Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #64067
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    More “concerned” observers discussing at length things they don’t understand and have zero interest in learning.  This isn’t about excessive owners corp powers – chance would be a fine thing  – it’s about people not putting money aside to pay for inevitable repairs then whining when the bills come in.

    Can you imagine a free-standing house owners setting up a gofundme appeal because the house they had neglected for decades was falling down?

    No ill wishes to the couple concerned but some of these self-styled financial experts need to have a look at themselves.

    #64084
    HappyNow
    Flatchatter

    This isn’t about excessive owners corp powers – chance would be a fine thing  – it’s about people not putting money aside to pay for inevitable repairs then whining when the bills come in.

    Jimmy, I think you have missed a couple of points here.

    1. There are Committees within strata that ARE unfairly using their proxies to push their OWN agendas & use their powers to ensure those who vote for them are favoured. Nothing can be done about this & Strata Managers support those who pay their management fees & vote to extend their management.

    2. Many stratas are run by Committees who do not want Levies increased to cover obvious maintenance. This is often due to the fact many owners in the complex are in over 55 sepp5 strata & cannot afford increased Levies & the committee, who are also owners, do not want Levies increased as they are pensioners. They won’t sell, so Levies do not meet requirements or requirements of maintenance are ignored. Special Levies are never raised.

    The elderly couple in the example given in this story, I fear, is wider than realised. I understand their windows were not replaced? However they paid $13k of the $18k debt. Should family have moved in to help? If they could, Yes.

    But why do they have to sell & move from an area they have lived in all their lives because of strata charges? NCAT is expensive & costs may have been issued against them if they tried to be heard through that avenue. Reverse mortgages are difficult to get on an apartment & more difficult if not impossible on Sepp5 units. Maybe they were just too old & frail as the years passed to do more than they did to keep their home. I don’t know, nor do you, but there are nasty Committees out there who are feathering their own nests at the cost of others &, if you are an owner, even the owners corporation can do little if more on the owners corp are proxy friends of the committee. A million does not go far these days. Even aged care facilities can cost $750k per person. (My experience with parents to keep them in the area close to family).

    Maybe you can open a forum to gauge just how many are in a similar position, I personally know those in our Sepp5 complex are bullied by a long term committee (11 years)

     

     

    #64085
    StM@lo
    Flatchatter

    thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU, Jimmy this is EXACTLY as we interpreted this matter!

    “For those who believe, NO proof is Necessary, for those who Don’t, NO proof is Enough”!

    #64090
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    This isn’t about excessive owners corp powers – chance would be a fine thing – it’s about people not putting money aside to pay for inevitable repairs then whining when the bills come in.

    Jimmy, I think you have missed a couple of points here.

    1. There are Committees within strata that ARE unfairly using their proxies to push their OWN agendas & use their powers to ensure those who vote for them are favoured. Nothing can be done about this & Strata Managers support those who pay their management fees & vote to extend their management.

    No argument from me on that, except it’s wrong to say nothing can be done.  There are processes available to owners to sack their committees and elect new members, or get involved themselves.  It’s not easy but it is possible.

    2. Many stratas are run by Committees who do not want Levies increased to cover obvious maintenance. This is often due to the fact many owners in the complex are in over 55 sepp5 strata & cannot afford increased Levies & the committee, who are also owners, do not want Levies increased as they are pensioners. They won’t sell, so Levies do not meet requirements or requirements of maintenance are ignored. Special Levies are never raised.

    Again, I agree. But the unavoidable part of this equation is that buildings deteriorate over time and owners corporations have to fix them.  What’s missing is education and understanding about their options and the consequences of doing nothing until the situation reaches breaking point.

    The elderly couple … I understand their windows were not replaced?

    I hadn’t read that and I don’t understand how it could work.  It may be in some older buildings that windows aren’t common property.  But that’s just another hole in the original story which was heavy on emotion but very patchy on facts.  Surely if they didn’t have their windows replaced then they wouldn’t have had any debt.

