Flat Chat Strata Forum Parking Peeves Current Page

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  • #62254
    AGH
    Flatchatter

    I am renting in a block of units and received an email from my property manager that there would be driveway works carried out next week and therefore we would have to find parking outside the property for a week, as there is only one entrance to and from the property for cars.

    I understand that sometimes works need to be carried out, however there are a couple of issues:

    I am paying decent rent for my unit and car space – can I be prevented from using it?  Parking in my street is at a premium and if everyone in our block needs to park in the street, it’s going to be a long walk some nights.  What if I can’t even find parking?  I am a woman living alone so this is not insignificant.
    What if something happens to my car while I am parked in the street?  Ie. vandalism or falling tree branches?  My car insurance is based on me parked in undercover parking on the property so I am wondering if it’s even valid if I am parked in the street and who would pay if there was damage of some sort.

    I’ve been told ” talk to your property manager” but I’ve found that’s usually pointless and gets nowhere when it comes to strata issues.  The landlord doesn’t seem to be interested in taking up any issues on my behalf.  Any experience around this issue?

     

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #62282
    Sujenna
    Flatchatter

    OMG…life can be a nuisance! It reminds me of the time when the strong winds blew down a power pole in the evening around dinner time. This pole provided power to our entire block of units. The electrical crew turned up the next day to work the entire day making repairs to give us electricity, but in the meantime it was such a hassle and an inconvenience. I couldn’t have a hot shower before bed, or watch TV. I had to read a book by candlelight (not good for my eyes) and go to bed early at 8pm, because there was nothing else to do. In the morning we had daylight and I went to McDonalds for a hot breakfast because fortunately someone had winched the electrical security door open so cars could be driven out of the basement car park for people who needed to get out to go to work. My ice-cream in the fridge melted from having no power, and I still couldn’t shower before work. I also had to reset all of the electrical clocks; plus I couldn’t use the computer and access the internet to read ‘Flat Chat’.

    No real experience, but just commonsense and working with an issue. Do you drive to work and need to use your car on a daily basis? If not, then arrange errands, shopping etc. to not happen in that week that the work is scheduled and just tolerate the inconvenience. Keep your car parked in your car space, and if you need to run an errand, get a cab home. If you need the car to go to work every day, then park it in the street and hope you are lucky when you get home to find a nearby vacant space and you don’t have to walk far.

    Have you ever had some moron prang your car in an accident that wasn’t your fault and the panel beater needed to keep it for a week to make repairs, and you were peeved at the inconvenience of having no car to drive, caused over something that wasn’t your doing? I have! That’s life!

    The driveway needs to be repaired. Probably concrete needs to be laid and allowed to dry for a few days. Other residents are also being inconvenienced but complaining about trivialities that may not happen will not achieve anything but your neighbors branding you to be a whinger. There are probably a few young mums with small kids who live in your apartment block, who have to park a long way away for the week also, and are bothered by dragging prams and screaming toddlers 100 metres home.  There are businessmen who have heavy briefcases full of papers who have to do the same thing. You are not the only person who has to put up with the remedial work. It is only for one week!

    #62287
    86_strata
    Flatchatter

    I’m a bit confused.  I’m not sure whether your issue with this is with the works, with the strata manager, with the landlord or with your insurer.  To me, at face value, this seems like a perfectly legitimate request from the strata manager and certainly no grounds for a rent reduction from your landlord.  As you yourself have said, sometimes works need to be carried out.  These things simply happen, it’s nobody’s fault.

    And on  the question of insurance, just give your insurer a call and discuss it with them.  You might be surprised how understanding they turn out to be.

    #62296
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    There seem to be some unsympathetic responses here, so I’m going to stick up for AGH.  Her rent includes a portion for the use of the garage.  If the garage is taken out, then that portion of the rent should be refunded so that she can find alternative parking elsewhere.

