Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page

  • This topic has 10 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by .
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  • #50276
    AvatarBanned
    Flatchatter

    I hope this is the right place to post about my problem. All of a sudden we have a Special Levy of $330,000 incl GST spread over four quarter instalments. For us that means $10.560 in the next year or $2,640 a quarter. It’s a nasty surprise for our small Sydney block of cheaply built 70s units.

    Some of the windows need repairing and some need replacing. The issue has been on agendas for four years with a few repairs etc. along the way, but nothing big has been approved because of the lack of homework done. There have been a rough quote or two without support data.

    There were never options, recommendations or choices about materials or contractors. Never enough information to win approval.

    Last week’s AGM was an electronic Zoom meeting. I judge the Strata Committee and Strata Manager thought it’d be the perfect time to slip something through under the cloak of COVID. They rightly thought owners would be even more apathetic than usual, ignore the agenda and meeting and the committee lined-up their numbers. There was a quorum but no more. BTW the committee has been the same for a few years and are pretty lazy and incommunicative. They keep outsiders out. Everything is signed over to the unresponsive SM.

    When the AGM agenda went round, they must have had SOME blow back. There was an item for window replacement with just one quote at $300,000 for replacing our 150 windows with minimal information about look or materials. Plus a separate item for the Special Levy mentioned above. But a few days later a separate email came from the Strata Manager saying he and the committee had managed to find a supplier who could do the windows for $200,000. A HUNDRED GRAND LESS!

    Thinking most other owners like me would see this all sounds weird and dodgy, I voted ‘No’ and sent in my voting paper. But the minutes of the Zoom meeting have made me flummoxed.

    The window item did not get approved. ‘No one could agree on materials’. But the Special Levy for window repairs of $300,000 got approved, to be paid over a year as above. No mention at all about the lesser two hundred grand email.

    So we have a giant Special Levy for something not hugely urgent over only a year. With COVID-19 causing some degree of financial hardship for some or even many. I think the Strata Committee and Strata Manager were worse than insensitive, I think they were downright sneaky with this.

    I would like to readdress this ‘wrong’ and I have allies. I think many more will be shocked to see we’re getting a Special Levy right now, for a project that hasn’t been properly planned or costed or approved in any way, really. Can anyone suggest what we can do?

    (I should mention there were additional dodgy things approved as well and some reasonable.)

    • This topic was modified 1 month ago by .
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  • #51487
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    This discussion has now descended into personal attacks – some of which I have deleted – which don’t do anyone any good, least of all the readers of this website.  This topic is now closed.  Don’t try to post any further messages here, don’t try to start this up in another topic (unless you want to be permanently banned from the site).  Move on.  Resolve your differences and, most importantly, do it elswhere.

    #51472
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Someone from your committee has been in touch to say that you were informed about the meeting (as were other residents) and that the payment that was approved was a lot less than you said and that when someone approached you to try to explain you accused them of bullying you and harassing you at your front door.

    So what’s the story here?  Are you the only person in your block complaining?  If nobody is listening to your complaints it may be for other reasons than those you have outlined.

    I really hope you aren’t using this website and my column in the AFR to harass your neighbours (for instance by sticking copies up all over your block to “prove” you are right).

    If that’s the case, you need to pull your head in.  Or is everybody out of step except you?

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by .
    #51465
    AvatarBanned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Nah, Smoothoperator not out of options at all. Whoever would think that a tripling of strata fees ushered in by a strata committee who’d done nothing about this issue for 6 years at a sneaky electronic meeting not properly notified during the worst economic conditions almost forever, bought on by a global pandemic… is kosher? Nobody would think that. NOBODY. Not a majority of owners, not the NSW Office of Fair Trading, not the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

    Stay tuned.

    #51433
    Avatarsmoothoperator
    Flatchatter

    That’s really disappointing to hear. If no laws have been broken looks like you are out of options. Maybe try another approach. Try and join the strata committee, you only need one person to second it. Then, instead of wasting all of your energy badmouthing and making complaints against the committee, put your time to good use and help getting something done in your block of units and find a good quote for the windows yourself?

     

    Try it!

     

    Best of luck.

    #50351
    AvatarBanned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Original poster here. Thanks to everyone who has replied with helpful advice. I just wanted to mention one or two things.

    The first Special Levy contribution is due in October of about $2,600 out of the total of about ten and a half grand for a year. So not immediately but still cynical of the committee and strata manager to sneak a $330,000 Special Levy though under cover of COVID, in my and my allies’ view. Our usual quarterly levies are about $700 per quarter; stupidly low, reduced by this mob too.

    Especially as ‘windows’ has been on AGM agendas since 2015 and the nucleus of three Offices Bearers on the Strata Committee (plus four other cronies to enable them) has been the same since then.

    They have done next to nothing about the windows. It has just been up for ‘discussion’ at subsequent AGMs until this year 2020 when they have one quote with no back-up information and the $330,000 Special Levy. When this got push-back they sent an extra email saying they could reduce the Special Levy to $200,000 but this did not happen at the meeting.

    So yes, ScotlandX, a Special Levy of $330,000 but no genuine quotes. Not even one. As another owner remarked on seeing the AGM minutes, “The windows issue is a mess”.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by .
    #50341
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    ‘Before “difficult” insert the word “ridiculously”.’

    Agree.  But:

    “or used for other purposes.”

    There can be other ways, including setting the regular levies lower for the next financial year(s) so that the “excess” administration funds are consumed.

    Very awkward, and undesirable but that least the funds are eventually returned to the lots.

    #50336
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    At least any money raised stays with the OC. And, although difficult to do, can be redistributed back to the owners or used for other purposes.

    Before “difficult” insert the word “ridiculously”. Under section 77 of the NSW Act, reimbursement of unused strata funds require a unanimous vote by owners.  However, there is  a provision for owners to apply to NCAT for the funds to be distributed according to the calculations on which they were raised – i.e. your unit entitlements.

    But if one or more people are going to vote against reimbursement – and the thwarted owners will – you might guess they will put up a fight at the Tribunal.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by .
    #50334
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    I agree with scotlandx.

    If the special levy was correctly approved at a General Meeting, it needs to get “unapproved” at a General Meeting or by the Tribunal.

    At least any money raised stays with the OC.  And, although difficult to do, can be redistributed back to the owners or used for other purposes.

     

     

     

    #50329
    scotlandxscotlandx
    Strataguru

    So a special levy for a project has been approved, but not the project.

    If you have allies then you can request a general meeting to rescind the special levy. You will need a quarter of the unit entitlements to call the meeting. Do you think you can do that? If you do, I would get a move on before the levy notices are issued.

    Another avenue is to ask the SM for details of the voting on the special levy, to determine if it was properly done. The resolution may not have been properly passed.

     

    #50327
    AvatarBanned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Well here I am again. I honestly thought joining Flat Chat and asking this question would have gotten me a few helpful suggestions even if it was just ‘get a lawyer’ which I, or we, can’t afford to do. I thought this would be a ‘hot topic’ with COVID-19 and all..

    I can’t see any NSW strata laws have been broken but surely there are issues of probity and transparency. We just don’t know what to do next, or first. Any representations to the committee or Strata Manager will fall on deaf ears.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated, thanks.

     

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