FLAT CHAT is a  strata living advice website based on the column that appears weekly in the Australian Financial Review – in print and online – and  for more than 13 years before that appeared in the Domain section of the Sydney Morning Herald, answering questions, offering advice and occasionally stirring up controversy about strata in Australia.

Mostly we are about making strata residents a bit more aware of their rights and responsibilities and suggesting the minor compromises and concessions we all have to make if we want to live happily in apartment blocks and townhouses.

We aim to be your best friend in strata – having your back in a fight … and supporting you when you choose not to go to the barricades.

The Flat Chat phenomenon began with the publication of the book Apartment Living (written with Sue Williams) in 2004 and at time of writing we are on our way to our 700th column.

In the past 13 years, the column and related news items have resulted directly in changes to laws to protect apartment owners as well as contributing to the major changes in strata laws that came into effect in 2016

Where I once used to answer questions individually, there are way too many to manage these days so this Forum is where all the heavy lifting gets done. Rather than wait for your problem to appear in print (as it still might), this allows other strata owners and professionals to see the questions and offer their own advice.

There is an archive on this website of all my columns but some of the advice may be a little out of date as circumstances as legislation may have changed since they were written.

Some of the issues are specific to New South Wales, some are universal. But most of them relate to the whole business of getting on with each other in modern apartment buildings wherever we may be.

If you need definitive advice, contact the Office of Fair Trading in NSW, Consumer Affairs in Victoria or their equivalents elsewhere or talk to lawyers who specialise in strata law. If you want to ask a question or send a comment please register and become part of the growing Flat Chat.  You can start by logging on to the Forum   and having a sniff around to see if your question has already been answered.

Our search facility is very effective but choose your search terms wisely.  Typing “committee” is going to get you many more responses than you can handle whereas “minutes” or “agenda” – if that’s what your question is about – would narrow the field considerably.

For instance, if you want to know if your chairman has a casting vote, searching for “casting vote” will get a more focussed response than “Chairman”.