No strangers to difficult times, Reena and I hit the ground running with this episode. We’re covering:

Links mentioned:

4 Responses

  1. Hi Amanda and Rina
    1, the leaking drain: it is the fault of the strata committee in not calling a plumber immediately the fault of the toilet bowl welling up which ordinarily is the warning sign that the drain is otherwise blocked and needs repair urgently. One might say that the SC did not know because none of the owners informed the committee of the fault. This scheme reported on suggests that it is a small scheme and not a large scheme more than 3 lots on one site. Schemes of more than 3 lots on one site are covered by insurance valuers who are a registered quantity surveyor and not just a member of one of the Property Institutes such as API/RICS or AVI.

    Further, API code states that their valuers are only able to value a strata scheme of 3 lots on one site or less – that is my understanding reading their Code.
    Your podcast did not state how many lots were in the three story walk-up block! There is no reason or plumbing code to suggest that the drain can output overflow onto the property site to avoid overflow to the toilet bowl! That in my view, is strictly nonsense.

    2. Undervaluation. The problem mentioned in your podcast is troubling because this had occurred to my strata scheme where the valuer, a non qualified valuer, as per the above definitions, gave a BSI Value of substantially less than the previous one for our scheme of 8 lots.

    There was no table of input calculations for the make-up of costs , as per NSW law – Reg.39, which you correctly mentioned, but merely a few lines, one or two short sentences, arriving at the value. There was no catastrophe valuation so the value given was for the minimum replacement value, supposedly. The valuer stated that catastrophe value was for the OC to decide upon and he gave no assessment/estimate of that value. Quite strange, all knowledge and no responsibility!

    This gave rise to the strata manager at the time, suggesting or cajolling, quite vigorously in fact, by saying to me so many other lot owners were in agreement with his suggestion so why was I not also or words similar, willing to do so so that lot owners could avail of the lower premium. I , being the SC treasurer, refused and stated that the previous value should continue until a new valuation could be obtained.

    This incident led me to conduct widespread research into valuations and has subsequently become a passion of mine and a huge manuscript on the subject is the result. Now, any person be it the valuer or strata manager who encourages the owners corporation to obtain a lower valuation could be laying themselves open to prosecution in the event of losses incurred by members of the OC as a result of that lower valuation.

  2. Our NSW strata of 10 units has a committee of 5 .
    2 members are proxies living in the strata and 1 committee member is a proxy not a resident . Only 2 member of the committee are owners.
    The committee loaded with proxies , whilst not in contravention of the SSMA or SSMR, causes deep resentment amongst owners denied a position on the committee after nomination and following a vote by secret ballot .
    As a general comment would you recommend owners be elected to committees in preference to proxies to achieve strata harmony. After all it is their money being spent?
    Regards
    John

    1. Hi John, I understand the frustration, but it’s not a situation I’d make a general comment on. I see many communities represented very well by committee members who are not owners, often because they bring personal experience or professional expertise, at no charge to the community. I also see other communities struggle with an uninterested committee because the members are not ‘invested’ in the way you reference.

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