Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page

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  • #52010
    Avatarbrianpr
    Flatchatter

    Our 16-year-old Sydney apartment is unrentable and unsaleable due to rainwater leaks through the ceiling. The leaks originate from a failed waterproof membrane underneath the tiles of the balcony of the apartment above ours. These leaks were reported to the Committee six months ago, but they have dithered and procrastinated, calling for quotes to fix the problem. When a contractor’s quote comes in (circa $50k) they call for more quotes and more inspections (<i>eight</i> so far.) The Corporation’s finances are in good shape, it’s just that they cannot bear to spend the money.

    An associate of one of the Committee members has told me in confidence that rainwater leaks are rife in the building, but have been handled by employing a contractor to squirt Silastic around the place and channel leaking water off to somewhere else instead of fixing the root cause – failed membranes.

    Now the Committee proposes to Silastic one area of the tiles to see if that stops our leaks. If that doesn’t work, they will Silastic a bit more, etc. etc. This approach will not be guaranteed by the contractor to fix the leak permanently.

    My wife’s asthma is out of control from the mould that has invaded our apartment, to the extent that calling an ambulance will soon be required. I may point out that none of the Committee’s apartments are affected by leaks.

    The Strata Manager is supportive, but says the Committee will not listen. The chap who owns the apartment above ours has been an absolute champion about it all, and is willing to put up with dust and noise if the problem is fixed permanently.

    Now, I could go to the Tribunal. The Committee will argue that their approach is fiscally prudent, wise, has worked before, is in the best interests of all, blah blah blah. And who knows? The Tribunal might buy it! Then we would be stymied.

    Can anyone suggest a means of getting the Committee to fix the problem <i>properly</i>? I have sent many emails to the members about this – they rarely reply.

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  • #52028
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I learnt my distrust of NCAT from you. Your cartoon of a clown presiding over an NCAT hearing is seared into my brain.

    I should be more careful with my insults. Here’s my take on NCAT:  applying for mediation often does enough to stir committees into action and if that fails, applying for a Tribunal hearing can also do the trick.  If nothing else, when strata committees know they are doing the wrong thing to save money, they prospect of spending more on lawyers to defend an indefensible position shakes up their ideas.

    Where it all becomes a crapshoot is when you actually get to the Tribunal and you are subject to the whims of Members. Mostly they will look at the law and decide logically whether or not it has been breached.  Often you will get the odd ones who will decide to rewrite strata law on the fly (as happened in the recent pet cases).

    But if you do go to the tribunal. make sure your application includes a demand for costs, not only will that scare your committee just a bit more, it is the only way your costs will be covered if you win.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by .
    #52025
    Avatarbrianpr
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Just asking, Jimmy! I learnt my distrust of NCAT from you. Your cartoon of a clown presiding over an NCAT hearing is seared into my brain.

    OK, I will go to Strata Answers – no problem there.

    Love the column, Jimmy! You have several new followers, on my recommendation!

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by .
    #52013
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Now, I could go to the Tribunal. The Committee will argue that their approach is fiscally prudent, wise, has worked before, is in the best interests of all, blah blah blah. And who knows? The Tribunal might buy it!

    And who knows, they might not. This is another case of an owner asking for advice about how to solve a problem, provided we don’t suggest the easiest and most obvious route.

    Just going to Fair Trading to start a mediation might get things rolling. Then pursuing it, if not resolved, at NCAT is a the most obvious way of getting this done.  Even if you were to try legal action through the courts, they’d ask why you didn’t try the Tribunal.

    Get good professional advice (Strata Answers or Sachs Gerace Lawyers)  and follow it, and don’t try to do it with one hand tied behind your back by second-guessing the outcome.

     

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