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.

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