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Keeping up appearances

Thinking of selling your apartment? Whether you’re planning to put it on the market this spring or next, now is the time to decide how to maximise its value. For those considering selling now, there’s all the de-cluttering, painting, quick renovations and spring cleaning to do.
Domain
SUSAN WELLINGS

The "slumming" down of Strathfield

Apartment residents who hang washing on the balcony will add to the “slumming down” of the area, according to Strathfield Council. The council had written to the Fair Trading Department over concerns about the new by-law allowing washing to be hung in apartment blocks.

'Off The Plan Apartments' Confuse Many Buyers

With the current apartment boom and the trend to buy 'off the plan' many buyers may find the view they saw on the brochure may be vastly different to what they end up with after having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects said today.

High-density without high stress

IT MIGHT be the sound of the giant plasma television your neighbour has installed on a common wall or the red Toyota that steals your carspace. Perhaps it's the clatter of high heels on the hardwood floor above. They are all little irritants that can, over time, make high-density living unbearable. Yet closer living is Sydney's future, and today's trivial disputes could be tomorrow's widespread social problem, new research warns. ''The government is focusing on urban consolidation but if that's going to be successful then quality of life and residential satisfaction in high-density properties needs to be taken seriously. It's a huge issue - it's about the future of Sydney,'' said the study's lead author, Hazel Easthope.
Sydney Morning Herald

7 deadly sins of apartment living

The printed verison of the Sydney Morning Herald article High-density iving without high stress on 21st August 2010, also listed the perceived 7 deadly sins of apartment living: TVs bolted to non-soundproofed wall High heels on bare wooden floors Cooking smells on curry night in poorly ventilated blocks Clothes drying on the balcony Stealing someone else's carspace Not knowing your neighbours names Cigarette smoke drifting onto next door's balcony

The great strata hurdle

Older-style commercial and residential buildings are being overlooked as development sites because of outdated strata laws, according to Colliers investment sales executive Tim Fox. ''The main reason we aren't seeing buildings recycled or consolidated is due to current laws, which prohibit compulsory acquisition of commercial strata,'' Fox says. ''Under current legislation, if you own 99 out of 100 strata units in a development, but don't own the last one, you can't do anything with that site.''
Sydney Morning Herald
Keeli Cambourne

Change in wind as balconies air dirty laundry

Apartment balconies could become ”Hills Hoists on high” if the state government proceeds with environment-friendly strata regulations to allow residents to hang their washing outside. The Department of Fair Trading has proposed a change to strata by-laws which prohibit washing from being hung on anything except designated clotheslines without the permission of the owners’ corporation – a measure many believe has contributed to high use of greenhouse gas-producing clothes dryers.
Domain
Josephine Tovey and Jonathan Chancellor

Safety fears for apartment dwellers

RESIDENTS of a Brighton-Le-Sands apartment block claim they are being refused access to information concerning fire safety and insurance for their building. Residents of the Oceanview Apartments, above Coles, Brighton-Le-Sands, are struggling to find out whether their building is fireproof.

One-vehicle policy: high rise residents feel the pinch

Households in the new developments will be restricted from owning multiple cars, with rules forbidding developers from providing more than one car space for each unit, even those with three or more bedrooms. And residents will be unable to leave their cars on the street, with restrictions preventing everything except for short-term on-street parking.
Drive

Friendly neighbours can increase property prices

When good neighbours become good friends, it can not only make apartment buildings much more enjoyable places to live but also boost the price of the property. One of the key things professional strata record searchers look at in apartment blocks or complexes when they’re examining buildings on behalf of potential purchasers is how friendly, harmonious and happy the residents are.
Domain
SUSAN WELLINGS

It's easier being green

The supply of eco-friendly developments is blooming, writes Jane Burton Taylor. The demand for green apartments is growing and looks set to rocket. Government initiatives are fuelling the trend but so too are people who have already experienced living in sustainable houses.

Off-plan contract changes help buyer

People who buy properties off the plan will have greater protection from developers who wish to make last-minute changes to homes such as switching the light fittings or reducing precious floor space. Property lawyers say new legislation about unfair contract terms could leave some developers exposed to contract terminations if they neglect to review their purchase agreements.
Sydney Morning Herald
Melissa Singer

Investor tips for units

Many people invest in apartments because they often have a cheaper buy-in price than houses and are also thought to be a lot easier to maintain without gardens to worry about, and with the costs of building maintenance shared across other owners. But what makes a good investment unit?

Forward thinking

Interest in off-the-plan apartments is expected to heat up thanks to a state government sweetener that could sway more investors into new developments. The government has handed buyers of apartments and houses a potential saving of $22,490 by cutting stamp duty for off-the-plan properties costing less than $600,000.

Little safety in balcony numbers

After a wooden balcony packed with young people gave way during a party at a house in Lane Cove last week, building advisory service Archicentre said 6 per cent of Australian homes have a timber balcony or deck and about 8000 of them are unsafe. The problem in strata is that a building may have 100 balconies and, although they are much less likely to be wooden, do we know they are solid enough to withstand the numbers that, for instance, crowd on to them to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks?
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

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