    I’m not convinced by the “everybody’s in the same boat” argument.  Even though everyone is inconvenienced more or less equally, at the end of the day the lot owners will also own improved common property. The tenants will be exactly where they started.

    You can’t expect tenants to pay for repairs and upgrades of common property, either directly or in kind, e.g. by having to rent parking in a nearby building.

    My advice would be to try to find alternative parking near your home – maybe there’s a Facebook page for residents in your area – and ask your landlord to reduce the rent by the equivalent amount. And, yes, call your insurers and check that your insurance hasn’t been invalidated (which it might be if you don’t inform them).

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by .
    #62304
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    It may be too late, but the OC seems to have taken the cheap route in terms of a fix.

    Having worked as a project manger in the past, we often came up situations where we could not shut the whole shop down. So we developed plans to do staged work.

    Each project is different, but usually the builder can find a solution to ensure less inconvenience. But this comes at a cost ( to the OC)

    #62305
    86_strata
    Flatchatter

    I’m not convinced by the “everybody’s in the same boat” argument. Even though everyone is inconvenienced more or less equally, at the end of the day the lot owners will also own improved common property. The tenants will be exactly where they started.

    Everybody isn’t in the same boat.  The landlord will pay for the improved common property through OC levies or sinking fund contributions and, true, they will benefit from the improvements to their property.  The tenants will however enjoy the common property improvements with no change to rent, at least until the next review.  It would be the same as if the landlord chose to install a new air conditioner (a lot improvement) during a tenancy causing a disruption to the property for a day.  Agreeing to disagree, I contend that the tenants won’t be exactly where they started, but rather renting a (slightly) better property with no change to rent.

    My mild confusion with the original poster was it appeared from the tone that the problem was for someone else (anybody else) to solve.  Sometimes stuff just happens and we need to deal with it.

    #62308
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The tenants will however enjoy the common property improvements with no change to rent, at least until the next review

    Well, there has been a change of the conditions of their rental, hasn’t there?  They have been paying for a facility that they haven’t been able to enjoy, plus the additional hassle of having to deal with its unavailability, so they aren’t really paying the same.

    I’ll bet a week’s car space rental that if the OP took this to Fair Trading, she’d get a rent reduction.

    Tenants don’t have any meaningful say in the running of their blocks.  That’s one reason why landlords have to stick by the conditions of their lease, or compensate the renters when facilities are removed.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by .
    #62310
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    Pardon me for being very old fashioned, but given my experience, the issue is clear as a bell.

    A landlord for his/her own good would want to be seen (by NCAT etc) to have behaved from the get go in a reasonable manner.

    As a landlord I lease out one apartment with a car space, but always priced it transparently with and without a car space. If I didn’t do it transparently, I would at least have an idea of what the car space is worth per week.

    To follow Jimmy’s train of thought, AGH leased a premises with a car space. If that car space is denied her for any reason, (other than something she did), then she should be given a reduction in rent by the amount of the car space for the duration of the works. After all, if she paid for a 2 bedroom unit and all of a sudden 1 bedroom was say flooded by common pipes, then on what grounds must she continue to pay the rent on 2 bedrooms?

    As to 86_strata’s point of “it’s nobody’s fault” and “Sometimes stuff just happens and we need to deal with it”, let me share a similar incident.

    In one premises I am involved in, there was a NCAT hearing. The tenants took action seeking rent reduction for the noise and dust a neighbour created when renovating his unit. They also sought compensation for “hardship” the renovations caused them and sought to exit the lease w/out paying the early vacating fee. Quite a laundry list I thought! At the time I chatted to a recently minted lawyer as I was not interested in spending thousands on an established lawyer as that would have exceeded my expected downside at NCAT or court.

    I argued like 86_strata does: “sometimes stuff happens”, implicit in that comment was that whatever happened was beyond the landlord’s control. The young lawyer I spoke to was confident that such external disturbances were not matters that required compensation as it was not the landlord who created or controlled the disturbances.

