21/02/2019 at 9:47 am #35947
We own 2 units in a block of 4. All units are identical but one has a supplementary laundry building. It has attached only at one wall, and all other parts are separate to the rest of the main building – think 1950’s lean-to. We recently removed the asbestos ceiling (at our own personal cost) only to reveal that the roof is entirely rotted and must be replaced. It is dangerous and leaking. Our strata manager has advised that it is a ‘replacement’ not a ‘repair’, even though we plan to replace like for like, and the only way to repair it is to replace it. As such, a special resolution is required. The dynamic of our building is that one owner never participated, including no proxy, and the other owner always objects. So, should we call a vote to repair our own roof, the motion will be defeated.
It seems like madness that we could end up in that position.
Is there a way that the committee (is, us) can execute an approval on the grounds of repairs given that it is our responsibility to maintain our building in a safe and compliant manner?
If not, how do we get around a split vote so that we can actually use the property which we own, but is currently uninhabitable?
21/02/2019 at 6:12 pm #35963
This is tricky, given the numbers. But these are repairs, even if that means a new roof. The OC is legally obliged to “maintain and repair” and if the roof is beyond repair, that doesn’t mean they do nothing. It’s a shame that you have a strata manager prepared to split hairs over this, and come up with the wrong answer.
Section 106 of the Act says:
(1) An owners corporation for a strata scheme must properly maintain and keep in a state of good and serviceable repair the common property …
(3) This section does not apply to a particular item of property if the owners corporation determines by special resolution that: (a) it is inappropriate to maintain, renew, replace or repair the property, and (b) its decision will not affect the safety of any building, structure or common property in the strata scheme or detract from the appearance of any property in the strata scheme.
Look at section 3. You have to pass a special resolution to NOT fix common property, and even then only if it doesn’t affect the safety or appearance of the structure.
If your strata manager remains unconvinced, even by a simple majority vote of your owners, the simplest way to resolve this may be to seek orders at NCAT under section 232, requiring the Owners Corporation to fulfil its duties under the Act.
Now, I know this could seem like taking yourself to NCAT, but at the obligatory prior mediation, Fair Trading might just counsel the strata managers that they are misinterpreting the law, so you won’t need to proceed any further.
Otherwise you are just beating your head off a brick wall of ignorance, incompetence and indifference.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Jimmy-T.
22/02/2019 at 4:06 pm #35984
Thanks Jimmy T.
That’s a great perspective. We will also seek legal advice. If they too support the interpretation that this a repair, not a replacement, then we will instruct our strata manager that we will continue on that basis despite his view. After all, our strata managers are there to do our bidding and take instruction from the committee and owners.
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