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This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Jimmy-T 2 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #41091
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    Roland
    Flatchatter

    Recently the chair of our committee requested permission from the other 2 members of the committee to allow him to install heavy concrete planter boxes (glued) to the paved common area to prevent any further parking problems we have been experiencing. Creating a barrier from the driveway to the common property. This proposed expenditure was not budgeted. To what extent can a committee change common property without notice, and does the committee have to be unanimous or in majority when deciding outside a meeting?

    #41109
    Avatar
    Andy
    Flatchatter

    What do the remaining residents say? The SC represents all owners not just one. Depending on cost it may require a vote by the OC unless the SC are allowed a certain amount of expenditure without having to put it to the OC for a vote.

    A practical matter are the type of planter boxes and what they are being attached to. It may look good but where will the water go? Constant moisture between the planter and the whatever it will be attached to will cause problems down the track. It just needs proper consideration that’s all.

    #41121
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The problem here is not the planter boxes but the glue.  The strata committee can put planter boxes pretty much where they want.  But fixing them to common property is a whole other issue.

    And isn’t the main issue the parking problem rather than the fact that a minority of owners have taken a decision on behalf of the others (which is precisely what a strata committee is supposed to do)?

    #41138
    Avatar
    Andy
    Flatchatter

    The issue with the planter boxes is more to do with the management of water. The plants will require watering, the water will go to the bottom and seep our the bottom or sides causing a permanent damp patch underneath. No issue if its dirt but if its concrete well it will start deteriorating.

    It just needs to be managed.

    #41150
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    There is no reference to what is in the planter boxes — they could be empty, for all we know — so you shouldn’t assume that’s the issue,  which in any case it clearly isn’t.

    The planter boxes have been placed there as a physical barrier, according to Roland. This isn’t a gardening question, it’s a matter of what strata committees can and can’t do on common property.

    But, yes, drainage from planter boxes used for plants is a concern, and thanks for pointing it out.

    #41314
    Avatar
    brianpr
    Flatchatter

    does the committee have to be unanimous or in majority when deciding outside a meeting?

    The Committee needs to have formal vote and have it recorded in the Minutes. The Committee would be wise to circularise owners to explain the issues and proposed solutions. I am guessing that the Chair is not the only one to see a problem.

    Plants? Glue?

    A certain Swedish multinational homewares concern sells ‘plants’ made of plastic. We own two – they’re very convincing and don’t need watering. Fill the planters with concrete, stick in the ‘plants’ and add a few handfuls of pinebark to cover the concrete. Now there’s no need to glue them down – you’ll need a forklift to move them.

    #41331
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Brianpr wrote

    Now there’s no need to glue them down – you’ll need a forklift to move them.

    But you wouldn’t need a by-law to install them as you aren’t changing common property.

    #41432
    Avatar
    brianpr
    Flatchatter

    Good point, JT!

    I imagine that the SC would –

    ‘Resolve to purchase and install X number of planter boxes of a size x by y by z in the positions indicated in the accompanying diagram, also X number of bags of concrete with which to fill the planter boxes and X number of plastic plants to be placed therein.  Total price for the above, plus delivery estimated at $xyz.

    Your Strata Committee proposes a Working Bee on x/y/2019 to carry out these works.’

    I would suggest lining the boxes with plastic and dumping the bags in whole. Then punch holes in the bags and pour in water – this will make it a lot easier to extract the set concrete if it was ever decided to do so.

    I’m assuming that the SC has the authority to spend this kind of money. If not, it’s time for an EGM.

    #41461
    Avatar
    The Hood
    Flatchatter

    This planter box thread has a s 108 tone to it.
    JT talks of not changing changing common property but add to, alter and erect are the terms used in s 108 and section 108is headed “Changes to the common property” (see below)

    The minor improvements and cosmetic improvements sections only extent to owners not the OC itself.

    “… then any additions to the common property for the purpose of improving or enhancing it must comply with the requirements of s 65A (now s 108). Glenquarry NSWSC

    It sounds like complete overkill but it seems the Act requires a general meeting to pass a special resolution to add some planter boxes to the common property.

    108   Changes to common property

    (1) Procedure for authorising changes to common property
    An owners corporation or an owner of a lot in a strata scheme may add to the common property, alter the common property or erect a new structure on common property for the purpose of improving or enhancing the common property.

    (2)  Any such action may be taken by the owners corporation or owner only if a special resolution has first been passed by the owners corporation that specifically authorises the taking of the particular action proposed.

    #41468
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Nope.  Not buying it.  The common property has not been altered as the planters can be lifted and taken away and everything would be back to normal without the need for remediation.

    If I take the wheels off a car and leave it on bricks on common property, have I altered it? I don’t think so.  How about if I build a shed that sits on common property but isn’t fixed to it?  Same story, I reckon.

    Sometimes we are looking to apply aspects of strata law in ways that were never intended.  There are times when we just have to apply common sense.  There are other strata laws that apply to the car and shed scenario but S108 isn’t one of them.

    #41499
    Avatar
    The Hood
    Flatchatter

    Not buying, I wasn’t selling.

    JT said: “If I take the wheels off a car and leave it on bricks on common property, have I altered it? I don’t think so.  How about if I build a shed that sits on common property but isn’t fixed to it?  Same story, I reckon.”

    The car is dumping and I doubt the shed would not be fixed, there are requirements for fixing sheds or they blow away.

    Unauthorisded additions are the responsibility of the OC to maintain and repair. Plenty of case law on that. Unauthorised additions can interfere with the use and enjoyment of common property by the owners who have the beneficial use of common property.

    If the SC member is looking for the OC to create a barrier then it is hard to image how the barrier (planter boxes) is not a chattel (property) of the OC, hard to image it isn’t an addition.

    If the owner is looking to do the barrier then the owner would need some form of exclusive use of the area – a special resolution motions.

    I will be brief because I can’t make choices for the OC is question, I can only give information. I often feel Flatchat tries to make choices for owners.

    I know of a case where an owner had to move two poly tanks from the common property because they were an unauthorised addition. They were not fixed or required remedial work to remove.

    Things do not need to be fixtures to be additions to the common property.

    Sections in the Act on cosmetic and minor work came about because such small scale work under the old law required a process that was overkill.

    As much as it seems complete overkill, s 108 is about additions and if an OC is looking to create a planter box barrier then, on the information I have, said OC would struggle to argue the barrier is not an addition to the common property.

    Perhaps we all need to lobby the Minister for further reforms.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Jimmy-T.
    #41529
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The Hood wrote:

    Things do not need to be fixtures to be additions to the common property.

    In your opinion …

    A statement of fact needs to be backed by some ruling or authority.

    “…on the information I have …”

    Cite your source, please. If you can present a case that isn’t just your opinion, for instance,  is a Tribunal ruling or a corner of strata law that I have missed, I am happy to put it here … and I might just turn it into a front-page post.  We need to know!

    Otherwise, let’s just agree to disagree.

    The removal of water tanks could have been for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with changes to common property (regardless of what the owners corp chose as their avenue for change).  Likewise the hypothetical shed I mentioned.

    If I put a beach umbrella on my balcony, bedded in a heavy but moveable base, is that an addition to common property?  I don’t think so, but I might be asked to move it because it breaches other by-laws to do with what’s allowed on balconies or the impact on the look of the building.

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