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  • #50602
    Fey Knows

    This is a curly one, probably. There was a renovation done in our Western Sydney strata of 42. Someone turned a three (small) bedder with one bathroom into a four bedder with an extra ensuite. Crazy, I know. There were three EGMs about this, they were persistent, and eventually with the help of a stacked meeting a strata manager helping suspiciously just a bit too much, it only just snuck through by about 1%.

    Basic research said they really needed local council approval which they didn’t bother with, despite right-thinking people insisting it was required. The unit in question’s owner also works at the local council. Hmm…

    It was finished about 6 months ago and now, guess what’s happened! The unit in question belongs to a Strata Committee member who lives under the Chairman and seems the reno has damaged the Chair’s unit. When they jacked up the floor to remove walls and put in supporting beams, it damaged the Chairs floor’s somehow, he claims. (Yes, they did have an engineering report from engineers with only a P.O. Box address, hem, hem.)

    Now the Chair and the committee member have had a falling out. Word on the street is the Chair demanded and was paid $5,000. But now there’s more damage from a second spot where a wall was removed and Chair is demanding more money.

    Nothing has gone through the strata manager or SC meetings of records. This may be to keep records clear of problems in the block but the whole thing seems marginally corrupt. Personally I am worried about what might happen if worse faults occur in the future. Like a wall collapses or something.

    The other thing is, some of us think there might be an element of the crafty Chair may be going for ‘hush money’ since the owner works at the council and has used their position to assert “I understand these things, no council approval needed”.

    I feel as if all this should somehow be bought out into the open for safety’s sake without worrying too much about it affecting real estate value and such. After all, the whole corner of the block might be compromised. Am I right, please?

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  • #50947

    How can we shine a light on this? Get them to step down maybe.

    You have a number of options and it depends how dirty you’re prepared for your hands to get.

    In the case of the unapproved renovation, report it to the council planning department. If they refuse to do anything, report them to the Local Council Ombudsman.

    In the case of the self-serving chairman, gather your evidence, and as much supoort as you can get from other owners, and begin action at Fair Trading and NCAT under Section 238 to have the chairman either removed from the chair or from the committee entirely. They might jump before they are pushed if there is too much dirty laundry to be aired.

    Regarding the pliant strata manager, you could apply for the compulsory appointment of a strata manager to take over the running of the strata scheme under Section 237.  Be sure you have a good strata manager ready to work with you if you go down this tricky route.

    Fey Knows

    Can I ask please, what if something really corrupt has gone on here in strata-land Western Sydney? Like…

    The Chairman ushered through the contentious renovation in the unit below his, where a fellow committee member lived (by-law for reno failed at three specially convened EGMs but succeeded at a fourth).

    Now those committee members have fallen out. The dodgy reno damaged the Chairman’s unit above. Chairman demanded five grand and got it, then demanded more. Their arguments about this have been overheard.

    The Chairman of 5 years has ALSO had an insurance assessor in, a strata matter. He was the only one to meet with the assessor. He has form. He had a mysterious ‘water leak’ a couple of years ago, it seemed suss, and file emails show he peppered the Strata Manager with demands for speedy payment by the insurers.

    How can we shine a light on this? Get them to step down maybe. The Strata Manager won’t help; think he knows which side his bread’s buttered on.

    And as I say above, the owner of the reno’d unit who reckons they work in the local council’s planning department and insisted no council approval was needed. As JimmyT says, it was. Or is.


    Write a letter to the committee seeking an assurance, to go on the record,  that no common property was damaged during or subsequent to the renovation.

    You would also like it to be put on record if any ex gratia payments have been made to any committee members or to the strata scheme to cover damage to common or personal property, especially in case future insurance claims may be affected.

    By the way, someone needs to write to the council’s planning department. Any work inside a unit that involves changing the layout or removing load-bearing walls requires council approval.  Your committee has been duped.

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