br /> Whether or not that story is entirely true is worthy of some conjecture, but the fact that many Russians love Putin because they see him as the tough guy who made them feel safer explains a lot - including why Donald Trump is so keen to get himself some of that Putin magic.<br /> <br /> You can hear Sue Williams impressions of what it's like to live in an apartment in Russia in this week's podcast. By the way, subscribers to our podcasts will have received this a couple of days ago (partly because I am writing this from a little town three hours out of Tokyo).<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-26-Russia.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #26 – From Russia with love and the $120k insulting email https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-26-from-russia-with-love-and-the-120k-insulting-email/ Tue, 28 May 2019 08:51:44 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-26-from-russia-with-love-and-the-120k-insulting-email Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss apartment living in the new Russia and the email exchange that cost a Manly tenant $120,000 in a defamation case. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss apartment living in the new Russia and the email exchange that cost a Manly tenant $120,000 in a defamation case. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss apartment living in the new Russia and the email exchange that cost a Manly tenant $120,000 in a defamation case. FLAT CHAT clean Flat Chat Wrap #25 – Working out what to do and what you need in your gym https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-25-working-out-what-to-do-and-what-you-need-in-your-gym/ Tue, 21 May 2019 10:45:12 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-25-working-out-what-to-do-and-what-you-need-in-your-gym JimmyT and fitness trainer Shannon Cleary discuss what works and what doesn't in apartment block gyms ... and what to do if you don't have one. JimmyT and fitness trainer Shannon Cleary discuss what works and what doesn't in apartment block gyms ... and what to do if you don't have one. JimmyT and fitness trainer Shannon Cleary discuss what works and what doesn't in apartment block gyms ... and what to do if you don't have one. FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Working out how to make the most of your unit block gym https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-working-out-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-gym/ Tue, 21 May 2019 06:41:53 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37772 Our article this week about the fabulous Parker rental apartment complex in Alexandria, Washington DC, got me thinking about the facilities that are intended to entice us to buy and rent in apartment blocks. One popular item is a gym – but that word covers a multitude of sins.  It could be a fabulous, state-of-the-art facility that would grace any five-star hotel. Or it could be an airless converted store room with neglected and clapped out equipment that’s occasionally augmented by the “donation” of some cheap and useless gear that someone has bought on late-night TV and immediately regretted doing so. So I spoke to residential personal trainer and group fitness instructor Shannon Cleary about what equipment every apartment block gym should have. But it soon became evident that having the latest equipment is not the highest priority. Space to stretch and work dynamically on free-weights might be more valuable than a bank of treadmills, for instance. But the main point she made was that it doesn’t matter what you have in your gym if no one uses it … and uses it properly. A case in point, according to Shannon, is the good old rowing machine. This is a great piece of kit for an all-round work-out: legs, core, arms and heart – if you know what you’re doing. “So many people just have no idea how to use it properly,” she says.  So we have put in a link to a Youtube video (below) so you can see how its done. But first, listen to our podcast. And if that doesn’t inspire you to get down to your gym … or even just go for a walk … nothing will. Hey, you can do both – listen to the podcast while you’re working out.  Have fun. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-25-Shannon-2.mp3 If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts. Now, here's the video on how to use a rowing machine properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0r_ZPXJLtg   Our article this week about the fabulous Parker rental apartment complex in Alexandria, Washington DC, got me thinking about the facilities that are intended to entice us to buy and rent in apartment blocks. - Our article this week about the fabulous Parker rental apartment complex in Alexandria, Washington DC, got me thinking about the facilities that are intended to entice us to buy and rent in apartment blocks.<br /> <br /> One popular item is a gym – but that word covers a multitude of sins.  It could be a fabulous, state-of-the-art facility that would grace any five-star hotel.<br /> <br /> Or it could be an airless converted store room with neglected and clapped out equipment that’s occasionally augmented by the “donation” of some cheap and useless gear that someone has bought on late-night TV and immediately regretted doing so.<br /> <br /> So I spoke to residential personal trainer and group fitness instructor Shannon Cleary about what equipment every apartment block gym should have.<br /> <br /> But it soon became evident that having the latest equipment is not the highest priority.<br /> <br /> Space to stretch and work dynamically on free-weights might be more valuable than a bank of treadmills, for instance.<br /> <br /> But the main point she made was that it doesn’t matter what you have in your gym if no one uses it … and uses it properly.<br /> <br /> A case in point, according to Shannon, is the good old rowing machine. This is a great piece of kit for an all-round work-out: legs, core, arms and heart – if you know what you’re doing.<br /> <br /> “So many people just have no idea how to use it properly,” she says.  So we have put in a link to a Youtube video (below) so you can see how its done.<br /> <br /> But first, listen to our podcast. And if that doesn’t inspire you to get down to your gym … or even just go for a walk … nothing will.<br /> <br /> Hey, you can do both – listen to the podcast while you’re working out.  Have fun.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-25-Shannon-2.mp3<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts.<br /> <br /> Now, here's the video on how to use a rowing machine properly:<br /> <br /> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0r_ZPXJLtg<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #24: Silly by-laws to orgies – a strata manager speaks https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-24-silly-by-laws-to-orgies-a-strata-manager-speaks/ Tue, 14 May 2019 19:38:05 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-24-defects-anger-education-and-sex-parties-a-strata-manager-reveals-all JimmyT talks to Tim Sara, a senior  manager at one of Australia's biggest strata management companies - and reveals both the light and dark side of a challenging career.   JimmyT talks to Tim Sara, a senior  manager at one of Australia's biggest strata management companies - and reveals both the light and dark side of a challenging career. -   JimmyT talks to Tim Sara, a senior  manager at one of Australia's biggest strata management companies - and reveals both the light and dark side of a challenging career.<br /> <br />   FLAT CHAT clean PODCAST: Silly by-laws to sex orgies – a strata manager reveals all https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-from-14m-defects-wins-to-tribunal-tribulations-a-strata-manager-reveals-all/ Tue, 14 May 2019 11:19:07 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37637 When Flat Chat started about 15 years ago, strata managers were (we thought) public enemy number one.  And it’s more than likely the feeling was mutual. We won’t go into a rehearsal of why that was, suffice it to say that things have changed … a lot. The industry has become more professional, standards have been raised and the quality of service – and mutual respect between strata managers and you, their clients – has gone up by leaps and bounds. OK, there are still some rogues out there and Fair Trading is pathetically weak when it comes to the tiny minority that gives the rest of the industry the lingering taint of a bad name. To date, I don’t think there has ever been a single strata manager who has been “struck off” for being really crap at their job. But this week, let’s not dwell on the negative when there are so many positives. In the podcast, I have long chat with Tim Sara – one of the senior strata managers with Strata Choice. Tim talks about the major challenges facing owners corporations, the successes he’s enjoyed and the disappointments he’s endured. He discusses why he thinks all committee members should be given a checklist of things they really should know and why office-bearers should be required to take some compulsory training if they want to stay in place after a couple of years. He talks about the difference between managing a large block where most people have never lived in strata before, compared to a small but dysfunctional one, where everybody has entrenched views (which would you choose?). He explains why he thinks strata committee members should be paid for their work (but only if they’ve had some sort of training) and what owners should do as soon as they move into their new block. He has some scathing opinions about NCAT and the “luck of the draw” when you take a complaint there. And, he gives a completely different impression of what the new breed of strata managers are like, especially compared to the “bad old days”. Have a listen.  It's very enlightening and a lot of fun. If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-24-Strata-Manager-tells-all.mp3 When Flat Chat started about 15 years ago, strata managers were (we thought) public enemy number one.  And it’s more than likely the feeling was mutual. - We won’t go into a rehearsal of why that was, suffice it to say that things have changed … a lot... When Flat Chat started about 15 years ago, strata managers were (we thought) public enemy number one.  And it’s more than likely the feeling was mutual.<br /> <br /> We won’t go into a rehearsal of why that was, suffice it to say that things have changed … a lot.<br /> <br /> The industry has become more professional, standards have been raised and the quality of service – and mutual respect between strata managers and you, their clients – has gone up by leaps and bounds.<br /> <br /> OK, there are still some rogues out there and Fair Trading is pathetically weak when it comes to the tiny minority that gives the rest of the industry the lingering taint of a bad name.<br /> <br /> To date, I don’t think there has ever been a single strata manager who has been “struck off” for being really crap at their job.<br /> <br /> But this week, let’s not dwell on the negative when there are so many positives. In the podcast, I have long chat with Tim Sara – one of the senior strata managers with Strata Choice.<br /> <br /> Tim talks about the major challenges facing owners corporations, the successes he’s enjoyed and the disappointments he’s endured.<br /> <br /> He discusses why he thinks all committee members should be given a checklist of things they really should know and why office-bearers should be required to take some compulsory training if they want to stay in place after a couple of years.<br /> <br /> He talks about the difference between managing a large block where most people have never lived in strata before, compared to a small but dysfunctional one, where everybody has entrenched views (which would you choose?).<br /> <br /> He explains why he thinks strata committee members should be paid for their work (but only if they’ve had some sort of training) and what owners should do as soon as they move into their new block.<br /> <br /> He has some scathing opinions about NCAT and the “luck of the draw” when you take a complaint there.<br /> <br /> And, he gives a completely different impression of what the new breed of strata managers are like, especially compared to the “bad old days”.<br /> <br /> Have a listen.  It's very enlightening and a lot of fun.<br /> <br /> If you want to subscribe to the Flat Chat Wrap and get new episodes as soon as they are posted (it's completely free!), click on this link for iPHONE and IPAD and this one for Castbox (our favourite Podcatcher).  And please leave us a rating ... especially if you like the podcasts.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-24-Strata-Manager-tells-all.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #23 – Airbnb code of conduct, developers go “crowd” and a horse in a townhouse (???) https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-23-airbnb-code-of-conduct-developers-go-crowd-and-a-horse-in-a-townhouse/ Tue, 07 May 2019 22:21:06 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-22-airbnb-code-of-conduct-developers-go-crowd-and-a-horse-in-a-townhouse Jimmy T and Sue Williams explore the latest developments in the strataverse ... and come up with some very odd stories indeed. Jimmy T and Sue Williams explore the latest developments in the strataverse ... and come up with some very odd stories indeed. Jimmy T and Sue Williams explore the latest developments in the strataverse ... and come up with some very odd stories indeed. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Angst as Airbnb code of conduct flagged https://www.flat-chat.com.au/37397-2/ Tue, 07 May 2019 12:26:59 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37397 A strange thing happened on the Flat Chat Statcounter a few weeks ago.  Statcounter is the software that tells us how many people are reading the website … (more than 4000 a week, if you must know, and still growing) Anyway, there was a whole bunch of searches from the NSW Department of Energy and the Environment, which sounds as Orwellianly conflicted as a Department of Peace and Arms Sales, to me.  But what do I know? I definitely don’t know why the Department of E and E would even be remotely interested in Flat Chat … certainly to the extent of reading page after page on the website. I mean, we are as into the environment as anyone, and apartment blocks do use energy (quite a lot, if truth be told). But we wouldn’t be anyone’s first call for advice about either of the Es. A couple of days later, all was revealed.  Former strata minister Matt Kean had been promoted to Minister for Es and, presumably, someone in his new department had been Googling his name to find out what he was like (as any sane person would). I’m afraid to say Minister Kean featured in these columns a little more often than he’d have liked, given the content of the pieces, so his new staff may have ended up with a non-impartial view of their incoming boss. Anyway, he's strata history and we have put a call into his successor, Kevin Anderson, for an introductory chat, albeit to no avail. We assume he is too busy juggling the various poisoned chalices that he has inherited as Innovation and Better Regulation Minister. One of those contentious issues is the Code of Conduct for short-term holiday lets – or Airbnb Rules, as they will soon be known - which is the bit of the new legislation that has been holding up the implementation of the rest of the law. Last week we predicted it would be the end of the year before we saw the new laws.  Then we heard they were already on the photocopy machines of Macquarie St, ready for a spellcheck and final release. The rules themselves are likely to be anodyne, worthy and dull.  It’s the dogfight that will follow, as the online holiday letting businesses try to stave off the spread of anti-holiday let by-laws, that will be really interesting. You can hear more about this on the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-23-Code-of-conduct.mp3 A strange thing happened on the Flat Chat Statcounter a few weeks ago.  Statcounter is the software that tells us how many people are reading the website … (more than 4000 a week, if you must know, and still growing) - Anyway, A strange thing happened on the Flat Chat Statcounter a few weeks ago.  Statcounter is the software that tells us how many people are reading the website … (more than 4000 a week, if you must know, and still growing)<br /> <br /> Anyway, there was a whole bunch of searches from the NSW Department of Energy and the Environment, which sounds as Orwellianly conflicted as a Department of Peace and Arms Sales, to me.  But what do I know?<br /> <br /> I definitely don’t know why the Department of E and E would even be remotely interested in Flat Chat … certainly to the extent of reading page after page on the website.<br /> <br /> I mean, we are as into the environment as anyone, and apartment blocks do use energy (quite a lot, if truth be told). But we wouldn’t be anyone’s first call for advice about either of the Es.<br /> <br /> A couple of days later, all was revealed.  Former strata minister Matt Kean had been promoted to Minister for Es and, presumably, someone in his new department had been Googling his name to find out what he was like (as any sane person would).<br /> <br /> I’m afraid to say Minister Kean featured in these columns a little more often than he’d have liked, given the content of the pieces, so his new staff may have ended up with a non-impartial view of their incoming boss.<br /> <br /> Anyway, he's strata history and we have put a call into his successor, Kevin Anderson, for an introductory chat, albeit to no avail. We assume he is too busy juggling the various poisoned chalices that he has inherited as Innovation and Better Regulation Minister.<br /> <br /> One of those contentious issues is the Code of Conduct for short-term holiday lets – or Airbnb Rules, as they will soon be known - which is the bit of the new legislation that has been holding up the implementation of the rest of the law.<br /> <br /> Last week we predicted it would be the end of the year before we saw the new laws.  Then we heard they were already on the photocopy machines of Macquarie St, ready for a spellcheck and final release.<br /> <br /> The rules themselves are likely to be anodyne, worthy and dull.  It’s the dogfight that will follow, as the online holiday letting businesses try to stave off the spread of anti-holiday let by-laws, that will be really interesting.<br /> <br /> You can hear more about this on the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-23-Code-of-conduct.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #22 – New Vic laws, fire sprinklers, electric cars, greyhounds in flats and BBQs https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-22-new-vic-laws-fire-sprinklers-electric-cars-greyhounds-in-flats-and-bbqs/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 20:28:52 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-22-new-vic-laws-fire-sprinklers-electric-cars-greyhounds-in-flats-and-bbqs There's a revolution in strata law on the way in Victoria. Fire sprinkler systems are  mandatory for mid-rise apartment blocks in NSW. And what's the best way to charge electric cars in strata schemes? JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the issues of the week ... There's a revolution in strata law on the way in Victoria. Fire sprinkler systems are  mandatory for mid-rise apartment blocks in NSW. And what's the best way to charge electric cars in strata schemes? JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the issues of the ... There's a revolution in strata law on the way in Victoria. Fire sprinkler systems are  mandatory for mid-rise apartment blocks in NSW. And what's the best way to charge electric cars in strata schemes? JimmyT and Sue Williams discuss the issues of the week ... FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Why strata law changes are such a painfully long time coming https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-why-strata-law-changes-are-such-a-painfully-long-time-coming/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 11:11:49 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37250 When it comes to strata law reform, it can be a long time between drinks. Victoria is just at the end of the public consultation stage of their very substantial reforms to their strata laws and they still have a long way to go.  It will be interesting to see how many of the proposed changed in their draft reform Bill actually make it on to the statute book. We have predicted two years until they see any changes, but it could be less, given that they are notionally updating the existing Act rather than starting from scratch with a new one.  