Roundup: Legal action launched over Bankstown fire tragedy


The family of the student who died in the Bankstown fire five years ago, as well as the surviving victim, are suing everybody and anybody who may have contributed to that tragic and utterly avoidable event when two young female students had to leap from a fifth-floor window to escape the blaze.

According to this story in the Sydney Morning Herald, Ginger Jiang and her family, and the family and boyfriend of the late Connie Zhang, are suing the developer, the builder, the landlord, the certifier and the owners corporation for, among a variety of claims, allowing an extra room to be built, meaning they couldn’t escape when their apartment went on fire and, even worse, gaming the building code so that fire sprinklers weren’t installed.

Needless to say, their claims for damages are being opposed, partly on the pathetic basis that they have allegedly left it too late to take legal action.

Here at Flat Chat, it distresses us to think that the real culprits in all this will probably walk away unscathed.  In the event that damages are awarded, you have to wonder how many culpable entities will still exist in any sense that means they will pay their bills.

In a fair and decent world, someone would already be in jail for this.  But strata is neither fair nor decent and tenants, especially, are just cannon fodder whose lives are put at risk so that developers, builders, real estate agents and landlords can chisel a few extra bucks out of their investments.

Here are the latest questions demanding answers on the Flat Chat Forum.
Can we change our ‘no laundry’ by-law? That’s HERE.
What can we do about a bleeping smoke detector in another flat?  That’s HERE.
Can we just paint lines on common property to create parking spaces?  That’s HERE.
What can we do about a cheapskate owner who uses unlicensed tradies and bodgy fixes for her electricity and plumbing?  That’s HERE.
Child-safe window checks reveal unapproved work in unit’s bathroom.  That’s HERE.

There are new questions and answers of the Flat Chat Forum every day – register to ask your question or pitch in with your answer and help someone else.

And talking about putting people’s lives at risk (and walking away from the problem when it’s revealed), we are hearing distressing tales about apartment blocks getting the dreaded letter from the government telling them their building needs to be checked for flammable cladding.

Apparently, this is very quickly followed by the equally unwelcome letter from their insurers saying their premiums are about to go up faster that a cladding fire.

Yet again, it’s the people who own and live in apartments who will suffer.  It would take about five minutes to discover who was most likely to be culpable for the installation of unsafe cladding on any building in NSW. But that, my friends, lies  in the deepest, darkest recesses of the ‘too-hard’ basket

So what does our Minister for all things strata – i.e. Innovation and Better Regulation – do?  He bans cladding being used in the future. Big freaking deal!  How about the millions of dollars that are going to be spent on remedying buildings that have had this cheap, deadly crap installed already?

How about some innovative, better regulations that would allow strata owners to deal with this without having to remortgage or sell their homes?

All we want for Christmas is a lot fewer meaningless posturings and a lot more sensible and effective action. Have a good one!


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