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News

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.

Make sure your balcony is safe

People buying properties with large decks, or high balconies, especially in coastal areas, should request a copy of the building permit for the structure and an independent current assessment of its safety by a registered inspector from a reputable organisation. There is a need for people to continually inspect their decks and balconies for rotting timbers and rusty corroding steel fittings which could lead to life threatening balcony collapses.

Snap review of city planning

DEVELOPERS have welcomed a snap review of the City of Sydney's planning powers as an opportunity for more high-density development in the city council area. Yesterday the Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, announced a review of the ''role, functions and operations'' of the Central Sydney Planning Committee, a body which for 22 years has assessed most big developments in the City of Sydney.
Sydney Morning Herald
KELSEY MUNRO

Historic residential tenancies law passes NSW Parliament

New laws for residential tenancies unanimously agreed by the NSW Parliament today will deliver important protections for tenants and property investors, Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge said.

Demolish my apartment building?

The question of what to do about old, crumbling apartment blocks standing where new, larger and more efficient apartment blocks might be built is an increasingly urgent issue. Demand on inner-city living space is increasing and small blocks well past their use-by dates are very much in the sights of developers. But you need a 100 per cent vote of all owners before a strata title can be “extinguished” and something bigger and better can be erected in its place.
Domain
Jimmy Thomson

Apartment blocks the missing link in sustainability

Favourites – 3 June 2010 High rise apartment blocks, it turns out, are the biggest energy guzzlers in the residential market. But they are falling through the cracks when it comes to energy and water efficiency incentive schemes. It is something that local councils are acutely aware of while state and federal government appear to be turning a blind eye. According to a NSW Energy Australia study, a highrise apartment uses 30 per cent more power than a typical detached house. Much of this is in the common areas such as foyers and car parks where lights are often inefficient and are left on night and day.
The Fifth Estate
Lynne Blundell

My Green Apartment - North Sydney Council

How green is your block? Does it need a 'green makeover'? Nominations are sought for the 'My Green Apartment' project aimed at residents of apartment blocks within the North Sydney LGA. One apartment block will be selected to undergo a 'green makeover' recieving: *FREE energy, waste & water assessments *FREE installation of inhome displays to monitor energy use *FREE workshops on sustainable living issues of your choice *up to $10,000 in dollar for dollar funding for sustainable technologies in common area.

What to do with rising damp

Rising damp is one of those phrases every home owner dreads. What do you do about it in strata units?

Pets, kids, noisy neighbours

There’s no avoiding it: apartment living is the way of the future. And while most people who live in apartments love them, house-dwellers seem only to hear the downsides of living up in the air. So what are the 10 most irritating things about living in apartments – and how do flat-lovers overcome them?
Domain
Jimmy Thompson

Strata is popular but neglected in green initiatives

In 1961, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce strata title as a form of property ownership when, under the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act, Strata Plan 1 was applied to a property in Enfield, an inner western suburb of Sydney. Similar legislation was subsequently enacted in other states but, in typical federalist fashion, strata law varies in each jurisdiction. Today in the Sydney local government area 60 per cent of current residents live in 54,000 high density strata title buildings and 80 per cent of those buildings are expected to be standing in 2050. Across the country, increases in population, especially in our major urban centres, will result in a growth in strata title dwellings. across the country. Planning for an environmentally sustainable future requires recognition of the special challenges posed by strata titled dwellings.
The Fifth Estate
Boris Kelly

More space? Lose a bedroom

It’s the perfect apartment in an ideal location but there are too many bedrooms and too little living space. Or it has two bedrooms and you wanted three. Or you’d really like to sacrifice part of that lounge area for a study …Once upon a time, we made do with the apartment we bought and made the best of the space it had to offer. These days we’re taking both a long, hard look at the interior and then the plunge into changing the number of rooms and reconfiguring the layout for a far better personal fit.
Domain
SUSAN WELLINGS

Renters resort to overcrowding: housing shortage

APARTMENT building managers are reporting major overcrowding problems due to the country's housing shortage and affordability crisis, with cases of more than five people living in tiny one-bedroom apartments.It comes as the country grapples with a shortage of 178,000 homes to buy.
The Australian
Bridget Carter

High-rise costs couple a fortune

KEN and May Turner have already lost $500,000 moving from a high-rise - and it’s happening again.

More pets should live the high life

The Institute of Strata Title Management (ISTM) is encouraging owners corporations and pet owners to work together to make apartment living more pet-friendly. David Ferguson, ISTM President said that pet owners need to be able to demonstrate they are responsible for owners representative committees to review applications favourably. While some owners corporations needed to re-consider their pets policy with a view the changing needs of modern lifestyles.

Taking care of business - but not you

When you break down the word “caretaker” it sounds like a good thing. But in strata it can often mean somoene who’s supposed to take care of you and your building but whose main priority is paying off a debt and looking after number one.

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