You move, you lose – at weekends

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Sad Woman Reading Paper

Can your owners corporation charge you for moving in and out at weekends?  That’s the question asked recently by a Sydney apartment dweller – and the answer may surprise you.

This tenant told his building manager he was moving out at the weekend and was informed him that it would cost $59 an hour for a supervision fee.

Despite predictable claims this is a rip-off, it’s really just one of the many ways high rise apartment blocks have of persuading people not to move in and out at the same time as other residents are trying to enjoy their precious days off work.

This tenant contacted Fair Trading’s tenancy division who told him the charge was illegal (not true!) and then the strata section who told him that the owners corp in a building can do pretty much whatever it wants, provided its covered by by-laws.

And that’s where the answer lies, in the by-laws.  This tenant had a set of by-laws dating back five years to the previous tenant.  There was no mention of removals at weekends so he plans to go ahead, shift his stuff and let the building manager whistle for the $59 per hour.

Which is fine in theory until the manager locks the lift with all his stuff in it until he pays up in advance.

Generally speaking, larger buildings, especially, will find ways of discouraging people from moving in and out at weekends.   Some ban weekend moves completely because of the major inconvenience this is for other residents.

If you have a block of 100 units, more than 50 of them will be tenanted.  The average tenancy is six months to a year so that means two to four removals in and out every week.  Most people would prefer not to have to take a day off work so, without restrictions, every weekend your lifts would be jammed by removals.

The trade-off for being forced to move in and out when most people are at work is that you get a lift locked off for your personal use, which cuts down on removal time and cost.  Some buildings have a refundable damage bond, but common areas need to be checked before and after so why should other owners pay overtime to their building manager to suit one resident, whether they are an owner or a tenant?

This issue was first raised here on Reddit.com and you can comment there or here on the Flat Chat forum.

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