Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page

  • This topic has 4 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by .
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  • #51632
    anonymous
    Flatchatter

    We are a pre-1974 strata block OF 12  built in 1970.  Several major projects are required to keep building maintained, however they are not urgent at this stage.  We’re working our way through minor concrete cancer and getting original doors replaced, currently at owner’s expense.  We still have original aluminium windows and balcony doors.  Balustrades were compliant in the past but not for current legislation.

    We would like some guidance on the following:

    1.  Changing our strata to post 1974
    A strata lawyer has advised that a new by-law could be drawn up for $1000-$1200 if all owners agreed to convert to a post 1974 setup.  This would allow us to manage the windows & balustrades as one project & use the $91,500 in our capital expenditure fund as it seems a waste not to use this over time for the upgrades.  Does anyone have experience with making this transition?

    2.  Capital Expenditure Fund balance
    If we do convert to post 1974 strata arrangement & we use the $91,500 in the fund for various projects, is there a legal requirement to have a minimum amount in the fund & if so what is it? Obviously levies will still be coming in so we would not be insolvent.

    3.  10 year Plan for Improvements
    What is best approach for strata units to have a 5-10 year plan in place? Is there a time frame for this plan to be completed? Who polices that it has been done?   We’d like the 10 year plan to be a “living & flexible” document to be reviewed at the Annual General Meeting.  How do other strata committees manage this?

    4.  Using a consultant
    We are considering engaging an impartial consultant to help us with scoping future works and finding contractors for remaining upgrades.  There are only 3 owner occupiers 9 investors.  We don’t like the idea of another layer of expense but we are 3 female owners here.  We suspect we’ve been ripped off in the past & feel vulnerable to this happening again.  A male consultant who has experience with working with 70’s blocks may be the answer to guide us & in the end save money & drama.  Do you have any experience with working with consultants and could you recommend reliable ones?

    All information gratefully accepted.

    • This topic was modified 5 months ago by .
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  • #51676
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Who has advised you that windows and doors are lot owner responsibility? From 1996 external windows and doors became the OC responsibility (though balcony windows and doors can be the exception and requires reference to the registered strata plan).

    The 1996 changes were not retrospective.  Generally speaking,  in older buildings of this vintage windows and balcony doors are lot property.  The information page to which you referred, outlines the changes in the 1996 Act but says this:

    With regard to plans registered prior to 1 July 1974:

    If the plan described … the location of a boundary relative to structure, the boundary was not relocated.

    This post was edited to remove erroneous information.  See Strata Answers post (below). JimmyT

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by .
    #51690
    Strata Answers
    Flatchatter
    (from NSW)

    The greatest challenge you face is how to manage the remediation of your windows and balustrades as a single cohesive project when your strata scheme is pre 1974 and these items are lot property, not common property.

    As has been said you cannot turn the clock back and ” convert to a post 1974 setup”. What you can do is put in place a regime whereby the maintenance and repair of these items becomes, by agreement, the responsibility of the owners corporation. This is what I think your lawyer  must have had in mind.

    You need to create a by-law that will vest in the OC responsibility for the upkeep of these items ( I don’t think adopting the Common Property Memorandum will help much here as it is very specific about what can be  included and excludes windows etc in pre 1974 buildings).

    Your by-law will need the unanimous agreement of all owners if you need it to cover all lots. It’s not a question of just obtaining a 75% vote, because when a by-law modifies the rights and responsibilities of individual owners, their individual CONSENT  is needed.

    This is of course not legal advice – you have your lawyer. –  but just seeking to explain the process. It is a well tried path because many ageing and older buildings have faced situations similar to yours. There is some energy required to obtain the agreement of all owners but, given that you are not seeking to raise funds, but rather to dispense them on something owners would normally have to pay for themselves, you should not face much opposition.

    Discussions around style, design, contractors etc would then take place via meetings of your Strata Committee and General Meetings of Owners as for any owners corporation project.

    We trust this helps.

    John Hutchinson
    m: 0418 797470  e: john.hutchinson@strataanswers.com.au
     
    S T R A T A   A N S W E R S  PTY  LTD      practical solutions for strata living
    abn 11 600 590 083

     

    #51672
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Dear anonymous

    firstly congratulations to your OC for amassing a large sinking fund. Many strata would like to be in your buildings position

    Ill cut to the chase because your question contains many parts.

    Changing our strata to post 1974

    The answer is you can’t. 1974 has passed a long time ago. The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 define the lot property and common property in reference to the registered strata plan.

    The Land Registry Service  makes specific reference to pre 1974 schemes at http://rg-guidelines.nswlrs.com.au/strata_scheme_questions/pre_1974_plans

    A by law wont fix the registered strata plan.

    Who has advised you that windows and doors are lot owner responsibility? From 1996 external windows and doors became the OC responsibility (though balcony windows and doors can be the exception and requires reference to the registered strata plan).

    The capital works plan is intended by legislation to be a living document . It requires review (and possible updating) every 5 years, but it can be done sooner. Its also not set in stone. The intent is that OC levy owners for building works that are predictable in the future so that owners are not left with a huge special levy .

    I then ask , do you have a strata manager. A good one would be able to advise you on all the issues you have outlined. Maybe its worth a few extra $ per week in order to have a knowledgeable resource.

    Failing that, there are a number of strata consultants out there. (I cant name any but I know of one personally)

    And finally the financial objectives of residents and investors are generally different. It is entirey posible that the investors have attended to their agenda in preference to yours.

    Perhaps you and your other residents get on the committee (if not already) Thats where the day to day decisions are made and your chance to protect your interests.

    Good luck

    #51636
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I strongly recommend you consider joining the Owners Corporation Network (OCN) where you will get direct advice from other owners corps on these issues. I would also look at discussing your situation with our sponsors  Strata Answers who may be able to give you hands-on support.

    On the question of the finances, there is no minimum level but you are expected to have enough to finance the current demands of your capital works fund (although this is rarely if ever enforced).

    The 10-year plan should be reviewed every five years and your finances should be allocated according to the expected needs, and adjusted as they evolve. Some expenditure may be needed to be brought forward while others can be delayed.

     

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Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page