Roundup: Confusion as flawed laws revealed


Another week, and the steady trickle of confusion in our daily strata lives is gradually turning into a flood of frustration.

Just skimming this website would be enough to give a nervous potential strata-owner or first-timer the heebie-jeebies.

We are 18 months into the new strata laws in NSW and the number of questions is starting to outpace the answers. Do the new laws on parking actually work? Or were they just window-dressing with just as must illegal parking as there ever was?

How can you give owners the right to attend a committee meeting but then allow the meeting to be held by phone or on paper?

Are tenants getting elected to committees and if they are, how long do they stay after they realise they have no vote and they can be excluded from all the truly significant discussions?

The admirable and essential Owners Corporation Network – that’s the organisation run by owners for owners – is facing a critical funding shortage.

Meanwhile the Strata Community Australia Owners Section – run by strata managers for … well, you tell me … is facing a credibility crisis.

The SCA’s brilliant on-line training for strata committees has gone with the advent of the new laws and, I’m told, won’t be replaced because the government has decided not to fund it.

Also, the very handy “Who’s Responsible …” guide to what is and isn’t common property has disappeared from the SCA’s website. Why?  Who knows?

And the advice given by Fair Trading on everything from short-term letting to election of office-bearers often flies in the face of legal decisions and even their own laws.

Clearly, a review of the new strata laws and how they are working is long overdue. It may be a just a tweak here and a twist there that’s needed.

Or maybe the powers that be would rather that we just gave up on our fragile, faux democracy and let professionals run the show.

Either way, the numbers of people moving into strata are truly frightening and we need to get our house in order sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, we strata residents have been left to twist in the wind with no reliable, easily accessible guide to what to do when we hit a problem.

Well, not quite.

The Flat Chat Forum may not have the answer to every problem … but at least we try. Here are the best of the worst of your problems from the past week.

  • As records must be kept, can a deposed committee member see who voted against them in a secret ballot? That’s HERE.
  • Is there an easy way to stop recycling bin raiders? That’s HERE.
  • Can owners get free parking spaces if they are created on common property? That’s HERE?
  • Who pays the call-out fee when a snail-mail notice isn’t picked up? That’s HERE.
  • Can the strata committee insist on taking pictures of common property in my home? That’s HERE.
  • Who’s responsible for damage caused by termites that came from common property? That’s HERE.

There are lots of other questions and answers that aren’t listed here – and by the time you read this, there will be even more on the Flat Chat Forum.


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