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Objecting owners forced to sell in Macquarie Park strata renewal scheme

One of the first strata renewal and collective sales of apartments in NSW has closed in Sydney's Macquarie Park, but not without a long-drawn legal stoush between owners and buyer that could be cause for a review of new laws. Developer VIMG's acquisition of 40 out of 48 apartments at 159-161 Epping Road was one of the earliest collective sales strata lots in NSW since the introduction of the new strata renewal rule in late 2016, where 75 per cent of owners of a scheme can force its sale for urban renewal. While new laws might not be perfect initially, the Owners Corporation Network said these initial cases highlighted a need for the NSW government to re-examine them. "I think it is time for the legislators to review the law in light of initial cases whether it is best-practice regulation that they hoped for," OCN chief executive Karen Stiles said. "The renewal process should be robust and that dissenting owners should be given due process."
Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

Victoria turns to EUA model to rectify flammable cladding crisis

Victoria will introduce a “world-first” financial mechanism to help residential building owners pay for urgent rectification works caused by the installation of non-conforming and non-compliant flammable cladding on high-rise apartment buildings in the state. Planning minister Richard Wynne on Thursday said changes to the Local Government Act would introduce “Cladding Rectification Agreements”, or CRAs, which would be similar to the Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) model, which allows owners to upgrade buildings and pay off the costs via council rates. Under the model, owners or owners corporations would enter into an arrangement with lenders and a local council, accessing a long-term low-interest loan to pay for the building works, which would then be paid off by an increase in council rates over a minimum period of 10 years. Costs would be transferred to new owners if the property were sold.
The Fifth Estate
Cameron Jewell

Electric Vehicle Charging

In March 2017 the City of Sydney engaged Wattblock to run an "Electric Vehicle Recharging in Residential Strata" project to help make hybrid and electric vehicles more viable in apartment buildings.  Wattblock is an exciting Australian technology start up which has assisted strata buildings housing over 43,000 individuals with common area energy saving, solar & battery feasibility studies and NABERS for Apartment Building assessments.

The catalyst for this project was the city's interest in assisting strata schemes to...

Neighbours' lives turned upside down by Airbnb and other 'disruptors'

Defecating in the sauna. Breaking bottles in the apartment tower’s swimming pool. Leaving running taps on so apartments flood. Vomiting in the foyer.  This is just some of the behaviour Katherine Hughes has seen from short-stay guests in her A’Beckett Street apartment tower. Each weekend the 70 per cent of permanent residents in the tower face an onslaught of holidaymakers.
The Age
Clay Lucas

Brooklyn Airbnb Host Is Slapped With $32,000 Fine by New York City

Should an Airbnb host renting out a spare bedroom or two be subjected to the same rules as a hotel? Should Airbnb give a complete list of its hosts' names and contact information to local government officials so they can enforce those rules? And what exactly should happen to Airbnb hosts who don't follow all the requirements for a hotel, such as installing an automatic sprinkler system? These are among the questions at issue in lawsuits between the City of New York, Stanley "Skip" Karol, an Airbnb host in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, and Airbnb. Their resolution could have implications for Airbnb hosts across the country.
inc.
Minda Zetlin

Woman dies in Melbourne apartment EQ Tower after dispute between two groups

A 19-year-old woman has been fatally assaulted in a short-stay apartment in Melbourne's CBD after a dispute between two groups of young people at a party. Emergency services were called to the EQ Tower in A'Beckett Street, about 5:15am following reports of a woman suffering serious injuries.  Paramedics treated the woman but she died at the scene.
ABC News
Dan Harrison

Supreme Court rules in favour of Victorians with disabilities: Owners corps to pay for modification works

Apartment owners could have to pay for additional building works following a Supreme Court decision hailed as a victory for Victorians with disabilities. In a decision with potentially widespread and costly ramifications, owners corporations must make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate tenants and visitors with a disability, or risk being found guilty of discrimination.
Domain
Allison Worrall

AIRBNB CAN’T WIN NEW YORK—BUT IT CAN’T QUIT EITHER

ANYONE WHO HAS been paying attention to the escalating showdown between Airbnb and New York City’s hotel industry will not be surprised that the $31 billion startup just lost, handily. This afternoon, the New York City Council passed a bill that will force Airbnb to provide the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement with the names and addresses of its hosts. Other cities have passed similar laws, resulting in precipitous declines in listings. Because New York has strict laws about the homes that are allowed to be listed, and many hosts choose to skirt them, this could have more detrimental effects as the city identifies and fines these hosts more easily.
Wired
Jessi Hempel

Stratas granted ability to fine hosts of illegal Airbnb suites $1,000/day

Homeowners groups in British Columbia will soon be able to fine owners or residents up to $1,000 a day for defying the corporation's bylaws on short-term rentals. The B.C. government says the regulations for the so-called strata corporations will be changed as of Nov. 30 to help the associations address short-term rentals, such as those arranged through Airbnb and other vacation websites.
CTV News

Supreme Court rules in favour of Victorians with disabilities: Owners corps to pay for modification works

Apartment owners could have to pay for additional building works following a Supreme Court decision hailed as a victory for Victorians with disabilities.
Domain
Allison Worrall

Airbnb told to be clearer on total cost of bookings

Airbnb has been warned that its terms and conditions fall foul of EU consumer rules, especially on pricing. The European Commission has told the firm to tell consumers up-front the total cost of renting a property, including service and cleaning charges.
BBC News

Sydney family forced to move after exposure to meth-contaminated property

After finding a syringe in the garage of their rental near Penrith, Elle and her husband decided to get their house tested for drugs.  Their worst fears were confirmed. The property contained traces of methamphetamine residue at 7½ times the maximum level recommended by national guidelines. “People have been smoking and manufacturing for the last 15 to 20 years,” he said. “There’s a lot of historical contamination, the drug residue itself has a half-life of a decade, so you can imagine all these properties that people live in and move around to are continually contimatinating it as they move around.” said Meth Screen chief executive Ryan Matthews. Mr Matthews has called for tighter regulations that demand property managers and landlords prove a dwelling is free of meth residue.
Domain
Tawar Razaghi

Is your apartment block ready for electric cars, or are you in for a shock?

You've probably seen them in your car park – power points on the odd pillar or wall and a cable snaking off towards the bonnet of a car, where it's attached to a trickle charger for the vehicle's battery.
Australian Financial Review
Jimmy Thomson

Replacement cladding fails fire safety test

A popular cladding brand failed a safety test this week - despite being seen as so fire-safe that it is permitted on tall buildings without any extra tests, Newsnight has learned. Cladding removed for failing tests may be being replaced by this brand, which has now failed the same test. 
BBC News
Chris Cook

Replacement cladding fails fire safety test

A popular cladding brand failed a safety test this week - despite being seen as so fire-safe that it is permitted on tall buildings without any extra tests, Newsnight has learned.
BBC News
Chris Cook