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News

Last gasp: not even the balcony is safe for a puff

02 Apr 2011
A SMALL block of flats in Sydney’s inner west has made history by becoming what is believed to be the first residential building in Australia to ban smoking inside all residents’ homes.In a move that has outraged civil libertarians and smokers, but delighted the anti-smoking lobby, unit owners have introduced a bylaw to stop anyone smoking anywhere within the building and on its balconies. And now it is expected that many other buildings will follow suit.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson and Susan Wellings

When seeing is believing

08 Mar 2011
PRIVATE certifiers can no longer approve apartment blocks and other buildings for occupation without looking at them. But council certifiers can. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal has handed down two resolutions that negate the argument that private certifiers can rely on ''self-certification'' by contractors and issue occupation certificates without inspecting buildings themselves.
Sydney Morning Herald
Harvey Grennan

Recycling and the city

28 Feb 2011
High rise doesn't have to mean high waste. When Melbourne city councillor Cathy Oke moved into her CBD apartment, she found there was no recycling collection at all. “Residential recycling rates in the city are terrible,” she says.
Domain
MICHAEL GREEN

Unit dwellers powerless

22 Feb 2011
Residents from a Maroubra unit complex claim that no one could help them when a kitchen tap was left running for more than 150 days.

High-rise living – sustainable or not?

15 Feb 2011
Lynne Blundell has looked at research that challenges the current high-rise approach to sustainable cities. It reveals that not only the designs of tall buildings must improve but regulatory change to fast-track product innovation and sustainable refits is long overdue.
Green Strata
Lynne Blundell

Pedantic tribunal no help to owners

12 Feb 2011
Fair Trading and the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal are supposed to be there to help and resolve our residential issues, not so in some cases. We are always telling strata owners to resolve serious problems through Fair Trading and the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. The latter, especially, is supposed to help ordinary people resolve issues without needing lawyers. “Supposed to” is the operative phrase.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

Knockers embrace knocker's dream

11 Feb 2011
AN ARTARMON unit owner door-knocked about 60 neighbours to achieve her green dream. Sharon Parfait, 41, went to an extreme effort to get her 1980s unit complex nominated for a Willoughby Council environmental grant. But the hard work paid off as the buildings' common areas are now lit by LEDs and there are solar panels on the roofs.
Green Strata
Eleanor Pearson

Life in Wisteria Lane, where others choose your curtains

09 Feb 2011
Barry O'Farrell has indicated that if the Coalition wins it will step back from Labor's policies of urban consolidation... it has a new twist. It is called community title, and it has long-term, irreversible implications for the way we live.

Victim in his own home

14 Jan 2011
A Mosman man suffering from late-stage cancer faces the prospect of being forced to sell his Mosman unit after months of cigarette smoke blowing in from neighbours’ balconies.

Puff no more says by-law

11 Jan 2011
Buying into a unit complex can be an adventure for the uninitiated, particularly if a close look at the by-laws is not undertaken before buying... A building in Chatswood has a by-law stipulating no-smoking in the building.

Proposed 'Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2010'

05 Dec 2010
Independent MP Clover Moore introduced the Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 to Parliament on 3rd December. Proposals include preventing the developer from holding management and executive positions, ensuring better access to important documents, a Code of Conduct for executive committee members, placing limits on the number of persons that can reside in a lot, and allowing special levies to be paid in to the sinking fund. More Information: Clover Moore's Introductory Speech in Parliament Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 (First Print) Explanatory Notes

Strata law would ban developers running management schemes

04 Dec 2010
THE way apartment buildings are managed could be overhauled to overcome common disputes between owners.Developers or the original owners of buildings would be blocked from participating in their continued management under a detailed series of measures introduced to state Parliament yesterday.
Sydney Morning Herald
Brian Robins

Empty promises create nightmare on Bunn Street

08 Nov 2010
The great Australian dream has turned sour for 40 apartment owners, writes Kelsey Munro. A luxury Pyrmont apartment block has stood empty for almost two years, its residents relocated at a cost to taxpayers of $90,000 a month, while the Department of Fair Trading’s home warranty insurance arm has delayed fixing defects and fire safety problems.
Domain
KELSEY MUNRO

Apartment owners could be heading for a fall

07 Nov 2010
APARTMENT owners and body corporate committees could be blamed for children's injuries caused by falling out of windows this summer. University academics and strata management peak bodies have issued a warning to property owners if a child falls though the window, you could be at fault.

