From The Forum: Broken door battle with a difference


An interesting yarn has come our way via our friends at the Owners Corporation Network.

It seems relatives and neighbours in a block were concerned that one of the residents hadn’t been seen for a couple of days. As far as anyone knew, he was still in the building but there were no signs of life.

Someone had knocked loudly on his unit door, but hadn’t been able to raise so much as a peep.  So they called the local police and fire service, thinking they’d come along with some magic gadget to unlock the door (like they do in TV dramas).

But no, the fire department doesn’t fiddle around with lock picks and in absence of a master key, they used their ‘big red key’ – aka a fire axe – to break down the door.  Fair enough, if it had been an emergency, time could have been of the essence.

Anyway, they got in and the resident appeared, surprised at the sudden intrusion but otherwise he was fine. Why wasn’t he answering his door?  Perhaps he’d been bingeing on Game of Thrones or playing Fortnite with headphones on, or something equally innocent (and isolating).

Anyway, this is where it gets strange.  The resident, grateful that someone should care enough to call triple-zero, insisting on paying for repairs to the door.  But the owners’ corp, glad that he was OK, said ‘no, we called the emergency number, and the door is common property, so we’ll fix it.’

Is this the first time there’s ever been a dispute between a resident and a strata committee where both parties wanted to pay the bill, rather than blame each other?

I want to live in a block with neighbours like that!

Meanwhile there are a few neighbours you might not want to live with, and the turn up on the Flat Chat Forum.

  • What do you do when you force a backsliding strata committee to compile a proper forward maintenance plan and they come back and say “ok, here it is, now we have to double the levies”? That’s HERE.
  • An NBN installer has started drilling holes in common property walls … at the request of a tenant. How do you nip that in the bud?  That’s HERE.
  • An owner gets permission to build a deck provided it doesn’t interfere with a common property wall … but later, when he finally gets round to doing it, he wants to reduce the height of the wall, and the committee says okay, go ahead. Does he need a new by-law?  That’s HERE.
  • A hidden common property storeroom has been found, and a committee member has been using it for their personal use, free of charge. What can an ordinary owner do about this blatant (but very small) land grab? That’s HERE.

As ever, by the time you read this there will be even more questions and answers on the Flat Chat Forum. Find a favourite forum or a topic, and subscribe so you never miss the latest exchanges!

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