Flat Chat Forum Another day in paradise Current Page

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  • #50095
    MailboxMailbox
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    My strata scheme is considering shutting off the heating on the swimming pool from June till August and have circulated a straw poll to discover how many residents and owners are in favour.

    To most people, except the handful who use it in the winter months, this makes some sort of sense, although the financial savings will be minimal (about $6 per month, per unit).

    However, shutting off the heating basically means closing the pool.  Will tenants in the building be able to claim rent reductions for the duration, due to reduced facilities?

    And can the committee and/or owners corporation do this anyway without a by-law since it is altering common property?

    This is an issue that arises in this building every couple of years, usually promoted by non-swimmers who live in the top-level apartments with the highest levies.  It is always voted down at AGMs when it comes up.

    I don’t particularly care either way – except that I can see us being dragged into a nasty and expensive Tribunal battle for the sake of a few dollars savings.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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  • #50138
    MailboxMailbox
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    It’s all hypothetical.  The owners and residents have voted overwhelmingly to keep the pool open.

    #50137
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Do they do it “all the time”?

    Setting the hours of operation and even a season is commonly done by OCs. I think it would be likely that a Tribunal would agree that the OC itself gets to decide them.

    Setting the hours of operation is one thing.  Shutting down for 25 per cent of the year is another entirely. If you have bought into or rent a property with the expectation that it will be available all year, or for a predetermined  period, you are entitled to question when the rules change, apparently arbitrarily.

     I can’t see how setting the hours of operation of a recreational facility could be considered as “altering common property”.

    I reckon you could present a compelling argument that having a common property facility that you are not allowed to use – when you previously were allowed to used it – is altering it.  It’s a heated pool and they’re going to cut off the heating.  That’s a pretty significant alteration.

    I’m not saying an objector would win at NCAT – but they’d have a case.

    #50128
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    Do they do it “all the time”?

    Yes, all of mine do.  Especially for common property areas where a resident or owner shouldn’t ordinarily need to be.

    But this is about an OC provided recreational facility.  Setting the hours of operation and even a season is commonly done by OCs.   I think it would be likely that a Tribunal would agree that the OC itself gets to decide them.  And even to remove the facility altogether if it so voted.  I know of OCs that have done that.

    Comparing it to car park access is not really the same thing. And if the parking space is on title, as is now the norm, an OC must provide 24/7 access to it.

    I can’t see how setting the hours of operation of a recreational facility could be considered as “altering common property”.

     

    #50119
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    What’s being altered? In reality, OCs restrict access to common property all the time.

    Do they do it “all the time”? Yes, they may restrict access to pools and gyms at certain times, but if there has been an expectation that the pool would be available most days for most of the time, shutting it down for several months is a significant factor.

    As long as they don’t block 24/7 access across common property to the lots and do it fairly there’s usually not a problem.

    “Usually” is a bit of a weasel word.  There is a potential problem when there’s a chance that someone might reasonably object.

    To take an extreme example, if the committee blocked access to your car park while essential maintenance was being carried out, residents might be irritated but would accept it. But if they were to block access from, say, midnight to 7am at weekends, because of noise and security issues, some owners would be up in arms.

    As I said, I am not sure where the Tribunal would fall on this, but I do think there’s enough of a grey area that if an owner was so inclined, they could make a fuss.

    #50112
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    However, shutting off the heating basically means closing the pool. Will tenants in the building be able to claim rent reductions for the duration, due to reduced facilities?

    Maybe, but that’s for the landlord to deal with. Including their input to decisions of the OC.

    And can the committee and/or owners corporation do this anyway without a by-law since it is altering common property?

    What’s being altered? In reality, OCs restrict access to common property all the time.

    As long as they don’t block 24/7 access across common property to the lots and do it fairly there’s usually not a problem.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by .
    #50100
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    … can the committee and/or owners corporation do this anyway without a by-law since it is altering common property?

    Section 108 of the NSW strata Act says “an owners corporation or an owner of a lot in a strata scheme may … alter the common property … for the purpose of improving or enhancing the common property” but “any such action may be taken … only if a special resolution has first been passed by the owners corporation that specifically authorises the taking of the particular action proposed.”

    Does that cover effectively closing the pool or at the very least changing the conditions of the pool to make it a lot less of an attractive option?

    I really can’t say for sure but I’d say there’s enough of a grey area there for any owner who strongly objects to take the issue to a Tribunal and possibly even get interim orders to prevent it until the issue is resolved (which would effectively prevent it from going ahead this year, at least).

    And that’s when the committee must decide, if they don’t get at least 75 percent voting in favour,  whether the savings aren’t outweighed by the cost of fighting and winning.

    But I’d be really interested to hear from Flatchatters who’ve been in similar situations where cost-saving changes to common property were challenged at the Tribunal.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by .
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Flat Chat Forum Another day in paradise Current Page