It used to be that when anyone talked about problems in strata, the perennial topics were the four Ps – pets, parking, parties (the noisy kind) and puffing (the smoke wafting from your neighbour’s balcony into your home).
These days you are more likely to find yourself talking about Airbnb, inflammable cladding and building defects. Why? For the simple reason that there’s a lot of them about.
It still beggars belief that state governments are happy to hand their housing and planning policies over to a bunch of trendoids working in a hi-tech office in San Francisco.
All those years of carefully evolved rules and regulations – the kind that stop your neighbour from turning their home into a business – get tossed out of the window.
Why? Because some slick advertising and highly dubious business practises purport to free you to do as you wish with your property and make a lot of money.
Of course, you haven’t been able to do whatever you wish with your property since the first village idiot stood for the first local council. This is even more the case in strata, where a big chunk of your home environment is shared with other people who pay for their fair share of the upkeep.
Then along comes Airbnb, presenting like a social service but behaving like the rapacious global mega-corporation that they are.
If that weren’t bad enough, we have our buildings covered in flammable cladding – two microscopically thin sheets of aluminium over material that is basically a gel made of petrol.
How are the two connected – have a look at the story on this page about the backpacker whose un-extinguished cigarette on the balcony of an illicit holiday let started the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne four years ago.
These are the main discussion points in my podcast with Owners Corporation Network chair Phil Gall who, apart form anything else, explains why flammable cladding is even more dangerous that it seems.
Next week, we tackle building defects and why apartment owners really need to stick together. But for now, here’s the first part of our chat.