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I just spent a sleepless night over my rant. I am an owner resident in Sydney of a block of 10 units, 7 of which are tenanted by investors, and three are owner occupied. The block is 20 years old and in fairly good condition. I am one of 4 on the SC (3 resident owners and 1 owner investor) . We have a fairly dysfunctional SC that communicates mainly via email over some contentious issues. Personality differences of the committee come into this. There are no by-laws and the SM only appears at the AGM to have their contract renewed, plus pay bills, collect levies. If it were up to me I would change the SM, but they have been SM since the apartment block was built and changing them would be next to impossible.
The property manager of a rented unit conducted their annual inspection last week and reported (in a very rude email that was forwarded on to the SC) to the SM that the balcony door was stiff on the runners and the handle was broken, requiring replacement. I telephoned the PM to sight the issue before the committee decided on any remedial action, and made an appointment for myself and another member to meet with her, and gain access to the unit yesterday morning. I waited for 15 minutes and she didn’t show. I wasted my entire morning rescheduling appointments to meet with her. An email later appeared via the SM that the tenant only wanted qualified tradesmen fixing the door and didn’t want us going in. The appointment was merely to sight the complaint before making a decision on a course of action.
My rant is this. Since when do tenants decide what course of action is taken in the management of a building? We have had a history of minor petty repairs being done to apartments, which as a committee, we have never been advised of until a bill or payment comes in for authorisation. Sometimes that does not even happen. It is not until the AGM that the financials come out, and excessive bill payments to tradies and consultants are seen. The levies are then increased to cover these expenses. The SM uses a plumber who lives 30km away and travels over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to come out over plumbing issues. The last trip he made entailed replacing a silicon seal around a bath and the OC was billed almost $2,000. This guy could retire in a tax haven in the Caribbean just on the money he has siphoned from us chumps who are paying the bills. The SM does not care because it is not them who are paying. The PM does not care because it is not them who are paying. The tenants do not care because it is not them who are paying. The SM responds with “urgent repairs have to be made no matter what the cost”. It seems that everything is classed as an urgent repair at the OC’s expense. At my last unit block I lived in, a tradie charged $150 just to tighten the screw on a wire security door. Even a clueless female like me could do that with a phillips head screwdriver at no charge.
I suspect the latest issue could be fixed with some WD40 to let the door slide and I don’t know why the handle is broken. They are quite robust and may come from some negligent or malicious act on the part of the current tenant, in which case I don’t see why the OC should pay for the careless actions of others.
What do other SC’s do about managing repairs in apartment blocks? I am sick of paying through the nose for these petty repairs that should not cost this much for the job at hand. But getting co-operation from other people to get some sensible remedial action is problematic. I might add that at the moment I am on JobSeeker payments and paying higher levies over these vexatious issues is stressful in itself.
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