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I live in a block where around half the owners have historically not been able to install air-conditioning due to the by-laws which prohibit any fixtures being installed on balconies if they would be visible and thus breach the architectural standard of the building. Practically, the only way the owners of units in the middle floors can have air-con is if the condenser units are on their balconies.
A neighbour of mine sought consent from the OC to install air-con, arguing that the air-con unit would not be a fixture but free-standing, and would also not be visible to anyone outside the lot due to his somewhat unique balcony shape. The strata committee denied consent (they are very anti-air-con units on balconies…but it’s worth noting that all the members have the benefit of air-con because they have enclosed courtyards or are the top-floor dwellers and can mount on the roof…lucky them…). My neighbour took the matter to NCAT where the Member found in his favour and gave an order that he could install the air-con – the condenser would not be visible and thus there would be no breach.
Now…my balcony shape happens to be very similar to my neighbour’s, and I believe that I would not be in breach of any by-law if I have air-con installed. I have been organising quotes to get this work done.
However, there is chatter between the owners that some of the top-floor owners have put together a proposed change of by-law which would close what they see is a “loophole” in the by-laws, to that effect that no owner may have a condenser on their balcony, whether or not it is visible outside the lot! I think this is totally unreasonable…but anyway, I fear they will get this change through because the strata committee members are very “active” and have a lot of proxies.
1. If I manage to get the air-con installed in my lot before the amendment is passed (i.e. installed while it is not breach of the by-laws), will the passing of the amendment apply retroactively to render me in breach?
2. If yes, will the OC then have the power to compel me to have the air-con removed?
It has been a stifling hot summer and I really would like to have air-con installed … but not if it means I have to pay to get it ripped out in a few months.
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