Garbage odour | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Garbage odour
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smelly
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09/01/2018 - 4:40 pm
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Odour from garbage room (NSW)

The bins at our apartment block are kept on the ground floor in a closed room.

The room can smell quite bad and seems to penetrate up into my unit through piping/cupboards in the kitchen.

Since the odour originates on common property – due to little cleaning etc, is it the responsibility of the owners corporation to investigate the leakage and bring the cleanliness and hygiene in the room up to a better standard?

Do owners corporation have a duty of care in these cases?

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Lady Penelope
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09/01/2018 - 7:01 pm
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The bin area in the basement is common property and is the OC ‘s responsibility to maintain.

A couple of questions: Do you have an onsite Manager? If so, is cleaning the garbage area part of their contractual duties?

If no on site Manager then does your scheme employ a cleaning company to hose out the bins and the floor of the garbage area? If not then perhaps you should write to the Committee and suggest that the bins and the bin area be cleaned and disinfected and/or hosed out on a weekly or 2 weekly basis. I once owned a Lot in a scheme where a bin cleaning company was employed to clean each and every Lot’s bin once a week – we did not ever have an odour problem.

Is there a waste management plan for your building? 

Is any vent from the bin room located close to your Lot?

Are the bins located in an area that has been designated for bins or have the bins simply been located in an area for convenience?

Generally, as part of a DA, the bin area should be approved, and storage of waste comes with certain conditions such as:

(1) The floor being graded and drained to an approved drainage outlet connected to the sewer and having a smooth, even surface, coved at all
intersections with walls;
(2) The walls being cement rendered to a smooth, even surface and coved at all intersections;
(3)  Cold water being provided in the room with the outlet located in a position
so that it cannot be damaged and a hose fitted with a nozzle being connected to the outlet;
(4)  The room shall be adequately ventilated (either natural or mechanical) in
accordance with the Building Code of Australia.
 

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smelly
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09/01/2018 - 8:56 pm
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Thanks Penelope

We do have a service that comes and hoses the bins after the rubbish truck has been, and they sweep and tidy the room so that is good.

I think the room in general is concrete and dirty, needs a good chemical power hose.

There is a vent on the one side, not near my kitchen but the room is quite old with cracks etc.

I noticed pipes going up into the next floor, with a huge gap around them, should I ask for a builder to check this and maybe any gaps can be sealed?

There is no mechanical deodoriser in the room, just the one breeze block vent. 

How do I suggest buying something like this to help, is it an expensive option they may have been avoiding?

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Lady Penelope
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09/01/2018 - 9:52 pm
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It could be a good idea to write to the committee and explain your problem. You could suggest the options of filling the gaps (expandable foam filler is relatively cheap) and having the concrete floors pressure cleaned and deodorized and ultimately sealed.

There should be a spray that you can buy to spray onto the concrete that eliminates the odour from the porous surface. A commercial cleaning company may have some recommendations. I have heard of a product called OdorBan but am not sure where you can buy it from.

After the odour has been eliminated then it might be wise to have the concrete sealed. 

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smelly
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10/01/2018 - 3:01 pm
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Thanks again Penelope

I will write and explain.

I really think the odour is coming through from a gap/space in the ceiling, which shouldn’t be there.

However the area is in need of a whole overhaul.

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smelly
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27/01/2018 - 10:03 am
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We now have rats in the garbage room, enticed by the smell.

The strata have organised baiting.

How can I get them to look at relocating the bins to an outside area, it seems really bad to keep them in a room and not sanitise it properly.

Where do I stand if the rats get into the upper levels of the building and my unit?

Should I call the health authorities?

Has anyone got a resolution passed for building a new garbage area. How difficult would it be?

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Lady Penelope
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27/01/2018 - 1:18 pm
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The offensive odour is obviously causing a nuisance. The OC is not permitted to create a nuisance.

You have a couple of options: (1) write to the OC and demand that they cease this nuisance and if they don’t then see here: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Strata_schemes/Resolving_disputes_in_a_strata_scheme/Strata_and_community_disputes.page

and/or (2) contact your local council, and/or (3) contact the EPA Environment Line 131 555.

The Act (Dictionary) defines ‘offensive odour’ as an odour that, due to its strength, nature, duration, character, quality, time of emission or some other circumstance,

  • is harmful or likely to be harmful to a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted
  • interferes or is likely to interfere unreasonably with the comfort or rest of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
  • is prescribed by the regulations.
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smelly
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27/01/2018 - 2:40 pm
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Thanks 

I am concerned that this could be harmful to my health.

Others are complaining too.

It is an older building and I think they just don’t want to spend money on the situation.

This just makes it worse as people don’t want to go in the garbage room and dump rubbish outside. The lower floors are of course the most affected, but it will build up.

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scotlandx
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28/01/2018 - 1:51 pm
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Smelly – your concern is a genuine one, but you seem to be asking a lot of questions without actually doing anything.  

If others are concerned then get together with them, and write a letter to the Committee demanding that they take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.  If they do nothing, or they do something that doesn’t fix the problem, then you have grounds to make an application to the Tribunal seeking an order that they implement appropriate measures.

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fugazi
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29/01/2018 - 8:20 am
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scotlandx said
Smelly – your concern is a genuine one, but you seem to be asking a lot of questions without actually doing anything.  

If others are concerned then get together with them, and write a letter to the Committee demanding that they take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.  If they do nothing, or they do something that doesn’t fix the problem, then you have grounds to make an application to the Tribunal seeking an order that they implement appropriate measures.  

 

Exactly what I was thinking about. There is allways a possibility as scotlandx mentioned that you can make an aplication straight to the tribunal. I think that you should do that if the problem is not solved. Take care!

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smelly
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30/01/2018 - 5:42 pm
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As far as taking action I have spoken to the committee leader and written to the strata manager about the odour and rats.

The manager put the issue on the agenda at the meeting.

I have just received the minutes and they have engaged the cleaner to put baits out for the rats explaining the smell is probably the rat urine etc. They are also looking at getting some different bins. Hopefully this will all help control the odour and the rats.

I will monitor the situation and keep speaking to more residents about it all.

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