More realistically, it could be more. Take as an example the forgotten law that will have a profound effect on strata living in NSW: the Short Term Holiday Letting law proposals - or the Airbnb laws to name them after the business model that prompted them. We have just heard on the grapevine that the new short-term letting laws could be proclaimed as early as next month The development of that new legislation began back in June 2015, prompted by concerns from Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker that his constituents were being threatened with $1 million fines for running illegal bed and breakfasts, taking bookings through this new-fangled online internet booking system called Airbnb which purported to be encouraging "sharing". A committee looking into the "Adequacy of the the Regulation of Short-Term Holiday Letting in NSW" started hearing public, business and local government submissions in 2016, and issued a report in 2017. That was pretty much tossed out in early 2018 and replaced by a more Airbnb-friendly proposal in late 2018 which was then, at the last minute, canned in favour of the only laws in Australia that allow apartment blocks to decide not to allow short-term holiday lets via by-laws. So that went to Parliament and was approved, subject to a mandatory code of conduct.  The law awaits proclamation (meaning it's a law rather than just a good idea)  because the code still to be agreed upon.  Meanwhile a round table of vested interests arm wrestles over what constitutes good or bad conduct. We have just heard on the grapevine that they could happen as early as next month but that would still mean the laws were more than four years in the making. It's very hard not to reach the conclusion that certain self-interested bodies have no desire to see these laws enacted any sooner, as they could seriously hamper their business model. I mention this because that is one aspect of one law related, in part, to strata living.  The Victorians have until May 10 to give the government their two cents worth on their proposals, which cover a huge variety of issues across the whole spectrum of their strata laws. Then that has to be considered, chewed, digested and, eventually, presented again as a concrete proposal after the various major and minor players have flexed their political powers in efforts to protect their vested interests. Two years?  Victorians should be so lucky. You can here the Flat Chat podcast about some of the proposed strata law changes here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-22-New-Vic-laws.mp3     When it comes to strata law reform, it can be a long time between drinks. - Victoria is just at the end of the public consultation stage of their very substantial reforms to their strata laws and they still have a long way to go. When it comes to strata law reform, it can be a long time between drinks.<br /> <br /> Victoria is just at the end of the public consultation stage of their very substantial reforms to their strata laws and they still have a long way to go.  It will be interesting to see how many of the proposed changed in their draft reform Bill actually make it on to the statute book.<br /> <br /> We have predicted two years until they see any changes, but it could be less, given that they are notionally updating the existing Act rather than starting from scratch with a new one.  More realistically, it could be more.<br /> <br /> Take as an example the forgotten law that will have a profound effect on strata living in NSW: the Short Term Holiday Letting law proposals - or the Airbnb laws to name them after the business model that prompted them.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> We have just heard on the grapevine that the new short-term letting laws could be proclaimed as early as next month<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The development of that new legislation began back in June 2015, prompted by concerns from Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker that his constituents were being threatened with $1 million fines for running illegal bed and breakfasts, taking bookings through this new-fangled online internet booking system called Airbnb which purported to be encouraging "sharing".<br /> <br /> A committee looking into the "Adequacy of the the Regulation of Short-Term Holiday Letting in NSW" started hearing public, business and local government submissions in 2016, and issued a report in 2017.<br /> <br /> That was pretty much tossed out in early 2018 and replaced by a more Airbnb-friendly proposal in late 2018 which was then, at the last minute, canned in favour of the only laws in Australia that allow apartment blocks to decide not to allow short-term holiday lets via by-laws.<br /> <br /> So that went to Parliament and was approved, subject to a mandatory code of conduct.  The law awaits proclamation (meaning it's a law rather than just a good idea)  because the code still to be agreed upon.  Meanwhile a round table of vested interests arm wrestles over what constitutes good or bad conduct.<br /> <br /> We have just heard on the grapevine that they could happen as early as next month but that would still mean the laws were more than four years in the making. It's very hard not to reach the conclusion that certain self-interested bodies have no desire to see these laws enacted any sooner, as they could seriously hamper their business model.<br /> <br /> I mention this because that is one aspect of one law related, in part, to strata living.  The Victorians have until May 10 to give the government their two cents worth on their proposals, which cover a huge variety of issues across the whole spectrum of their strata laws.<br /> <br /> Then that has to be considered, chewed, digested and, eventually, presented again as a concrete proposal after the various major and minor players have flexed their political powers in efforts to protect their vested interests.<br /> <br /> Two years?  Victorians should be so lucky.<br /> <br /> You can here the Flat Chat podcast about some of the proposed strata law changes here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-22-New-Vic-laws.mp3<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #21: Property prices panic and the latest developer rort https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-21-property-prices-panic-and-the-latest-developer-rort/ Wed, 24 Apr 2019 07:32:03 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/podcast-time-to-panic-over-property-prices With property prices plummeting across our major cities, JimmyT and Sue Williams identify where apartment values are plummeting, where they're holding and where off-the-plan purchasers are being told they can't walk away from new units that are worth less than they agreed to pay for them when the signed the contracts. With property prices plummeting across our major cities, JimmyT and Sue Williams identify where apartment values are plummeting, where they're holding and where off-the-plan purchasers are being told they can't walk away from new units that are worth l... With property prices plummeting across our major cities, JimmyT and Sue Williams identify where apartment values are plummeting, where they're holding and where off-the-plan purchasers are being told they can't walk away from new units that are worth less than they agreed to pay for them when the signed the contracts. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Is it time to panic over plummeting property prices? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/whats-happening-with-property-prices/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 22:13:50 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=37167 It’s fair to say that this is probably not the best time to be a property owner.  And if you are an investor in multiple units, your woes could be multiplied. On the other hand, if you are a renter, now could be the time to sign up for a long-term lease at a lower rent … if you can find one There are so many factors assailing property prices, it’s hard to see a clear way forward. This week in the Flat Chat Wrap, property writer Sue Williams takes us through some of the areas where the market is dropping – and a few where it’s holding its own. Property values are cyclical – what goes down will, eventually, go back up again - something we tend to forget in extended periods of price rises such as we have just witnessed, especially in Sydney. And competing arguments just don’t compute.  How can there be too many people in our cities when there seems to be an over-supply of properties? How can prices be going down when demand must be going up? And how can our politicians bang on about housing affordability and then attack each other for measures that might reduce property values? But then there are th poor blighters who put down a deposit to buy off the plan when prices were at their highest, who are now having to pay the balance on the purchase when their unit is worth  a lot less than the contract price. Can they just "burn" the deposit and walk away from the purchase?  No, say some developers,  a deal is a deal and they can't afford to carry the loss on hundreds of new units. From negative equity, to negative gearing.  How will property values and rents be affected if Labor win the next election? All of this is discussed at length in our latest podcast – including the view from one of Australia’s most successful property developers that negative gearing could be here to stay, even if Labor win. Also, Sue exposes the latest rort in apartment development – how builders get essential services installed for free  … provided apartment owners blindly sign contracts carrying inflated fees for years and years. You can hear all about it here or, even better, subscribe (for FREE) on iTunes,  Castbox, Stitcher, Spotify or your favourite Podcatcher. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-21-Property-panic.mp3 It’s fair to say that this is probably not the best time to be a property owner.  And if you are an investor in multiple units, your woes could be multiplied. - On the other hand, if you are a renter, now could be the time to sign up for a long-term l... It’s fair to say that this is probably not the best time to be a property owner.  And if you are an investor in multiple units, your woes could be multiplied.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, if you are a renter, now could be the time to sign up for a long-term lease at a lower rent … if you can find one<br /> <br /> There are so many factors assailing property prices, it’s hard to see a clear way forward. This week in the Flat Chat Wrap, property writer Sue Williams takes us through some of the areas where the market is dropping – and a few where it’s holding its own.<br /> <br /> Property values are cyclical – what goes down will, eventually, go back up again - something we tend to forget in extended periods of price rises such as we have just witnessed, especially in Sydney.<br /> <br /> And competing arguments just don’t compute.  How can there be too many people in our cities when there seems to be an over-supply of properties? How can prices be going down when demand must be going up?<br /> <br /> And how can our politicians bang on about housing affordability and then attack each other for measures that might reduce property values?<br /> <br /> But then there are th poor blighters who put down a deposit to buy off the plan when prices were at their highest, who are now having to pay the balance on the purchase when their unit is worth  a lot less than the contract price.<br /> <br /> Can they just "burn" the deposit and walk away from the purchase?  No, say some developers,  a deal is a deal and they can't afford to carry the loss on hundreds of new units.<br /> <br /> From negative equity, to negative gearing.  How will property values and rents be affected if Labor win the next election?<br /> <br /> All of this is discussed at length in our latest podcast – including the view from one of Australia’s most successful property developers that negative gearing could be here to stay, even if Labor win.<br /> <br /> Also, Sue exposes the latest rort in apartment development – how builders get essential services installed for free  … provided apartment owners blindly sign contracts carrying inflated fees for years and years.<br /> <br /> You can hear all about it here or, even better, subscribe (for FREE) on iTunes,  Castbox, Stitcher, Spotify or your favourite Podcatcher.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-21-Property-panic.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #20 – New minister, good and bad laws, and the pet loophole https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-20-new-minister-good-and-bad-laws-and-the-pet-loophole/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 23:36:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-20-new-minister-good-and-bad-laws-and-the-pet-loophole-1 JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the big questions about the new strata minister ... like, who is he? Plus the best and worst of Australia's strata laws and what makes an ordinary pet a "support animal". JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the big questions about the new strata minister ... like, who is he? Plus the best and worst of Australia's strata laws and what makes an ordinary pet a "support animal". JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the big questions about the new strata minister ... like, who is he? Plus the best and worst of Australia's strata laws and what makes an ordinary pet a "support animal". FLAT CHAT clean Podcast – Buy a $1.2m penthouse on the Minister’s home turf https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-buy-a-1-2m-penthouse-on-the-ministers-turf/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 15:09:55 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36913 Fancy a 400 sqm penthouse with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two parking spaces plus uninterrupted city and parkland views … for only $1.19 million? Interested? Why wouldn’t you be? This place also as a huge gourmet kitchen, timber floorboards, a massive tiled terrace and a fully fitted home office. What’s the catch, you ask. Well, this particular penthouse is atop a boutique hotel … in Tamworth. Now, your next question might well be, why are we looking at bargain basement penthouses in the country music capital of Australia? And the answer is, Tamworth is where our new strata minister, Kevin Anderson, scoots his boots. In this week’s podcast, Sue Williams and I ask what the member for this fine country town – and we mean ‘country’ in every sense – is doing looking after the serious needs of the two million people who live in strata in NSW. Tamworth would only have apartment blocks three storeys high, if at all, we speculated. Turns out we were wrong: they are mostly two storeys high. Apart, that is, from this absolute snip at 3/52-58 Brisbane St, in the heart of the home of the golden guitar (thank you, realestate.com.au). We found the Tamworth penthouse when we were looking for the tallest residential building in the city that sings with a cry in its voice. And it occurs to us that, apart from this one (and most unit blocks in Sydney), being lower than three floors means every apartment block in Tamworth could conceivably qualify for Home Warranty Building Insurance. Flammable cladding?  Tell the builder to rip and replace, pronto! Opal-style crumbling walls?  Well you better git yo’ sorry ass in gear and uncrumble them, toot sweet.* Does this disqualify Minister Kevin Anderson from running the Ministry of Innovation and Better Regulation, which runs Fair Trading, which runs strata? Now, the new Minister for Bells and Whistles will have a lot on his plate, from dodgy mechanics and dangerous kettles and toys, to tattoo parlours, real estate agents, liquor licenses and yoga salons, so he can’t be expected to get up to speed on a mere bagatelle like, say, how half the population of Sydney will be living in 10 years. Which means the Mandarins of Fair Trading will be running the strata show for the next four years.  And that’s another good reason for buying that pad in Tamworth. NB:  Just because we couldn’t find a high-rise in Tamworth via the internet doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.  All we are saying is, Pyrmont, Potts Point, Wolli Creek, Botany and North Sydney, this ain’t. You can listen to the Flat Chat podcast here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-20-new-minister-2-.mp3 *I know! Ca ne fait rien. Fancy a 400 sqm penthouse with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two parking spaces plus uninterrupted city and parkland views … for only $1.19 million? - Interested? Why wouldn’t you be? This place also as a huge gourmet kitchen, timber floorboards, Fancy a 400 sqm penthouse with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two parking spaces plus uninterrupted city and parkland views … for only $1.19 million?<br /> <br /> Interested? Why wouldn’t you be? This place also as a huge gourmet kitchen, timber floorboards, a massive tiled terrace and a fully fitted home office.<br /> <br /> What’s the catch, you ask. Well, this particular penthouse is atop a boutique hotel … in Tamworth.<br /> <br /> Now, your next question might well be, why are we looking at bargain basement penthouses in the country music capital of Australia?<br /> <br /> And the answer is, Tamworth is where our new strata minister, Kevin Anderson, scoots his boots.<br /> <br /> In this week’s podcast, Sue Williams and I ask what the member for this fine country town – and we mean ‘country’ in every sense – is doing looking after the serious needs of the two million people who live in strata in NSW.<br /> <br /> Tamworth would only have apartment blocks three storeys high, if at all, we speculated. Turns out we were wrong: they are mostly two storeys high.<br /> <br /> Apart, that is, from this absolute snip at 3/52-58 Brisbane St, in the heart of the home of the golden guitar (thank you, realestate.com.au).<br /> <br /> We found the Tamworth penthouse when we were looking for the tallest residential building in the city that sings with a cry in its voice.<br /> <br /> And it occurs to us that, apart from this one (and most unit blocks in Sydney), being lower than three floors means every apartment block in Tamworth could conceivably qualify for Home Warranty Building Insurance.<br /> <br /> Flammable cladding?  Tell the builder to rip and replace, pronto! Opal-style crumbling walls?  Well you better git yo’ sorry ass in gear and uncrumble them, toot sweet.*<br /> <br /> Does this disqualify Minister Kevin Anderson from running the Ministry of Innovation and Better Regulation, which runs Fair Trading, which runs strata?<br /> <br /> Now, the new Minister for Bells and Whistles will have a lot on his plate, from dodgy mechanics and dangerous kettles and toys, to tattoo parlours, real estate agents, liquor licenses and yoga salons, so he can’t be expected to get up to speed on a mere bagatelle like, say, how half the population of Sydney will be living in 10 years.<br /> <br /> Which means the Mandarins of Fair Trading will be running the strata show for the next four years.  And that’s another good reason for buying that pad in Tamworth.<br /> <br /> NB:  Just because we couldn’t find a high-rise in Tamworth via the internet doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.  All we are saying is, Pyrmont, Potts Point, Wolli Creek, Botany and North Sydney, this ain’t.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the Flat Chat podcast here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-20-new-minister-2-.mp3<br /> <br /> *I know! Ca ne fait rien. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #19: Shoes in lobbies and snooping neighbours https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-19-shoes-in-lobbies-and-snooping-neighbours/ Tue, 02 Apr 2019 16:34:45 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-19-shoes-in-lobbies-and-snooping-neighbours Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams take a wry - and slightly bruised - look at what's attracting mail to the Flat Chat Forum. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams take a wry - and slightly bruised - look at what's attracting mail to the Flat Chat Forum. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams take a wry - and slightly bruised - look at what's attracting mail to the Flat Chat Forum. FLAT CHAT clean Flat Chat Wrap #18 – the joys of apartment living (no, really!) https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-18-the-joys-of-apartment-living-no-really/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 18:12:25 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-18-the-joys-of-apartment-living-no-really Jimmy Thomson talks to Sue Williams about why she loves apartment living and would never live in a house. Jimmy Thomson talks to Sue Williams about why she loves apartment living and would never live in a house. Jimmy Thomson talks to Sue Williams about why she loves apartment living and would never live in a house. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: The joys of apartment living (no … really!) https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-the-joys-of-apartment-living-no-really/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 08:37:17 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36622 A while ago I received a complaint from a reader that I had used the phrase “the very best in apartment living”. ‘Very best”, she argued, implied that there was something good about living in a flat, and since this was clearly a stupid and perverse idea, I was being dishonest. Now, I have to admit that, running a website that sets out to solve people’s problem does have a fairly negative beginning: no problems, no website. Most of the people who come here, or read the Flat Chat column in the Financial Review, do so because they have questions, doubts or concerns. That said, I suspect there are people who live in houses who read Flat Chat so they can feel better about their choice of dwelling: “Martha, the roof’s caved in after last night’s storm, but at least we don’t have to pay levies!’ But even coming up with positive solutions has to start with someone, somewhere being disappointed, confused or angry (or all three) about something. With all that negativity around, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that I actually like living in an apartment.  In fact, I love it and wouldn’t live in a house in the city for quids. So when I heard that my regular strata sparring partner Sue Williams was writing a feature for Domain about why she loves apartment living, it was too good an opportunity to refuse. “Come and tell us what’s so good about it,” I said. So she did and that’s this week’s podcast. Enjoy. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-18-Joys-.mp3 A while ago I received a complaint from a reader that I had used the phrase “the very best in apartment living”. - ‘Very best”, she argued, implied that there was something good about living in a flat, and since this was clearly a stupid and perverse ... A while ago I received a complaint from a reader that I had used the phrase “the very best in apartment living”.<br /> <br /> ‘Very best”, she argued, implied that there was something good about living in a flat, and since this was clearly a stupid and perverse idea, I was being dishonest.<br /> <br /> Now, I have to admit that, running a website that sets out to solve people’s problem does have a fairly negative beginning: no problems, no website.<br /> <br /> Most of the people who come here, or read the Flat Chat column in the Financial Review, do so because they have questions, doubts or concerns.<br /> <br /> That said, I suspect there are people who live in houses who read Flat Chat so they can feel better about their choice of dwelling: “Martha, the roof’s caved in after last night’s storm, but at least we don’t have to pay levies!’<br /> <br /> But even coming up with positive solutions has to start with someone, somewhere being disappointed, confused or angry (or all three) about something.<br /> <br /> With all that negativity around, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that I actually like living in an apartment.  In fact, I love it and wouldn’t live in a house in the city for quids.<br /> <br /> So when I heard that my regular strata sparring partner Sue Williams was writing a feature for Domain about why she loves apartment living, it was too good an opportunity to refuse.<br /> <br /> “Come and tell us what’s so good about it,” I said. So she did and that’s this week’s podcast. Enjoy.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-18-Joys-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #17 – Promises, promises … what the pollies are offering the strata voters of NSW https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-17-promises-promises-what-the-pollies-are-offering-the-strata-voters-of-nsw/ Tue, 19 Mar 2019 15:04:00 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-17-promises-promises-what-the-pollies-are-offering-the-strata-voters-of-nsw Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss what the various parties are offering strata residents and owners  in the run-up to the NSW state election. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss what the various parties are offering strata residents and owners  in the run-up to the NSW state election. Jimmy Thomson and Sue Williams discuss what the various parties are offering strata residents and owners  in the run-up to the NSW state election. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: What the pollies are promising the strata voters of NSW https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-promises-promises-what-the-pollies-are-offering-the-strata-voters-of-nsw/ Tue, 19 Mar 2019 04:26:25 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36461 It's hard to believe that we'll be voting on Saturday (March 23) for, possibly, the first new government in NSW in eight years. It's also hard to believe that we have a fixed term of four years here in NSW while the Federal Parliament has a maximum of only three years ... if they get that far. Three years is too short.  New Federal governments tend to spend the first year undoing the work of their predecessors, the second pursuing their own agenda and the third getting ready for the next election. On the other hand, four years seems a bit too long when the wrong people are in power.  Right now we face the prospect of a hung parliament with the odious Mark Latham potentially holding or at least contributing to the balance of power in the upper house through his candidature for Pauline Hanson's ("we're not very racist") One Nation. Four years of Latham? Somebody, somewhere is taking bets on how long it will be before he and Pauline fall out and he, like so many of her elected members, wanders off on his own. All of which has very little to do with apartment living.  I may be biased but I have to say that, apart from the Shooters, the Coalition seem to have the least interest in the lives of apartment residents ... and that may be being unfair to the Shooters. The enthusiasm with which they were ready to hand our homes over to unrestricted holiday lets was utterly shameful.   Immense gratitude and congratulations are owed to the Owners Corporation Network for making some MPs aware of what was about to happen to their strata-dwelling constituents, saving the day (to some extent) at literally the 11th hour. There's a lot of politics on Flat Chat at the moment - and there will be more, no doubt when the dust has settled on the Election. But if you are still undecided who to vote for, listen to our latest podcast for an instant guide.   https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-17-Election-.mp3 It's hard to believe that we'll be voting on Saturday (March 23) for, possibly, the first new government in NSW in eight years. It's also hard to believe that we have a fixed term of four years here in NSW while the Federal Parliament has a maximum of ... It's hard to believe that we'll be voting on Saturday (March 23) for, possibly, the first new government in NSW in eight years. It's also hard to believe that we have a fixed term of four years here in NSW while the Federal Parliament has a maximum of only three years ... if they get that far.<br /> <br /> Three years is too short.  New Federal governments tend to spend the first year undoing the work of their predecessors, the second pursuing their own agenda and the third getting ready for the next election.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, four years seems a bit too long when the wrong people are in power.  Right now we face the prospect of a hung parliament with the odious Mark Latham potentially holding or at least contributing to the balance of power in the upper house through his candidature for Pauline Hanson's ("we're not very racist") One Nation.<br /> <br /> Four years of Latham? Somebody, somewhere is taking bets on how long it will be before he and Pauline fall out and he, like so many of her elected members, wanders off on his own.<br /> <br /> All of which has very little to do with apartment living.  I may be biased but I have to say that, apart from the Shooters, the Coalition seem to have the least interest in the lives of apartment residents ... and that may be being unfair to the Shooters.<br /> <br /> The enthusiasm with which they were ready to hand our homes over to unrestricted holiday lets was utterly shameful.   Immense gratitude and congratulations are owed to the Owners Corporation Network for making some MPs aware of what was about to happen to their strata-dwelling constituents, saving the day (to some extent) at literally the 11th hour.<br /> <br /> There's a lot of politics on Flat Chat at the moment - and there will be more, no doubt when the dust has settled on the Election.<br /> <br /> But if you are still undecided who to vote for, listen to our latest podcast for an instant guide.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-17-Election-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #16 – Election fever mounts as the shadow minister speaks https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-16-election-fever-mounts-as-the-shadow-minister-speaks/ Tue, 12 Mar 2019 22:55:50 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-16-election-fever-mounts-as-the-shadow-minister-speaks Labor spokesperson for Better Regulations and Innovation (and Fair Trading) Yasmin Catley calls in on the Flat Chat podcast ... and part two of the chat with OCN chair Phil Gall. Labor spokesperson for Better Regulations and Innovation (and Fair Trading) Yasmin Catley calls in on the Flat Chat podcast ... and part two of the chat with OCN chair Phil Gall. Labor spokesperson for Better Regulations and Innovation (and Fair Trading) Yasmin Catley calls in on the Flat Chat podcast ... and part two of the chat with OCN chair Phil Gall. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Talking to the woman who could be our next strata minister https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-talking-to-the-woman-who-could-be-our-next-strata-minister/ Tue, 12 Mar 2019 12:45:39 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36304 We were very lucky last weekend to catch up with Labor spokesperson for Better Regulation and Innovation Yasmin Catley who, current polls suggest, is a very real prospect of being NSW’s next Minister for Consumer Affairs (she will ditch the Ministry of Long Names title). Yasmin has been getting a lot of coverage in Flat Chat recently for one simple reason – she has been talking about strata and things she wants to do to make our lives better. Better Regulations Minister Matt Kean has, admittedly, been pre-occupied with the Opal building and the cladding issue (not that he’s doing much on that front except scaring people, according to this story). Mr Kean was also invited to chat with us on the podcast but we didn’t even get a response.  He’s a very busy man, not least because if the Liberals lose, his mentor, the premier, will probably be rolled and he’s her numbers man. For the record, I won’t be voting either Labor or Liberal in the NSW election and at various times I have promoted the efforts of Liberal Fair Trading Ministers Roberts, Dominello and Kean (although the latter turned out to be a huge disappointment when it came to Airbnb). But it’s refreshing to have someone who has a real chance of making a difference talking about issues that are important to us, the people who are living in apartments right now. Yes, building defects are important, but the changes proposed by the government will only affect blocks that haven’t even been started yet. Meanwhile they have let us down on Airbnb-style holiday lets, flammable cladding and making builders and developers responsible for defects that exist right now. In this week’s podcast, Ms Catley makes a very convincing argument as to why she would be a better champion for apartment residents – owners and tenants – than anyone in the current mob. She’s proposing a register for holiday lets, an opt-in option (with the default being no holiday lets) for Airbnb in apartment blocks, more protection for tenants, a strata commissioner and shifting strata to housing and and building and away from broken toys and dodgy mechanics.  In short, it’s more about people living is strata rather than profits for developers and investors. Also, we pick up the second half of our chat with Owners Corporation Network chair Phil Gall, when we get into Airbnb (again), why most politicians don’t get strata, Fair Trading (we disagree) and the future of OCN. I won’t say too much more.  Just listen to the podcast … it might make you think again about which way you are going to vote next week. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. Enjoy. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-16-Yasmin-.mp3 We were very lucky last weekend to catch up with Labor spokesperson for Better Regulation and Innovation Yasmin Catley who, current polls suggest, is a very real prospect of being NSW’s next Minister for Consumer Affairs (she will ditch the Ministry of... We were very lucky last weekend to catch up with Labor spokesperson for Better Regulation and Innovation Yasmin Catley who, current polls suggest, is a very real prospect of being NSW’s next Minister for Consumer Affairs (she will ditch the Ministry of Long Names title).<br /> <br /> Yasmin has been getting a lot of coverage in Flat Chat recently for one simple reason – she has been talking about strata and things she wants to do to make our lives better.<br /> <br /> Better Regulations Minister Matt Kean has, admittedly, been pre-occupied with the Opal building and the cladding issue (not that he’s doing much on that front except scaring people, according to this story).<br /> <br /> Mr Kean was also invited to chat with us on the podcast but we didn’t even get a response.  He’s a very busy man, not least because if the Liberals lose, his mentor, the premier, will probably be rolled and he’s her numbers man.<br /> <br /> For the record, I won’t be voting either Labor or Liberal in the NSW election and at various times I have promoted the efforts of Liberal Fair Trading Ministers Roberts, Dominello and Kean (although the latter turned out to be a huge disappointment when it came to Airbnb).<br /> <br /> But it’s refreshing to have someone who has a real chance of making a difference talking about issues that are important to us, the people who are living in apartments right now.<br /> <br /> Yes, building defects are important, but the changes proposed by the government will only affect blocks that haven’t even been started yet.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile they have let us down on Airbnb-style holiday lets, flammable cladding and making builders and developers responsible for defects that exist right now.<br /> <br /> In this week’s podcast, Ms Catley makes a very convincing argument as to why she would be a better champion for apartment residents – owners and tenants – than anyone in the current mob.<br /> <br /> She’s proposing a register for holiday lets, an opt-in option (with the default being no holiday lets) for Airbnb in apartment blocks, more protection for tenants, a strata commissioner and shifting strata to housing and and building and away from broken toys and dodgy mechanics.  In short, it’s more about people living is strata rather than profits for developers and investors.<br /> <br /> Also, we pick up the second half of our chat with Owners Corporation Network chair Phil Gall, when we get into Airbnb (again), why most politicians don’t get strata, Fair Trading (we disagree) and the future of OCN.<br /> <br /> I won’t say too much more.  Just listen to the podcast … it might make you think again about which way you are going to vote next week.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. Enjoy.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-16-Yasmin-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #15 – Talking the politics of Airbnb and cladding fears with the OCN https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-15-talking-the-politics-of-airbnb-and-cladding-fears-with-the-ocn/ Wed, 06 Mar 2019 11:39:53 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-15-talking-the-politics-of-airbnb-and-cladding-fears-with-the-ocn JimmyT talks to OCN chair Phil Gall about how the Owners Corporation Network gets stuff done despite bring underfunded ... and what their cladding seminar offers apartment owners JimmyT talks to OCN chair Phil Gall about how the Owners Corporation Network gets stuff done despite bring underfunded ... and what their cladding seminar offers apartment owners JimmyT talks to OCN chair Phil Gall about how the Owners Corporation Network gets stuff done despite bring underfunded ... and what their cladding seminar offers apartment owners FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: The link between holiday lets and high rise cladding fires https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-the-link-between-holiday-lets-and-high-rise-cladding-fires/ Wed, 06 Mar 2019 02:45:46 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36160 It used to be that when anyone talked about problems in strata, the perennial topics were the four Ps – pets, parking, parties (the noisy kind) and puffing (the smoke wafting from your neighbour’s balcony into your home). These days you are more likely to find yourself talking about Airbnb, inflammable cladding and building defects. Why?  For the simple reason that there’s a lot of them about. It still beggars belief that state governments are happy to hand their housing and planning policies over to a bunch of trendoids working in a hi-tech office in San Francisco. All those years of carefully evolved rules and regulations – the kind that stop your neighbour from turning their home into a business – get tossed out of the window. Why? Because some slick advertising and highly dubious business practises purport to free you to do as you wish with your property and make a lot of money. Of course, you haven’t been able to do whatever you wish with your property since the first village idiot stood for the first local council.  This is even more the case in strata, where a big chunk of your home environment is shared with other people who pay for their fair share of the upkeep. Then along comes Airbnb, presenting like a social service but behaving like the rapacious global mega-corporation that they are. If that weren’t bad enough, we have our buildings covered in flammable cladding – two microscopically thin sheets of aluminium over material that is basically a gel made of petrol. How are the two connected – have a look at the story on this page about the backpacker whose un-extinguished cigarette on the balcony of an illicit holiday let started the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne four years ago. These are the main discussion points in my podcast with Owners Corporation Network chair Phil Gall who, apart form anything else, explains why flammable cladding is even more dangerous that it seems. Next week, we tackle building defects and why apartment owners really need to stick together. But for now, here’s the first part of our chat. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-15.mp3 It used to be that when anyone talked about problems in strata, the perennial topics were the four Ps – pets, parking, parties (the noisy kind) and puffing (the smoke wafting from your neighbour’s balcony into your home). - It used to be that when anyone talked about problems in strata, the perennial topics were the four Ps – pets, parking, parties (the noisy kind) and puffing (the smoke wafting from your neighbour’s balcony into your home).<br /> <br /> These days you are more likely to find yourself talking about Airbnb, inflammable cladding and building defects. Why?  For the simple reason that there’s a lot of them about.<br /> <br /> It still beggars belief that state governments are happy to hand their housing and planning policies over to a bunch of trendoids working in a hi-tech office in San Francisco.<br /> <br /> All those years of carefully evolved rules and regulations – the kind that stop your neighbour from turning their home into a business – get tossed out of the window.<br /> <br /> Why? Because some slick advertising and highly dubious business practises purport to free you to do as you wish with your property and make a lot of money.<br /> <br /> Of course, you haven’t been able to do whatever you wish with your property since the first village idiot stood for the first local council.  This is even more the case in strata, where a big chunk of your home environment is shared with other people who pay for their fair share of the upkeep.<br /> <br /> Then along comes Airbnb, presenting like a social service but behaving like the rapacious global mega-corporation that they are.<br /> <br /> If that weren’t bad enough, we have our buildings covered in flammable cladding – two microscopically thin sheets of aluminium over material that is basically a gel made of petrol.<br /> <br /> How are the two connected – have a look at the story on this page about the backpacker whose un-extinguished cigarette on the balcony of an illicit holiday let started the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne four years ago.<br /> <br /> These are the main discussion points in my podcast with Owners Corporation Network chair Phil Gall who, apart form anything else, explains why flammable cladding is even more dangerous that it seems.<br /> <br /> Next week, we tackle building defects and why apartment owners really need to stick together. But for now, here’s the first part of our chat.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-15.