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  • #54927
    swannie
    Flatchatter

    We are 12 apartments in a luxury apartment block by the ocean.  Prices vary from 2.5 to 3.5 million.
    One side of the block faces the street the other side faces a very well used park with a path passing our block to the beach.

    The two ground floor apartments have private gardens.  Our problem is that the owner  of one of these garden apartments who lives alone constantly disobeys strata laws.  Gardens are not maintained to the standard you would expect from this type of bock,  a balcony which is very visible from the path,  which would have at a conservative 400 people a day pass by, cluttered with cardboard boxes and other paraphernalia.

    Approximately six months ago , owner of this apartment asked for approval for a tool shed to be erected in her garden, to house tools and bikes.  The apartment has a two car garage which should be able to be used for this purpose.

    The toolshed was rejected outright by the remainder of the owners and also council regulation pertaining to easement.

    In late February a cubby house which is actually bigger than the tool shed was erected without permission. In addition a ten foot tall basketball ring which is now level with my balcony (I am on level above) has been installed together with a punching ball on a stand.

    As mentioned previously, owner lives alone with occasional visit from family. So far we have yet to see anyone,  child or adult use this equipment.  At a recent meeting to gain approval for the already installed cubby house and again for the tool shed, both  were unanimously voted against.

    In addition to this some plants, totally out of keeping with the rest of the landscaping have been planted on owners property but beside the common garden.

    Position at present is strata manager will send letter and wait thirty days and wait again two weeks.  Why do we have to wait when a bye law has been blatantly ignored.  The longer these structures stay up the less chance we have of pulling them down.

    Also, should the strata manager send all owners copies of his correspondence as we feel he is not being forceful enough.

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by .
Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #54929
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    You’re right to be concerned about this being left too long and your strata manager is certainly erring on the side of caution.

    Here’s the thing about “breach notices”.  A Notice To Comply is the only legal instrument you can use in the  Tribunal system to deal with by-law breaches.  It is not a fine, it is a warning – so why would sh send someone a warning to tell them you are going to send them a warning.

    Your committee needs to meet and instruct the strata manager to issue a Notice To Comply for each of the by-law breaches.  The owner then has to comply immediately or face action at NCAT which could lead to fines and orders.

    I can understand strata managers sending a warning notice as a courtesy to people who don’t know or care about by-laws, just to give them a chance to sort themselves out. But giving them six weeks before proceeding with a first step is ridiculous.

    After this is done, you might want to look at establishing protocols for by-law breaches. Maybe one warning with a two-week grace period, followed by NTCs

    By the way, your Notices To Comply can only list one by-law per per form but can list multiple breaches of that by-law, if need be.

    #54935
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Are you sure that you have by-laws to  cover the issues you raise.

    You can’t regulate how people keep their private garden.

    Provided a tool shed or cubby is less than certain sizes, council approval is not required to erect then. The OC can’t regulate what is done within a person lot

    You a may be able ro apply the below regarding the external appearance of a lot, particularly for the balcony, but this  could  come back to bite you if the target decides to pick on your property with the same by-law.

    Beware of what you wish for

    There are some people out there who live to different standards to our own. Its frustrating.

    Don’t you know people whose home is a mess with shoes, c lothes, china,   etc all over the house and floor.  Your not going to tell them how to live.

    The strata manager may not be issuing a notice to comply because there is no by law being breached.

    Perhaps you can help the strata manager by looking through your by laws and showing him which ones you think  are being breached

    #54966
    Flame Tree (Qld)
    Flatchatter

    I will politely disagree with you kaindub. The (live-) by-laws almost always state that the appearance of an owner’s lot be kept in good and tidy condition. Sheds, random plants and noisey basketball hoops surely don’t seem to meet that requirement. Even inside is open to question should an owner have real health and safety issues that are likely to impact other owners. If you can generally see it, you are entitled to pass reasonable comment and seek rectification if you feel to.

