Over 1,000 owners in strata were asked if to their knowledge have any of the above defects ever been present in their strata scheme
More and more city-dwellers choose to live in apartments so they can live in more accessible locations. In the order of three and a half million Australians now live in multi unit housing. A quarter of Sydney people now live in what is virtually a fourth tier of government as strata dwellings set laws and impose taxes on residents. A further 800,000 are forecast to live in them by 2036.
More than a quarter of Sydneysiders already live in strata title developments and this will inevitably rise. One estimate puts the proportion at 45% by 2030.
Residents were also uncertain about who was responsible for funding major repairs to buildings, with 39 per cent of the 1550 people surveyed and interviewed saying they had problems regarding the management of their scheme.
About 75 per cent of the more than 400 strata-title executive committee members surveyed for the report said they would be interested in further training,
They found a high incidence of building defects, a lack of engagement by owners in the running of their strata schemes and inadequate financial planning for repairs and maintenance in a lot of buildings. Many strata owners do not understand their responsibilities and rights and resolving differences can be a bitter and unhappy process.
The most striking finding is 72% of owners say their building has had one or more defects. The figure rises to 85% when only buildings completed since 2000 are considered.
It can be argued there’ll inevitably be issues with any building project, so that’s not necessarily a big deal. However what’s shocking is three quarters of those 85% report one or more defects have never been fixed.
The three most commonly cited defects are water entering the interior of the building from outside, water leaking within the building, and internal and external cracks (see above).
Just as alarming is the finding that many owners have problems identifying the boundary between their property and common property! It’s got to be hard to define rights and responsibilities when an owner and the committee can’t be sure where properties begin and end!
Reaching agreement over matters of collective interest like maintenance seems very fraught. A large proportion (39%) of the committee members interviewed said there had been problems in reaching agreement.
The most common issues resulting in disagreements were those relating to major expenditures, including major repairs. The most common explanations given for these disagreements related to personality clashes and the competing interests of individuals in a scheme.
Disputes are accordingly a major issue. People disagree over parking, pets, noise and a host of other issues. New terms like “smoking drift” and “hotbedding” indicate there are new challenges with collective forms of tenure. The competence of strata managers is also a perennial concern.
When owners were asked about disputes, 51% said there had been disputes in the time since they’d purchased their unit, mostly about parking, noise and breaking by-laws. In 40% of disputes, formal measures were taken in an effort to resolve the issue.