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Ray Hadley Morning Show

2GB
John Stanley for Ray Hadley

Unit owners count cost of cracks in the system

Ross Taylor provides a vital perspective on building defects (‘‘Developers cutting costs cause defects’’, December 27). However, the misery and expense experienced by many new apartment owners must not be overlooked. All too often they find themselves facing huge additional costs they can’t afford. Their quality of life is degraded for far too long while the issues of ‘‘who pays’’ and implementing repairs are dealt with. It’s time for government action to address the issues raised by Taylor. - Philip Gall, Redfern (chairman, Owners Corporation Network)
The Sydney Morning Herald
Letters to the Editor

Opal Tower: 'Fridge buyers have better consumer protection than apartment buyers'

The cracked concrete slab in Sydney Olympic Park's Opal Tower – which triggered the second evacuation of residents in four days on Thursday – exposes a lack of protections for apartment buyers that must be resolved if rapidly urbanising Australia is going to become a high-rise nation. But for all the inconvenience, uncertainty and lost value for owners – not to mention tenants – of the 392 apartments in the tower completed only months earlier, they are still in a better position than most owners of problematic off-the-plan apartments with problems, who enjoy less consumer protection than the buyer of a fridge, said Stephen Goddard, a solicitor and the chairman of lobby group Owners Corporation Network of Australia. "Public confidence in strata living has been severely undermined," Mr Goddard told AFR Weekend. "It's time for governments to adopt a policy ensuring that people who buy off the plan have better consumer protection than they have when they buy a fridge. That's not what's happening now."
The Australian Financial Review
Michael Bleby

Pity the poor resident apartment owners at Sydney Olympic Park

Pity the poor resident apartment owners at Sydney Olympic Park. Not only do they find themselves saddled with a potentially defective asset and a mortgage but they discover their residential community is not that at all. Apparently, they share their 'modern' building with hoards of potentially illegal holiday makers courtesy of remote uncaring landlords and AirBnB.  So what next for the owners of this building? A protracted expensive legal claim on the builder and/or developer? And, if they are allowed to live in their new home at all, they will be living in a quasi hotel that they are responsible for keeping safe and well maintained. Sadly, the only response from Government is to make it harder on strata home owners by going soft on building standards and holiday letting in residential strata schemes. Philip Gall Chairman - Owners Corporation Network
SMH
Letters to the Editor

13 Places Cracking Down on Airbnb

While Airbnb lets travelers do some amazing things—from spending the night in Dublin's Guinness Storehouse to sleeping with sharks—not everyone is enthused about many of its variables, including turning apartments for residents into full time rentals and bringing a revolving door of travelers into previously residential buildings. As cities around the world enact regulations to keep vacation rentals' rapid growth in healthy check, here are 13 places cracking down on Airbnb—and what you need to know if you want to stay in one.
Conde Naste
Kagtherine Lagrave

Who are your strata saints and sinners for 2018?

It’s that time of year when Santa has to decide who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. And here in Flat Chat Central we were thinking, why should he have all the fun?  So we have decided to launch a poll on the 2018 heroes and villains in strata. Who do you think did most to make our lives better or worse in the year gone by? Last, but definitely not least, there are those doughty, determined volunteers at the Owners Corporation Network. They are under-funded, undermined and under-appreciated but they will take on the big end of town and global corporations alike, to fight for you and me.  
Flat-Chat
Jimmy Thomson

Prominent ACT developer facing court action over allegedly poor work

Prominent Canberra property developer Morris Construction Corporation is facing legal action over allegedly defective building work on a Kingston apartment block in the ACT Supreme Court. The owners corporation of the 120-unit apartment block, Kingston Place stage two on Eyre Street, took legal action against the firm in September last year, after first complaining to the ACT's building regulator in August 2016. It is understood the alleged defects range from structural cracking of the major concrete slab in the underground car park and water retention tank in the building's basement to poor workmanship on many of the development's balconies. But the firm is vigorously defending itself against the allegations in court, claiming the defects were not its fault, but may have been caused variously because of poor workmanship by the engineers, AWT [now owned by WSP], or the tiling firm on the balconies, Saba Bros.
The Canberra Times
Daniel Burdon

