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Should cleaner have to deal with owner’s dog poo?

Our first post in this week’s roundup illustrates precisely why I would never live in an apartment block that didn’t have CCTV at least covering the front door and foyer. Why? Because even if every one of your neighbours is a lovely human being and valuable member of society, they probable know someone who isn’t […]

Dogs that love to swim and dry drowning dangers

The chances are that dogs are not allowed in your communal apartment block swimming pool, and they certainly wouldn’t be welcomed by some of your neighbours. But that doesn’t mean your pooch should be deprived of a paddle, maybe at the beach or a safe swimming hole. So what dogs are best suited to swimming? […]

Are online and pre-votes the new proxy farming?

As NSW apartment residents think about what changes they would like to see in strata law, and some of us dive into the deep dark waters of the online consultation process, our good friends and sponsors at StartaAnswers have raised the subject of electronic and pre-meeting voting? Are they the new proxy harvesting, as some […]

Survey aims to challenge suspect Qld strata laws

Before the state elections in Queensland last year, the state’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles invited the Unit Owners Association of Queensland (UOAQ) Committee to contribute to a legislation review regarding management rights in the state’s apartment buildings. Queensland strata owners and residents have all the issues that affect apartment residents in the rest of Australia. […]

Podcast: Which apartment tribe do you belong to?

Do you know what your strata-living tribe is? Are you economically engaged, young and jobless or under-employed, battlers, established owners, downsizers or even public housing tenants? Professor Bill Randolph of UNSW department of the Built Environment was recently interviewed for an extensive feature in the Sydney Morning Herald in which he discussed a survey that […]

Forum: Unfinancialized by a sneaky strata manager

One of the suggestions that I made in my overly lengthy submission to the strata law consultations was that seriously incompetent strata managers should face serious penalties, including potentially being struck off. As far as I know, no strata manager in NSW has ever lost their licence for incompetence, regardless of how much distress and […]

Thinking fast: Down the strata survey rabbit hole

This week, I slipped down the ultimate strata rabbit hole – NSW Fair Trading’s consultation questionnaire in which they invite us to tell them how we think strata laws could be improved. I really should have read the fine print – actually, the big bold letters at the top of the process detailing the number […]

Council where Company Title was compulsory

You may find this hard to believe but there was a local council in Sydney which, until a couple of years ago, would not  give planning approval for two-unit strata schemes. It’s true. Until 2018, in the Eastern Suburbs city of Randwick, if you wanted to convert a house to a duplex or build a […]

Forum: Landlady dives in before tenant has left

When does a residential lease end? According to the standard lease (in Victoria) it’s on the date when the lease expires, unless a different arrangement is agreed. According to Tenants Victoria, it’s when you hand back the keys, although you may have to pay the rent up to the expiry date if you leave early […]

Closures mask possibilities of sharing facilities

We received a plaintive “please explain” on the Flat Chat website recently.  A reader wanted to know why their swimming pool and spa remained resolutely closed when the rest of the country was opening up. That’s, of course, before the rest of the country started closing down again.  In a week when Victoria closes its […]

Podcast: What a great year … for pets and renters

This week’s podcast may be the first of 2021 but 2020 doesn’t get away that easily. Last year will be remembered in global politics as the last year of Trump, whose mishandling of the other main story of the year – the Covid-19 Pandemic – killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and also destroyed his […]

Podcast: Fun and games as the Wrap takes off

OK, stop, relax, breathe. We’re not taking a break these holidays so much as taking our collective foot off the gas We thought that, rather than drag someone out of their post-Christmas coma to be interviewed on the Flat Chat Wrap podcast, we’d give you a chance to reprise some of our most listened-to episodes […]

Building pressure as more developers cut and run

A story in the Sydney Morning Herald this week should have sent an unseasonal chill through the corridors of NSW Fair Trading and the whole of the state Government. In fact, Canberra itself could and should be feeling the draught with the news that one of our most prominent property developers has gone into receivership, […]

Forum: Perfumed princess and scents in the vents

Sometimes the dumbest problems in strata are cause by the simplest, most innocent actions … usually allied to people not thinking things through. Take Flatchatter Wangdang whose small block has a communal vent for the unwindowed bathrooms. That vent is probably connected to other bathrooms and an extraction fan on the roof, ensuring that stale […]

Our stressful year of strategic strata living

Covid or no covid, it’s been a tempestuous year in strata in Australia.  From a win for pet owners in NSW to dubious stats from Tasmania, there’s been plenty to keep us occupied here at Flat Chat. Among the issues we exposed through this website and the associated column in the Australian Financial Review were […]

In strife but can’t even afford a lawyer’s letter

We should never underestimate the power of a lawyer’s letter, especially in a strata dispute. At the very least, it lets the recipients know what the law is and, importantly, that the person with whom they are in conflict has a powerful and knowledgeable ally. In some cases, it could be the first time the […]

Podcast: Want chips with that (plus radio spot)?

With Christmas rapidly approaching and Covid-19 closing in on us again, we thought about not doing  a full podcast this week. A quick intro and replay of Jimmy’s most recent stint on the James Valentine’s afternoons on ABC Radio 702, and that ws going to be it. But once we got chatting, all sorts of […]

Block party planning and the vax of the matter

There’s an old saying: “if you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan.” When this column appeared in the Australian Financial Review last week, it opened with the question: “Is it too late to un-cancel your apartment Christmas shindig?  Or, if you’ve never had one, to kick off the New Year […]

Forum: Can I be sued over a climb and fall risk?

So, you’re living in a block where the powers that be don’t want to spend any money on anything and it has lovely old iron lace balustrades that you catch a toddler climbing up. “We need to make this safe,” you say. “OK, maybe in a few years,” says the committee. “We don’t have the […]

Bathroom blues swept away by sea of greens

Bathroom Chronicles, Part 12 Enough of this whingeing – we love our new bathrooms.  Why the complaints? Maybe we were too close to it and saw the sausages being made, so to speak. The demolition, the rebuild the pipes, the ripping out of tiles, the installation of niches, we saw through every phase of destruction […]