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Can I pursue strata manager/owners corp for costs?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Christian, 6th Feb, 2017.

  1. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    I have a tenant who is vacating my Unit because the exhaust fan in the bathroom is not working.
    Fair enough. It is a strata issue & I have been chasing the strata manager since May last year to rectify the issue!! They say they will but nothing happens despite continual emails requesting repairs.
    Now the tenant is moving out cause she has developed Sinusitus due to mould build up in the apartment due to lack of ventilation. She has a doctors certificate as proof. I'm pretty angry about it.
    Can I pursue strata manager/owners corp for costs such as mould removal and re-letting fees etc?
     
  2. Phase2

    Phase2 Well-Known Member

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    An exhaust fan is a strata mgt issue?? How/why? It's just a fan, why not get a sparky to put in a new one!? Or You might find it's just dirty/clogged around the shaft and just needs a clean?
     
  3. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    Yes it is because for some reason it is a 'centralised' bathroom exhaust fan. The fan does not turn on when you turn on the light switch. Its is operated thru a main switch.
     
  4. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Exhaust fans are always wired to turn on with own switch, you would need to get it changed yourself if you wanted it to come on with the light, is simple to do, but they would not be wired that way from the start.

    This is why the strata manager does nothing, this is up to you to have changed, it is not a strata issue, IMO.
     
  5. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    No. for some reason its a centralized exhaust system and has been switched off due to other owners complaining about the noise of the fans on the roof. Strata has agreed it is their issue, and has since May 2016. If it was my issue I would have fixed it long ago!
     
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  6. sydprop

    sydprop Well-Known Member

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    It is your problem as you are part of the strata. The "strata committee" as it is now known in NSW administers the day to day running of the scheme - maybe you should join it to work through and resolve the issue.
     
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  7. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    If that is the case, ask why it has not been resolved yet, get everything in writing, get it in writing as to why it is switched off if it is required part of the building.

    Get it put onto the next meeting agenda.

    Sounds like a right pain......
     
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  8. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    I have. But I have no power to approve repairs on the central exhaust system without owners corp consent.
     
  9. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    PS if you are and have raised the issue, raised that it is causing mould, raise that it is now costing you money and a tenant is having to leave due to health reasons, let them know you are keeping all the details and your not going to wear the costs if it is just being avoided or no good reason for non repair comes forward.

    I would also try to get solid detail, such as plans that show that this system needs to be working or was required by council to prevent what is/has happened.

    Talk to fair trading if they still stonewall or do not offer a detailed response on what is going on and why.

    Can you put your own exhaust fan in a window ?
     
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  10. Phase2

    Phase2 Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean it's part of a ducted system that runs through the whole complex? If so then wouldn't everyone's bathroom duct be affected?
     
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  11. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    Yes. correct. exactly!
     
  12. lamecrocs

    lamecrocs Active Member

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    I think sometimes owners are underestimating the value of a solid and responsive body corporate.
    I wants to say that every owners should try to contribute by attending AGM/other meetings and not only solely rely on strata manager or committee members. If possible, be an active committee members!
     
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  13. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Make sure you get a copy of the tenants doctor letter. If this tenant has the problem then other tenants will too. I am assuming you have an internal bathroom so no option for alternative ventilation.

    It sounds as if the rights if the owners complaining about the fan noise are taking precedence.

    Attend the next meeting of the BC.
    Make sure you give the appropriate notice to have the problem put on the agenda.
    Have all your facts at hand, focus on getting the problem resolved before you bring up any discussion about compensation, that can be done later.

    If no action, you can complain to the Health Departnent as mould is a serious health issue.
    Marg
     
  14. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Multi-storey strata building do have common exhaust systems which also include fire dampers as they pass through several levels of the building. These are a BC matter.

    If the fans create too much noise, then the BC or Strata Manager should be directed to investigate the replacement of the fans or why they are noisy (cheap build, bearings worn out etc)
     
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  15. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro SE Qld Property Management & Investor Services Business Member

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    I empathise with this as I had the exact same situation. After further research (and some posting in the legal forum on this website) I've been told it comes down to a combination of the by-laws and what people are saying above - whether it's for exclusive use for your unit or if it's part of the system as a whole.

    Regardless, I wouldn't be losing tenants over it. The best thing to do in these situations is to get it repaired at your cost and if you believe it's the BC's responsibility then send them the invoice and follow through to claim it. Your tenant does not want to suffer at the hands of a dispute between the owner and the BC so I always just look after my customer and deal with it behind the scenes to ensure outcomes like this don't happen for maintenance reasons.
     
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  16. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    If this was me I'd be taking Strata to your state Tribunal, you have fair cause to get them to fix this issue urgently.
     
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  17. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, they would, but tenants have a habit of keeping things closed up and probably long hot showers, where owners will manage this, probably with open doors, windows and short showers.

    Either way, if there is no other alternative solution such as putting in own exhaust fan system, then the BC seems to be leaving themselves open to problems, there is no good reason for it not to be fixed in a reasonable time frame if units rely on it as an integral system.
     
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  18. sydprop

    sydprop Well-Known Member

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    OK. