Flat Chat Strata Forum Common Property Current Page

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  • #62999
    Quirky
    Flatchatter

    We are a 9-storey apartment building in Sydney built in the 1970s. It has a TV antenna on the roof, connected to the apartment by five or six “2-wire” flat cables running down inside the walls from the roof to the bottom floor, each Unit being daisy-chained to the Unit directly above.

    Over the years, there have been renovations, or maybe the building has settled and the wire inside the walls has broken, and for whatever reason, in some of the Units the TV antenna port in the lounge wall doesn’t work, or has gone missing during renovations, or is in the wrong location for where the TV is located. Most Units have since installed Foxtel cable, and use that to access the free-to-air channels, but now Foxtel is discontinuing the cable service, and their new internet service apparently needs a connection to a TV aerial! (Or else a satellite link, which we don’t have the wiring for, and which will be very expensive to install.)

    So the Strata Committee is getting complaints about the aerial, or where in the Unit the TV aerial connection can be found, etc. We had an antenna company come and review our TV aerial system, which they say can’t be repaired and that entirely new wiring is needed, which is going to be very expensive, not surprisingly. But with NBN and everyone accessing broadcast services that way, we are wondering about closing down the barely functioning TV aerial system.

    Our strata manager suspects that there is some law or requirement that multi-storey apartment buildings must provide a free-to-air cabling system? Does anyone know if that is correct?

    If we abolish the aerial system, I realise we will need to put that to all the Owners at a General Meeting as a special resolution, which might not pass. Although if we provide an estimate of the cost of replacing it, then the chances of it passing would rise, I suspect.

    Or can we provide an alternative, such as maybe adding a by-law that states that the building is providing access to free-to-air broadcasting by way of the NBN connection, and allied services (such as Freeview), and would that help? Or is there something else we can do.

    It seems that replacing or repairing the building’s free-to-air TV cabling seems an increasingly unnecessary activity, and an unwarranted expense, and I wonder if other apartment buildings have solutions or stories to share about this?

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #63001
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Our strata manager suspects that there is some law or requirement that multi-storey apartment buildings must provide a free-to-air cabling system? Does anyone know if that is correct?

    Isn’t your strata manager supposed to know if this is the case? We’ll look into it.

    #63004
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I’m going to preface this by saying you need to get professional legal advice on this.  The reason I say that is that Section 6 of the Strata Schemes Development Act seems to suggest that you either have to abide by the conditions of your Strata Management Statement (the document under which your strata schemes was formed) or update the SMS accordingly.

    As for maintaining services, this is what section 6 says:

    Obligations relating to an easement for the provision of services
    (1) If an easement for services is created to burden or benefit a part strata parcel, the pipes or apparatus to which the easement relates must be maintained in good order and be repaired:
    (a) by the owners corporation, or by another person shown in the instrument by which the easement is created, or in any instrument in the approved form by which the easement is varied, as having responsibility for the matters,

    It goes on to say:

    (2) If an owners corporation or another person:
    (a) fails to carry out a responsibility imposed by subclause (1), and
    (b) at least 7 days have passed since the failure first arose, the owners corporation or other person may take all lawful steps necessary to ensure that the responsibility is carried out.

    Now, that refers to an easement for the provision of services through a private lot and would probably apply to the daisy-chain cables that, in this instance,  have been cut by various renovations.

    Also, it’s worth noting that the Strata Schemes Management act defines “services” as including “telephone, internet, radio and television services.”

    What does that mean? To be honest, I’m not sure but it seems to suggest that if your SMS says TV services will be provided, then you have either alter the SMS or provide the services.

    Call your lawyers or just find a way so that everyone in the block can get free-to-air TV services which is really what this is all about.

    By the way, the development Act seems to suggest that the terms of the SMS must be reviewed every five years. Does anyone actually do that?

    #63129
    Quirky
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you for the responses. I am doubtful that our building (circa early 70s) has a “Strata Management Statement”? If it might have one, where would we see it?   I might add the Strata Plan for the building is very basic, and just shows the lots. We obtained the Development Application from the local Council, and the DA is one foolscap page long, and just states the balconies cannot be enclosed.
    We assume that if we want to remove the aerial and its cabling from the building’s amenities, then that will need to go to a general meeting, and be passed as a special resolution.
    Replacing the TV cabling with new cabling is likely to cost around $40,000 according to the building’s normal antenna repair tradespeople, and that amount of money, for a service that seems will be soon redundant, is hard to justify spending.

    #63131
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    … with NBN and everyone accessing broadcast services that way, we are wondering about closing down the barely functioning TV aerial system.

    Your Foxtel client residents can access the service via NBN.  I switched to Foxtel’s online service about a year ago and sent the set-top box back.  It’s a lot cheaper and the only drawback is that I can’t record Foxtel shows, but I can watch them via the “on demand” service.
    If residents want the free-to-air digital service, perhaps you can cable them individually.  I only use the digital free-to-air signal so I can record three shows – that is, there are only three free-to-air shows that I want to record, and that’s only because I want to whizz through the ads.

    Otherwise I watch them on the various channels’ catch-up services (although I have to say that Channel Nine’s practise of putting an ad break after every single scene of “Something About Pam” is killing the show for me).

    But it seems to me if you don’t have a strata management statement, then you can do what you (or the majority of owners) want.  I don’t know of any legal requirement to provide free-to-air TV via and aerial.

    Present the owners with all the options, including a breakdown of the actual costs it will add to each apartment’s levies to reinstall free to air for everyone – remembering to explain that because of the way levies work, even if individual owners  owners don’t want it, they still have to pay for it.

    You may find you have an overwhelming majority in favour of dispensing with the antenna altogether.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by .
    #63133
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Taking a different view.

    Its obvious that when the building was built, there was a common antenna and tv outlets to every lot.

    Its certain thst the antenna and the distribution box is common property. It can be argued thst from the distribution box to the tv outlet in each unit, the cable is also common property. (As it’s usually in the common property walls.

    Therefore, the owners corporation has the duty to maintain common property, hence the OC obliged to fix the tv system. It doesn’t matter whether some or none of the lots use it( the analogy is a lift in a building where some lots do not need to use a lift , but still pay for it’s upkeep).

    We all know older buildings need from time to time an upgrade of infrastructure. This is such a case.

    If the OC doesn’t want to go the upgrade route, and you want it, a visit to NCAT may be necessary for an adjudication.

    #63135
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Therefore, the owners corporation has the duty to maintain common property, hence the OC obliged to fix the tv system.

    Not strictly true. Paragraph 3 of Section 106 of the NSW Act, “Duty of owners corporation to maintain and repair property”, says this: 

    This section does not apply to a particular item of property if the owners corporation determines by special resolution that—

    (a)  it is inappropriate to maintain, renew, replace or repair the property, and

    (b)  its decision will not affect the safety of any building, structure or common property in the strata scheme or detract from the appearance of any property in the strata scheme.

    In other words, the owners corp could decide by special resolution not to replace  or repair the TV antenna wiring and if more than 75 per cent of owners (or those voting at a general meeting) agree, then the system could be dumped or altered.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by .
    #63139
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    Jimmy is spot on when he mentions an OC’s ability to resolve to no longer R&M common property. This happened in my building years ago when >80% residents (including me) were accessing free to air via Foxtel cable. At the time we had a very able strata manager who was alert to the SSM Act and would not have allowed such a motion to be listed if he knew it violated the SSM Act.

    #63150
    et
    Flatchatter

    Any chance you could just distribute a bunch of these??

    worth a try if the cable replacement is 40k or so!

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Flat Chat Strata Forum Common Property Current Page