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Socket to me

Watching TV in bed is a somewhat guilty pleasure so here’s a reminder of the need to get all your checks done in a new apartment before the warranty expires. (NB: Scroll down to the end for the latest on this issue)

QUESTION: We live in a unit purchased nearly four years ago (built by one of Sydney’s biggest developers). At the time of sale the apartment was advertised as having sockets for TV and cable connection and certainly there were sockets on the walls of the rooms.

However, just recently we purchased a TV for viewing in our main bedroom only to discover that there was no reception signal. Further exploration revealed that there was no cable connected behind the socket.

A letter got the flat reply that the unit was out of warranty and they proposed to take no further action. They won’t even give us advice on how to fix the problem.

Does this fall under the warranty arrangement?

BK, Hornsby

ANSWER: There are times when I wish we didn’t have a “no names, no packdrill” policy in this column. Suffice it to say that the developer concerned is one of the country’s biggest.

There are two lots of inspections new owners need to have done. The first was the one you could have done at your own expense when the apartment was first occupied. You then have a period of a month or so, depending on the contract, to sign off that everything is as it should be.

The other, even more important one is the defects inspection where a qualified building engineer or surveyor will look through your building in great detail and find out where there are problems. Your owners corporation has six years to put in a defects claim so they better get a move on. By the way, your particular developer employs Strata Managers who advise owners not to bother with defect inspections. Very naughty.

The cabling for your TV is, in my opinion, part of common property so this would be a building defect and therefore an Executive Committee problem. If your EC won’t take action, pay your $63 to the Office of Fair Trading (13 32 20) for a mediation/adjudication. Big developers pay people to just say “no”, regardless of the question. An approach to the OFT might get some serious attention.

UPDATE: Shortly after this appeared in the Herald, an electrician from the company concerned turned up, ready to wire up the TV. However, by that time our reader had paid to have it done privately. A couple of weeks later he was reimbursed for the cost of the work. Nice one!

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