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Owners Corporation Nightmare

By jill - 26 February 2008 26

Does anyone have an owners corporation nightmare?

We are currently in the second year of trying to get basic essential work done on our apartment block in the inner south. We live in a small block and need the gutters cleaned and the down pipes cleared as they are blocked with tree roots and the water spurts from the 2nd story when it rains. Basically every quote gets knocked back due to the majority of old school owners not wanting to spend a cent regardless of the long term implications.

Our building now has water in the eves and is in worse shape than ever all because of simple work not being approved! I don’t think many blocks in Canberra would be in this situation as most blocks are new but I am at my wits end trying to achieve a basic level of work that most homes would address every year.

It is so bad my husband and I are thinking of selling so that we don’t have to put up with the ridiculous stalling techniques of other owners.

Yours in Strata Suffering 🙁

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Owners Corporation Nightmare
Skidbladnir 12:37 pm 27 Feb 08

Maelinar being an SES-man, its not his responsibility to keep your house\lawn clean, just there.

jill 12:26 pm 27 Feb 08

Sure Mælinar I’ll just pop up on the 3 story roof give the gutters a quick clean – grind out the stump at the base of the drains replace the plumbing as it has to be removed then pop the eel I keep in the garage up all 5 pipes and call it a day! On thing I am not is lazy! That would be you Mr. I just dump rubbish on the lawn ……..

sepi 11:08 am 27 Feb 08

Cleaning two storey gutters is a bit of an ask for many of us.

Mælinar 10:46 am 27 Feb 08

Clean your own gutters lazy bones.

If I’m called out onto a roof (emergency repairs) that doesn’t have cleaned gutters, I don’t use a bucket to remove the filth, I just dump it on your lawn.

RandomGit 10:26 am 27 Feb 08

Sammy, you forgot to add their other interest: minimal effort.

Dave_K 10:02 am 27 Feb 08

Always a good idea before buying into a strata property to have a close look at the minutes of the body corporate to see what decisions have (or haven’t) been made on property maintenance over preceding years. This way you get a sense of whether you have a sensible bunch of owners who care about maintaining the property, or a bunch of slum lord wannabes.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:55 am 27 Feb 08

Interesting. As a property owner I support maintaining property for two reasons:
1) Nicely maintained and presented property attracts better rent and holds value better;
2) Maintenance costs have positive tax implications anyway.

The body corps at my properties have substantial sinking funds, and these are assessed yearly to ensure there is enough money being put in regularly. HOWEVER, most of the properties in both places are owned by investors (I have two properties in a building with no owner occupiers at all), and my experience has been that these investors want to avoid hassle, and just want stuff fixed. I have never heard of them arguing over colour/texture/style etc, we just say “what do we need to do to sort this, agreed, move on”.

Sammy 9:33 am 27 Feb 08

We left a strata as an occupying owner for all these reasons. Investment owners have one interest in mind: money. And in this current climate of extremely low rental vacancies, why would you want to spend extra money on a property you have no trouble renting?

Ralph 9:31 am 27 Feb 08

Another reason to avoid strata title as an owner occupier, good investments for rental properties though.

My place there is a small minority of owner occupiers, the rest are all tenants. The owner occupiers are constantly trying to get people to agree to works done etc but the investment property owners don’t give a toss and never agree to any suggested works.

These places are usually always quainnt and kitsch when they are new, but they degrade, and after about 10 years the rent becomes affordable for the riff raff.

Avoid them like the plague.

jill 6:38 am 27 Feb 08

Thanks to all who have posted. I have managed to find some info.

Section 62(1) of the Act states that “an owners corporation must properly maintain and keep in a state of good and serviceable repair the common property and any personal property vested in the owners corporation”.

As a result of this case, all owners’ corporations, including their building managers and committee members need to be responsible and proactive in their approach to maintaining all common property areas. Owner’s corporations owe a duty of care to each lot owner to maintain the common property and a failure to do so, as seen in this case, could hold serious ramifications.

This was from a case where the owner was awarded $400,000 due to repairs being rejected over years of meeting. It was a bigger issue than ours as he moved out but same issues.

JD114 we did have an executive but changed the setup as they were not making choices that were in the best interest of all 8 owners.

It is now my understanding that our insurance company would try to fight any claim as we have not disclosed that we have this issue and it is in the fine print you disclose any problems regardless of if it relates to the claim you make. So by ignoring this problem we have possibly no valid insurance on our building!

steveu 6:24 am 27 Feb 08

Fozzy – you give sound advice, however the only thing I could suggest is NOT to get in contact with the insurance company – as they will probably take the view that you are now aware of the problem, have a resposnsibiliy under your agreement with them to undertake necessary maintenance, and if you do not do so, they will not honour any future claims which could be the result of you not taking maintenance on this matter. Sorry to be cynical.
Cheers

fozzy 2:29 am 27 Feb 08

I’d suggest talking to your insurance company. If it’s going to cost them money due to storm damage they may have an interest in helping to get something done.

Re the safety issues: I don’t know how different things are here to NSW, but I’m secretary of a strata there. One of the more interesting things we were told at one stage, do not do a safety inspection of the property. If you do you’re liable to any injuries which subsequently occur. If you don’t do a safety audit and something happens the body corporate isn’t responsible for it until it’s brought to their attention.

If the same applies here in the ACT, maybe doing a safety audit could be the thing to do (if your problems can be expressed as safety issues). Table the list to the body corporate, once it’s been received, then point out that if things are not fixed they are liable for any injuries incurred.

My 2c worth, I’m not a lawyer.

RuffnReady 12:49 am 27 Feb 08

Does your body corporate have a sinking fund? Mine does and we have $27K in it. It shouldn’t be hard for you to convince the other owners to spend money from the sinking fund on necessary repairs.

Sorry to hear about your troubles.

Jonathon Reynolds 12:32 am 27 Feb 08

@Jill:

I know of other individuals that are having problems with the way the that Unit Titles Act works. The legislation and related regulations can be found here: http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2001-16/default.asp

I’ve quickly read through the legislation and regulations. On my first reading (I’m no lawyer) couldn’t find anything that compels the “Owners Corporation” to undertake preventative/precautionary maintenance. However it does appear that if damage does occur or there is a (potential) safety issue they have an obligation to address/rectify the problem.

My suggestion is to seek a proper legal opinion on how to pursue the matter. That way you will know where you actually stand. Some legal firms offer an initial free consultation before charging.

There may be a case here for an overhaul of the applicable legislation & regulations.

JD114 12:17 am 27 Feb 08

In our Body Corporate the committee is elected from owners who attend the AGM and they have the power to approve expenditure such as you are talking about. A simple majority of the committee is sufficient to authorise expenditure on needed works.

Our BC manager is ACT strata mgt…

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