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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.

Owners In High Rise 'Not Told of Fire Risk'

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.
Sydney Morning Herald
Anne Davies

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