Forum: Greatest visitor parking swindle ever


This week’s lead story isn’t really from the Forum but it’s definitely one for the Forum. It’s all about how an opportunist with an eye for a cash grab can take advantage of other strata residents’ relaxed attitude to strata living.

A friend who lives in the inner west of Sydney was telling me that she was feeling unwell one day so drove home early from work.

On arrival she had to rush upstairs to use the bathroom, so she parked in a visitor parking spot next to the building’s lifts.

When she returned to her car, she found a large and angry tradie leaning against it.

“What the f… are you doing parking here:’ he asks.

“Well, I know as a resident I’m not supposed to park in visitor parking but it was a bit of an emergencey and I was only gone 15 minutes and… by the way … who are you?’

“I’m the bloke who owns this parking spot,” he says.

‘No, you’re not,” she replies. “As you can see from the sign it’s visitor parking. It’s owned by the building.’

“Maybe,” he says, “but the committee rented it to me.” He points at the three utes parked in a neat row alongside. ‘We’re all visitors who rent these spaces.”

“Nope,” she says. “I’m on the committee and we haven’t rented the spaces to anyone. And we couldn’t if we wanted to.”

“So how come we all have remotes to let us in and out of the garage?” he says. “Now move your f…ing car so I can park.”

After some investigation and discussions with the other tradies – who all worked on a building site nearby – it turned out that an overly entrepreneurial tenant had decided to offset her rent by letting the block’s visitor spaces.

She reckoned they were hardly used and the residents of the building wouldn’t even notice because there was always work going on somewhere in the block.

So she bought some cheap garage remotes like her own, reprogrammed them to match her device’s settings and then rented the four visitor spaces to the tradies for $60 each a week, taking a deposit to cover the cost of the garage openers.

When the strata committee re-programmed the gate opener, meaning the tradies couldn’t park there, a couple of them turned up demanding their money back, including pre-paid rent, from the owners corp – which they didn’t get.

The tenant moved out shortly thereafter, never to be seen again.  Have you encountered any similar shysters in your strata schemes?  Drop us a line in the forum HERE.

Elsewhere in the Forum

  • The family upstairs is noisy. The committee says we need an acoustic test and whoever loses has to pay for it.  Is that right? That’s HERE.
  • Our strata scheme is dominated by company nominees with fistfuls of proxies.  How can we get back control of our building?  That’s HERE.
  • A previous owner didn’t tell us there was concrete cancer in the floor and it’s got worse. The current owner wants the OC to fix it.  Do we have to? That’s HERE.
  • An owner wants to paint an external wall on to her courtyard that no one else can see.  Objectors say it creates a precedent. Should we say no? That’s HERE.
  • I want to knock two flats together.  Do I have to buy the common property dividing wall from the owners corp?  How much would I need to pay? That’s HERE.
  • Do we really need to elect a chairperson? That’s HERE.

As we said last week, there are more posts than ever coming into the Forum every day.  Now there are a couple of ways you can access them. 

The best way these days may be to click on “Forum: Your Qs & A’s” on the top menu bar on a computer screen or on the drop-down menu (three lines) on the right of the screen on phones and tablets, under the Strata Choice ad.

Then click on the topic title that interests you, and off you go.  

Alternatively, you can look at the list of “Your latest questions and answers” under the ads on the right of the page on a computer screen. Or at the bottom, after the ads and stories, on a tablet or phone.

Or you can go “old school” and go to the Forum Home Page and work your way through the topics there.

Whichever route you take to get there, the best way to keep up to speed with what’s happening is to register (if you haven’t already done so), then login and subscribe for free to the topics that interest you most.

That way you’ll get an alert whenever the discussion moves forward, and you can also chip in with your own comments and questions.  Have a look HERE at our instant guide to getting online.

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