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QUESTION: An elderly owner in our building has no relatives, is grossly overweight (about 200 kg), drinks excessively and the whole building smells when he opens his door when his doctor visits or his alcohol is delivered.
His unit is disgustingly filthy, he has set fire to it twice and flooded it once. Last weekend, he fell and broke both his legs and an arm and is now in hospital.
The unit has been declared unfit by the local council and we'd like to have it cleaned but we've been told we need the resident's permission or go through the CTTT which could take eight to ten weeks. Any thoughts? – Care&share, Central Coast.
ANSWER: What a nightmare and it's a more common a problem than you'd imagine.
“One building I managed had the slab weakened due to putrifying rubbish that a mentally ill owner had hoarded, and was seeping a corrosive liquid into a child's bedroom in the unit below ,” says Jim McDonald of strata managers StrataChoice. “We just went in and cleared the unit. Getting an Interim Order (s170) order to do so should be easy.”
“An innovative strata manager might find an emergency risk to the common property, and invoke their emergency powers to enter the unit to protect it,” says David Morris a strata manager in Port Stephens.
“The lot owner has breached the Strata Schemes Management Act by leaving his lot in this state,” says Michael Teys of Teys Lawyers. “The Owners Corporation has the power to enter the lot and do work.
“I would recommend this be done in conjunction with the police and or health authorities but if they wimp out, take a solicitor with you to record and document the event.”
But what about the owner? “He clearly cannot look after himself,” says David Ferguson, President of the Institute of Strata Title Management. “All efforts should be directed to make him ward of the state, hospitalized and rent from the unit used to pay for his care.”
The full text of these and other responses can be found HERE.
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