Think things are less-than-perfect in your strata scheme? There’s a full-blown nightmare scenario happening right now in Sydney city.
The scheme is dominated by commercial lots that have somehow (probably with the help of the developer) set things up so that the residential owners pay a big chunk of the bills for the commercial lots.
There’s one meter for the electricity, one meter for the water, one for the gas.
The commercial lots are using way more than their share of resources (bills are based on their unit entitlements rather than their actual usage).
The commercial lot owners, of course, dominate the strata committee so they prevent the residential investor owners from ever finding out exactly how and by how much they are being ripped off.
The commercial lots routinely annex common property for their own use, without so much as a by-your-leave, let alone any compensation.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, short-term holiday letting tenants are letting the aircon burn all night and day at everyone else’s expense.
When the residents complain about all the rorts, frauds and rip-offs, the strata committee uses Owners Corp funds to hire lawyers to shut them up.
As for Fair Trading, the residents go for mediation and the commercial operators just laugh at them.
Who will help us? the residents ask Flat Chat. The answer is, not Fair Trading; they are worse than useless in these situations. All they will do is send the strata committee a copy of the Strata Living handbook (if you’re lucky).
The best you can do is go to NCAT and plead your case for the appointment of a strata manager to take over the running of the building.
Will it work? It depends who you get sitting on the bench – just hope it’s not one of those old-school CTTT paper shufflers. You can find the whole sorry saga HERE.
Meanwhile, there are some slightly less negative questions and more positive answers in this week’s “best of the rest” of the Forum.
My neighbour has put a garden shed on his balcony – and the committee approved it! That’s HERE.
How do we add new units to our existing plan? That’s HERE.
You’re allowed one proxy for each owner in schemes up to 20 lots. So how many units does a scheme need to have before you can get a second proxy? That’s HERE.
Are landlords or agents obliged to tell the strata committee when they get new tenants? That’s HERE
An owner is planning extensive renovations, with some cosmetic changes, some minor changes and some major alterations – is it better to have one big by-law covering everything? That’s HERE.
And, of course, there will be even more strata brain-teasers in the Flat Chat Forum by the time you read this. Have a look- you may be the one with the answer!