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News

Unit owners want better standards

The industry group representing developers of medium density housing in Canberra should show more interest in raising building standards, say unit owners. Unit Owners Association ACT president Gary Petherbridge said government agencies, Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association and Institute of Architects were at monthly working group meetings on how to raise building standards in the territory, but the Property Council had shown no interest.
Domain
JOHN THISTLETON

In defence of right to air undies

In these days of modern apartment living, we are often deprived, through clumsily worded, poorly understood and obsessively enforced strata committee bylaws, of many rights, including the right to truly private outdoor spaces. Yet the functions carried out on them and need for such spaces have not gone away.

Sydney's strata surprises: saga of horse next door, the trout farm and 'Niagara Falls'

THERE was a gaggle of geese living in an apartment. A vindictive owner who regularly ran all the taps in his unit to deliberately push up the water bill for the rest of the block. And a horse that was kept in a Glebe townhouse. The number of complaints about strata schemes has been steadily increasing over the past decade, rising from 945 requests for strata mediation lodged with NSW Fair Trading in 2003 to 1405 in 2009 and 1474 last year.
Sydney Morning Herald
Alexandra Smith

Strata smokers breathe easy

Hurrah! People who live in apartment buildings will soon be forbidden from smoking outside their buildings’ entrances. A sight we see, um, never because they can smoke in their units or on their balconies. The much-trumpeted NSW Tobacco Strategy 2012, which was flicked like a spent ciggie into the public-health debate a couple of weeks ago, has ducked the issue of ”fireflies” who puff their toxic fumes into neighbours’ homes.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

Deals on wheels

Buyers are saving money by car sharing. No car means no hassles with parking.

All democracies great and small

High-density strata title communities comprise a growing new form of local democracy. The various components of these increasingly popular apartment and townhouse communities, including the executive committees elected to preside over them and the strata managers responsible for supporting the administration of the community, are often in the news. So too are the developers that build them.
Eureka Street
John Warhurst

Unsafe apartment owners face jail and fines

Under Work Health and Safety legislation introduced last month, the owners corporation, which represents all owners, committee members or their building manager, can be charged if they know there is a serious health or safety problem in a common property area but do nothing about it. In the most serious category, recklessness leading to risk of death, serious injury or illness, a breach could lead to a $3 million fine for the owners collectively.
Domain
JIMMY THOMSON STEPHEN NICHOLLS

New rules to protect kids in high-rises

Apartments and multi-storey homes are about to get a little safer for children thanks to a rule change around windows in new buildings. The Australian Building Codes Board has ruled that all windows in new homes and apartments that are more than two metres off the ground must be either fitted with window locks that stop the window being opened more than 125mm (12.5 cm), or must have reinforced screens to prevent children from falling from a height.
Nestrata

Apartment family's plea for child-safety netting falls on deaf ears

A ZETLAND family who want to install child-safety netting in their apartment have been told they must clear a series of legal hurdles and outlay thousands just to lodge an application. The response comes as the state opposition and the Australian Medical Association have backed calls by a Westmead Hospital taskforce for new laws mandating window safety devices to protect children from falls.
Domain
KELSEY MUNRO

Terrorism Cover for Residential Strata Buildings

OCN POLICY

Terrorism Insurance Cover

January 2012

 

Following the September 11, 2011 catastrophic loss of the twin towers in New York City, the Australian Federal Government established the Australian Reinsurance Pool to protect Australia’s commercial property sector.

Residential apartment buildings, including mixed use buildings where the residential component exceeds...

Developers Seek Faster Approvals In Urban Areas

DEVELOPERS have called on the state government to create a faster approval process for housing developments in built-up areas following revelations it is creating a similar process for new homes on Sydney's fringe. Developer groups yesterday praised a new state government land delivery plan in which landowners nominated 43 greenfield sites for new housing projects that would be considered by a new committee of government bureaucrats before going to cabinet for approval.
Sydney Morning Herald
Matthew Moore

Owners face big bills over falls from apartments

It is just a matter of time before individual unit owners will be asked to pay multimillion-dollar damages if a child falls from their apartment building, the head of a strata industry body says. Parents denied safety nets for children in high-rise Mark Lever, the CEO of industry body the Strata Community Association, said that while strata schemes were required to have at least $10 million in public liability insurance, damages payouts for severe injuries where a duty of care was owed could go much higher.
Domain
KELSEY MUNRO

Parents denied safety nets to protect children in apartments

IT TOOK Claudia Fernandez’s three-year-old daughter Paloma seconds to pull a toy chair out to the balcony, climb on it and look over the railing. Fortunately, Ms Fernandez saw her daughter before a disaster could happen. But the family, which owns a two-bedroom apartment in a Zetland high rise, has been refused permission by the owners’ corporation to install child safety netting.
Domain
KELSEY MUNRO

Tenants' groups push for renters to have a greater say on building management

TENANTS should be allowed to attend owners’ corporation meetings to give renters a much greater say in how their strata buildings are managed and maintained, tenants’ groups and strata experts have said.There should also be changes to the legislation to stop the misuse of bylaws, such as banning pets from buildings, as part of the state government’s review of the strata laws, a leading strata law expert, Cathy Sherry, said.
Domain
Alexandra Smith

Strata fear and loathing: time to stick by rules

The chance to participate in the most profound changes to strata law since its creation 50 years ago is open to the public … or it could be just more smoke and mirrors in an area of governance that historically has preferred obfuscation over enlightenment. I refer to the NSW government’s canvassing of owners, residents and professionals for what needs to be done to fix the state’s strata laws.
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

"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