    But why do they have to sell & move from an area they have lived in all their lives because of strata charges?

    Was that their only option.  Buying somewhere cheaper (smaller and newer) in that area would surely have been possible.  Or a reverse mortgage on a million-dollar flat with no mortgage?  Finance companies would have been  queuing up.

    NCAT is expensive & costs may have been issued against them if they tried to be heard through that avenue.

    True, because there would have been no grounds for challenging the special levy. The Act is crystal clear – owners have to maintain and repair and everybody pays their share based on their unit entitlements.  They have one of the largest flats in the block.  On what possible grounds would NCAT say they didn’t have to pay the levy? The lawyers and other advisers who led them down that road then left them with a mountain of debt should be called to account on this.

    Reverse mortgages are difficult to get on an apartment & more difficult if not impossible on Sepp5 units.

    I am not aware of that and it seems very short-sighted of the financiers if that’s the case. Certainly the reverse mortgage brokers I looked up on the internet had a link for apartments, so someone is presumably accepting them. Sepp 5 did not come in until 1980 so it’s unlikely that this block was built under those terms.

    There are nasty Committees out there who are feathering their own nests at the cost of others &, if you are an owner, even the owners corporation can do little if more on the owners corp are proxy friends of the committee.

    I know this goes on, for sure – although there’s no evidence of it in this specific case – but there are processes available to apartment owners to remedy it in extreme cases, including having the whole committee sacked and replaced with a strata manager.  Self interest and mutual benefit is always a possibility but that’s the price we pay for being given the opportunity to run our homes ourselves.  The problem arise most often for those who let others do all the heavy lifting then belatedly take an interest when decisions are made with which they don’t agree.

    A million does not go far these days. Even aged care facilities can cost $750k per person. (My experience with parents to keep them in the area close to family). Maybe you can open a forum to gauge just how many are in a similar position, I personally know those in our Sepp5 complex are bullied by a long term committee (11 years).

    The forum is open.  I suspect your post won’t be the last.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by .
    #64094
    david2708
    Flatchatter

    I run a strata scheme of 12 units with approximately a quarter of consistent non payers. The owners happily collect their rents but feel they don’t need to stump up their contribution to the levies.

    I have little sympathy for the elderly couple who have racked up such an enormous debt to the OC and seemed to think everyone else has to foot the bill for them.

    Owners benefit from common property upgrades in both function and also the value of the property.

    I aint going to cry  river for consistent non payers and whatever their sob story is.

    Temporary issues with individual liquidity I understand, but you always have a cohort who never consistently pay and know how to game the system when regulations to pay up only can kick in after a certain time frame or amount owing.

    #64110
    chesswood
    Flatchatter

    Re david2708’s non-payers, have you thought of starting legal proceedings? Of course, you can add the reasonable costs thereof to the debt. If all else fails, and you think they have money somewhere, you can start bankruptcy proceedings.

    #64130
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Keep an ear open for next week’s podcast where strata lawyer David Sachs explains the ins and outs of debt collection and why you have to be very careful about going for bankruptcy.

    #64137
    HappyNow
    Flatchatter

    2. Many stratas are run by Committees who do not want Levies increased to cover obvious maintenance. This is often due to the fact many owners in the complex are in over 55 sepp5 strata & cannot afford increased Levies & the committee, who are also owners, do not want Levies increased as they are pensioners. They won’t sell, so Levies do not meet requirements or requirements of maintenance are ignored. Special Levies are never raised.

    Again, I agree. But the unavoidable part of this equation is that buildings deteriorate over time and owners corporations have to fix them.  What’s missing is education and understanding about their options and the consequences of doing nothing until the situation reaches breaking point.

