Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page

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  • #53624
    Leah88
    Flatchatter

    The balustrades of our balconies have fretwork that is a climbing opportunity for children. I caught my friend’s 4 year old climbing the fretwork and nearly died of fright myself when I realised the potential injury/death situation. I have raised the matter twice with strata committee. My concern has not been minuted by the management at the meetings.

    The current (2016) maintenance cost summary (which was not conducted on-site) states ‘balustrades to be replaced 2036’. The committee agrees, in principle, that this date is ridiculous but have voted DOWN a quote of $750 to get an updated maintenance schedule. I was hoping this updated schedule would point out this safety matter and the fact that all the railing gaps also don’t comply to current standards.

    Note, also, this committee has not had the common property painted for 20 years. I have only lived here 6 months, tried to get some action going on things. Very uphill battle. I’ve basically given up on all pursuing common property matters but this safety matter is of great concern to me.

    What risks are posed to me, as an owner, and separately what risks are posed to our O/C if the balustrades are left as is?

    Is the O/C open to being sued if an injury or death occurs as a result of a child climbing the fretwork and falling or a person falling through the balustrade?

    Where am I left as a lot owner if there is injury or death from someone else’s balcony or there is injury/death from my balcony and I have tried to update the balustrade?

    Can letters of correspondence from me to the committee, raising this concern, help me avoid being sued in future?

    I am secretary on the committee but the owners in our complex fight so much that our managers run everything. The committee doesn’t want me doing anything.

    Background notes: The committee has voted at last AGM to NOT get a formal safety audit (I voted for it).

    So,

    they voted against a safety audit,
    they voted against an updated maintenance schedule.
    common property painting hasn’t been done for 20 years.
    other repairs are looming

    I am sure they will NOT vote to prioritise replacement of balustrades.

    thank you in advance.

     

     

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  • #53637
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The easiest way to have your concerns made official is to seek mediation at Fair Trading and apply for orders under Section 232(2).  This is part of the Act that setes out to resolve disputes over duties that the strata scheme has failed to undertake.

    Painting is part of the strata scheme’s maintenance duties. The law also required the scheme to have a 10-year maintenance plane updated every five years.

    On the question of climbable balcony balustrades.  A simple and relatively cheap and unobtrusive way of dealing with that is to affix perspex sheets to the inside of the ironwork, thereby removing footholds.  You could even get a local builder to quote for the whole building using your apartment as a guide.

    This three-pronged approach would start with mediation and that would, if nothing else, create an official record of your concerns.  If you do go to medaition, and the strata committee appears ro agree, make sure you get a commitment in writing ast to starta and completion dates for the work.

    Another otion might be to contact your strata insurers and ask them if they are concerned about the potential climb and fall risk.

    None of these approaches are guaranteed to work, and they will make you very unpopular with your recalcitrant neighbours, so perhaps the best thing to do first is to politely tell the secretary or chair that this is your plan of action if they continue to ignore your concerns and suppress all records of you having made them known .

    But just be sure to follow through if they ignore you again. I would say at a guess that they don’t want to spend money and they don’t want any record of problems to appear in the minutes as that might affect the value of their apartments.

    But nothing damages the value of property more than neglect and willful ignorance. One you take them to Fair Trading, that is a record that must be available to prospective purchasers, and that’s something they really don’t want – for people to see how the property has been neglected and allowed to run down.

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Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page