From time to time, the OCN identifies various concerns that arise in the day to day life in a unit plan. Some of these merit being publicised so that members can avoid pitfalls that have entrapped others. Some arise from reported shortfalls in managerial or Owners Corporation execution of function. Others impart knowledge potentially useful to committees or individual members. Please forward your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amendments to the Unit Titles (Management) Act
Ministers Ramsay and Gentleman have announced that “The Managing Buildings Better reforms will overhaul how apartments, townhouses and mixed-use buildings are managed, clarifying responsibilities between residents and business owners. The current legislation needs to be updated to keep pace with our growing city and the proposed changes will support great outcomes for people and businesses. The Government has been working with a consultative group of industry and community stakeholders to prioritize reforms that will have the most direct and immediate impact.”
See the Media Release.
Building Quality Reforms
A decade of work on the part of OCN is coming to fruition. The ACT Assembly is currently holding an Inquiry into Building Quality.
ACT Government has set up a website Build, buy or renovate that contains information on ACT government action to ensure building quality.
The Building Ministers Forum commissioned The Shergold Weir Report which takes the same lines OCN has taken since its inception.
The Building Ministers Forum has adopted the Shergold Weir report as national policy.
ABC Four Corners did an investigation Cracking Up shown on19 August 2019 on significant defects in apartment buildings. The iview replay is available until 9:20pm on 18 Sep 2019.
Dr Nicole Johnston and Dr Sacha Reid undertook a review of over 3,000 building defects in apartment buildings, titled An examination of Building Defects in Residential Multi-owned Properties.
The Eastlaker local paper a good source of information on strata issues
The Eastlaker is a free, bimonthly newspaper, serving the inner south east Canberra suburbs of Kingston to Red Hill. As over 80% of housing in these suburbs involves owners corporations, The Eastlaker is a useful spot to check out stories relevant to all owners and residents.
Also keep an eye on RiotACT at for stories on owners corporation issues.
Be careful what you say and write
A recent NSW District Court defamation case (Raynor v Murray) gave a judgement of $120,000 damages in favour of the EC Chair who was defamed in an email between him and a tenant copied to other owners and residents.
Before you write or speak angrily or disparagingly, stop. There may be significant financial consequences if you go too far. Google will bring up a lot of commentary on the case.
Strata manager changes
ACT Strata Management has sold its business to the Whittles Group that has applied for a licence to operate in the ACT as ACT SMS Pty Ltd.
Bright and Duggan that operates in Canberra as City Strata is undergoing management changes as Phil Duggan retires and sells his share to the Johns Lyng Group (JLG), a listed, nation-wide, building services company that focusses on rebuilding and restoring after damage by insurable events.
Conflicts of interest
Is your Owners Corporation (OC) unable to deal with problems because of entrenched conflicts of interest?
A recent ACAT decision about conflict of interest, Gracie v The Owners Units Plan 3411, has significant implications and sets new rules for OC decision making.
Please read 'Are there rules or processes for dealing with conflicts of interests between owners?' for more information.
Separate water metering
Separate water metering can be installed, but it may require the unanimous concurrence of all owners.
Please read 'Separate water metering' for more information.
Short term tenants can be the neighbours from hell
Please read 'Short term neighbours can be the neighbours from hell' for more information.
How is it that we are not balancing our budgets?
There is a little known quirk in many of the accounting packages managers use that even some of those managers are not aware of.
Please read 'Funny finances' for more information.
Reported hot water system failure
Some central hot water systems can fail after as little as 8 years.
Please read 'Reported hot water system failure' for a detailed report of one such failure.
Sustainability makes sense - so should you be doing something?
Please read 'Installation and ownership of sustainability infrastructure' for more information.