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Greetings fellow New South Welshmen and Women,
My question is: can a model by-law adopted by our building be challenged at NCAT or a higher authority on the grounds that – to me it seems – it enriches or provides for possible enrichment of some owners at the expense others.
Model by-law: 13 Cleaning windows and doors, states:
(1) Except in the circumstances referred to in clause (2), an owner or occupier of a lot is responsible for cleaning all interior and exterior surfaces of glass in windows and doors on the boundary of the lot, including so much as is common property.
(2) The owners corporation is responsible for cleaning regularly all exterior surfaces of glass in windows and doors that cannot be accessed by the owner or occupier of the lot safely or at all.
My bone of contention is (2).
I understand the above by-law, listed in Schedule 3 of the SSMA (NSW) wasa adopted by our bldg a few years ago, but I never noticed it until this week when at my bldg’s AGM it was resolved to register a truck load of by-laws which included many from the so-called “Model By-Laws in Schedule #3 from the SSMA (NSW)”, including #13.
I am concerned that adopting this model by-law will allow an owner(s) who claim(s) that she or her tenant is ill, disabled, elderly etc and thereby have the OC foot the tab for cleaning that to date has been the responsibility of the individual lot owner. Also, in the event that some units are sold to say, very senior citizens, then a host of doors and windows will have to be cleaned at the OC’s cost by virtue of the by-law where in its absence ,the individual would have to clean or arrange for the cleaning herself.
s. 106 of the SSMA (NSW) makes clear to me that the OC is responsible for common property (repairs and maintenance) and s.37 mandates that members of the SC (who pushed for this by-law) behave in a manner benefiting everyone on the OC.
I raised this at the AGM but was told by some that “the OC never paid for cleaning and I have nothing to worry about”. I replied “that this motion opens the door on allowing folk too claim ‘an inability to access the windows’ and by virtue of the by-law to palm off the cost of doing so, presumably by a tradesman – to the OC.
I proposed that all doors and windows owned by the OC be cleaned by the OC . This was rejected.
My question is: can this “model” by-law be challenged for the gaping loop hole it created which some owners may take unfair advantage of?
Correct me if I am wrong, but the by-law is treating owners differently:
a) Based on where the relevant part of the common property is located;
b) By making some but not all owners responsible for the maintenance of common property at their own expense;
c) By allowing some owners to palm off some of their responsibilities to maintain the common property (keeping it clean) upon asserting that in their opinion their states of health or physical ability preclude them from cleaning and maintaining the common property which they use;
d) By shifting responsibility for maintaining common property from the OC to individual owners on a basis other than unit entitlements; and
e) By shifting responsibility for maintaining common property to individual owners without their consent.
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