Should Sydney have more high-rise apartments?

30 Oct 2010
"WHAT is the city but the people?" asked William Shakespeare. But suburbs, and the separated houses that define them, were primarily designed to keep people apart. In the 1950s suburban dream, dad drove to work, mum ran the home and carbon was irrelevant. At that time, traditional family households (mum, dad and one or more children) comprised half the homes of Sydney. Now, they make up only 32 per cent and in 20 years that will be just a quarter. Another quarter of the homes will have only one person in them.
Sydney Morning Herald
Craig Allchin

What Members Say

"The whole strata community owes a huge debt of gratitude to you and the OCN executive. Much appreciated."

Robert, Darlinghurst

"I am very pleased with my membership of OCN, the discussions through sharing emails is very valuable in increasing my knowledge of strata living, the laws and EC responsibilities. I think I am better armed to tread the minefield of the managing agent responsibilities and the necessary action of the EC to monitor the contradictory interests of the agent."

Jim, Wollstonecraft

"I so appreciate being part of the OCN email forum. It provides a great opportunity for sharing ideas and learning"

Ingrid, Neutral Bay

"I must say that I have enjoyed and found consolation in the discussions that have been part of the email chain (forum). I did attend one general meeting and found that it was informative and the people "running the show" were knowledgeable and dedicated to the tasks that had taken on. In short, well done. You and the committee have and continue to support the Strata Community in a very professional manner."

Greg, Parramatta

"Nothing is easy in Strata World and we have been in building defects “mode” for some years – hopefully almost at an end but that process has been most demanding and difficult but again – greatly helped by the experience and wise counsel of other members of OCN."

Pat, St Leonards

"Keep up the good work, as many (if not most) strata schemes need your help, advice and representation at all levels of government."

Jann and John, St Ives

"I belong to OCN because of its professionalism.  I have found the meetings I have been to extremely well presented, to the point, and of course very topical and informative. Speakers on the whole certainly know their topic.  My role of Secretary last year was certainly assisted with the coverage regarding TPG & other subjects. Member newsletters are also of benefit as the topics are specific to strata matters."

Graham, East Balmain

I have enjoyed attending the quarterly OCN meetings and the exchange of emails between other Executive Committee Members and think OCN is playing an increasingly important role as a voice for strata dwellers and representing us at Government level. I wish the organisation continuing success in the future."

Pauline, Kings Cross

"The [forum] response to my question was amazing and really useful.  The OCN community is wonderful so thanks."

Jenny, Killara

"I would like to thank you all for the important effort that you are all putting in to look after apartment owners and tenants. It is so valuable and you are heroes. I would not have been able to deal with my duties as a strata chairman without your advice and assistance." 

Angela, Mascot

"The OCN is invaluable – many thanks."

Bill, Surry Hills

"OCN is proving invaluable"

Sue, Neutral Bay

"Thanks to all at OCN for your continuing efforts to keep us up to date with current strata information and advice...it has been very helpful to us"

Kate, Coogee

"When my wife & I first encountered a problematic Executive Committee I heard that OCN was a great help (from a Strata manager whom I knew) so we both joined and have gratefully used the on-line information sources. We continued to happily rely on OCN’s assistance when we progressed to Committee status & later as Chair & Secretary of our Committee. I still use OCN in my current role as Treasurer."

Peter, Chiswick

"Thanks to OCN for being such a rich resource of trustworthy information about strata matters."

Peter, Chiswick

"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for the very informative & interesting event today. The OCN team did an outstanding job in the organisation of this event & I enjoyed it thoroughly. The quality of speakers, the flow of conversation & interaction from the attendees - first class …& of course, the amazing Jimmy T - always a delight."

Sue, Epping

"OCN does a great job in providing a really valuable service to Strata owners."

Lois, Wollongong

"I am sure my appreciation of your good works is echoed by many in the Stratasphere. Keep up the good work."

John, Elizabeth Bay

"Once again, being able to discuss such things through this forum, helps clear the mind, puts things into perspective and helps one to understand their rights and to form a strategy if needs be. As a simple EC member trying to do what is in the best interests of lot owners, I truly value OCN and am grateful."

Pamela, Point Lookout

"The OCN is probably one of the best, most informed and most informative groups I have been involved with."

Alan, Maryville