    Problem is that by the time the maintenance has deteriorated to a point of HAVING to be addressed, the owners on committee have either moved on, died  or too ill to care. The breaking point is then borne by those owners left. In the over 55s complex I’m in, the rogue committee members just spend the sinking fund on their own apartments & those of their proxy friends. They use up the sinking fund then they die or sell. It’s sad to watch. NCAT do little to help. Seems strata is not a focus anymore of any Department

     

    #64140
    SMG
    Flatchatter

    Banckruptcy is not the only option

    Being on a committee and dealing with a recalcitrant owner, who simply ignored efforts to discuss a payment/hardship plan (it being Covid 19 as well) forcing us to proceed with civil proceedings. The recalcitrant behaviour continued with him ignoring court hearings and summons, and the court was unable to do anything about it given it was a civil matter.

    Going through this process and seeing the inadequacies and short comings of the process and protections offered to the OC regarding recovery of monies etc, being unsecured creditors and the court appointed trustee acting for the court, I was struck by how strong the call/advice was to force the bankrupty on an owner as the only option.

    We postponed making a decision,and the risk of being unsecured creditors, allowing the debt to rollover at 10% interest, given  the only guarentee of the money to be recovered would be on sale/reposession as long as the lender was formally notified, which made sense with some particular risks needing to be considered

    Not forcing bankruptcy also kept open the possibility the owner could refinance and clear this debt given the 10% penalty being imposed with doing nothing.

    Fortunately, he managed to refinance and the circa $40K debt (Levies, interest and legals) were recently paid in full, so it was a win-win in the end.

    #64149
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    This is very irresponsible journalism. It seems the owners have been very badly advised. While I don’t believe they should be made homeless, it is inevitable that capital works will be required to any home, whether it is strata or freestanding. You can’t expect the other owners to carry the burden.

    The Federal Government offers a Pension Loan Scheme that these people could access, which would solve their problem.

    #64155
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    Without commenting on any of the opinions offered to date, I would like to share my experience with a similar circumstance.

    In one of the stratas I am involved, a few years ago windows were to be replaced.

    Some folks argued against the cost of the total program. Others argued that even a “cheap” replacement would be a hefty burden on a few owners.

    Long story short, the dissent resulted in the replacement delayed many years by which time the price escalated a great deal (and we are talking some time before the coronavirus). Once the program’s cost skyrocketed, THEN the OC gave it the green light.

    Those who claimed they could not afford the replacement could not choose to not have their windows replaced as the specifications for the job and insurance requirements required ALL defective windows be replaced.

    A solution was found by the SC for those unable or unwilling to pony up the dosh at the stipulated time: they could enter into a loan with a bank (one bank was suggested) where the owner/s:

    * Could stay living in their unit;

    * Could have their windows replaced like everyone else;

    * Would not have to offer a brass razoo by way of payment for the windows;

    * The bank would “pay” the OC the required sum on the relevant owner/s behalf; and

    * The bank would consider this a loan to the relevant owner/s and the funds which would be repayable

    to the bank upon the sale of the property. Note, not upon the death of the owner/s.

    That solution was accepted by everyone.

    #64160
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The bank would “pay” the OC the required sum on the relevant owner/s behalf;

    What a great solution.  I’m just curious as to why you used quotes around the word “pay”.  Was there some other arrangement that didn’t involve transfer of funds?  Not criticising your punctuation, just wondering.

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by .
    #64277
    chesswood
    Flatchatter

    Having seen one of the couple’s windows in the background of a pic in the news, I’m left wondering why it needs renovation.

     

    #64279
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Having seen one of the couple’s windows in the background of a pic in the news, I’m left wondering why it needs renovation.

    I suspect the renovation may already have occurred.  The debt goes back to 2019 – surely the owners corp would not be waiting for all the levies to be paid before they started work.

    #64280
    chesswood
    Flatchatter

    Jimmy-T wrote:

    I suspect the renovation may already have occurred

    The story said that the OC omitted the subject’s windows from the renovation. The window in the pic is a 1970’s sliding aluminium window. Modern aluminium windows have coloured aluminium, often white. Colours look nicer but replacing windows is not cheap because the old windows need to be released from the grip of the surrounding brickwork.

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