    I reminded the tenants that “it’s not me renovating and disturbing you (the tenants). I am not only involved in the building works, I don’t even have influence over the neighbour, I am not on the strata committee or building committee and I was not given advance warning of the renovations”. I proved all of the points to the tenants before we went to NCAT.

    NCAT was a win for the tenants, so I raised the stakes and went to the local court. It too sided with the tenants, finding, from memory that “sometimes renovations at neighbouring units or building take place and we can’t stop that disturbing our peace”. And here’s the kicker, the court summarised its view along the following lines: “a tenant has a right to peaceful enjoyment and sometimes a landlord, not involved in creating the disturbance or having any benefit from the disturbance, has to pay the price”. His Honour did not say “an absolute right to peaceful enjoyment” but it sure seemed that was his leaning.

    Long story short, the tenants exited the premises w/out paying the exit fee and had a rent reduction. To finalise the matter very quickly I managed to get them to drop the compensation element of their claim.

    Back to AGH, ideally before the works begin, I suggest AGH calculates how much she pays per day for the car space day and email the person she deals with: be it the property manager or landlord, that she seeks rent reduction of that amount multiplied by the number of days she is denied unrestricted use of the car space. Ask for a confirmation that your email was received.

    In the interim AGH is to pay the usual rent, and not make any unilateral offsets/deductions for the inconvenience.

    Regardless of whether AGH receives a confirmation that her email was received, when the works are over and she can access her car space, she should email the property manager or landlord that she have been denied the car space for so many days at some many dollars per day and that sum should be deducted from the next rent payment.

    If she does not get a positive response then as Jimmy suggested, she should call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 and ask what steps she can take to assert her rights. Mediation? NCAT?

    Jimmy says that he’s sure she’d get a rent reduction if she went to Fair Trading. I am sure she would. She may even get more compensation if she argues that she suffered great inconvenience by having to find the time to scour the streets day and night for a place to park, every time for the period of the works. And possibly more still (by way of reimbursement) if she ends up receiving a parking fine(s) from parking on the street in the only available place within reasonable distance from the premises (where regrettably she exceeded the permitted stay in that car spot).

    #62371
    Gram
    Flatchatter

    I disagree with both Jimmy and TruLI Concerned.

    The rectification to common property inconveniences everyone, owners and tenants.

    If the owner (landlord) also lives in the building he/she is similarly inconvenienced but the tenant is entitled to a rent reduction?

    I would add that the tenant ALSO benefits from repair of driveway, less wear on tyres, etc.

    If it went to mediation/NCAT etc, and they found in favour of the tenant, I would think it is a gross miscarriage of justice and proves the old adage – the law is a ass.

    #62373
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    And as my mother used to say, “If IFs and ANDs were pots and pans, there’d be no need for tinkers.”

    This is a simple contractual question.  The parking space is part of her rent agreement.  Take away the  parking space, then remove that component of the rent. It doesn’t matter who else is inconvenienced – that is a result of their shared ownership of common property with a consequential benefit to the block in which they will share.

    And if the benefit to the residents from the repaired driveway is so great as to make up for the loss of parking,  then the landlord will be compensated for the loss of rent by the  claimed reduction of wear and tear on tyres far into the future.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by .
    #62382
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    I think this is one where everyone is right. I agree with JT that the tenant is not getting what they paid for a have a legitimate claim for a rent reduction. I also agree with the others that this is the sort of relatively minor inconvenience that sometimes happens while people are doing improvements that would be best handled by people showing a bit of tolerance and give and take. It’s only for a week.

    #62384
    Flame Tree (Qld)
    Flatchatter

    It’s one week. Hardly a major breach of contract from the owner, but you might as well ask for something on the chance they agree. As for the insurance, just call your insurer who you’d think would make temporary adjustment as to the normal situation and most likely overlook this in the same way they would should you drive away for the weekend. As to your security in the walk home from your temporary parking I imagine you may not return in the late of night but not knowing that just do some scoping in advance as to the route you will wander home by and look in advance as to where you might be happy to park, or avoid. All up this is not the hardest challenge you’ll face so don’t let it get larger than it should for you.

