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Shantytown or tidy town? Sydney's clothes line dilemma

13 Nov 2008
Unit and townhouse residents in NSW will soon no longer face $5500 fines and up to a year in prison for doing the environmentally responsible thing ‘ hanging out their washing to dry on balconies. But some see the decision to drop the regulation as opening the gates to another kind of environmental sin ‘ visual pollution.   Owners, tenants, agents and environmental groups were encouraged to email their thoughts and opinions on the new law to the Department of Fair Trading. The NSW Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge is assessing their feedback. Some Sydneysiders feel the current law is warranted, and by changing it, the city has the potential to look like a shantytown. Rose Bay resident Graham Gilovitz is one of those against the proposed change.
AltMedia
NICOLE COOPER

It's a jungle in here

25 Oct 2008
Don't give up on a garden just because you live in an apartment. As the heady scent of jasmine wafts through the air and Sydney is splashed with the brilliant hues of jacaranda, wisteria and bougainvillea, even apartment-dwellers are catching spring gardening fever.

Villagers fight for strata control

01 Oct 2008
BREAKFAST POINT is a tidy, waterfront village of more than 2000 cute, Martha Stewart-style homes near Cabarita. Behind these matching doors, however, a war is under way between one of the state's most powerful property developers and a group of residents fighting for control of their own strata committee.
Sydney Morning Herald
Sunanda Creagh

NSW Fair Trading Reeling Under 7th Minister in 7 Years

Strathfield MP Virginia Judge today became the seventh Minister in seven years. Each of these new Ministers had to undertake what departing Minister Linda Burney described as 'a huge learning curve' after their appointment, frustrating stakeholders and industry representatives to brief and rebrief inexprerienced new Ministers. And, because they are only staying for an average 12 months in the job there is no time to get anything meaningful done.

Nutters and know-alls

06 Sep 2008
One of the good things about serving on the executive committee of a strata building – apart from the tea and Tim Tams (or Pinot and Brie) – is the chance to get to know some of your neighbours a little better. The downside is that it can bring you too close for comfort to nutters, bullies and sociopathic know-alls whose idea of a good committee meeting is one where everybody agrees with them without debate, discussion or the slightest signs of dissent. We know of one building where an executive committee member is on such a violently emotional hair trigger that the other members asked a tenant who just happened to be a former SAS officer, to attend all their meetings because he is the only person who can get this guy, a personal trainer, to calm down.
Flat Chat
JimmyT

Paper tigers

30 Aug 2008
Flatchat paid a visit to the offices of the Consumer Trader and Tenancies Tribunal the other week and emerged mostly unscathed, despite our withering criticism of it in recent columns. One thing we did come away with, however, was a plea to explain the adjudication system to those who are about to embark on the often long and painful task of trying to make their neighbours, owners corporation, strata managers, building managers, developers and/or executive committee do the right thing.

Strata Management Legislation Amendment Act 2008

01 Aug 2008
A number of important changes to strata laws in New South Wales came into effect on 1 August 2008. The changes were introduced by the Strata Management Legislation Amendment Act 2008, and their purpose is to enhance the operation and management of strata schemes.

C Triple T Twits

19 Jul 2008
It seems a great pity that, when the Office of Fair Trading doing its best to provide a service that reflects the importance of strata to this city and state, the branch of consumer complaints that can actually make a difference is stuck back in the 1950s. This column is getting more emails than ever, these days, about how rubbish the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal is when it comes to strata matters.
Flat Chat
Jimmy T

The kids are OK

28 Jun 2008
A fine Saturday afternoon at a strata development in inner Sydney and there's nothing to be heard but the sunny sound of children's laughter. A group of youngsters are splashing about in the swimming pool around which the units and townhouses are clustered. Others are off to the adjacent park. "It's great to hear them and watch them play their cricket games around the walkways," says Toni Cummins, chairwoman of the owners' corporation at Glebe Gardens. "I think it's a sign of balance to have children in apartments these days and I think the children here live a great life.
Sydney Morning Herald
SUSAN WELLINGS

Pets no longer welcome

21 Jun 2008
Everything seemed to be working out wonderfully. He'd searched everywhere for a pet-friendly apartment building, bought the penthouse for himself, his partner and their two little papillon dogs and all were settling nicely into their new Rushcutters Bay home. Then the unthinkable happened: the head of the executive committee of the block called an annual general meeting with the intention of changing the bylaws to ban pets.
Sydney Morning Herald
SUSAN WELLINGS

Alarm over high-rise child falls

15 Jun 2008
AN INCREASE in Sydney high-rise living has led to an alarming number of children falling from windows and balconies. Medical authorities are calling for laws to force landlords and home owners to install safety features such as window guards.
Sydney Morning Herald
Heath Gilmore

When you need a helping hand

12 Apr 2008
Your brand new off-the-plan apartment has more leaks than a whistleblowers' convention. Your building manager has been selling unit masterkeys on eBay. And pets are running riot throughout the common property. Who ya gonna call? Many apartment buyers complain they don't know where to turn when they're having difficulties but there's a whole industry aimed at helping them out.

Hot behind the wheel

08 Dec 2007
Car-park rage is invading apartment blocks all around town. Pets, parking and people - it's the holy trinity for apartment owners. Pets, parking and people - it's the holy trinity for apartment owners. If all three work well in a building, most residents can be assured of a blessedly serene strata life. But if there are problems with any single one, then life has the potential to become devilishly difficult. And of the three, parking can often constitute the greatest scourge.

Ups and downs in a new development

01 Aug 2007
It's not always smooth sailing when you're the first occupants of a new apartment block. Buying an apartment in a new building can be such an alluring prospect, with finishes that sparkle in the sunlight, a gym with state-of-the-art equipment and a kitchen with all those virgin appliances.
Sydney Morning Herald
SUSAN WELLINGS

Fund for the future

28 Apr 2007
Under new strata laws, apartment buyers will be able to check whether big bills await. A stitch in time saves nine goes the adage. It has never been more relevant than it is now to Sydney apartment owners.
Sydney Morning Herald
Jane Burton Taylor