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #14 – Three rants and why we’ll never get a Royal Commission https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-14-three-rants-and-why-well-never-get-a-royal-commission/ Tue, 26 Feb 2019 15:52:58 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-14-three-rants-and-why-well-never-get-a-royal-commission JimmyT rants about Airbnb, defects (and the Opal Tower report) and cladding ... and explains why we'll never get a Royal Commission into the apartment building industry. JimmyT rants about Airbnb, defects (and the Opal Tower report) and cladding ... and explains why we'll never get a Royal Commission into the apartment building industry. JimmyT rants about Airbnb, defects (and the Opal Tower report) and cladding ... and explains why we'll never get a Royal Commission into the apartment building industry. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Why we’ll never get a Royal Commission into building defects https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-why-well-never-get-a-royal-commission-into-building-defects/ Tue, 26 Feb 2019 08:06:42 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=36016 I was intrigued this week by the announcement by the Federal Labor leadership that they plan to pour some of the money from their proposed “honesty tax” on banks into lawyers to help ordinary people get back what they’ve had chiselled out of them by unscrupulous money people. What a great idea. Make the baddies pay for people to help their victims. Now, how about a defects tax on developers to do just the same? OK, developers aren’t making the shed-loads of moolah that the banks are coining – the latter’s profits went UP the day after the Banking Royal Commission issued its damning report – but they are doing OK. And we are never going to get a Royal Commission into property development for the simple reason that neither side of politics is squeaky clean in that regard, and irrespective of how upright and honest they are now, no Labor or Liberal Coalition leader wants to lift that particular rock to see what’s still wriggling underneath. Also, in the week in which the Opal Tower report illustrated how a systemic failure of quality control – from inadequate design to poor construction – can lead to a building crumbling literally before your eyes, you realise that NSW’s defects bond is a droplet in a bucket when serious problems are discovered in a building. Now, as I argue in my Flat Chat column out later this week, the Opal apartment owners’ experience may be very different from the usual one. Given government support, developer concern for their public image and the whole of the state waiting to see how this pans out, you’d put your money on the defects being dealt with expediently and with minimal fuss. But for too many apartment buyers in NSW, the experience is more akin to the Elara Apartments scandal in Canberra, where where unit owners have been left with a $19 million defects bill, after they had tried to sue over defects but the builder went into voluntary administration. And just the other week, the Federal Court ruled that subsequent claims to the Master Builders Fidelity Fund, set up for situations just like that, were invalid as they had been lodged after the five-year deadline. A more typical experience here is that the unit owners belatedly discover there are defects (allegedly in 85 percent of buildings, according to a UNSW report), they rush to get a survey done, the defects cost way more than the two per cent defects bond, the developer and the builder argue over who’s to blame, then whoever loses goes into liquidation and the other one hires lawyers to prove that they aren’t responsible.  Or they go into liquidation too. So our new owners are left with a bill for the survey, for the lawyers and what’s left after the defects bond has been used up. Now, I admit that's a very cynical view and there are good developers who value their reputations and want to do the right thing by their customers.  They may even be in the majority - but there's enough of the other kind to cause a lot of heartache. By the way, there’s a theory that the less honest developers in NSW are factoring the defects bond into their budgets and cutting more corners than ever. The quality of the final product could be worse, rather than better, because they’re never going to get that money back anyway. Now, if that sounds like a rant, that’s because I’m in a ranting mood.  This week’s Flat Chat Wrap Podcast takes no prisoners as the defects disaster, flammable cladding and, of course, Airbnb come on to my radar. Enjoy. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-14-rants-.mp3 I was intrigued this week by the announcement by the Federal Labor leadership that they plan to pour some of the money from their proposed “honesty tax” on banks into lawyers to help ordinary people get back what they’ve had chiselled out of them by un... I was intrigued this week by the announcement by the Federal Labor leadership that they plan to pour some of the money from their proposed “honesty tax” on banks into lawyers to help ordinary people get back what they’ve had chiselled out of them by unscrupulous money people.<br /> <br /> What a great idea. Make the baddies pay for people to help their victims. Now, how about a defects tax on developers to do just the same?<br /> <br /> OK, developers aren’t making the shed-loads of moolah that the banks are coining – the latter’s profits went UP the day after the Banking Royal Commission issued its damning report – but they are doing OK.<br /> <br /> And we are never going to get a Royal Commission into property development for the simple reason that neither side of politics is squeaky clean in that regard, and irrespective of how upright and honest they are now, no Labor or Liberal Coalition leader wants to lift that particular rock to see what’s still wriggling underneath.<br /> <br /> Also, in the week in which the Opal Tower report illustrated how a systemic failure of quality control – from inadequate design to poor construction – can lead to a building crumbling literally before your eyes, you realise that NSW’s defects bond is a droplet in a bucket when serious problems are discovered in a building.<br /> <br /> Now, as I argue in my Flat Chat column out later this week, the Opal apartment owners’ experience may be very different from the usual one.<br /> <br /> Given government support, developer concern for their public image and the whole of the state waiting to see how this pans out, you’d put your money on the defects being dealt with expediently and with minimal fuss.<br /> <br /> But for too many apartment buyers in NSW, the experience is more akin to the Elara Apartments scandal in Canberra, where where unit owners have been left with a $19 million defects bill, after they had tried to sue over defects but the builder went into voluntary administration.<br /> <br /> And just the other week, the Federal Court ruled that subsequent claims to the Master Builders Fidelity Fund, set up for situations just like that, were invalid as they had been lodged after the five-year deadline.<br /> <br /> A more typical experience here is that the unit owners belatedly discover there are defects (allegedly in 85 percent of buildings, according to a UNSW report), they rush to get a survey done, the defects cost way more than the two per cent defects bond, the developer and the builder argue over who’s to blame, then whoever loses goes into liquidation and the other one hires lawyers to prove that they aren’t responsible.  Or they go into liquidation too.<br /> <br /> So our new owners are left with a bill for the survey, for the lawyers and what’s left after the defects bond has been used up.<br /> <br /> Now, I admit that's a very cynical view and there are good developers who value their reputations and want to do the right thing by their customers.  They may even be in the majority - but there's enough of the other kind to cause a lot of heartache.<br /> <br /> By the way, there’s a theory that the less honest developers in NSW are factoring the defects bond into their budgets and cutting more corners than ever. The quality of the final product could be worse, rather than better, because they’re never going to get that money back anyway.<br /> <br /> Now, if that sounds like a rant, that’s because I’m in a ranting mood.  This week’s Flat Chat Wrap Podcast takes no prisoners as the defects disaster, flammable cladding and, of course, Airbnb come on to my radar.<br /> <br /> Enjoy.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-14-rants-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean On TV pouring cold water on the flammable cladding controversy https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-on-tv-pouring-cold-water-on-the-cladding-controversy/ Fri, 22 Feb 2019 03:37:23 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=35979 The fire earlier this month (February 2019) on the outside of the Neo200 building in Melbourne conveniently coincided with a meeting of state and federal government ministers at which it was announced that the highly dangerous product would be banned from our shores. Of course, this is way too late for the people who have bought apartments in buildings that are covered in the potentially deadly material. You might as well set fire to the stable door - the horse has bolted. Although they are approaching this in very different ways in different states, the end result for apartment owners like you or me, is that we have to identify the stuff then - unless we are very lucky - pay to have it removed. Now, there may be cases where the buildings are still under warranty and the developers haven't disappeared up their own flammable phoenixes, and then you just have to pay lawyers to persuade the developers to get it removed.  Good luck with that. Now, I can hear a chorus of voices saying: "Tough luck!  Nobody told you to go and live in apartments. In fact, we told you it was a bad idea.  So don't expect us, the taxpayers, to pay for your stupidity." Hmmm.  Imagine if we applied that to bushfires. "Hey, we didn't tell you to go and live in the middle of forests full of trees that nature has designed to burn ferociously.  So don't expect us to pay for the back-burning that might just prevent you from losing your home (or even worse) next bush-fire season." Of course, we don't say that because we believe in collective responsibility.  We'll contribute to your back-burning if you contribute to our freeways. So why doesn't that apply to flammable cladding?  The people who are responsible, if they get half a chance, are walking off whistling their "nothing to do with me" tunes. Politicians have overseen lax and laissez-faire controls on  builders and developers for decades.  And as for the aforementioned high-rise high rollers ... well, we are all reaping the dubious reward of allowing unscrupulous people to do unspeakable things in pursuit of profits.  In fact, it doesn't need to be all that blatantly corrupt.  Cut a few corners here and there and it's money in the bank. Meanwhile 85 percent of new blocks report defects and the average rectification bill is, according to experts, over 20 per cent of the cost of the building (so much for NSW's 2 per cent defects bond). So now we find ourselves in a phase of punish-the-victims policies. Whether or not we live in blocks covered with cladding, or crumbling like the Opal Tower, we deserve better. All of which I didn't say when I was invited on to Weekend Sunrise a couple of weeks ago to talk about cladding. Click in the pic below to watch the item. (Note to self - next time iron shirt.)   https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Weekend-Sunrise-JIMMYT-on-CLADDING.mp4 The fire earlier this month (February 2019) on the outside of the Neo200 building in Melbourne conveniently coincided with a meeting of state and federal government ministers at which it was announced that the highly dangerous product would be banned f... The fire earlier this month (February 2019) on the outside of the Neo200 building in Melbourne conveniently coincided with a meeting of state and federal government ministers at which it was announced that the highly dangerous product would be banned from our shores.<br /> <br /> Of course, this is way too late for the people who have bought apartments in buildings that are covered in the potentially deadly material. You might as well set fire to the stable door - the horse has bolted.<br /> <br /> Although they are approaching this in very different ways in different states, the end result for apartment owners like you or me, is that we have to identify the stuff then - unless we are very lucky - pay to have it removed.<br /> <br /> Now, there may be cases where the buildings are still under warranty and the developers haven't disappeared up their own flammable phoenixes, and then you just have to pay lawyers to persuade the developers to get it removed.  Good luck with that.<br /> <br /> Now, I can hear a chorus of voices saying: "Tough luck!  Nobody told you to go and live in apartments. In fact, we told you it was a bad idea.  So don't expect us, the taxpayers, to pay for your stupidity."<br /> <br /> Hmmm.  Imagine if we applied that to bushfires. "Hey, we didn't tell you to go and live in the middle of forests full of trees that nature has designed to burn ferociously.  So don't expect us to pay for the back-burning that might just prevent you from losing your home (or even worse) next bush-fire season."<br /> <br /> Of course, we don't say that because we believe in collective responsibility.  We'll contribute to your back-burning if you contribute to our freeways.<br /> <br /> So why doesn't that apply to flammable cladding?  The people who are responsible, if they get half a chance, are walking off whistling their "nothing to do with me" tunes.<br /> <br /> Politicians have overseen lax and laissez-faire controls on  builders and developers for decades.  And as for the aforementioned high-rise high rollers ... well, we are all reaping the dubious reward of allowing unscrupulous people to do unspeakable things in pursuit of profits.  In fact, it doesn't need to be all that blatantly corrupt.  Cut a few corners here and there and it's money in the bank.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile 85 percent of new blocks report defects and the average rectification bill is, according to experts, over 20 per cent of the cost of the building (so much for NSW's 2 per cent defects bond).<br /> <br /> So now we find ourselves in a phase of punish-the-victims policies. Whether or not we live in blocks covered with cladding, or crumbling like the Opal Tower, we deserve better.<br /> <br /> All of which I didn't say when I was invited on to Weekend Sunrise a couple of weeks ago to talk about cladding. Click in the pic below to watch the item. (Note to self - next time iron shirt.)<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Weekend-Sunrise-JIMMYT-on-CLADDING.mp4 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #13 – On air with James Valentine and more from Alex Greenwich https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-13-on-air-with-james-valentine-and-more-from-alex-greenwich/ Tue, 19 Feb 2019 23:51:31 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-12-on-air-with-james-valentine-and-more-from-alex-greenwich Talking off-the-plan purchases and defects - plus your calls - with James Valentine.  And why Sydney MP Alex Greenwich thinks Airbnb is bad for Sydney renters, and Mark Latham will be bad for the NSW parliament. Talking off-the-plan purchases and defects - plus your calls - with James Valentine.  And why Sydney MP Alex Greenwich thinks Airbnb is bad for Sydney renters, and Mark Latham will be bad for the NSW parliament. Talking off-the-plan purchases and defects - plus your calls - with James Valentine.  And why Sydney MP Alex Greenwich thinks Airbnb is bad for Sydney renters, and Mark Latham will be bad for the NSW parliament. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: On radio with James Valentine and more from Alex Greenwich https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-on-radio-with-james-valentine-and-more-from-alex-greenwich/ Tue, 19 Feb 2019 13:20:50 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=35903 Chatting with James Valentine on air the other day, I was suddenly aware of how immune (or is it inured?) one can become to the idiocies of strata living. James posed the perfectly reasonable question; if you can take a kettle or a car back to the seller if it proves to be faulty, how come you can't just hand back the keys to an off-the-plan apartment when it turns out not to be up to scratch? "The walls are cracking.  Here's the keys and I'll have my deposit back too, thank-you very much." It's crazy when you think about it; you spend 20 or 30 times as much as you would on a car, buying an apartment, but the consumer protections are less than if you'd bought a dodgy toaster. Even with the protections that exist, the chances are that you are going to have to hire lawyers at great expense to get things fixed - and that's if the developer is still around. And there's no guarantee of success. The government should be taking a look at the whole scandalous system right now, when property sales are in a downturn and apartment starts are back to almost zero.  Nothing like a bit of consumer confidence to boost business. You can listen to the whole session, including listeners' questions, on the podcast below.  And you can log in to James' own podcasts HERE. The second part of our podcast this week sees Alex Greenwich MP talking about homelessness - partly informed by his stint on SBS's Filthy Rich and Homeless documentary series. Insightful as ever, Alex points out that homelessness is growing in Sydney at twice the rate of the rest of the country and suggests the goverment should be building more affordable housing than spending money to "keep people in the cracks" by funding only crisis accommodation. And finally, he takes a huge swing at Mark Latham and other extremists who are angling for a seat in the NSW Senate.  When one of politics' genuine nice guys sticks the boot in, you sit up and pay attention. That's all in this week's Flat Chat Wrap podcast: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-13-Alex-James-.mp3 Chatting with James Valentine on air the other day, I was suddenly aware of how immune (or is it inured?) one can become to the idiocies of strata living. - James posed the perfectly reasonable question; if you can take a kettle or a car back to the s... Chatting with James Valentine on air the other day, I was suddenly aware of how immune (or is it inured?) one can become to the idiocies of strata living.<br /> <br /> James posed the perfectly reasonable question; if you can take a kettle or a car back to the seller if it proves to be faulty, how come you can't just hand back the keys to an off-the-plan apartment when it turns out not to be up to scratch?<br /> <br /> "The walls are cracking.  Here's the keys and I'll have my deposit back too, thank-you very much."<br /> <br /> It's crazy when you think about it; you spend 20 or 30 times as much as you would on a car, buying an apartment, but the consumer protections are less than if you'd bought a dodgy toaster.<br /> <br /> Even with the protections that exist, the chances are that you are going to have to hire lawyers at great expense to get things fixed - and that's if the developer is still around. And there's no guarantee of success.<br /> <br /> The government should be taking a look at the whole scandalous system right now, when property sales are in a downturn and apartment starts are back to almost zero.  Nothing like a bit of consumer confidence to boost business.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the whole session, including listeners' questions, on the podcast below.  And you can log in to James' own podcasts HERE.<br /> <br /> The second part of our podcast this week sees Alex Greenwich MP talking about homelessness - partly informed by his stint on SBS's Filthy Rich and Homeless documentary series.<br /> <br /> Insightful as ever, Alex points out that homelessness is growing in Sydney at twice the rate of the rest of the country and suggests the goverment should be building more affordable housing than spending money to "keep people in the cracks" by funding only crisis accommodation.<br /> <br /> And finally, he takes a huge swing at Mark Latham and other extremists who are angling for a seat in the NSW Senate.  When one of politics' genuine nice guys sticks the boot in, you sit up and pay attention.