Mascot Tower residents’ assistance to end in June

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The NSW Government has agreed to extend the rental assistance package to Mascot Towers resident owners up to the end of June this year.

Residents were forced to abandon their homes three years ago when the block started to sink and key elements of the building buckled under the strain.

The extension, for a further 12 weeks from April 1, will be the sixth and final tranche of financial help, the state government having assisted residents with over $9.5 million in support across 91 claims, a Fair Trading spokesperson said.

Mascot Towers residents were given four hours to evacuate after a building manager found serious cracks in the basement in June 2019.  

The assistance was offered to resident owners only as they had lost their homes when the building started to sink.  That applied to 91 of the owners out of 130 units.

Contrary to reports elsewhere in the media, tenants were not offered financial assistance as they could cancel their leases and move on to accommodation elsewhere.

Investor owners were also not included in the package as they were not rendered homeless. However, they have been left with properties they can neither sell not lease, many with mortgages that have to be paid regardless.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos said: “We acknowledge the difficult circumstances the residents of Mascot Towers are facing.

“The NSW Government will be extending the package for a final time, allowing residents to finalise arrangements for alternative accommodation.

“The prior end date of 31 March 2022 was agreed by all stakeholders but we have heard the concerns of some residents and are giving them more time to find the right solution for them by providing them with an additional three months.”

Meanwhile at least one industry insider believes the Mascot Tower owners are suffering “analysis paralysis” as they can’t agree on how to move forward.

“They could probably fix the building now with the loans they have lined up,’ said one strata professional who spoke to Flat Chat on condition of anonymity.

“But some owners want to wait on the outcome of the court case. And others are hoping for a total buy-out by a developer looking to knock the building down and rebuild from scratch.”

The Mascot owners are suing the developers of an adjoining building whom they allege caused the subsidence by digging too far down when creating a car park for their scheme.

The neighbouring developers say there were signs of cracking in the Mascot buildings before they started work.

Some owners are said to be reluctant to borrow money to fix the building in case they lose the legal battle while others prefer to wait for a “white knight” to take the block and all its woes off their hands in one deal.

Others have told media outlets they would be prepared to move back into the block if authorities allowed it.

For more information about the assistance package, displaced residents are advised to log on to www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call the Mascot Towers hotline on 13 32 20.

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