We have a bumper edition of the Flat Chat Wrap podcast for you this week with a ton of material and some new voices too.
You might want to ration your listening – for some people there are two commutes worth of pod in this episode.
First off, we catch up with the amendment to the NSW strata Act that we flagged briefly last week, which would ban any apartment block from having a by-law that said pets weren’t allowed.
How this came about is detailed in this story but, in a nutshell, there was a proposal floated in the Upper House to amend the strata Act so that changes to common property that would have a beneficial effect on sustainability wouldn’t require the normal 75 percent approval of a special resolution.
Instead, a simple majority of owners at a general meeting could decide, for instance, to put solar panels on the roof, batteries in the basement and electric car chargers in the car park.
It’s a good idea. Environmental recalcitrants can find a million bogus reasons why they don’t want to contribute to the fight on climate change and they can often drum up the 25 percent of support need to block any such moves.
So it’s a good move. But then, late in the day, an Animal Liberation Party MP (did you even know we had one?) attached an amendment to it and it got through.
Sue and Jimmy discuss its chances of becoming law.
Next up, it’s the scramble by some strata schemes to close the loophole left, possibly deliberately, that would still allow empty-flat Airbnb lets in buildings that really, really don’t want them.
As it stands, the new anti-short-term letting laws say that owners corporations can pass by-laws blocking the letting of apartments that are owned by investors. However, people for whom their flat is their principle place of residence, can still let their apartments short-term whether their neighbours want them to or not.
Now, we had naively thought this was to allow genuine “sharing” – when a stranger comes and stays in your flat while you are actually there.
But, no, as this story explains, “principal place of residence” could cover someone who stays there four nights a week and lets it to strangers over the weekend while they are off at their country retreat, visiting their parents or shacking up with their significant other.
Or perhaps they stay their 50 weeks of the year but disappear over Christmas and New Year when city pad rentals quadruple, if not more.
That’s why a number of strata lawyers are devising legal but complex by-laws to make the whole process difficult if not impossible. Why? Because you really wouldn’t want to get between an Airbnb host and a bucket of money.
Next cab off the rank is Amanda Farmer who joins us to explain what her Shared Space Summit is all about and why she undertook to get a global view of how we deal with and make the most of living in strata.
You can read about the Summit here.
Sue has been super-busy this past week with yet another yarn in the SMH, this time about a new approach to accommodating senior citizens of strata.
As her story explains, connecting seniors to a system within their community will maintain their independence for longer and might even avoid the Covid-19 carnage that we have seen in aged-care facilities across Australia.
And out Hey Marthas! This week looks to the USA and the impact that Melania Trump’s fashion tastes had on the political landscape during the Presidential nomination last week.
Should we even be discussing what female politicians wear? There’s a very interesting and controversial point of view from the (addictive) NPR Politics Roundup podcast from the USA.
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