    #54989
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    The recent landmark judgement about dogs in apartments has wide ranging implications. The judges said that within your lot one is allowed to do as one pleases (of course within reason).
    How far does one extend the not keeping within appearances bylaw. If everyone is growing roses, and you choose rhodedendrums, is this not keeping with appearance?
    If everyone installs a pergola and one lot owner installs a sun umbrella, is that not in keeping with the appearance.

    The usual by laws in NSW say in keeping with the appearance.

    I think the interpretation of constant appearance is highly subjective, and I stand by my initial position.

     

    #54992
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The standard by-laws (which, admittedly this scheme might not have) say this:

    12   Appearance of lot

    (1)  The owner or occupier of a lot must not, without the prior written approval of the owners corporation, maintain within the lot anything visible from outside the lot that, viewed from outside the lot, is not in keeping with the rest of the building.

    Believe it or not, that has been taken to include clothes drying on a rack INSIDE the apartment but which could be seen from outside. And, please, don’t anyone tell me looking inside someone’s window is an invasion of privacy.  It isn’t, unless it’s for salacious or other illegal purposes.

    #54998
    chesswood
    Flatchatter

    If it’s level with your balcony and you’re the unit above, I’d guess the hoop is higher than will fit within the cubic space allowed. Have a look at the strata plan and you’ll probably find that anything in the downstairs people’s garden must fit between a plane 300mm or so below ground level and another plane 2.5 metres or thereabouts above ground level. Look in the strata plan, not the by-laws.

    #55012
    swannie
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hi Jimmy

    By law 17 Appearance of lot, is the bylaw I am going by.

    Just to clarify, the cubby house and sports equipment are in the back garden not terrace.

    Cubby can plainly been seen from street and path side.

    We have within the last twelve months spent thousands of dollars on plants suitable for the location.  The new plants are on the owners land and have been planted to give more privacy but are not by any stretch of the imagination in keeping with the rest of the plants.

    In regard to strata manager letter to offending owner, should other owners receive a copy.

     

    #55021
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Swannie

    you can ask the strata manager to send the correspondence to all lot owners. Any document related to strata can be seen by any other lot owner.

    A “letter” has no force at all in enforcing bylaws. The process starts with a Notice to Comply. The OC needs to follow the procedure in the act exactly, else when you get to court the whole thing will be thrown out.

    The offending owner can choose to ignore the Notice to Comply, and the OC then needs to take it to NCAT for a judgement. Whilst many on this forum regard NCAT as a bit of a lottery, it will look at your claims and the defendants response and make a call.
    Im not sure that the ‘wrong’ type of plants or the state of the garden will be in your favour.
    Also be aware that a case ruled on in Early this year went against the OC because they were found to not be applying the bylaws equally to all owners.

    Im saying that the offender could point the finger back at you, and if your garden is non compliant you’ll be forced to come up to scratch.

     

    #58516
    Grandma
    Flatchatter

    Ok. Let me be clear here . Firstly , the garden mentioned , has a landscaper come and remove many of existing flourishing plants . The garden was worse than prior to the $2000 contributed !
    the private backyard is very large , grass area covering a span of over 10 x 20 M . The cubby erected is not a permanent fixture and is elevated off the grass . It is a $2000 wooden , classy cubby that can only be seen from the outside , due to the steel pst style fencing , which exposes the complete yard!! The basketball hoop does NOT reach the balcony of the unit above as the yard, itself is 4 STEPS, lower than the ground floor apartment . The resident is a 52 year old female , mother of 3 and grandmother of 3 who , babysits often . The neighbours living above her shouldn’t be looking into her yard. The basketball hoop was to be sent to another property , however , due to Covid restrictions , it has been lying down the side of property for the past 3 months . The yard is always maintained immaculately and lawns attended to regularly . When boxes of outdoor furniture were delivered , the same strata committee breached the owner for having boxes on her balcony . It has been an ongoing list of harassment from the residents living above the ground floor apartment . There lies the real facts

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