This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Jimmy-T 4 weeks ago.

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  • #38148
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    Murray Cod
    Flatchatter

    An owner in our 60s block in Sydney NSW wants to change the interior of his three bedroom unit, adding a full ensuite to one room, moving positions of doors and moving plumbing around, the old toilet and new toilet will no longer be on the outside walls but on the inside walls; so, more noisy.

    To me, this is kind of like ‘putting lipstick on a pig’. We reckon they’re going to try and flog it off after they’ve ‘improved’ it. It’s the biggest reno we’ve every had here and wild over-capitalisation.  But it also maybe breaking against rules.

    The proponent refuses to get a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) from the local council via an independent certifier, saying they don’t need one. The Department of Land & Environment say they need a CDC  and our local confirms they need a CDC.

    The problem is, they got Special Resolutions for their renos approved at our recent ‘stacked, gerrymandered’ Annual General meeting by only one half of one percent. They had tried unsuccessfully at two, previous General Meetings, TWO, where the vote went very strongly against these silly renos.

    The agenda for this AGM had no electronic voting form despite that we’d previously voted for electronic voting (which is something I’ve asked about before). So the meeting was improperly held and the Special Resolutions are already registered.

    We have asked the new Strata Committee (same as the old Strata Committee) to insist on the renovator getting a Complying Development Certificate but they won’t; they are quite apathetic about the need for compliance, despite Mascot Towers and Opal Tower. So we contend the committee is not acting in the best interests of the Owners Corporation.

    But what can we do? Mediation seems pointless and NCAT seems daunting and requires mediation first. We have a smorgasbord of different parts of the Act to choose from; Sections 24 and 25 for example and the Regulation about electronic voting. Not to mention the committee not acting in the best interests of the OC. Where do we start?

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by Jimmy-T.
    #38150
    Lady Penelope
    Lady Penelope
    Strataguru

    In my opinion, some issues that you mention don’t really concern you so I cannot quite understand why you are worried about them.

    Over capitalization or a ‘silly’ renovation – is not your concern.

    Renovating to sell – is not your concern.

    Not obtaining a CDC prior to OC approval – It is my understanding that the OC approval must be approved prior to a CDC application as the OC approval forms part of the CDC application. An application for a CDC cannot be submitted without first obtaining approval for the renovation from the OC. Perhaps the owner is in the process of undertaking an application for a CDC now?

    No CDC at all, when one is required –  this may be a problem for the owner who may incur a fine, or have difficulty when they sell the apartment and/or have difficulty obtaining insurance but this is not something that should bother you.

    Noise issues – yes it may concern you if you are an owner directly adjacent or directly underneath, but perhaps noise mitigation has been included in the renovation and may be why it was approved by the OC. Are you an owner within this category?

    When you mention that the Special Resolution was registered I am assuming that the by-law was registered.

    Electronic voting approval – was the wording in the Motion regarding the change of voting method for the AGM recorded as a ‘must’ or a ‘may’? If it was recorded as a ‘must’ and you believe that the vote may have had a different outcome had electronic voting been used then you could take the matter to NCAT. If it was recorded as a ‘may’ then voting by electronic means is optional rather than compulsory.

     

    #38151
    Sir Humphrey
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    I mostly agree with LP. An owner might have a reasonable interest in being assured that the committee is keeping enough of an eye on things to ensure that structural work is consistent with the OC’s approval and has any other necessary approvals. The latter might be particularly important for the OC’s insurance on the whole block.

    #38155
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Changing the layour of rooms in an apartment requires planning permission in most local council areas. Building a bathrom where it could cause noise nuisance to neighbours (i.e. it’s above their bedroom) is worthy of checking.

    Contact the council and ask them to issue a stop-work order, then get an application in to Fair Trading immediately on as many issues as you think have a solid basis for challenge.

    Regarding section 25, you have 28 days from a meeting to file an application to NCAT on the grounds that people were denied a vote and that vote would have changed the final outcome.

    You can also challenge the special resolution by-laws on the grounds that they are incompetent because they breach a superior law (planning, for a start).

    Once you have filed your mediation application, ask NCAT for  interim orders to stop the work from going ahead until the issue has been resolved.

    Deal with your apathetic committee at the next AGM by running candidates for election- this is not the time for a palace coup.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by Jimmy-T.
    #38179
    Avatar
    Murray Cod
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Lady Penelope, thanks for your input. I was trying to set the scene first actually but since you seem to imply I’m some sort of sociopathic busybody, here’s why I’m ‘worried’ about the issues which, ‘… in my [your] opinion… don’t really concern you [me]’.

    Over capitalisation, a silly renovation and renovating-to-sell will have an indirect, or even direct, effect on every other unit in our complex, not the least of which is precedents are established for further silly, inappropriate renovations and secondly the real estate value of an renovated unit affects its resale value and so, the value of everyone else’s.

    The owner is not in the process of obtaining a CDC. They have pointedly said ‘It’s all self-assess these days’.

    Of course, not being able to sell the unit is something I should be concerned about. It means all the other units in this building will be harder to sell.

    And of course them not being able to get insurance should ‘bother’ me. It probably means any ongoing problem that surfaces because of their incursions into the common property walls and slab (such as water ingress) may void the owners corporation’s insurance.

    Thanks again.

     

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