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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

A win against short term lets

02 Mar 2007
AEA Grand is the lower of two stratas in an apartment building at 187 Kent Street. An appeal on a proposal to convert the AEA Grand strata to serviced apartments has been refused by the Land and Environment Court. This is a significant decision and will be noted with great interest by many strata schemes around the city where short-term lets are, at the very minimum, disturbing the peaceful occupation by resident owners and tenants. It follows recent OCN representations to City of Sydney forums and an OCN Seminar that discussed the topic. OCN has been vocal in its objections to mixed occupancies in residential buildings. Occupants of serviced apartments and other short-term letting arrangements cause more noise and wear and tear on the buildings than long-term residents, and there are anecdotal incidents of unruly and even threatening behaviour. Long-term residents are entitled to peaceful occupation. OCN also supports local authorities who commonly have issued a DA for the building based on its use as residences, and are then forced into acting against owners who flout that usage.

Neighbours see off smokers in tribunal

28 Feb 2007
A COUPLE have been ordered to stop smoking in their home in a ruling that the Office of Fair Trading predicts will become more common as the battle against cigarettes intensifies. Residents of the Highgate apartments in Millers Point won their attempt in the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal to stop the tenants, Chris May and Linda Crossan, smoking at home. The order also applied to their landlord.
Sydney Morning Herald
Catharine Munro

When bylaws go by the way

28 Feb 2007
THEY are noisy, messy, inconsiderate, abusive and aggressive. Or, depending on how you look at them, they are uptight, controlling, intolerant and sneaky. Either way, bad neighbours in a house can make life tough for the people next door. But in strata blocks they can upset dozens of people at a time. While loud music, yappy pets and illegal parking create most strife, the problem in apartments, townhouses and gated villages isn't that there are no rules - strata bylaws are there by default. It's that the rules are easy to ignore - if residents have seen the bylaws, let alone read and understood them.
Sydney Morning Herald
Jimmy Thomson

A fraction too much waterfront friction

28 Feb 2007
WHEN the $650 million residential revitalisation of the Walsh Bay wharves was announced in the late 1990s, the consensus in the property industry was that it would be one of the most exclusive addresses in Australia. Prospective buyers in 2000 had to pay a $10,000 refundable deposit just to inspect an apartment off the plan. And as one owner, Elizabeth George, recalls, staff from the developer, Mirvac, gave her less than an hour to choose an apartment, so intense was demand to buy into the dream life on Sydney's sparkling harbour.
Sydney Morning Herald
Justin Norrie & Catharine Munro

When developers won’t let go

27 Feb 2007
Owner-managers have a finger in many pies, writes Jimmy Thomson in part two of a Herald series. RESIDENTS running part of the massive $1.65 billion, 52-hectare Breakfast Point village being developed on the shores of the Parramatta River sat stunned, unable to believe what they'd just witnessed. They were about to replace their developer-run building managers with an independent company when a representative of the developer, Rosecorp, cast its own votes and proxies at the annual general meeting to block the change.

Welcome to strata life, your paradise lost

26 Feb 2007
IT'S no castle, but it's yours. A home unit. Your little slice of paradise. Until you realise the developer who built your block has a cluster of proxy votes on the owners' corporation, so has more say than you do.
Sydney Morning Herald
Jimmy Thomson

The perils of urban renewal

20 Feb 2006
In Sydney it is obvious many strata apartment blocks are dilapidated and near the end of their lives. Under-maintenance from insufficient sinking and administrative funds is often as much to blame as age. For a building to be demolished and redeveloped, the strata scheme must first be terminated. This can happen either by application to the Supreme Court or by application to the registrar-general. The latter is the most common, as it is cheaper and easier. However, there is a catch. It is available only if all owners agree. It is impossible if one or two owners hold out, refusing to sell or agree to the termination.
Sydney Morning Herald
Cathy Sherry

Meriton fight leads to strata collapse

29 Jan 2003
The largest strata scheme in Australia has been declared insolvent and a new strata managing agent appointed, after the owners' corporation effectively put itself into administration. The move follows the discovery of a $500,000 deficit in the accounts of the 653-unit Regis Towers in Sydney city.
Sydney Morning Herald
Anne Davies and Sean Nicholls

Owners in high rise 'not told of fire risk'

06 Jun 2002
The owners of apartments in a city building were not told for five months that a fire order had been placed on their units, because the owners' corporation voted against telling them, it was claimed yesterday. The Regis Towers owners' corporation had voted "to put property values ahead of life and safety", lawyer Stephen Goddard told a parliamentary committee investigating building certification in NSW.