<br /> <br /> That's all in this week's Flat Chat Wrap podcast:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-13-Alex-James-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #12 – The ups and downs of apartment living with Sydney MP Alex Greenwich https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-12-the-ups-and-downs-of-apartment-living-with-sydney-mp-alex-greenwich/ Tue, 12 Feb 2019 22:09:01 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-episode-11-1 Talking apartments, Airbnb, pets, the Opal, defects, cladding and all things apartment related with Sydney MP Alex Greenwich Talking apartments, Airbnb, pets, the Opal, defects, cladding and all things apartment related with Sydney MP Alex Greenwich Talking apartments, Airbnb, pets, the Opal, defects, cladding and all things apartment related with Sydney MP Alex Greenwich FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Parliamentary panic behind short-term letting U-turn https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-11-featuring-alex-greenwich-mp/ Tue, 12 Feb 2019 13:07:58 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=35734 This week our podcast is given over to an extended chat with NSW Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. I've come across many politicians in this game. Most have been honest and decent (to a point) and a few have been self-interested and not so much corrupt as corrupted - mainly by party allegiance and personal ambition. But it's very rare to come across someone who is as clear-sighted, committed and empathic as Alex. Locally, he's known as the man who took over from Clover Moore when she was forced to chose between being Mayor of Sydney and the city's MP in the NSW parliament. That he won the by-election comfortably was no surprise but he then increased his majority at the next state election, despite having a chunk of traditionally Liberal voters grafted on to his constituency. Nationally, he was the face of the same-sex marriage campaign while appearing on the SBS TV series Filthy Rich and Homeless. And as soon as the next state election campaign is done and dusted, he will take up cudgels for the voluntary euthanasia movement. Will all that on his plate, as well as being an active constituency MP, we were very lucky to get an hour of his time to talk about the things that matter to us here at Flat Chat. Why him?  Becasue his constituency has more high-rise apartments than any other in Australia. So this podcast is the first of two parts in which we discuss the strata issues of the day - Airbnb, cladding, defects  ... and pets. The highlight of the chat, for me, was his description of how a last-minute push by the Owners Corporation Network (and a few like-minded souls) alerted MPs in constituencies with large numbers of apartment blocks that they were about to be effectively handed over to Airbnb and other online letting agencies to be used for holiday lets, regardless of the devastating effects of strata communities. His description of the corridors of Parliament full of MPs asking each other what was going on and the last minute U-Turn by our Planning and Better Regulation Ministers makes our latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast worth a listen in itself. Enjoy. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-11-Alex-1-.mp3 This week our podcast is given over to an extended chat with NSW Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. - I've come across many politicians in this game. Most have been honest and decent (to a point) and a few have been self-interested and not so ... This week our podcast is given over to an extended chat with NSW Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.<br /> <br /> I've come across many politicians in this game. Most have been honest and decent (to a point) and a few have been self-interested and not so much corrupt as corrupted - mainly by party allegiance and personal ambition.<br /> <br /> But it's very rare to come across someone who is as clear-sighted, committed and empathic as Alex.<br /> <br /> Locally, he's known as the man who took over from Clover Moore when she was forced to chose between being Mayor of Sydney and the city's MP in the NSW parliament.<br /> <br /> That he won the by-election comfortably was no surprise but he then increased his majority at the next state election, despite having a chunk of traditionally Liberal voters grafted on to his constituency.<br /> <br /> Nationally, he was the face of the same-sex marriage campaign while appearing on the SBS TV series Filthy Rich and Homeless. And as soon as the next state election campaign is done and dusted, he will take up cudgels for the voluntary euthanasia movement.<br /> <br /> Will all that on his plate, as well as being an active constituency MP, we were very lucky to get an hour of his time to talk about the things that matter to us here at Flat Chat.<br /> <br /> Why him?  Becasue his constituency has more high-rise apartments than any other in Australia. So this podcast is the first of two parts in which we discuss the strata issues of the day - Airbnb, cladding, defects  ... and pets.<br /> <br /> The highlight of the chat, for me, was his description of how a last-minute push by the Owners Corporation Network (and a few like-minded souls) alerted MPs in constituencies with large numbers of apartment blocks that they were about to be effectively handed over to Airbnb and other online letting agencies to be used for holiday lets, regardless of the devastating effects of strata communities.<br /> <br /> His description of the corridors of Parliament full of MPs asking each other what was going on and the last minute U-Turn by our Planning and Better Regulation Ministers makes our latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast worth a listen in itself.<br /> <br /> Enjoy.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-11-Alex-1-.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #11 – Taking your calls on (very) early morning ABC radio https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-11-taking-your-calls-on-very-early-morning-abc-radio/ Wed, 06 Feb 2019 01:25:25 +0000 https://flatchatpod.castos.com/podcasts/346/episodes/flat-chat-wrap-episode-11 JimmyT gets up at 4am to talk to ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn (and other insomniacs) about strata living in Australia. JimmyT gets up at 4am to talk to ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn (and other insomniacs) about strata living in Australia. JimmyT gets up at 4am to talk to ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn (and other insomniacs) about strata living in Australia. FLAT CHAT clean Podcast: Chatting flats with “mighty” Rod Quinn https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-chatting-flats-with-mighty-rod-quinn/ Tue, 05 Feb 2019 14:48:03 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=35578 In this week's podcast we have kind of hijacked the Rod Quinn "Talking Points" segment for his ABC Overnight show on radio last week - featuring Flat Chat's very own JimmyT talking strata with people from all over Australia, In may ways, this is a podcast within a podcast, in that we have grabbed the segment with Jimmy in it and slotted it into our format, but you will still hear all the ABC titles and credits so there's no mistaking that this is Rod's show. Oh, and did we mention that Jimmy got up at 4 am to do this? What did they talk about at that ungodly hour?  Opal cracks, flammable cladding, over-development and certification - all the usual stuff. But then ABC listeners called in and asked questions like, what can you do when Uber drivers insist on leaving your communal garage door open.  It seems these part-time cabbies share a flat with a dozen others. There are so many potential breaches - even in Darwin - you barely know where to start. And that's just for starters.  It's a long podcast so put your feet up and enjoy. Oh, and if you want to hear more from Rod, you'll find his podcasts here: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/overnights/episodes/ Meanwhile, here's the Flat Chat Wrap, Ep11 https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-Episode-11.mp3   In this week's podcast we have kind of hijacked the Rod Quinn "Talking Points" segment for his ABC Overnight show on radio last week - featuring Flat Chat's very own JimmyT talking strata with people from all over Australia, - In may ways, In this week's podcast we have kind of hijacked the Rod Quinn "Talking Points" segment for his ABC Overnight show on radio last week - featuring Flat Chat's very own JimmyT talking strata with people from all over Australia,<br /> <br /> In may ways, this is a podcast within a podcast, in that we have grabbed the segment with Jimmy in it and slotted it into our format, but you will still hear all the ABC titles and credits so there's no mistaking that this is Rod's show.<br /> <br /> Oh, and did we mention that Jimmy got up at 4 am to do this?<br /> <br /> What did they talk about at that ungodly hour?  Opal cracks, flammable cladding, over-development and certification - all the usual stuff.<br /> <br /> But then ABC listeners called in and asked questions like, what can you do when Uber drivers insist on leaving your communal garage door open.  It seems these part-time cabbies share a flat with a dozen others. There are so many potential breaches - even in Darwin - you barely know where to start.<br /> <br /> And that's just for starters.  It's a long podcast so put your feet up and enjoy.<br /> <br /> Oh, and if you want to hear more from Rod, you'll find his podcasts here: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/overnights/episodes/<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, here's the Flat Chat Wrap, Ep11<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-Episode-11.mp3<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: On air with Josh Zepps and Part 2 of the strata disaster https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-on-air-with-josh-zepps-and-part-2-of-the-strata-disaster/ Wed, 30 Jan 2019 22:38:46 +0000 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/?p=35434 Every so often, I get invited on to a radio or TV show to talk about apartments.  This week I've been on Breakfast on ABC 702 with Josh Zepps, (usually hosted by Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer) and then on Friday I got up at 4am to go on ABC's early morning show with Rod Quinn (which will be featured in next week's podcast). That was a challenge (apart from being two cups of coffee under par)  because we had lots of callers from all over Australia. Next week, I will be on Triple-M in Adelaide to talk about Airbnb. Back to this podcast, I was on the ABC with Josh to discuss why residents of the Opal Tower had been told to move back into their apartments, whether or not they felt safe.  It's an emotive issue and we tend to forget that the driving principle behind why developers are in business is to make money, not necessarily house families. They were paying hotel accommodation for people who could have moved back home - so they pulled the plug. We also discussed the damage done to owners' investments that aren't covered by defects claims - the plummeting values of apartments that are no longer worth what some people have borrowed in mortgages. It would be nice at this point to say we moved on to lighter fare, but it doesn't get much darker than the legal battle to get defects fixed in Part Two of our Strata Disaster podcast. Sue Williams and I recall what happened when our owners corporation had freed itself from the dodgy developer's management and committee cronies, only to be led by so-called "experts" into a $6 million battle with attack-dog lawyers. And all the time, the strata committee was being undermined by disgruntled neighbours, overly secretive lawyers, liars and spies and then, finally, subjected to the most horrendous personal abuse.  Fifteen years on, we can laugh at the ridiculousness of it, but there are people in the building who still haven't uttered a word to each other since those days. Pour yourself a stiff drink and plug in to the podcast. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-wrap-10.mp3 Every so often, I get invited on to a radio or TV show to talk about apartments.  This week I've been on Breakfast on ABC 702 with Josh Zepps, (usually hosted by Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer) and then on Friday I got up at 4am to go on ABC's early morn... Every so often, I get invited on to a radio or TV show to talk about apartments.  This week I've been on Breakfast on ABC 702 with Josh Zepps, (usually hosted by Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer) and then on Friday I got up at 4am to go on ABC's early morning show with Rod Quinn (which will be featured in next week's podcast).<br /> <br /> That was a challenge (apart from being two cups of coffee under par)  because we had lots of callers from all over Australia. Next week, I will be on Triple-M in Adelaide to talk about Airbnb.<br /> <br /> Back to this podcast, I was on the ABC with Josh to discuss why residents of the Opal Tower had been told to move back into their apartments, whether or not they felt safe.  It's an emotive issue and we tend to forget that the driving principle behind why developers are in business is to make money, not necessarily house families. They were paying hotel accommodation for people who could have moved back home - so they pulled the plug.<br /> <br /> We also discussed the damage done to owners' investments that aren't covered by defects claims - the plummeting values of apartments that are no longer worth what some people have borrowed in mortgages.<br /> <br /> It would be nice at this point to say we moved on to lighter fare, but it doesn't get much darker than the legal battle to get defects fixed in Part Two of our Strata Disaster podcast.<br /> <br /> Sue Williams and I recall what happened when our owners corporation had freed itself from the dodgy developer's management and committee cronies, only to be led by so-called "experts" into a $6 million battle with attack-dog lawyers.<br /> <br /> And all the time, the strata committee was being undermined by disgruntled neighbours, overly secretive lawyers, liars and spies and then, finally, subjected to the most horrendous personal abuse.  Fifteen years on, we can laugh at the ridiculousness of it, but there are people in the building who still haven't uttered a word to each other since those days.<br /> <br /> Pour yourself a stiff drink and plug in to the podcast.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-wrap-10.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: Inside a strata disaster … a pet ban backfires https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-how-a-strata-disaster-started-flat-chat/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 06:37:08 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=7019 I am occasionally asked how come I ever got into writing about apartment living.  After all, I'm a published author,  have been a reasonabIy successful TV scriptwriter and occasionally still turn my hand to travel writing.  Against any and all of those pursuits, writing about flats and by-laws, committees and Airbnb breaches might seem a little ... um ... prosaic. It's not, by the way - far from it.  The French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote that everything he knew about life he learned from the football field (he played in goal for Algeria). Well, much of what I know about people has come from observing the way we behave when we are obliged to live together, under the same roof, sharing many of the same facilities, adapting (or not) to each other's quirks and foibles. It all began 20 years ago when my partner Sue Williams and I bought an apartment off the plan, encountering dodgy developers, corrupt building managers and incompetent strata managers, all ring-mastered by a shady chairman. Luckily for us, this convocation of bullies and boneheads made a fatal mistake early on ... they decided arbitrarily to ban pets when many purchasers had bought in on the basis that it was a pet-friendly building. That simple misstep brought together people who might not otherwise have even spoken to each other and who, in their campaign to block the pet ban, began unpicking the the connections between the developers, their in-house managers and their cronies on the committee . Apart from liberating the building from the clutches of a bunch of less than honest players, it led to the book Apartment Living (written by Sue and me), which led to a long-running weekly column in the Sydney Morning Herald and now Financial Review. That column was called Flat Chat ... and here we still are. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.  Enjoy the podcast. JimmyT   https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-9.2.mp3 I am occasionally asked how come I ever got into writing about apartment living.  After all, I'm a published author,  have been a reasonabIy successful TV scriptwriter and occasionally still turn my hand to travel writing. I am occasionally asked how come I ever got into writing about apartment living.  After all, I'm a published author,  have been a reasonabIy successful TV scriptwriter and occasionally still turn my hand to travel writing.  Against any and all of those pursuits, writing about flats and by-laws, committees and Airbnb breaches might seem a little ... um ... prosaic.<br /> <br /> It's not, by the way - far from it.  The French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote that everything he knew about life he learned from the football field (he played in goal for Algeria). Well, much of what I know about people has come from observing the way we behave when we are obliged to live together, under the same roof, sharing many of the same facilities, adapting (or not) to each other's quirks and foibles.<br /> <br /> It all began 20 years ago when my partner Sue Williams and I bought an apartment off the plan, encountering dodgy developers, corrupt building managers and incompetent strata managers, all ring-mastered by a shady chairman. Luckily for us, this convocation of bullies and boneheads made a fatal mistake early on ... they decided arbitrarily to ban pets when many purchasers had bought in on the basis that it was a pet-friendly building.<br /> <br /> That simple misstep brought together people who might not otherwise have even spoken to each other and who, in their campaign to block the pet ban, began unpicking the the connections between the developers, their in-house managers and their cronies on the committee .<br /> <br /> Apart from liberating the building from the clutches of a bunch of less than honest players, it led to the book Apartment Living (written by Sue and me), which led to a long-running weekly column in the Sydney Morning Herald and now Financial Review. That column was called Flat Chat ... and here we still are.<br /> <br /> It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.  Enjoy the podcast.<br /> JimmyT<br />  <br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-9.2.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: The truth about the whole defects disaster https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-the-truth-about-the-whole-defects-disaster/ Sat, 05 Jan 2019 23:55:34 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6973 If you think you've heard everything there is to know about the cracks crisis at the Opal Tower in Sydney, and the whole defects disaster in NSW and Australia as a whole, think again. So far, media coverage has barely scratched the surface. Meanwhile, politicians - in full election mode - are playing the blame game: it's the certifiers, it's the Labor party, all those years ago, it's the Liberals who've done nothing since. But as for looking at the real problems, which are systemic and endemic, don't hold your breath. JimmyT and Sue Williams explore the cracks and crevices of the whole issue and come up with solutions that are so sensible, they have zero chance of ever being adopted by politicians. You can hear it all on this week's podcast here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-8.mp3   If you think you've heard everything there is to know about the cracks crisis at the Opal Tower in Sydney, and the whole defects disaster in NSW and Australia as a whole, think again. So far, media coverage has barely scratched the surface. - If you think you've heard everything there is to know about the cracks crisis at the Opal Tower in Sydney, and the whole defects disaster in NSW and Australia as a whole, think again. So far, media coverage has barely scratched the surface.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, politicians - in full election mode - are playing the blame game: it's the certifiers, it's the Labor party, all those years ago, it's the Liberals who've done nothing since. But as for looking at the real problems, which are systemic and endemic, don't hold your breath.<br /> <br /> JimmyT and Sue Williams explore the cracks and crevices of the whole issue and come up with solutions that are so sensible, they have zero chance of ever being adopted by politicians.<br /> <br /> You can hear it all on this week's podcast here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-8.mp3<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #8 – The crumbling Opal Tower and the whole defects disaster https://www.flat-chat.com.au/the-flat-chat-wrap-episode-8/ Sat, 05 Jan 2019 23:43:12 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6972 JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the questions everyone else is avoiding, and provide the answers people need to hear, about the Opal Tower in Sydney and the whole defects disaster in high-rise apartment blocks in Australia. JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the questions everyone else is avoiding, and provide the answers people need to hear, about the Opal Tower in Sydney and the whole defects disaster in high-rise apartment blocks in Australia. JimmyT and Sue Williams ask the questions everyone else is avoiding, and provide the answers people need to hear, about the Opal Tower in Sydney and the whole defects disaster in high-rise apartment blocks in Australia. