Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page

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  • #51183

    My son is a tenant in a block of 16 residential apartments in Sydney, which has a cafe/takeaway on the ground floor which is not adequately cleaned. There is a covered car park occupying the rest of the ground floor. There is an infestation of rats, which in particular get into the engines of cars parked in this car park and chew cables almost every month. This causes great expense to get the cars fixed for tenants ($500 a time), and obviously is an untenable situation going forward. The Owners Corporation denies responsibility for this damage, saying that periodic pest control is the best they can do, despite the fact that it clearly is inadequate.

    The apartment owner is on the side of the tenant, but of course there is one owner of 10 of the apartments, who does not care.

    Is the Owners Corporation responsible to recompense tenants, and/or what can the tenant/owner do about it? We are at our wits end on how to stop it.


    Thank you.

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    Sir Humphrey

    If it becomes clear that the restaurant’s waste area is not up to standard and could plausibly be encouraging rats on common property, then you have a lot owner who is causing a nuisance or hazard on the common property. Most default rules/articles/bylaws have generic provisions that would enable the owners corporation to issue a notice to comply.

    I would first have a talk about the issue flagging an intention to get the opinion of the Food Authority if there is no obvious improvement. Next, I would call the Food Authority. Next, if the Food Authority has told the OC that the rubbish area is not properly organised, I would issue the notice to comply. Finally, if the notice is ignored, you have two routes it seems to me 1) the Tribunal could issue orders or 2) the Food Authority can issue its own orders. You could try both.


    Hello, I’ve been in food businesses for decades, I believe the cafe owner is responsible and should have a pest control program for his business to control the issue and rubbish stored in bins with lids closed. If you know someone reputable in the food industry ask them to take a peek at how clean or well maintained the restaurtant and back/rubbish area is, although you’ve already said its unclean generally.

    I agree with talking with the restaurant owner but if they’re really negligent or not caring about the issue then the best option could be a call to the NSW Food Authority. They will send someone out to check the hygiene practises and unless grossly negligent, the restaurant owner will usually be given a warning and notice of what to do to rectify the problem within a period of time, they will be billed for the inspection. If the restauranter then fails to correct a problem found then penalty notices, fines start.

    While you have the problem with your car the NSWFA will be concerned about public health and food safety especially if there’s an infestation of rats near food areas. You should also be able to talk to NSWFA about the problem without making a complaint to get their view on it.


    I think the owners corporation has a responsibility here and your landlord could take action under a section 232 (2) for “failure to fulfil a function”.

    It’s not up to you or your landlord to tell them how they can do this – they need to spend whatever time, energy and money it takes to fix this.

    Meanwhile, get your landlord to send them a bill every time your cables get chewed.  If they pay up, the landlord can pass the money on to you.

    David Ng

    Have you considered contacting the council to ask for help with a rat infestation and mentioning that you’re near a restaurant that appears to poor rubbish handling practices.

    This will give them several opportunities to investigate the source, including whether or not the restaurant also has rats inside.

    If you’re in a mixed residential/commercial building then the residential OC may have to talk to the commercial OC to get them to deal with the restaurant and its alleged poor cleaning practices.

    Or would you feel confident to approach the restaurant directly and mentioning that there are rats and you’re wondering if their rubbish handling practices are causing the problem. Also, tell them that your tenant has had damaged caused by the rats and you’re considering going to council to get them to investigate.

    It might just frighten them into acting responsibly.

    Of course in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and cause them to close leaving you with nowhere to seek restitution for the damage caused.



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Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page