Roundup: No smoke as strata residents ignored yet again


As I sit on an island off Cambodia, dealing with the consequences of risking one “street food” meal too many, a very urgent and important email from the government pops up on my laptop.

It’s the annual fire safety warnings about the dangers of barbecues through the festive season.  Only use them in open and well-ventilated spots, it says, check your hoses, keep drunks and children away from them (like that will work!).

Check for perished tubes and leaks, warns Fair Trading Minister Matt Kean, wisely. Apparently soapy water will reveal more leaks than the Liberals’ party room.

However, the genius behind NSW’s “best in Australia” flammable cladding solution – dob yourselves in to the local authorities and then pay for the fix yourselves – and bloke in charge of strata says nary a word about barbecues on balconies.

Even blocks with flammable cladding on the outside don’t rate a mention.  When you consider the potential damage and discomfort one poorly maintained barbie could wreak in a block of flats, you’d think we might have popped up on the radar.

I also scoured the reports about the cracking building at Olympic Park for comments from our glorious strata leader, but there was nothing that I could see (or maybe I just missed it, between trots to the bathroom.)

Or maybe balcony barbecues are just too hot a potato. Dehydration-induced weak pun intended.

Anyway, as everyone else in the media is making predictions about 2019, I have two of my own to make one I hope doesn’t come true and the other I fervently hops does.

Firstly, there will be a major fire caused by a barbecue in an apartment block this summer.

Secondly, apartment residents – owners and renters – will make their presence felt at the impending NSW state election when the farces and farragoes of cladding and holiday letting will finally come home to roost.

Meanwhile, you guys have been making your collective presence felt on the Flat Chat Forum. And I’m glad to say they are no less weird and wonderful than ever.

  • For instance, is the tenant of a unit responsible for the loss of a tree stolen from their garden? Their real estate agent says they are. Seriously. You can read about it HERE.
  • A unit owner had fallen behind with their levies and was then pursued by a debt collection agency, with the costs of the debt collection being sheeted back to the owner. Now they are saying they didn’t receive any notice that this might happen and want the other owners to pay the debt recovery costs. Who pays? That’s HERE.
  • A tenant nominated themselves for election to the committee, and won a seat, at the expense of a long-serving owner. Is this allowed? That’s HERE.
  • If your strata levies are due on the first of the month but you have 28 days to pay, are you “unfinancial” – and therefore not allowed to vote on strata issues – from the due date or from the end of the 28 days? That’s HERE.
  • Are BnBGuard (our sponsors) worth the money? Good question. You be the judge HERE.

Oh, and here’s another prediction, as more people move into strata – and we hit Airbnb’s peak period in Sydney – you will still find plenty of new angles for us to explore on the Forum.

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy (and party-flat-free) new year.

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