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: On TV talking cracks in the Opal https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-on-tv-talking-cracks-in-the-opal/ Sun, 30 Dec 2018 06:55:26 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6940 Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas. It's only  five minutes long but we managed to be reassuring and alarming at the same time. You can watch it here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Opal-crisis.wmv Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas. - Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas.<br /> <br /> It's only  five minutes long but we managed to be reassuring and alarming at the same time.<br /> <br /> You can watch it here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Opal-crisis.wmv Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean On TV talking cracks in the Opal https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-on-tv-talking-cracks-in-the-opal/ Sun, 30 Dec 2018 06:53:16 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6939 Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas. It's only  five minutes long but we managed to be reassuring and alarming at the same time. You can watch it here: https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Opal-crisis.wmv   Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas. - Despite having a great head for radio, I was enticed on to TV last Saturday (Dec 29) to talk building cracks with Professor Mark Hoffman (one of the engineers called in to examine the Opal) and host Basil Zempilas.<br /> <br /> It's only  five minutes long but we managed to be reassuring and alarming at the same time.<br /> <br /> You can watch it here:<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Opal-crisis.wmv<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: The Wrap … all the way from Cambodia https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-the-wrap-all-the-way-from-cambodia/ Mon, 24 Dec 2018 02:36:13 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6918 Wrestling with laptops and hotel wi-fi, we finally bring you the second-last Flat Chat wrap podcast of the year. Was it worth the effort?  Only you can be the judge as we discuss levies, a lawyer's grab for disabled parking and Airbnb's backlash against politicians who support a register of holiday lets. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-7.mp3   Wrestling with laptops and hotel wi-fi, we finally bring you the second-last Flat Chat wrap podcast of the year. - Was it worth the effort?  Only you can be the judge as we discuss levies, a lawyer's grab for disabled parking and Airbnb's backlash aga... Wrestling with laptops and hotel wi-fi, we finally bring you the second-last Flat Chat wrap podcast of the year.<br /> <br /> Was it worth the effort?  Only you can be the judge as we discuss levies, a lawyer's grab for disabled parking and Airbnb's backlash against politicians who support a register of holiday lets.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-7.mp3<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #7 – Are your levies too high https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-episode-7/ Mon, 24 Dec 2018 00:37:44 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6917 How to work out if your levies are too high, the sensible controls that have led Airbnb to threaten politicians' votes and nominations for our Heroes and Villains of Strata. How to work out if your levies are too high, the sensible controls that have led Airbnb to threaten politicians' votes and nominations for our Heroes and Villains of Strata. How to work out if your levies are too high, the sensible controls that have led Airbnb to threaten politicians' votes and nominations for our Heroes and Villains of Strata. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #6 – Renovations and recalcitrant owners … with James Valentine https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-episode-6/ Sun, 09 Dec 2018 07:11:22 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6828 Permissions for minor renovations, one owner in four blocking changes and ... of course ... Airbnb come to the fore as Jimmy joins James Valentine on his afternoon show on ABC Radio  Permissions for minor renovations, one owner in four blocking changes and ... of course ... Airbnb come to the fore as Jimmy joins James Valentine on his afternoon show on ABC Radio  Permissions for minor renovations, one owner in four blocking changes and ... of course ... Airbnb come to the fore as Jimmy joins James Valentine on his afternoon show on ABC Radio  Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #5 – epic parking battle, trendy pet names & Airbnb hosting https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flatchatwrap_episode5/ Sat, 01 Dec 2018 04:47:23 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6793 A decades-long parking battle end up in the Appeals Court, trendy pet names, how to be a better Airbnb host, garage doors and more ...   A decades-long parking battle end up in the Appeals Court, trendy pet names, how to be a better Airbnb host, garage doors and more ... -   A decades-long parking battle end up in the Appeals Court, trendy pet names, how to be a better Airbnb host, garage doors and more ...<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #4 – Homeless on common property & build-to-rent in the USA https://www.flat-chat.com.au/the-wrap-episode-4/ Thu, 22 Nov 2018 06:48:02 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6758 Homeless people sleeping in common property and - a world away - what it's like to live in a 'build-to-rent' apartment in the USA.  The Flat Chat Wrap takes an international twist. Homeless people sleeping in common property and - a world away - what it's like to live in a 'build-to-rent' apartment in the USA.  The Flat Chat Wrap takes an international twist. Homeless people sleeping in common property and - a world away - what it's like to live in a 'build-to-rent' apartment in the USA.  The Flat Chat Wrap takes an international twist. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Podcast: Ep 3 of the Wrap looks at buying and selling https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-ep-3-of-the-wrap-looks-at-buying-and-selling/ Wed, 07 Nov 2018 13:15:53 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6710 Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being churned up by illegal parkers? Sue Williams joins JimmyT for a chinwag about the latest posts on the Flat Chat website. https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-3.mp3 Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being c... Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being churned up by illegal parkers?<br /> <br /> Sue Williams joins JimmyT for a chinwag about the latest posts on the Flat Chat website.<br /> <br /> https://episodes.castos.com/flatchatpod/Flat-Chat-Wrap-3.mp3 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #3 – best and worst times to buy, bullied by by-laws & lawn parking https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-episode-3/ Wed, 07 Nov 2018 13:11:41 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6708 Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being churned up by illegal parkers? Sue Williams joins JimmyT for a chinwag about the latest posts on the Flat Chat website. Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being c... Is this the best time to buy an new apartment or just the worst time to sell? And what you should look out for in offers that seem to be too good to be true. Can bad by-laws be used to bully owners? And what happened to the common property lawn being churned up by illegal parkers?<br /> <br /> Sue Williams joins JimmyT for a chinwag about the latest posts on the Flat Chat website. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Roundup and the Wrap podcast – all you need in one place https://www.flat-chat.com.au/roundup-and-the-wrap-podcast-two-for-the-price-of-one/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:48:51 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6680 The roundup this week includes a link to the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast, which is turning out to be a lot more fun than we thought it would be. Basically someone looks at the latest stuff on the website and chats to JimmyT about it – for the past two weeks it’s been author, journalist, travel and property writer and Owners Corporation Network founder Sue Williams. Is it as much fun for you as it is for us? You can hear the podcast on THIS LINK and judge for yourselves. Meanwhile, we have been getting record numbers of readers on the website – which means even more question to the Flat Chat Forum than ever. For instance, what do you do when you have a developer who still holds 39 per cent of the vote is taking revenge on owners for exercising their legal rights (by following strata law) and then blocks all the motions put up by the owners to improve their scheme? It’s nasty, it’s spiteful and he’s making his enemies suffer.  But there’s still a lot they can do to put him back in his box. That’s HERE. Ooops! The secretary has admitted that they have dumped a car in visitor parking … but then does nothing about getting it moved. No point in even talking to the other committee member as they regularly park in visitor parking anyway. And this all comes out when other owners are taken to Fair Trading for parking on the lawns. Welcome to another day in strata paradise, HERE. Who’s responsible when a previous owner secretly installs a skylight in the roof without permission? The new owners wants to keep it but what happens if it leaks or need repair? That’s HERE. Our fire doors are always passed in the fire safety inspection but the deadbolt locks are marked for replacement – because they could slow residents’ exit if they were locked. We tell owners to keep them on the latch when they are home but make their flats more secure when they are out. Do we really need to replace them?  That’s HERE. Usually at this point we encourage you to keep tabs on the Flat Chat Forum, but just for a change, plug the earbuds in, sit back and relax with the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. The roundup this week includes a link to the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast, which is turning out to be a lot more fun than we thought it would be. - Basically someone looks at the latest stuff on the website and chats to JimmyT about it – for the past... The roundup this week includes a link to the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast, which is turning out to be a lot more fun than we thought it would be.<br /> <br /> Basically someone looks at the latest stuff on the website and chats to JimmyT about it – for the past two weeks it’s been author, journalist, travel and property writer and Owners Corporation Network founder Sue Williams.<br /> <br /> Is it as much fun for you as it is for us? You can hear the podcast on THIS LINK and judge for yourselves.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, we have been getting record numbers of readers on the website – which means even more question to the Flat Chat Forum than ever.<br /> <br /> For instance, what do you do when you have a developer who still holds 39 per cent of the vote is taking revenge on owners for exercising their legal rights (by following strata law) and then blocks all the motions put up by the owners to improve their scheme?<br /> <br /> It’s nasty, it’s spiteful and he’s making his enemies suffer.  But there’s still a lot they can do to put him back in his box. That’s HERE. <br /> <br /> Ooops! The secretary has admitted that they have dumped a car in visitor parking … but then does nothing about getting it moved.<br /> <br /> No point in even talking to the other committee member as they regularly park in visitor parking anyway.<br /> <br /> And this all comes out when other owners are taken to Fair Trading for parking on the lawns. Welcome to another day in strata paradise, HERE.<br /> <br /> Who’s responsible when a previous owner secretly installs a skylight in the roof without permission?<br /> <br /> The new owners wants to keep it but what happens if it leaks or need repair? That’s HERE.<br /> <br /> Our fire doors are always passed in the fire safety inspection but the deadbolt locks are marked for replacement – because they could slow residents’ exit if they were locked.<br /> <br /> We tell owners to keep them on the latch when they are home but make their flats more secure when they are out.<br /> <br /> Do we really need to replace them?  That’s HERE.<br /> <br /> Usually at this point we encourage you to keep tabs on the Flat Chat Forum, but just for a change, plug the earbuds in, sit back and relax with the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #2 – Noise, electric cars, budget tourism and canning committee members https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-no-2/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 10:56:53 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6679 We're back with another Flat Chat Wrap.  Sue Williams joins Jimmy Thomson for a chat about noise, electric cars, shoestring tourism (and its affect on communities) and how to get rid of a nuisance committee member. We're back with another Flat Chat Wrap.  Sue Williams joins Jimmy Thomson for a chat about noise, electric cars, shoestring tourism (and its affect on communities) and how to get rid of a nuisance committee member. We're back with another Flat Chat Wrap.  Sue Williams joins Jimmy Thomson for a chat about noise, electric cars, shoestring tourism (and its affect on communities) and how to get rid of a nuisance committee member. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Jimmy and James discuss the new bans on no-pets by-laws https://www.flat-chat.com.au/jimmy-and-james-discuss-the-new-bans-on-no-pets-by-laws/ Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:43:21 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6675 We're back in the ABC studios to discuss 'no-pet' by-laws, among other things, and to take your calls. You can listen to the episode HERE. We're back in the ABC studios to discuss 'no-pet' by-laws, among other things, and to take your calls. - You can listen to the episode HERE. We're back in the ABC studios to discuss 'no-pet' by-laws, among other things, and to take your calls.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the episode HERE. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean The end of no-pet by-laws on ABC radio https://www.flat-chat.com.au/the-end-of-no-pet-by-laws-on-abc-radio/ Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:38:52 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6674 Jimmy joins James Valentine for a chat about Tribunal decisions to rescind by-laws that ban pets ... and take your calls Jimmy joins James Valentine for a chat about Tribunal decisions to rescind by-laws that ban pets ... and take your calls Jimmy joins James Valentine for a chat about Tribunal decisions to rescind by-laws that ban pets ... and take your calls Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean The Wrap – Now you can listen to Flat Chat too https://www.flat-chat.com.au/the-wrap-now-you-can-listen-to-flat-chat-too/ Tue, 23 Oct 2018 21:20:52 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=6660 The best of this week's Flat Chat is now available as a Podcast.  Join JimmyT and journalist Sue Williams as they dissect the week's posts, questions, advice and answers. is a serious - if light-hearted look at the latest posts, questions, answers , advice and comments on Flat Chat. Forget the crazy tales from Dardanelle Towers, the funny voices (please!) and the jolly music.  This is the start of something big. Please have a listen and let us know what you think - Flat Chat and The Wrap are for you, so tell us how we can make it better.  Just log in and add a comment below. And if you like it - or know someone you think would - please share. You don't even have to log in to listen - just click here. The best of this week's Flat Chat is now available as a Podcast.  - Join JimmyT and journalist Sue Williams as they dissect the week's posts, questions, advice and answers. is a serious - if light-hearted look at the latest posts, questions, The best of this week's Flat Chat is now available as a Podcast. <br /> <br /> Join JimmyT and journalist Sue Williams as they dissect the week's posts, questions, advice and answers. is a serious - if light-hearted look at the latest posts, questions, answers , advice and comments on Flat Chat.<br /> <br /> Forget the crazy tales from Dardanelle Towers, the funny voices (please!) and the jolly music.  This is the start of something big.<br /> <br /> Please have a listen and let us know what you think - Flat Chat and The Wrap are for you, so tell us how we can make it better.  Just log in and add a comment below. And if you like it - or know someone you think would - please share.<br /> <br /> You don't even have to log in to listen - just click here. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Flat Chat Wrap #1 – pet bans, bad by-laws, crazy neighbours and Airbnb laws https://www.flat-chat.com.au/flat-chat-wrap-episode-1/ Tue, 23 Oct 2018 21:04:37 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6656 A chat about all the most interesting, strangest and most controversial items on on Flat Chat this week.  In Episode 1, Jimmy discusses pet bans, undoing bad by-laws, crazy neighbours and Airbnb laws with author and journalist Sue Williams. A chat about all the most interesting, strangest and most controversial items on on Flat Chat this week.  In Episode 1, Jimmy discusses pet bans, undoing bad by-laws, crazy neighbours and Airbnb laws with author and journalist Sue Williams. A chat about all the most interesting, strangest and most controversial items on on Flat Chat this week.  In Episode 1, Jimmy discusses pet bans, undoing bad by-laws, crazy neighbours and Airbnb laws with author and journalist Sue Williams. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Dardanelle Towers – Episode 2 – Gimme Shelter https://www.flat-chat.com.au/dardanelle-towers-episode-2-gimme-shelter/ Sat, 13 Oct 2018 04:00:11 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6593 The global trade war hits Dardanelle Towers, and the committee members are looking for somewhere to hide. The global trade war hits Dardanelle Towers, and the committee members are looking for somewhere to hide. The global trade war hits Dardanelle Towers, and the committee members are looking for somewhere to hide. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Dardanelle Towers: Episode 1 – The Naked Truth https://www.flat-chat.com.au/dardanelle-towers-episode-1-the-naked-truth/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 08:38:12 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6503 We recently discovered what seem to be reports from an apartment block with more than its fair share of idiosyncratic characters. Is this place real, or a figment of someone's imagination? Perhaps you know these people. Maybe it's your building.  Maybe it’s you … Part 1:  The Naked Truth Public nudity was on the agenda at the Dardanelle Towers Executive Committee meeting last week. It started with a note from Mrs Alexander – somewhat unkindly known around the building as “the all-seeing eye” – who claimed to the new female tenants in 304 had been sunbathing naked by the swimming pool. Dr Macdonald whose apartment overlooks the pool confirmed as much, to tuts and mutters from the other members of the committee, but he wasn’t complaining. “What’s the fuss?” he asked, winding up for one of his verbose observations. “We’re in greater danger of being hit by Mrs Alexander falling off her balcony as she leans over trying to get another offending glimpse than we are of any moral turpitude from catching sight of liberated female flesh.” “No need to minute that,” Bernard, the chairman, whispered to Ms Tran, the secretary, as he looked at his watch. “Turpentine?” said Lady Luckby, rousing from a slumber, slapping the table with the flat of her hand and shouting “Order!” for good measure. Lady Luckby, a tiny sun-dried former socialite, had lived in the building since it went up in the 1940s.  She took her late father’s place on the committee, was chair for many years and thought she was still in charge.  Everyone else had given up trying to prevent her from running meetings as, in any case, she invariably fell asleep shortly after “minutes of the previous meeting”. “Moral turpitude is the least of it,” said Jonathan from 708, ignoring Mrs O.  “This is a serious breach of our rules, to wit, By-law 3, section 2 – and I quote – ‘residents and their guests must be dressed appropriately at all times when on common property’.” The worrying thing about Jonathan was that while he was quoting this rule accurately, he was doing it from memory. Jonathan was a junior paralegal with a large city law firm and, as his 35th birthday approached and his dreams of a partnership, a trophy wife and 2.5 trophy children all evaporated simultaneously, he increasingly took refuge and comfort in a detailed knowledge of our by-laws in particular and strata law in general. “Let’s take this step by step. What exactly did you see?”  he asked Dr Macdonald pompously, in an unintentional parody of cross-examination. “Nothing I haven’t seen before,” Dr Mac winked, obviously enjoying the memory a little more than was entirely appropriate.  “I can tell you one of them had had a Brazilian,” he chortled. “What do you mean ‘had had’?”  Jonathan asked, revealing instantly why his career had stalled before he was out of the mail room. “Is that ‘had had’ as in ‘had sex’?  And how do you know they were Brazilian?” “We’ve got Brazilians in the building?” Lady Luckby erupted.  “We just got rid of the Colombians.” We winced in unison at the memory. Lady Luckby had “Tasered” our Filipino cleaner, James, when he came in to empty her bin – as he did three times a week as a favour to her and (especially) her neighbours.  Apparently she’d fallen asleep on her sofa watching a DVD of Scarface, woke suddenly and, as she later told police, thought he was a Colombian drug dealer who’d broken into her flat to steal her clothes. Lady Luckby’s son had found a job for James in his office block, at higher wages for less work.  He also settled a substantial sum of money on him and managed to persuade the Police not to take any further action beyond impounding his mother’s Taser (which she had bought on the Internet). Lady Luckby thought James had been deported and no one saw much point in telling her otherwise. “The by-laws have clearly been breached,” said Bernard with a sigh as he turned to Ms Tran. “Better send them a note, We recently discovered what seem to be reports from an apartment block with more than its fair share of idiosyncratic characters. Is this place real, or a figment of someone's imagination? Perhaps you know these people. Maybe it's your building. We recently discovered what seem to be reports from an apartment block with more than its fair share of idiosyncratic characters. Is this place real, or a figment of someone's imagination? Perhaps you know these people. Maybe it's your building.  Maybe it’s you …<br /> <br /> Part 1:  The Naked Truth<br /> <br /> Public nudity was on the agenda at the Dardanelle Towers Executive Committee meeting last week.<br /> <br /> It started with a note from Mrs Alexander – somewhat unkindly known around the building as “the all-seeing eye” – who claimed to the new female tenants in 304 had been sunbathing naked by the swimming pool.<br /> <br /> Dr Macdonald whose apartment overlooks the pool confirmed as much, to tuts and mutters from the other members of the committee, but he wasn’t complaining.<br /> <br /> “What’s the fuss?” he asked, winding up for one of his verbose observations. “We’re in greater danger of being hit by Mrs Alexander falling off her balcony as she leans over trying to get another offending glimpse than we are of any moral turpitude from catching sight of liberated female flesh.”<br /> <br /> “No need to minute that,” Bernard, the chairman, whispered to Ms Tran, the secretary, as he looked at his watch.<br /> <br /> “Turpentine?” said Lady Luckby, rousing from a slumber, slapping the table with the flat of her hand and shouting “Order!” for good measure. Lady Luckby, a tiny sun-dried former socialite, had lived in the building since it went up in the 1940s.  She took her late father’s place on the committee, was chair for many years and thought she was still in charge.  Everyone else had given up trying to prevent her from running meetings as, in any case, she invariably fell asleep shortly after “minutes of the previous meeting”.<br /> <br /> “Moral turpitude is the least of it,” said Jonathan from 708, ignoring Mrs O.  “This is a serious breach of our rules, to wit, By-law 3, section 2 – and I quote – ‘residents and their guests must be dressed appropriately at all times when on common property’.”<br /> <br /> The worrying thing about Jonathan was that while he was quoting this rule accurately, he was doing it from memory. Jonathan was a junior paralegal with a large city law firm and, as his 35th birthday approached and his dreams of a partnership, a trophy wife and 2.5 trophy children all evaporated simultaneously, he increasingly took refuge and comfort in a detailed knowledge of our by-laws in particular and strata law in general.<br /> <br /> “Let’s take this step by step. What exactly did you see?”  he asked Dr Macdonald pompously, in an unintentional parody of cross-examination.<br /> <br /> “Nothing I haven’t seen before,” Dr Mac winked, obviously enjoying the memory a little more than was entirely appropriate.  “I can tell you one of them had had a Brazilian,” he chortled.<br /> <br /> “What do you mean ‘had had’?”  Jonathan asked, revealing instantly why his career had stalled before he was out of the mail room. “Is that ‘had had’ as in ‘had sex’?  And how do you know they were Brazilian?”<br /> <br /> “We’ve got Brazilians in the building?” Lady Luckby erupted.  “We just got rid of the Colombians.”<br /> <br /> We winced in unison at the memory. Lady Luckby had “Tasered” our Filipino cleaner, James, when he came in to empty her bin – as he did three times a week as a favour to her and (especially) her neighbours.  Apparently she’d fallen asleep on her sofa watching a DVD of Scarface, woke suddenly and, as she later told police, thought he was a Colombian drug dealer who’d broken into her flat to steal her clothes.<br /> <br /> Lady Luckby’s son had found a job for James in his office block, at higher wages for less work.  He also settled a substantial sum of money on him and managed to persuade the Police not to take any further action beyond impounding his mother’s Taser (which she had bought on the Internet). Lady Luckby thought James had been deported and no one saw ... Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Talking strata (at last) on Studio 10 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/talking-strata-at-last-on-studio-10/ Mon, 10 Sep 2018 01:12:30 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6455 JimmyT goes on Channel 10's morning show to talk strata noise, parking, by-laws and Airbnb. JimmyT goes on Channel 10's morning show to talk strata noise, parking, by-laws and Airbnb. JimmyT goes on Channel 10's morning show to talk strata noise, parking, by-laws and Airbnb. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Jimmy and James on kids playing, window rebels … and barbecues https://www.flat-chat.com.au/jimmy-and-james-on-kids-playing-pergolas-and-barbecues/ Thu, 09 Aug 2018 02:51:24 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6332 In JimmyT's (almost) regular spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on ABC 702, they field questions from listeners  ... and have a quick chat about Jimmy's new book. In JimmyT's (almost) regular spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on ABC 702, they field questions from listeners  ... and have a quick chat about Jimmy's new book. In JimmyT's (almost) regular spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on ABC 702, they field questions from listeners  ... and have a quick chat about Jimmy's new book. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Talking Tunnels on Ten https://www.flat-chat.com.au/talking-tunnels-on-ten/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 10:22:51 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6298 My brief stint on Studio Ten was all about the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, with occasional flashes of my new novel's cover. But the good news is that I hope to be back with them in a few weeks talking about apartments.  Fingers crossed. If you want to more about the novel, Tunnel Vision, go to the Accidental Guru website. It's a comedy thriller so if you like crime fiction laced with humour, this could be for you. If you want to know more about my adventures in Vietnam (and elsewhere) go to my travel writing website Mildrover.com. And if you want to learn more about how Australians were the first to explore the Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam war, go to the Tunnel Rats and Sappers war website.   My brief stint on Studio Ten was all about the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, with occasional flashes of my new novel's cover. - But the good news is that I hope to be back with them in a few weeks talking about apartments.  Fingers crossed. - My brief stint on Studio Ten was all about the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, with occasional flashes of my new novel's cover.<br /> <br /> But the good news is that I hope to be back with them in a few weeks talking about apartments.  Fingers crossed.<br /> <br /> If you want to more about the novel, Tunnel Vision, go to the Accidental Guru website. It's a comedy thriller so if you like crime fiction laced with humour, this could be for you.<br /> <br /> If you want to know more about my adventures in Vietnam (and elsewhere) go to my travel writing website Mildrover.com.<br /> <br /> And if you want to learn more about how Australians were the first to explore the Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam war, go to the Tunnel Rats and Sappers war website.<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Talking ‘Perfect Criminals’ on Studio 10 https://www.flat-chat.com.au/talking-perfect-criminals-on-studio-10/ Tue, 31 Jul 2018 11:37:05 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6291 JimmyT goes on Studio 10 to talk Kings Cross and his new crime novel Perfect Criminals. JimmyT goes on Studio 10 to talk Kings Cross and his new crime novel Perfect Criminals. JimmyT goes on Studio 10 to talk Kings Cross and his new crime novel Perfect Criminals. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean First impressions: Fines for unpaid levies and reno delays https://www.flat-chat.com.au/first-impressions-fines-for-unpaid-levies-and-reno-delays/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 23:16:29 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6242 Jimmy treats James to his (unimpressive) Sean Connery impressions before the switchboard lights up with your calls Jimmy treats James to his (unimpressive) Sean Connery impressions before the switchboard lights up with your calls Jimmy treats James to his (unimpressive) Sean Connery impressions before the switchboard lights up with your calls Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean It’s Byron Airbn-Bay as holiday town “gutted” by online lets https://www.flat-chat.com.au/its-byron-airbnbay-as-holiday-town-gutted-by-online-lets/ Mon, 16 Apr 2018 07:56:22 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6029 A newspaper interview by our good mate Mark Dapin reveals that online holiday letting is "gutting" Byron Bay. Meanwhile the State government snuggles up to Airbnb with a plan to give every pensioner $100 the first time they let a room to a visitor on the global internet platform. This prompted a call from ABC radio and Josh Szeps (filling in for James Valentine). Let me know when they start giving $100 to every neighbour whose sleep is disturbed by Airbnb party animals next door.  Until then, here's the radio interview. A newspaper interview by our good mate Mark Dapin reveals that online holiday letting is "gutting" Byron Bay. - Meanwhile the State government snuggles up to Airbnb with a plan to give every pensioner $100 the first time they let a room to a visitor o... A newspaper interview by our good mate Mark Dapin reveals that online holiday letting is "gutting" Byron Bay.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile the State government snuggles up to Airbnb with a plan to give every pensioner $100 the first time they let a room to a visitor on the global internet platform.<br /> <br /> This prompted a call from ABC radio and Josh Szeps (filling in for James Valentine). Let me know when they start giving $100 to every neighbour whose sleep is disturbed by Airbnb party animals next door.  Until then, here's the radio interview. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Floating floors and renos https://www.flat-chat.com.au/floating-floors-and-renos/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:56:26 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=6026 Who's responsible when a neighbour floods your timber floor - insurers can't agree. And then there's the vexed question of compensation for tenants during major renovations ... and more on the latest Flat Chat spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on ABC radio. Who's responsible when a neighbour floods your timber floor - insurers can't agree. And then there's the vexed question of compensation for tenants during major renovations ... and more on the latest Flat Chat spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on AB... Who's responsible when a neighbour floods your timber floor - insurers can't agree. And then there's the vexed question of compensation for tenants during major renovations ... and more on the latest Flat Chat spot on James Valentine's Afternoons on ABC radio. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Madecomfy spruiks Airbnb profits on ABC radio https://www.flat-chat.com.au/5867/ Tue, 06 Mar 2018 09:05:27 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5867 Property investors - especially in strata buildings – should switch to holiday rentals instead of long-term tenancies if they want to maximise their profits, says the founder of a company that manages Airbnb-style properties on behalf of landlords. According to MadeComfy co-founder Sabrina Bethunin, a report her company commissioned shows says that short term holiday letting rates are now on a par with hotel room rates. In case you haven’t heard of them before, Madecomfy provides a complete management service, from handing over keys to changing bed linen and cleaning the house or apartment. This is for Airbnb and other internet letting hosts who don’t want to have to deal with their guests directly – an arms-length, never-meet-the-tourists arrangement that Airbnb calls ‘sharing’. You can here an interview with Ms Bethunin on ABC News Radio here. Property investors - especially in strata buildings – should switch to holiday rentals instead of long-term tenancies if they want to maximise their profits, says the founder of a company that manages Airbnb-style properties on behalf of landlords. Property investors - especially in strata buildings – should switch to holiday rentals instead of long-term tenancies if they want to maximise their profits, says the founder of a company that manages Airbnb-style properties on behalf of landlords.<br /> <br /> According to MadeComfy co-founder Sabrina Bethunin, a report her company commissioned shows says that short term holiday letting rates are now on a par with hotel room rates.<br /> <br /> In case you haven’t heard of them before, Madecomfy provides a complete management service, from handing over keys to changing bed linen and cleaning the house or apartment. This is for Airbnb and other internet letting hosts who don’t want to have to deal with their guests directly – an arms-length, never-meet-the-tourists arrangement that Airbnb calls ‘sharing’.<br /> <br /> You can here an interview with Ms Bethunin on ABC News Radio here. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Talking Kings Cross on ABC radio Breakfast https://www.flat-chat.com.au/talking-kings-cross-abc-radio-breakfast/ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 03:03:40 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5830 With the first section of my crime novel Perfect Criminals set in Kings Cross, Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck asked me if the Cross was changing and if it was for the better or worse ... with at least one Potts Pointer pitching in on the phone. With the first section of my crime novel Perfect Criminals set in Kings Cross, Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck asked me if the Cross was changing and if it was for the better or worse ... with at least one Potts Pointer pitching in on the phone. With the first section of my crime novel Perfect Criminals set in Kings Cross, Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck asked me if the Cross was changing and if it was for the better or worse ... with at least one Potts Pointer pitching in on the phone. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean New novel … and the old garden land-grab trick https://www.flat-chat.com.au/new-novel-old-garden-land-grab-trick/ Thu, 08 Feb 2018 07:23:07 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5806 Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Has Sydney’s Kings Cross become too safe? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/sydneys-kings-cross-become-safe/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 04:09:14 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5797 JimmyT on Sudio10 discusses whether Kings Cross in Sydney has become too tame ... and talks about his new crime novel, including why it has an endorsement from 'last king of the Cross' John Ibrahim on the cover. JimmyT on Sudio10 discusses whether Kings Cross in Sydney has become too tame ... and talks about his new crime novel, including why it has an endorsement from 'last king of the Cross' John Ibrahim on the cover. JimmyT on Sudio10 discusses whether Kings Cross in Sydney has become too tame ... and talks about his new crime novel, including why it has an endorsement from 'last king of the Cross' John Ibrahim on the cover. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Jon Faine skewers Airbnb as ‘parasites and predators’ https://www.flat-chat.com.au/jon-faine-skewers-airbnb-parasites-predators/ Thu, 30 Nov 2017 01:01:51 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=5661 Finally, the mainstream media is not buying the Airbnb BS.  Have a listen to the the $30 billion global letting agency's talking head Brent Thomas squirm as ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine nails them on their failure to pay tax in Australia. "If I was the Premier, I would refuse to meet you," has to be the quote of the year. LISTEN TO IT HERE Meanwhile, in the Flat Chat column currently running online in the AFR I refer to having "previous convictions".  If you want to read the whole charge sheet, laying out my research, findings and opinions on Airbnb, start HERE. It's interesting that other branches of the media are becoming a bit sceptical of Airbnb's dubious and relentlessly repeated message that they are all about ordinary people letting rooms in their homes (while they are fighting tooth and nail to force apartment blocks to accept short-term lets of whole apartments, their main source of income). Now News Ltd journalists are faithfully trotting out any statistics from Airbnb-paid "surveys" as if they are fact.  But it's just a matter of time.  Wait till News realises that Clover Moore (bless her organic fair-trade cotton socks) is pro-Airbnb ... then the worm will turn. Personally, my views on Airbnb have evolved over the past few years.  I have gone from being largely pro the idea of legitimate sharing to very anti the TRUE intent of Airbnb which is to force us to accept holiday lets in our homes and force us to share our facilities with complete strangers over whom we and the hosts have no control. We have planning laws that were evolved over many years precisely to spare communities from this kind of exploitation.  I bought an apartment in a residential-only building. If the government wants to change its status to "de facto hotel", just to appear trendy and pour money into private investors' pockets, they can expect a much bigger backlash that the vague pathetic threats issued recently by the Airbnb attack poodles. Dammit, I might run for parliament myself.  Now THAT is a threat to democracy!   Finally, the mainstream media is not buying the Airbnb BS.  Have a listen to the the $30 billion global letting agency's talking head Brent Thomas squirm as ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine nails them on their failure to pay tax in Australia. - Finally, the mainstream media is not buying the Airbnb BS.  Have a listen to the the $30 billion global letting agency's talking head Brent Thomas squirm as ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine nails them on their failure to pay tax in Australia.<br /> <br /> "If I was the Premier, I would refuse to meet you," has to be the quote of the year.<br /> LISTEN TO IT HERE<br /> Meanwhile, in the Flat Chat column currently running online in the AFR I refer to having "previous convictions".  If you want to read the whole charge sheet, laying out my research, findings and opinions on Airbnb, start HERE.<br /> <br /> It's interesting that other branches of the media are becoming a bit sceptical of Airbnb's dubious and relentlessly repeated message that they are all about ordinary people letting rooms in their homes (while they are fighting tooth and nail to force apartment blocks to accept short-term lets of whole apartments, their main source of income).<br /> <br /> Now News Ltd journalists are faithfully trotting out any statistics from Airbnb-paid "surveys" as if they are fact.  But it's just a matter of time.  Wait till News realises that Clover Moore (bless her organic fair-trade cotton socks) is pro-Airbnb ... then the worm will turn.<br /> <br /> Personally, my views on Airbnb have evolved over the past few years.  I have gone from being largely pro the idea of legitimate sharing to very anti the TRUE intent of Airbnb which is to force us to accept holiday lets in our homes and force us to share our facilities with complete strangers over whom we and the hosts have no control.