Residential noise restrictions

What times are residential noise restrictions in place?

The Protection of the Environment (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 covers neighbourhood noise laws. There are time restrictions on when noise from residential premises should not be heard inside a neighbour’s residence. An offence occurs if the noise continues after a warning has been given by a council or police officer.

Time-of-day noise restrictions

During these times, noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour’s residence.

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Selecting a Strata Manager

Each property and property owner has various needs, expectations, geographic influences and more. Finding a strata manager to suit your requirements is essential, here are some things to look for when selecting your next Strata Manager:

Communication, Professionalism and People Skills

Honest and transparent communication is a must. Knowing that your Strata manager is telling you’re the truth and is across all your needs and requirements is the starting point. You will trust them to do many things on your behalf such as; paying levies, organising the repairs and maintenance, and ensuring your building meets the requirements of the legislation.

Experience & Qualifications

Managing an owners corporation requires experience. An experienced strata manager can often identify issues before they arise and thus saving money in the long term. It is also advised to select a strata manager that understand the market and clientele. Each geographic region in Australia has differences and needs, so finding a Strata Manager that understands everything about your property is going to benefit you and your tenants.

Also, ensure that your Strata Manager is properly qualified and knowledgeable. A fully qualified, licensed strata manager, for instance, will have undergone years of training in strata management and the process. training in areas like trust accounting to risk analysis. For example, in New South Wales and Sydney a Certificate of Registration and Certificate IV in Property Services is required.

Speak to us today about how you can find a strata manager to suit you.

Development Bond Information

Developers are required to lodge a 2% bond for residential and mixed-use high-rise strata buildings of 4 or more storeys.

The proposed amendments to the building bond is to enhance the ability of the Department of Fair Trading to verify the building contract price (which is the basis of the bond) and to clarify the role of the building inspector in the scheme.

Below are the proposed amendments:

  • Developers must lodge a building bond before applying for the occupation certificate.
  • The owners corporation and the developer must agree on the amount to be released from the bond to meet the costs of fixing identified building defects.
  • New powers for the Department of Fair Trading which will enable the verification of the amount of the contract price or building bond.
  • New entry to premises and search warrant powers.
  • An increase in the maximum penalty for failing to lodge the building bond from $22,000 to $1.1 million.
  • An offence for to provide false / misleading information to the Secretary in relation to the contract price or the building bond.
  • New ‘good faith’ liability protection for building inspectors, and the professional associations that appointed them, which excludes them from liability for anything done or omitted to be done in ‘good faith’ in conducting an inspection.

To see more information on the Regulations Amendment, use the link below:

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/biz_res/ftweb/pdfs/About_us/Have_your_say/Strata_building_bond_and_inspections_scheme_Regulation_amendments_table.pdf

Please also view the Department of Fair Trading for even more information.

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/About_us/Have_your_say/Strata_Building_Bond_and_Inspections_Scheme.page

Image result for dept fair trading nsw

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-19/nbn-lottery-did-you-win-and-get-fttc/9674884

See the full article here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-19/nbn-lottery-did-you-win-and-get-fttc/9674884

Reminder: Child safety locks deadline

Strata owners are reminded that childproof and robust safety devices must be fitted to all common property windows above the ground floor by 13 March 2018.

Windows can still be opened but only to a maximum of 12.5cm.

Self Managed Buildings

Self Managed Buildings can cause many headaches, which we discuss below. There are many property owners that are unaware of their responsibilities or their rights when their property is a body corporate-managed building or an owners corporation building. Lack of concern from the lot owners is a leading factor that contributes to many issues, damage and more.

Due to this fact there are many mistakes made by both the owners corporation and body corporate. Most of which cost a lot of time and money. More importantly it can severely affect the overall quality and upkeep of the building.

Colleagues holding question mark signs in front of their faces

Here are some of the most common:

  1. Right’s and responsibilities and unpaid fee’s to the owners corporation or body corporate.

To be able to conduct regular maintenance on the building and facilities payments need to be up to date so that the owners corporation or body corporate can carry out important work on the property. Many buildings in Sydney are ageing and need constant upkeep and attention to keep the building as an attractive prospect for tenants. Many owners simply don’t know their responsibilities or rights, which leads to costly mistakes by the owners corporation or body corporate, it can also affect the overall building quality.

As a building gets older and becomes rundown due to improper maintenance the safety of the property becomes a concern adding further to the attractiveness of the property and less likely to find tenants and lowering it’s resale value.

  1. Contractor payments

Many owners don’t realise the importance of paying contractors on a timely fashion. Many have incentives for on time or early payments and when these are not paid on time it can cost a lot more money and also disgruntle a preferred contractor or service provider.

  1. Enforcement of by-laws and building laws

These standards and by-laws may incorporate what proprietors and occupants can have on their balconies/outdoor areas, what pets are permitted, how facilities are to be used, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Neglecting to adhere to these can bring about a messy building, damage and create less appeal towards renters and buyers. It can likewise end up hard to authorize different standards and by-laws, since part proprietors won’t welcome the irregularity.

  1. Neglecting to employ a professional strata service

Numerous proprietors partnerships and bodies corporate choose to self-oversee which can have a few advantages as long as everything is functioning admirably. In any case, if an issue emerges, self-guided proprietors enterprise and bodies corporate are off guard. It’s harder to determine issues, oversee authoritative prerequisites, look after progression, and convey a first-rate benefit for good-natured volunteers. What’s more, when a proprietors company or body corporate ends up overwhelmed by an intense identity, which frequently happens, things can see issues get out of control quickly.

