Flat Chat Strata Forum Strata Committees Current Page

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #73415
    SnailGoat
    Flatchatter

      I’ve recently purchased a strata managed apartment in NSW and have encountered some problems with the strata committee outright refusing requests, without allowing discussion or vote at an AGM. I’m unsure of whether the SC are over-stepping in their role, or whether they do, in fact, hold the right of veto on submitted proposals.

      We’ve been at the property for about 8 months and have recently requested permission to make minor modifications to common property; Namely, the installation of an exhaust fan / vent for a currently un-ventilated bathroom. Steam condensation is a big problem and we’re worried about future water damage.  I obtained a quote for installation, provided a detailed description of the works and forwarded the request to the committee.

      All I got in return was a single sentence email that read “the committee do not support the modification”. Several more email exchanges revealed some extremely half hearted arguments about “precedent” and concerns about “external water penetration”. It was my understanding that a vote at a general meeting would be required to approve/deny the request, so I was shocked that the very small committee (4 people) were able to outright reject something without taking it to the rest of the owners (48 in total) for vote. I also began to wonder how many other reasonable requests from other owners had been struck down without seeing the light of day.

      So do I have any cause for escalation here? Are my committee being unreasonably obstructionist or are they acting within their remit? What steps could I take if they refuse to even consider such minor (and necessary) modifications?

    Viewing 2 replies - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
    • Author
      Replies
    • #73451
      Jimmy-T
      Keymaster

        It was my understanding that a vote at a general meeting would be required to approve/deny the request, so I was shocked that the very small committee (4 people) were able to outright reject something without taking it to the rest of the owners (48 in total) for vote.

        First things first, this sounds like a proposal that may appear to straddle the line between minor and major renovations (terms used in the Act), the difference being whether or not there is structural modification to common property and changes to waterproofing. It also sounds as if the committee doesn’t really know what it’s doing – the concept of precedent doesn’t really exist in strata decisions – every application should be considered on its own merits.

        The good news is that the committee has rejected the proposal so you can move on with this and, if necessary, seek orders at NCAT under Section 232, covering the committee’s failure to fulfil its responsibilities.

        But before that, write to them and politely ask them to reconsider and tell them that you will undertake to provide binding assurances that you will repair and maintain any changes to common property that may be required.

        Failing that, you can suggest that you might seek orders at NCAT (strata Act section 232.2) on the grounds that their refusal was unreasonable, without foundation in law and had serious implications for your family’s health and the structural inegrity of the building.

        Finally, any decisions by the committee can be overturned at a general meeting but that usually means waiting until an AGM and often finding, as the readers did in this post, that the committee comes out with all guns blazing, sending out propaganda to persuade owners to reject the proposal without giving you any real chance of reply.

        With that in mind, you might want to get an experienced strata lawyer involved to make sure you are making the right approach on the right grounds.  That may be enough to make them rethinnk.

        The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
        #73545
        Sir Humphrey
        Strataguru

          …the installation of an exhaust fan / vent for a currently un-ventilated bathroom. Steam condensation is a big problem and we’re worried about future water damage…

          I have a suggestion for a workaround that might save you some bother: Our bathroom is internal to our unit without any window that could be opened. It is thus dependent on the exhaust fan. The problem was that we got a lot of steam condensation despite running the fan and having added shower dome (https://www.showerdome.com.au/). The shower dome is great for making the shower more comfortable in cold weather however by keeping in much of the steam and cutting out drafts.

          The fix that worked brilliantly was to run a desiccant dehumidifier (https://ausclimate.com.au/products/cool-seasons-premium-10l-desiccant-dehumidifier) in the bathroom just during the time that we are showering. It works so well that we do not bother running the fan. We get no condensation whatsoever. The cost to run it is low since it is only needed for the duration of a shower. It does use more energy than a compressor-type dehumidifier, which would be suitable in a warmer area, but the benefit in winter is slight warming of the bathroom.

           

          • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by .
        Viewing 2 replies - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
        • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

        Flat Chat Strata Forum Strata Committees Current Page