<br /> <br /> We have planning laws that were evolved over many years precisely to spare communities from this kind of exploitation.  I bought an apartment in a residential-only building. If the government wants to change its status to "de facto hotel", just to appear trendy and pour money into private investors' pockets, they can expect a much bigger backlash that the vague pathetic threats issued recently by the Airbnb attack poodles.<br /> <br /> Dammit, I might run for parliament myself.  Now THAT is a threat to democracy!<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Off to Vietnam … with a confession https://www.flat-chat.com.au/off-vietnam-confession/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 10:44:24 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5605 Does Jimmy really hate Airbnb.  No, he says - in fact, he has a confession to make about his trip to Vietnam. And you can read about plans for his next trip next year, right HERE Does Jimmy really hate Airbnb.  No, he says - in fact, he has a confession to make about his trip to Vietnam. - And you can read about plans for his next trip next year, right HERE Does Jimmy really hate Airbnb.  No, he says - in fact, he has a confession to make about his trip to Vietnam.<br /> <br /> And you can read about plans for his next trip next year, right HERE Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Should my strata committee speak for me? https://www.flat-chat.com.au/strata-committee-speak/ Thu, 14 Sep 2017 07:34:54 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5474 We chat about the heated exchanges on the Flat Chat Forum regarding whether or not your committee should discuss anything except what's going on in the building - and we find another listener whose neighbour has dug a cellar under her unit.  Honest!   We chat about the heated exchanges on the Flat Chat Forum regarding whether or not your committee should discuss anything except what's going on in the building - and we find another listener whose neighbour has dug a cellar under her unit.  Honest! -   We chat about the heated exchanges on the Flat Chat Forum regarding whether or not your committee should discuss anything except what's going on in the building - and we find another listener whose neighbour has dug a cellar under her unit.  Honest!<br /> <br />   Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean James Valentine – Airbnb discussion document https://www.flat-chat.com.au/james-valentine-airbnb-discussion-document/ Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:59:20 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5341 The government releases its discussion document on short-term holiday letting.  JimmyT and James V discuss The government releases its discussion document on short-term holiday letting.  JimmyT and James V discuss The government releases its discussion document on short-term holiday letting.  JimmyT and James V discuss Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Inflammable cladding https://www.flat-chat.com.au/james-valentine-june-20-2017/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:44:53 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5207 Jimmy, James and callers discuss inflammable cladding - who pays and why it's scarier than you thought. Jimmy, James and callers discuss inflammable cladding - who pays and why it's scarier than you thought. Jimmy, James and callers discuss inflammable cladding - who pays and why it's scarier than you thought. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Holiday letting https://www.flat-chat.com.au/holiday-letting/ Mon, 22 May 2017 02:47:00 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=5210 The government seems to have backtracked on short-term letting - Jimmy tells James Valentine why he's the only person who spotted the shift in attitudes. The government seems to have backtracked on short-term letting - Jimmy tells James Valentine why he's the only person who spotted the shift in attitudes. The government seems to have backtracked on short-term letting - Jimmy tells James Valentine why he's the only person who spotted the shift in attitudes. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Roundup: Radio chat finds flaw in holiday let logic https://www.flat-chat.com.au/5104-2/ Tue, 09 May 2017 12:28:12 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=5104 If you are as tired of reading about Airbnb as I am of writing about them you won’t get past the end of this sentence. However, this week I was on the James Valentine show on ABC radio doing my usual Q&A on apartment living and we needed to talk about the recent Government decision NOT to give the Coure report on holiday letting its unqualified support. Predictably, we had no sooner finished taking a call – from a listener whose tenants had illegally sub-let their apartment on Airbnb with disastrous results  - than we got a text from a listener. You can hear the Flat Chat spot on Afternoons with James Valentine HERE. Whoever they were,  they certainly had the official Airbnb party line off pat. Badly behaved guests would be given bad ratings on the website, said the text.  Also, it continued, the majority of apartment owners want the right to do what they want with their homes. Ignoring the highly dubious effect of voluntary “ratings”, I have two problems with that last point. Firstly, we trade off the right to do exactly what we want with our homes when we agree to live in a place where we share the cost of cleaners, security, gardening, repairs and maintenance. We also share walls, ceilings, floors, lifts, front doors, hallways and car parks.  Why anyone with a brain  would think that is the same as owning a house in a quarter-acre block is beyond me. Also, the NSW government punched some very large holes in the “my home is my castle” myth in the new strata laws, not least in that 75 percent of owners can force the other 25 percent to sell their apartments to developers. But here’s another thing: if the majority of people want the “right” to do as they please with their units, why oppose a law that would require the support of 75 percent of owners to lock out holiday lets? To put it another way, even if only 25 percent of owners – rather than the purported majority – are in favour of holiday lets, then by-laws banning them will never pass. I rest my case. One thing that never rests is the constant flow of odd and interesting question that come through the Flat Chat Forum. here's just a sample of this week's brain teasers: I thought I was getting a car park but it turns out to be a storage space and the strata manager says I can’t park my car in it. That’s HERE. The strata manager says there needs to be a strata committee-only EGM before I can do my renovations. Is that right? That’s HERE. Chairman is using “executive” powers to decide of common property maintenance. Is he allowed to do that? That’s HERE. Fair Trading mediation may be compulsory and free but is it worth the effort? That’s HERE. Drying laundry on the balcony – what exactly does “visible from outside the building” mean? That’s HERE. Is it OK for the committee to use an online survey to decide on changes they want to propose? That’s HERE. By the time you read this there will be a heap of other questions and answers on the Flat Chat forum. Come on by and join in. If you are as tired of reading about Airbnb as I am of writing about them you won’t get past the end of this sentence. - However, this week I was on the James Valentine show on ABC radio doing my usual Q&A on apartment living and we needed to talk abo... If you are as tired of reading about Airbnb as I am of writing about them you won’t get past the end of this sentence.<br /> <br /> However, this week I was on the James Valentine show on ABC radio doing my usual Q&A on apartment living and we needed to talk about the recent Government decision NOT to give the Coure report on holiday letting its unqualified support.<br /> <br /> Predictably, we had no sooner finished taking a call – from a listener whose tenants had illegally sub-let their apartment on Airbnb with disastrous results  - than we got a text from a listener.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> You can hear the Flat Chat spot on <br /> Afternoons with James Valentine HERE.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Whoever they were,  they certainly had the official Airbnb party line off pat. Badly behaved guests would be given bad ratings on the website, said the text.  Also, it continued, the majority of apartment owners want the right to do what they want with their homes.<br /> <br /> Ignoring the highly dubious effect of voluntary “ratings”, I have two problems with that last point.<br /> <br /> Firstly, we trade off the right to do exactly what we want with our homes when we agree to live in a place where we share the cost of cleaners, security, gardening, repairs and maintenance.<br /> <br /> We also share walls, ceilings, floors, lifts, front doors, hallways and car parks.  Why anyone with a brain  would think that is the same as owning a house in a quarter-acre block is beyond me.<br /> <br /> Also, the NSW government punched some very large holes in the “my home is my castle” myth in the new strata laws, not least in that 75 percent of owners can force the other 25 percent to sell their apartments to developers.<br /> <br /> But here’s another thing: if the majority of people want the “right” to do as they please with their units, why oppose a law that would require the support of 75 percent of owners to lock out holiday lets?<br /> <br /> To put it another way, even if only 25 percent of owners – rather than the purported majority – are in favour of holiday lets, then by-laws banning them will never pass.<br /> <br /> I rest my case.<br /> <br /> One thing that never rests is the constant flow of odd and interesting question that come through the Flat Chat Forum. here's just a sample of this week's brain teasers:<br /> <br /> I thought I was getting a car park but it turns out to be a storage space and the strata manager says I can’t park my car in it. That’s HERE.<br /> The strata manager says there needs to be a strata committee-only EGM before I can do my renovations. Is that right? That’s HERE.<br /> Chairman is using “executive” powers to decide of common property maintenance. Is he allowed to do that? That’s HERE.<br /> Fair Trading mediation may be compulsory and free but is it worth the effort? That’s HERE.<br /> Drying laundry on the balcony – what exactly does “visible from outside the building” mean? That’s HERE.<br /> Is it OK for the committee to use an online survey to decide on changes they want to propose? That’s HERE.<br /> <br /> By the time you read this there will be a heap of other questions and answers on the Flat Chat forum. Come on by and join in. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Last word on new short-term letting laws https://www.flat-chat.com.au/last-word-new-short-term-letting-laws/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 02:08:20 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=5042 Actually, that heading is a bit misleading, if not wildly hopeful.  The NSW government is due any day to table its response to the Coure inquiry into holiday letting, the most prominent manifestation of which is Airbnb. This morning Radio National ran a track about the proposed laws in which yours truly was quoted extensively.  Click on that link to listen. But of course this will not be the last word on the issue.   Far from it. Parliament will have to discuss it and MPS will vote on it and, if recent history is anything to go by, Airbnb will pump millions into the advertising market to shore up their image of a friendly hug-fest that helps nice people to do nice things. I saw a poster in the station the other day claiming that Airbnb helped some woman to pay her strata fees.  Nice for her - but who pays for the extra wear and tear from all the woman's visitors who neither know nor care about by-laws and building rules? Grrrr! Anyway, in the absence of a recent turn on James Valentine, you can hear me and some people who actually know what they're talking about on Radio National. Oh, and I'm betting here and now that my prediction that the law proposed tomorrow (Wednesday April 19) will allow room lets but restrict whole apartment lets will be proved wrong. Actually, that heading is a bit misleading, if not wildly hopeful.  The NSW government is due any day to table its response to the Coure inquiry into holiday letting, the most prominent manifestation of which is Airbnb. - Actually, that heading is a bit misleading, if not wildly hopeful.  The NSW government is due any day to table its response to the Coure inquiry into holiday letting, the most prominent manifestation of which is Airbnb.<br /> <br /> This morning Radio National ran a track about the proposed laws in which yours truly was quoted extensively.  Click on that link to listen.<br /> <br /> But of course this will not be the last word on the issue.   Far from it. Parliament will have to discuss it and MPS will vote on it and, if recent history is anything to go by, Airbnb will pump millions into the advertising market to shore up their image of a friendly hug-fest that helps nice people to do nice things.<br /> <br /> I saw a poster in the station the other day claiming that Airbnb helped some woman to pay her strata fees.  Nice for her - but who pays for the extra wear and tear from all the woman's visitors who neither know nor care about by-laws and building rules?<br /> <br /> Grrrr!<br /> <br /> Anyway, in the absence of a recent turn on James Valentine, you can hear me and some people who actually know what they're talking about on Radio National.<br /> <br /> Oh, and I'm betting here and now that my prediction that the law proposed tomorrow (Wednesday April 19) will allow room lets but restrict whole apartment lets will be proved wrong. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean Roundup: Monstered by tradies with trucks https://www.flat-chat.com.au/roundup-monstered-tradies-trucks/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:09:01 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?p=4964 I was in at the ABC doing my strata spot with James Valentine the other day and the question of monster trucks and the increasing squeeze in apartment block car parks came up. We wrote about that here a few weeks ago but it makes you think that Australia’s love affair with large 4WDs and the fact that half of us will be living in apartments in the next 10 years will reach some sort of crisis point soon. A friend of mine lives in a town house complex where two tradies use their garages as workshops and for storage and use visitor parking permanently for their utes. Recently her mother visited, parked in visitor parking and came back to her vehicle to find an obscene note plastered on her windscreen telling her that if she parked on “my” space again, her car would be trashed. Do these people not get it or do they know exactly what they’re doing but have decided the by-laws are stupid and they obviously shouldn’t apply to them. It’s times like this you wish there really was such a thing as StrataKops. You can listen to the James valentine session HERE. And when you’ve done that, dive into the problems  and solutions parked in the Flat Chat Forum. What do you do when your upstairs neighbours have complied with the by-law for timber floors … but you can hear every footstep? That’s HERE. Should the owners be expected to pay when the strata committee meetings have food and drink supplied? That’s HERE. The woman next door get her dog to poo and pee every day on the lawn outside my window. What can I do?  That’s HERE. A power-crazed, rusted-on chairman is calling illegal meetings, not informing concerned owners and charging private renovations to the strata funds. What can you do?  That’s HERE. An Airbnb host explains why he thinks Airbnb is being less than honest with the people from whom it makes its money. That’s HERE (scroll to the end). PICA Group strata managers explain why they charge for updating their systems in line with new laws (but other managers don’t). That’s HERE. Can the strata committee use strata insurance to pay for legal advice regarding a case against us at the Tribunal? That’s HERE. All these and a lot more in the Forum and every Saturday in the Sydney Morning Herald. I was in at the ABC doing my strata spot with James Valentine the other day and the question of monster trucks and the increasing squeeze in apartment block car parks came up. - We wrote about that here a few weeks ago but it makes you think that Aust... I was in at the ABC doing my strata spot with James Valentine the other day and the question of monster trucks and the increasing squeeze in apartment block car parks came up.<br /> <br /> We wrote about that here a few weeks ago but it makes you think that Australia’s love affair with large 4WDs and the fact that half of us will be living in apartments in the next 10 years will reach some sort of crisis point soon.<br /> <br /> A friend of mine lives in a town house complex where two tradies use their garages as workshops and for storage and use visitor parking permanently for their utes.<br /> <br /> Recently her mother visited, parked in visitor parking and came back to her vehicle to find an obscene note plastered on her windscreen telling her that if she parked on “my” space again, her car would be trashed.<br /> <br /> Do these people not get it or do they know exactly what they’re doing but have decided the by-laws are stupid and they obviously shouldn’t apply to them.<br /> <br /> It’s times like this you wish there really was such a thing as StrataKops.<br /> <br /> You can listen to the James valentine session HERE. And when you’ve done that, dive into the problems  and solutions parked in the Flat Chat Forum.<br /> <br /> What do you do when your upstairs neighbours have complied with the by-law for timber floors … but you can hear every footstep? That’s HERE.<br /> Should the owners be expected to pay when the strata committee meetings have food and drink supplied? That’s HERE.<br /> The woman next door get her dog to poo and pee every day on the lawn outside my window. What can I do?  That’s HERE.<br /> A power-crazed, rusted-on chairman is calling illegal meetings, not informing concerned owners and charging private renovations to the strata funds. What can you do?  That’s HERE.<br /> An Airbnb host explains why he thinks Airbnb is being less than honest with the people from whom it makes its money. That’s HERE (scroll to the end).<br /> PICA Group strata managers explain why they charge for updating their systems in line with new laws (but other managers don’t). That’s HERE.<br /> Can the strata committee use strata insurance to pay for legal advice regarding a case against us at the Tribunal? That’s HERE.<br /> <br /> All these and a lot more in the Forum and every Saturday in the Sydney Morning Herald. Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean StrataKops and Airbnb https://www.flat-chat.com.au/podcast-test/ Sun, 12 Mar 2017 02:38:29 +0000 http://fc2.liveby5ive.com.au/?post_type=podcast&p=4907   You’re always hesitant in this game to claim that you have a regular slot, anywhere, doing anything.  Or you should be - it's usually a guaranteed precursor to getting the hook. But I guess after almost 10 years of guesting on James Valentine’s Afternoons on ABC radio, I can say that, yes, I do get an occasional 25 minutes of radio fame. So, for those of you who miss it, I am now posting podcasts or, as those of us who can remember when radios had valves call them, "recordings" of these and other radio spots. I’m on with James again at 2.00pm on Monday, March 13.  But if you can’t wait till then, click in the link above to hear last month’s episode when we discussed new strata laws, proxy farming, StrataKops and Airbnb (yawn). And, of course, took a few calls from listeners and tried not to panic when they asked tricky questions. Enjoy. And if you have any technical issues hearing this, email us and we'll try to help (but we're not promising anything).   - You’re always hesitant in this game to claim that you have a regular slot, anywhere, doing anything.  Or you should be - it's usually a guaranteed precursor to getting the hook. - But I guess after almost 10 years of guesting on James Valentine’s...  <br /> <br /> You’re always hesitant in this game to claim that you have a regular slot, anywhere, doing anything.  Or you should be - it's usually a guaranteed precursor to getting the hook.<br /> <br /> But I guess after almost 10 years of guesting on James Valentine’s Afternoons on ABC radio, I can say that, yes, I do get an occasional 25 minutes of radio fame.<br /> <br /> So, for those of you who miss it, I am now posting podcasts or, as those of us who can remember when radios had valves call them, "recordings" of these and other radio spots.<br /> <br /> I’m on with James again at 2.00pm on Monday, March 13.  But if you can’t wait till then, click in the link above to hear last month’s episode when we discussed new strata laws, proxy farming, StrataKops and Airbnb (yawn).<br /> <br /> And, of course, took a few calls from listeners and tried not to panic when they asked tricky questions.<br /> <br /> Enjoy. And if you have any technical issues hearing this, email us and we'll try to help (but we're not promising anything). Jimmy Thomson & Sue Williams clean