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I live in a block of 32 units – 2/3 are rented. We have a small storage area in the basement and a by-law stating that only resident owners can use.
Because of abuse of space and rectification works, this area was cleared and needs to be set up for storage, eg shelving
We have been told that this area cannot be insured and would now be illegal for such use. We know that insurance does not cover anything left in this common area and any flammable liquids are banned. Are there any other limitations to such storage for our building?
Olivia – Why can’t a sign be placed on the door of the storage area that goes something like this:
“Conditions of Use: The Owner’s Corporation is not responsible for the theft or damage to any goods stored in this area. Occupants who store goods in this area agree that they are doing so at their own risk. Illegal, dangerous and flammable items are banned at all times from this area. If you do not agree to these Conditions then you must not store your goods in this area.”
To be able to give tacit approval to the Conditions of Use the occupants must be able to see the sign before they enter the storage area.
Would that work in your situation?
We have a small storage area in the basement and a by-law stating that only resident owners can use.
There’s part of your problem right there – tenants are entitled to have access to any part of common property that’s available to owner residents.
I’m a bit sensitive to this as I remember only just retrieving (as a tenant) a locked trunk from a storage room that the owner residents had decided should be for them only and, as a result, had decided to clear out any “rubbish” owned by tenants.
Tenants make up more than half the residents in strata. They have rights to use common property through their landlords.
I’m not sure why your storage room is not insurable but the answer may be to install cages and let them to all residents on a first come, first served basis, including any restrictions that you wish to impose.
If the area is too small for that, then perhaps you or a consortium of interested owners could buy it from the Owners Corp (at a fair price, under the usual strata law conditions) and then so as you wish with it.
Olivia are the insurance concerns re items being stolen, or was it around the fire risk of the sprinkler system etc not being designed for the larger combustible load?
In a complex in which I used to live with just under 100 lots we had spare space, which we divided into multiple cages of 1.5 x 2.5 odd meters. These were then rented out at reasonable rates on a yearly upfront basis. To make it fair we did an initial advertising campaign to get all those interested to register their interest, and then if more than nine residents (owners living on site or tenants) had applied we were going to select out of a hat. In the end only five or six initially took them up, but within a year all of them were rented and brining in a little over $10,000 per year at the time, which covered the cost of the cages and the extra sprinklers in the first two years. After that it was pure profit. Price increases were linked to Sydney CPI.
The above was all covered in a bylaw approved at an AGM.
In a different complex the issue of too much “stuff” stored in the basement was raised as a fire risk by the fire contractor and others including an insurance consultant. We were told in this case that the fire upgrade to make it compliant would be way too expensive to consider. We obviously jumped on this quick smart and had the excess items and more flammable items removed.
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