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    We are a small block of 6 units in the inner west.  Our building has had a fire order placed on it and we are undertaking appropriate works and actions, which are going to add a significant cost to the levy/capital works.
    Of the 6 units, 3 owners have had cause to take out AVO’s against an elderly female owner who resides alone and has no known family.  She is verbally abusive and intimidating to others, and at times has physically assaulted a resident and been charged with malicious damage of property (the owner who was assaulted has since moved out but remains on the strata committee).
    We have had significant concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of this owner for several years and her behaviours seem to be escalating/her health deteriorating.  She has now defaulted on her levies and the strata manager has started debt recovery proceedings – which we are concerned will trigger further abuse and difficulties within the building.
    Previously we have had to call both an ambulance for her and Fire & Rescue due to incidents in which she was at risk of danger.  Contact with the Police has been regular but they have not been able to easily get a hold of her (as she will not come to the door) and have sent mental health teams who also have not been able to make contact, so give up. She has failed to attend court summons’ for the AVO’s and other charges.
    Our strata managers have not been able to provide much support or guidance (we are seeking new managers due to dissatisfaction with their services) and would love to hear from the Flat Chat community on ways we can support our neighbour by linking her into effective services and financially protect other owners.
    I am sure that other people would have had similar situations in which there is a combination of mental health/dementia, AVO’s and interpersonal difficulty financial hardship and social isolation?

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  • #47847


    I am a registered nurse and deal with dementia and the elderly patients a lot

    if she is abusing you and appears to be of not sound mind – or damages property you can call the ambulance service, you can say that you are concerned for her welfare as she might do something like hurt herself/ others /burn down the building, fall over ect, they will be obliged to take her into hospital and have her assessed – she may be suffering from delirium, which is temporary ie from an infection, fever or other illness that has affected her mental state, this can be done under “duty of care” where an ambulance officer forcibly transport someone to  attend hospital for a proper assessment of there mental capacity – this may be the mental health act but will change from state to state

    once a person enters the hospital system they will be under “duty of care” and doctors, social workers, mental health workers will be able to make decisions about her capacity to be returned to a unit on here own,

    but it is difficult to force a person into care, as a person has rights to make their own decisions, and deciding someone’s capacity to be able to make their own choices, even though they could be putting themselves at risk is  a difficult one, even though they might be abusive and appear completely demented to others in the building, she may have some “insight” into her own behavior – they may decide that she can be returned home

    the more a person in this situation presents to the hospital the more likely action will be taken by the hospital staff to admit the person into care for their own protection and not return them home

    ps – social services will do nothing as she will probably refuse their assistance and they are not obliged to do anything nor can they force a person to accept social services or support and thus the circle continues……..


    hi Maltman. I’m really sorry to hear of your plight and will watch with interest as we seem to be developing a similar situation in our small block.

    We have had discussions about how to handle the situation. We have always thought it would be best to call social services who might also operate from the local council. https://www.ncoss.org.au/ might also have some resources. I’ll do some research and ask around as well.

    all the best – a very tricky situation.

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