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I bought the top unit in a block of 19 and soon discovered that my unit hears the noise of the lift transmitted through all the concrete walls as the lift motor room is above my unit. I’m on the executive committee and raised the issue and really got little interest or support as it doesn’t affect any of the lower units (the other top floor flat does hear it but as the tenants live there they don’t really have a voice).
After extensive research I sourced a foam sound absorber that has the top fire rating and just needs to be glued to the ceiling of the lift motor room. I purchased the foam at my own expense and told the strata manager and EC and promptly got told that as the lift motor room is common property that I can’t do anything to it without an AGM and a bi-law to get permission. I am woken up through-out the night every night and disturbed every day by this noise and I can’t wait 6 months for this. It seem completely unfair when I am paying for all the costs of installing it (professionally) myself so at no cost to other residents. I have suggested a retrospective bi-law is applied and in the meantime I am given permission to get it installed. I could take a much more aggressive approach and threaten to take action against the EC that were in place when the new lift was installed as I believe the problem is caused by there not being any sound absorbers installed under the lift motor, however I would prefer not to take things legally.
Any suggestions on how to deal with this ‘common property’ issue and the fact it is causing such disturbance to me?
You may prefer not to “take things legally” but if the strata committee won’t play ball that is your next best option.
By asking them to fix what is to all intents and purposes a common property defect, and them refusing to do so without a by-law (which is NOT required, by the way) they trigger the provisions of section 232 (e) of the Act, namely “failure to exercise, a function conferred or imposed by or under this Act or the by-laws of a strata scheme.” The “function” in this case is the Owners Corps’s legal obligation to maintain and repair common property.
In 232(2) the Act defines failure to exercise as “an owners corporation [or] strata committee …. is taken not to have exercised a function if: (a) it decides not to exercise the function, or (b) application is made to it to exercise the function and it fails for 2 months after the making of the application to exercise the function in accordance with the application or to inform the applicant that it has decided not to exercise the function in accordance with the application.
So you have asked them to fix common property and they have effectively refused or failed to do so. Your next step MUST be to seek mediation at Fair Trading with a view to pursuing orders at NCAT. Perhaps that might sharpen their thinking.
If you are worried about putting noses out of joint, just tell the other committee members that you have had advice contrary to theirs and all you want is an independent referee.
Then sell them the insulation …
I’m writing to encourage Baybiscuit to follow Jimmy’s instructions to engage the Fair Trading Tribunal approach. He suggested this for us to resolve a negative response from our Committee to install a power-point, which was to be connected to our own power meter, in our own storage space. After twelve months and two attendances at the Tribunal, which requested further changes to the Committee’s demands, we have our job done very satisfactorily.
Below are the demands madeby our Committee:
- Obtain report (paid for by the Owner) from the base building Electrical Engineer stating that there is no detrimental electrical impact from the installation.
- Obtain report (paid for by the Owner) from the base building Fire Engineer stating that the installation will not impact the essential fire services.
- Obtain report from the base building Certifier confirming there are no BCA issues.
- Arrange an independent inspection/report (electrician engaged by the Owners Corporation) confirming that the GPO is connected to Unit 203’s electrical meter and not the common power supply.
- Installation is restricted to 10 amp single phase (this will allow a plug in lamp, but will not allow a radiant heater, electric saw, etc…)
- Owner to provide a diagram/plan of the proposed route to ensure it is visually acceptable.
- Must be connected to a separate RCBO (separate circuit).
We obtained quotes for the above reports which would have cost almost $1500, and the end result after twelve months and attending Tribunals twice was :
Installation of a power-point by the same Electrical Contractor who is used by our Building Corporation Manager, connected to our own power meter. This is exactly what we asked for in the first place.
So Strata Committees can be unreasonable in my view, just hang in there and hold out for your rights,
BTW, we are both in our eighties and first time apartment dwellers, who are very appreciative of Jimmy and his work and supportive attitude.
Thanks Miss Muffet, I am mentally preparing myself to tell the strata committee my position tonight at our EC meeting. I am trying not to get angry, I want to be calm but I feel so disappointed to find myself living with such unhelpful, uncaring people and to have a strata manager that is clearly so biased in the information he gives out.
I am totally prepared to go to NSW Fair TRading next week and am giving the committee a deadline of this week to agree to take the action I request otherwise i will be lodging on Monday. I spoke to NSW Fair Trading and they agreed I have every reason to take it up with them.
Will update you when there is an outcome and good for you and yes I am also very appreciative of Jimmy’s feedback
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