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Hold your applause, folks, but I think I’ve come up with a solution to both the Opal Tower crisis and the blight of Airbnb on our apartment blocks.
See, maybe short-term holiday letting is the answer to the Opal crisis, and perhaps Opal is the solution to STHL that we’ve been looking for. Declare the Opal a short-term-letting “special zone” where there are few rules, and no consequences for breaking any of them, and watch all the holiday lets being drawn from our homes into that brand new party magnet. Result!
Seriously, though, this is no laughing matter, especially if you are one of the hundreds of investors and home owners who have tied up your cash and borrowed money to buy into the most famous ‘failed’ building in Australia.
Having lived through a losing battle to get a developer to pay for millions of dollars of defects in a new building myself, I can understand how anxious they must be.
Because, cut through all the real estate spin and political flannel, and property values in the Opal Tower are toast, at least for the foreseeable future. The unit owners know it, the tenants know it, the government knows it and the whole of NSW and beyond knows it (with the exception, it seems, of the poor blighters who are still trying to sell units there).
So how are investors going to cover their mortgages? Why would renters even consider paying the full fare on such a blighted block? There may be nothing wrong with the block when it’s fixed, but perception is everything, especially in real estate. And property prices are falling everywhere anyway.
So how do investors cover their loans if tenants are looking for rock-bottom rents and potential purchasers are a cloud of dust on a distant horizon you can’t even see from the 35th floor?
Maybe the answer is short-term tenants who won’t have heard of the building or its problems and won’t care about the cracks in the walls (because they’re only there for the weekend).
They’ll love the views, the pool and the gym (please don’t drop those weights!) and appreciate the sporting facilities nearby … at least those that aren’t about to be turned into a massive building site. Not only that, they will believe the ads that say Homebush is close to Sydney city centre!
Who are these innocents abroad, you ask. Overseas short-term holiday letting guests, obviously – the kind that think an ad with a picture of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge could not possibly be for a slum in Randwick, and that the picture must be the view from its lounge.
And they don’t know exactly where they’re going to be staying until they have signed up to stay there.
It’s OK, I’m not serious and I want to apologise to the residents of the Opal if anyone thinks any of this is a good idea. But, that said, there will be a few landlords in the building checking the by-laws to see if Airbnb lets are allowed, and wondering how they can get away with it if they aren’t. And who could blame them?
Getting back to apartments that are neither falling down nor full of boozed-up backpackers here for the tennis, old questions never die on the Flat Chat Forum … they only get asked differently.
A query about car parking spaces being used as extra votes, from back in 2017, has resurfaced with a Flatchatter unable to believe that a parking space lot vote can be used to cancel out a residential lot vote.
Well, it can … and it can’t. In a show of hands, a parking spot barely big enough to contain a Fiat Bambino carries the same clout as three-bedroom penthouse. And what can you do to get round this imbalance of power? That’s HERE.
Do apartment blocks need fire exit maps like they have in hotels, asks one Flatchatter. It’s a hot topic, HERE.
The noise from a recently installed lift is driving the owner on the top floor nuts, but the committee says no one else can hear it so it’s not their problem. Can they do that? And if not, what can you do about it? That’s HERE.
Should you be wary of a strata management firm that’s part of a franchise? It depends on the franchise … and the strata manager. That’s HERE.
Judging by the number of visitors to the website, Flat Chat is already up and running for 2019. Why not register and sign up for the weekly newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
There is another use for the Opal apartments.
Use it as short term accommodation for country politicians when the NSW parliament is sitting. And if the PM/GG is staying at Kirribilli then their staff can also stay there. Suburban politicians would also be welcome to stay for a night or two just get an on site understanding. Senior public servants would also be expected to stay there if they require city accommodation.
It will in time be declared safe for reoccupation and by having such esteemed and “important” people saying there and demonstrating that it is safe then its reputation will surely be quickly remediated?
And they can also get first hand knowledge of how STHL really does affect a building and would surely become advocates for better and more effective legislation to ensure that it doesn’t spread and can be properly contained.
Maybe if they were allowed to sit in on OC meetings as observers they could also get an understanding of how useless current warranty and remediation regulations really are when it comes to real life examples. Also, seeing how developers/builders etc treat owners might give them a wake up call as to the real reason they are given “political/campaign donations”.
Yeah I’m dreaming but sometimes dreams come true. This would seem to be an opportune moment to strike while the iron is hot and use any and every to get the message out there. “change is needed” NOW!
A designated residence for out-of-town MPs sounds like a great idea when you consider how, for their own convenience, senior members of the state parliament have flouted planning laws and hounded those residents in the Bridgeport building in Sydney’s CBD who just wanted the block’s owners to obey the law.
But, of course, as the Bridgeport scandal has proved beyond measure, some MPs will act in their own interests whenever they can get away with it, with little regard for the laws they are undermining and no concern for the lives they are disrupting.
There is no downside, as their colleagues wilfully turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. It’s when they go back to their properties in the country that overseas short-term visitors flood into their flats. And, since their constituencies are hundreds of kilometres away, there is no downside at the ballot box for these selfish pond scum.
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