These are just a few things that makes us a leader in Sydney Strata management.

To learn more contact SYDNEY STRATA SPECIALISTS today.

Parties and loud noise

When it comes to noise complaints, parties and strata management, it is against the law to affect the sleep of others. Please check your building or states laws, as they may differ:

Take a look here. 

best-strata-managerIf you or your tenant wish to lodge a complaint about the noise of a neighbour, calling the police should be your last resort.  This creates conflict and, at times, an uncomfortable living environment moving forward. We advise that you do your research regarding your specific situation, especially on the laws and policy, before escalating further. If you have a relationship with the neighbour in question, try and resolve in a reasonable and friendly manner.

Alternatively, the owner’s corporation can be used to issue your neighbour with a compliance notice if all else fails.

Please keep in mind that if you are planning an event or party of your own, you should advise your neighbours prior to the event. Not only does this show respect to those in close proximity to you, they will appreciate the thought and gesture.

Repair v Redevelop? What you need to know

At Sydney Strata Specialist we are asked about the new changes in legislation regarding the 75% rule in selling / redeveloping the strata scheme.

The strata scheme may be facing repairs either immediately or in the near future –  these could mean that current owners raising tens of thousands of dollars each or even more.  There are vast amounts of buildings in the eastern suburbs that have concrete cancer or fire upgrades that have cost each owner $60,000 each.

The above is an example of Concrete Cancer

Meeting these levies can place an enormous financial burden on owners who are on fixed incomes.  In a lot of cases some owners voted NO or blocked the vote to the repairs as they simply could not afford to have the repairs undertaken.

The Government has recognised that a number of owners have blocked the sale/redevelopment and hence changed the laws to meet the ever-changing world of strata living.

Regardless if the owner’s corporation is looking to ether spending money on repairs or taking advantage of the growth. The majority of the owner’s corporation can now take advantage of the new laws.

Selling off the strata plan could be the way to go.  This use to be very difficult as it requires ALL (100%) owners to agree and sign off on the proposal.   Now the law is changing.

Now it is what is the most financial benefit that suits the majority –  Now that the consent of only a 75% majority of strata unit owners in a block will be required to consent to its demolition. This is in stark contrast to the current laws, which require agreement by 100% of strata unit owners for a block to be sold to a developer for demolition.

With many strata blocks within New South Wales becoming quite dated, ongoing maintenance and renovation is, without doubt, an extremely costly process, with the preferred option being to simply demolish the building.

Some of Sydney’s trendiest eastern suburbs are host to some of its oldest, and least sustainable, buildings.   A large number of buildings constructed in the 1970 had a life expectancy of 40 years.   We have now come to the end of the term.   Buildings that are on the coast are more susceptible to concrete cancer and if your building has not already had repairs due to this then it is only a matter of time.

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Apartment block for sale in Cronulla

Allowing for redevelopment rather than expensive maintenance, offering potential increases in tenancy numbers and far more energy efficient buildings. Some local councils have already increased the height restrictions.

Some developers are offering apartment owners options such as ‘first option to buy deals’ and assistance with temporary or permanent relocation.

Talk to us today and see why we are the best strata managers in Sydney.

 

Pets and strata management

The following is an overview of the basics of pets and strata management.

The laws and around keeping animals in strata schemes are often disputed, which normally involves the owners corporation’s refusal to allow animals, however allowing pets is not clearly prohibited in the by-laws of the strata scheme that is in question.

If the owners corporation does not want to allow pets they need to pass a by-law that prohibits all pets and animals.

There are laws to protect people that require companion animals, such as guide dogs. Generally, all such animals are allowed by law. Each state can differ.puppy-guide-dogsin-training

If the by-law prohibits pets, applicants can seek permission in writing, although the owner’s corporation has the right to unreasonably refuse if the pet is not a companion animal.

In NSW the following laws are applied in the Strata Titles Act:

“NSW strata by-laws are subject to section 49(4) of the Strata Titles Act which states that by-laws cannot prohibit or prevent the keeping or use of a guide or hearing dog on a lot or common property.”

NSW strata communities are governed by the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. The Act includes a model by-law regarding the keeping of animals as follows:

“Schedule 1 – By-laws 16 Keeping of animals (1) Subject to section 49 (4), an owner or occupier of a lot must not, without the approval in writing of the owner’s corporation, keep any animal on the lot or the common property. (2) The owners corporation must not unreasonably withhold its approval of the keeping of an animal on a lot or the common property.”

Ten basic facts that most Strata Managers get WRONG

Painting of a balcony ceiling – This is considered Common Property and therefore Owners Corporation costs.

Security doors or flyscreens (if not installed by an owner) are considered Common Property and therefore Owners Corporation costs.

False Ceilings added after the registration of the Strata Plan – Are Lot Owners’ costs to repair.

Fences that show as Thick Line on the Plan are considered as Common Property and therefore Owners Corporation costs.

Trees – Any part of the tree that is contained within Common Property is deemed the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. Any part of the tree that is contained within a Lot is deemed the Lot Owners responsibility. If one tree is trimmed or damaged – cost is apportioned to the ratio.

Skirting boards and architraves contained within common property areas are to be maintained at the cost of the Owners Corporation.

Shower waste in the bathroom is considered as Common Property.

Bath plug waste and bath pipe to common property pipe is the responsibility of the Lot owner.

Shower Screen door – Cost of any damage is borne by the Lot owner (In many cases this can be claimed on the OC Insurance policy as Damage.)

Window Lock Keys within a Lot – Are to be maintained by the Lot owners at the Lot Owners Cost.