    #62389
    David Ng
    Flatchatter

    Noting that it’s the driveway being repaired, would it be possible to leave your car in the car park for the week?

    You could use taxi’s/Uber’s et al for the week, maybe even for less cost than parking elsewhere. They can drop you off at the front door mitigating the risk of walking down dark streets etc.

    #62391
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I doubt if the landlord would cover the cost of Ubers.

    Also, you suspect the strata committee has been less than proactive here.  Did they canvass residents to find out who would be impacted by this, and how badly?  Could they have organised a peak hour shuttle service between the block and public transport? Might they have “borrowed ” visitor parking from a nearby block?

    I doubt very much if any of these options were even considered – and this committee would not be alone in its “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” approach.

    There are several opinions here that are typical of a common strata committee view, that the tenant just has to suck it up as everyone is in the same boat.

    But they’re not.  The tenant has no say in the extent of the work, its timing or how it is structured. Could it have been done in stages that were less disruptive, for instance?

    Also, the benefits to the tenant are debatable to say the least.

    The landlord should compensate the tenant and the rental agent should be passing that message on.  Whether or not the landlord is entitled to compensation from the strata schemes is when the “we’re all in this together” argument gets real.

     

    #62615
    AGH
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you everyone for your replies.  I did get some useful information and ideas.

    To Sujenna, I am not mentally deficient so I did consider that it would be much easier if I drove to work every day and conveniently found a car spot right outside my building when I came home every night but I do not, I am now working from home like a lot of others, so I need 24/7 parking for my spot.

    Being a single mother I need to use my car a lot – for shopping, for errands, driving kids here and there and possibly even for a medical emergency should it arise.  Ordering, waiting and paying for an Uber/taxi whenever I need to pop out somewhere is not a luxury I can afford.   It may be ‘only an inconvenience’ and I wouldn’t say I am outraged, however it is an issue and being a tenant it seems no one seems to think we are important enough to consult or consider when it comes to anything strata related.

    My landlord is not ‘oh well’ if I don’t pay my rent so why should I feel the same if I am not getting what I am paying for?   Keep in mind as the work is directly outside my window and that of my children, we also have to listen to trucks and concrete being ripped up from 7am in the middle of the school holidays when we’re all supposed to be having a rest and sleep in, and in addition I am working from home so it makes meetings practically impossible, so it’s becoming more than a slight inconvenience.

    We’re not all friends here, it’s a business situation so I don’t see why should I just tolerate the situation and keep my mouth shut?

    As it turns out, the works did not take place on the day I was advised due to rain, however I was not advised, nor was I notified of the new date (today as it turns out) when they turned up at 7am and I had to rush down and inconvenience the workmen by moving my car out.

    As a note, the driveway does not appear to be ‘broken’ in any way so I’m not sure what is being repaired.  I have been driving in and out for 5 years and there has not been a problem so I suspect they have some leftover money in the upgrades kitty and thought they would make some improvements.  As someone pointed out, this does not benefit me as a tenant in any way.

    Since so far today I’ve had to park a few hundred meters down the road, I will try and find paid parking for the next week and request the landlord compensate me for loss of use of facilities and rental parking (if I can find it).  It’s also a good idea to notify my car insurance company.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by .
    #62625
    AGH
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    P.S. ran into one of my neighbours today who was also not advised of the work.  The poor guy lives at the back of the property so didn’t hear the work starting at 7am like I did and now has no use of his car for the next week.  He thought that strata were pretty negligent as they could easily have put up signs in common areas like they were so quick to do when it came to signs advising us to wear masks and wash our hands.  Methinks that some self interest comes into play when it comes to these notices.

     

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