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Smart Blocks Update

In 2013, research showed that apartment owners, executive committees and building managers were actively searching for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.  The Smart Blocks website, collateral and events were designed to assist, and a year later there are over 300 registered projects improving lighting, heating and cooling and pool management.   In 2013, research showed that apartment owners, executive committees and building managers were actively searching for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their apartment buildings.  The main blocker to introducing energy efficiency measures continues to be gaining commitment from the owners’ corporation and prioritising energy efficiency when there are many competing priorities.  This information served as a great base to build the Smart Blocks website, collateral and events. Smart Blocks has been designed and developed with the assistance of apartment owners, strata managers and facilities managers as part of the Sustainable Strata project. In 12 months Smart Blocks has travelled around the country and talked to hundreds of people who all agree that improving the energy efficiency of apartments is important and essential.  On top of that, there are over 300 registered Smart Blocks projects all working away at improving the lighting, heating, and cooling and pool management.  For more information contact: Tania Crosbie - Director – Sustainability at Work P:  0412 149624            E: tania@sustainabilityatwork.com.au More Information About Smart Blocks Smart Blocks is delivered in partnership between Strata Community Australia, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne, Green Strata and Owners Corporation Network of Australia. The program receives funding from the Department of Industry as part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program.  For more information go to www.smartblocks.com.au Sarah Johnson - National Smart Blocks Coordinator P: 0439 640 306            E: sarah@smartblocks.com.au

New Condition Report for Residential Tenancies

The Entry condition report records the condition of the property, and any inclusions (e.g. furniture), at the start of the tenancy. Filling out this report properly will avoid future problems, especially with the bond refund process.
Residential Tenancies Authorities

Apartments: Packed to the Rafters in Problems

It’s a problem that starts with notes on lamp posts or online offering cheap rooms in ”luxury” inner-city apartments. It ends with young people living in conditions we would be reluctant to impose on the chickens that lay our eggs. Overcrowding in Sydney’s apartment blocks was brought into sharp focus this week with the Regis Towers swipe key stoush – where some tenants were locked out of their apartments for alleged breaches of the building’s security bylaws
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

Regis Towers' Tough Security Regime Leaves Tenants Locked Out

Apartment owners in a large Sydney block say a growing culture of prostitution, drug-dealing and illegal immigrants in inner-city apartments is behind their adoption of strict security measures that have left tenants locked out. Tenants of the Regis Towers apartment block near Sydney’s Chinatown complained that their electronic access swipe keys had been cancelled for minor infringements, effectively locking them out of their own flats until they paid $150 to get a new card.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson and Sarah Whyte

Should an owners corporation take up an offer from NBN or another ISP for the installation of optical fibre?

Recent discussions in the OCN discussion forum on whether an owners corporation should take up an offer from TPG or some other provider as opposed to waiting for NBN have shown a need for some guidelines. This is a topic where an OC can easily be drawn into a lot of technical detail. 

This is also a subject that could require future updates.  Follow the links to read more.

Unit Block 'Parking Thieves' Face $550 Fines

Opportunist “parking thieves” who grab parking spots in unit blocks while they shop or commute could face fines of $550 when local council parking officers are allowed to patrol strata parking under changes to the state’s strata laws. But once parking wardens are in a building, residents could also be ticketed for such offences as parking in disabled spots or on common property driveways and even for parking over the boundaries of their parking spaces.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

Private Certifier System Flawed: Kogarah Council

KOGARAH Council has declared war on private building certifiers and called for council staff to replace independent inspectors on work sites across NSW. The council's mayor and general manager, Nickolas Varvaris and Paul Woods, have written to Premier Barry O'Farrell, describing the system as "an experiment gone too far".
The Leader
David McCowen

Minister Gone But Strata Revolution Rumbles On

First, the good news: the state government is ploughing ahead with the proposed changes to the strata laws, even though its architect, former fair trading minister Anthony Roberts, has been elevated to the energy portfolio. A draft of the bill has been circulated to cabinet ministers (and other players) for comment.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

DIY Property Development

Grove Park, a once-private street of large 19th century homes at the top of Denmark Hill in south London, is usually a sleepy place. But during September's weekend festival of architecture, Open House London, one unobtrusive home attracted 765 visitors in just two afternoons - a rate of nearly 100 an hour. "It was a busy weekend," recalls architect Niki Borowiecki, who has developed the home on part of his long back garden. With an open-plan design wrapped round a top-lit central atrium, he now hopes to sell it as "Paddock House" for £1.95m.
Investors Chronicle
Stephen Wilmot

Class 2 Buildings Appeal Decision

Location

11 harbourview Cresecent
lavender bay, nsw
Australia
33° 50' 38.526" S, 151° 12' 34.4412" E
AU
Court finds Class 2 buildings can be used for short term accommodation.

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

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

Alan, Maryville

"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