Nobody likes a whinger, but in strata, sometimes it pays to stow your personal aversion to complaining. A well-timed complaint could save you a heap of grief, not to mention a pile of cash.
We know of a young woman, who has suddenly found herself adjacent to the builders’ base for a renovation of the entire block, work that’s planned to go on for a couple of years.
Woken at 6.30 every morning, when she looks out of her bedroom window, there’s a fair chance she will find workmen looking right back in.
The rental agent says sorry, if we cut your rent it won’t even cover the levies. The committee tells her landlord it’s for the greater good of the building.
But this is not what our friend signed up for. She doesn’t want to move out but if she did, they’d have to let the unit with a building site next to the balcony.
Our advice is to apply to Fair Trading as soon as possible for a substantial rent reduction because it will be backdated to when you first make the complaint.
Not only that, the landlord will be able to take that to the committee and say, look, this is how much this is costing me. Right there, you have the wisdom of a good whinge.
Another example is when you move into a brand new building before it’s had its first AGM. You could be getting hit with all sorts of charges that you shouldn’t be paying, especially if your developers don’t know what they’re doing.
There are many areas – from underestimating levies to overcharging for services – where the eventual owners can later claim compensation to have their money refunded.
However, the tribunal can wipe compensation claims if they find the developer exercised “due diligence” and was unaware they were breaching the law. One wel-informed whinge would put paid to that escape clause.
Then, there’s the whole “I hope someone complains about that noisy guy next door” syndrome. Maybe your building manager is waiting for a second complaint so they know it’s not purely personal.
So if you think something is not as it should be in your strata scheme, speak up. If you’re right, it could save you and your neighbours a lot of money. If you’re wrong, well, you’ll have learned something.
There’s a whole heap of strata whinges on the Forum