ACT building regulator to shine light on company histories

Access Canberra deputy director-general Dave Peffer this week told an Owners Corporation Network forum that the regulator was adopting a "far more aggressive approach" to investigating building non-compliance. He also revealed that a pre-Christmas audit blitz, which began in October, had already uncovered defects in documentation in a third of newly built properties where a certificate of occupancy had been issued. Mr Peffer told the forum that creating a "more educated buyer base" could improve the quality of new developments in the ACT.  "For us as a regulator, this is perhaps one of our most important tools for addressing poor quality buildings," he said.
The Canberra Times
Dan Jervis-Bardy

Sydney apartment owners face $12.5 million bill to remove flammable cladding

Hundreds of apartment owners in an inner-city development have been told they may have to cough up $45,000 each in special levies to cover the estimated $12.5 million cost of removing and replacing 10,000 square metres of potentially deadly flammable cladding. Residents of The Quay in Sydney’s Haymarket are mulling over whether to proceed with legal action in the Supreme Court of NSW against builder Parkview Constructions and Chinese developer Ausbao for a major defect claim. The NSW government in August this year declared combustible cladding a banned product, meaning it must be removed from any building on which it has been installed, often to the tune of millions of dollars.
News.com.au
Frank Chung

'Really dodgy set of circumstances': Owners' legal action over defects

Owners of the Elara apartments have revealed they contemplated selling the entire complex to be demolished and rebuilt, such was the scale of alleged defects in the building and their own frustration at roadblocks in securing compensation for an estimated $20 million damage bill. The revelation comes as the owners prepare for Federal Court action against the builders' insurance fund, which could end years of legal wrangling and building disputes over the controversial Bruce development.
The Canberra Times
Dan Jervis-Bardy

Housing Minister Warns Developers Losing Public Trust Would Be ‘Apocalyptic’

The NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts has warned the development industry that the consequences of losing public trust would be “apocalyptic” for the sector. In his address to the Housing Industry Association last week, Roberts said there was a profound “disconnect in the public mind” between what they think new buildings would look like, “versus the reality”. "It is impossible, utterly impossible, to build the apartments and houses of tomorrow if the public simply does not want them in their communities and towns,” Roberts said.
The Urban Developer
Dinah Lewis Boucher

Mixed-use regime needs urgent overhaul

Time is running out to establish a suitable regime for the proliferation of mixed-use developments across Canberra, says newly-elected president of the ACT branch of the Strata Community Association, Chris Miller. Mr Miller said the ACT Government had been dragging its feet on developing a new legislative framework for the growing number of developments that combine residential, commercial and retail uses, and the issue was at the top of his to-do list.  He will be engaging with major stakeholders, including the Owners Corporation Network, and knocking on the doors of Government.
The Riot Act
Ian Bushnell

Student accommodation developer GSA abandons Sydney strata renewal purchase

British student accommodation giant GSA has walked away from an $80 million site purchase in Macquarie Park after a long fight to execute a collective strata sale fell through. The sale of two unit blocks at 1-3 Cottonwood Crescent and 2-4 Lachlan Avenue were one of the first big deals to take advantage of NSW laws introduced in late 2016 that allow 75% of a strata ownership to carry ouf the sale or redevelopment of properties which have become too old or costly to maintain. Just over 90 per cent of the block agreed to sell but the owner of three units, Sydney developer Hyecorp, has fought the sale for the past two years.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

Schoolies 2018: ‘Ghost host’ busters to target silent rentals

Hundreds of ‘ghost host’ busters will this weekend crack down on Schoolies renting units via sites like Airbnb without building management being notified. Peak body, the Strata Community Association, estimated hundreds of strata communities may be caught unaware by raucous parties when Schoolies 2018 kicks off this Saturday on the Gold Coast.   SCA chief executive Alisha Fisher warned that unnotified Schoolies rentals in units of “ghost” hosts created risks for the entire community.
News.com.au
Sophie Foster

New laws better protect off-the-plan buyers

NSW home buyers purchasing residential properties off-the-plan will benefit from stronger protections under new laws endorsed by Parliament last night. The changes to the Conveyancing Act affect disclosures, cooling off periods, holding of deposits and sunset clauses. “Buying off-the-plan has become more popular among first home buyers in recent years. While it works well in most cases, we’ve all heard the horror stories when things go wrong,” Finance Minister Victor Dominello said. "The new laws will bolster existing protections for buyers, by establishing minimum disclosure standards and ensuring that developers are held accountable for delivering what they promised at the time of purchase." The reforms follow a public consultation and are supported by stakeholders including the Owners Corporation Network and the Law Society of NSW.
Mirage News