Tagged: Common property
21/02/2019 at 6:44 pm #35965
Query is, who to turn to when an owner goes ahead with a threat to move the front door to his unit (which is common property)?
His request to do this was voted down at the AGM in November 2018, mainly because he has already taken over common property on that floor by blocking off access to the common area laundry and a section of the hallway, via a second locked door he installed across the hallway. He has been asked to remove this second door but has refused. The agent won’t do anything.
The owner now says he is frustrated with delays and is unhappy he has been knocked back, can’t see why anyone else cares, and so will go ahead with his plans anyway. So, if and when he does, who can the Committee turn to to stop it?
Is it the local Council, even though this alteration is interior to the building? I know Council will order reversal of unapproved outdoor constructions which are visible, but this particular plan with doors is interior to the building.
Who will be backup to stop the works if and when they begin: should we turn to NCAT, or first to Fair Trading? Or even the police to stop unapproved works? Our agent will do nothing, as usual.
Suggestions? We want to be prepared with our own realistic threats, or he will get away with it. We do not want to go to court.
Thanks!22/02/2019 at 12:52 am #35966
When you say Agent, do you mean strata manager?
You need to go to Fair Trading to apply for orders to restore common property (the doors) to their former status.
You might also need to get interim orders tell the owner not to change the other doors.
And you could write to council saying this owner has changed the layout of the apartment (which requires a DA).
If the owner refuses to change the doors himself, send workmen in to do it and then send him the bill.
And when you have sorted all that out, sack the “Agent” who is taking your money and not even doing the basics.22/02/2019 at 6:28 pm #35985
When the owner put any change desired to the Body Corp AGM he was obviously aware there was a need to do it that way, it was knocked back and grounds would have been given. Now to go ahead he is likely just trying it on because he’s a dill, or your committee haven’t earned respect. Your body corporate manager should have been over him like a rash in this and the other incident you mention but obviously haven’t been directed to by your committee. So they need to be or they themselves become the issue. Essentially buying into a complex is a team sport with some a little more front foot than others, and many and most just not that interested or are happy to remain ignorant. Either way doesn’t matter while there are minimum standards and limits to what folks can do. There’s nothing stop the precedent of anything goes otherwise. Id’ consider asking your manager for the piece of legislation (Act or By-Laws) that applies, and apply it.28/02/2019 at 2:00 pm #36063
Seek an interim order from the Tribunal that he must not alter the common property. In background information for the Tribunal you would include the minutes of the meeting at which approval was sought and declined. Include a copy of any correspondence in which he threatened to proceed or a statement that such a threat was delivered verbally.
You could also seek a separate order that the already altered common property be restored.
An option open to the owner would be to seek an order to give effect to his failed motion to be allowed to move his front door. You can choose whether or not to point that out to the owner. The owner might be able to make a case that it was unreasonable to not be allowed to move the door.08/03/2019 at 3:57 pm #36206
The local council should be interested. Any internal alterations that involve moving doors have the potential to change the way fire spreads in the building and the options people have to get out of a building in the event of a fire. This must be assessed by the council and councils take this seriously.
If there is a fire in your building then there will be some ambiguity as to whether that building was compliant with fire regulations at the time of the fire. This may delay any insurance claims or worse.
I would at the very least seek an interim order from the Tribunal as outlined above. I would also make sure the rest of the committee knows that all internal alterations should go to the council for fire safety reasons.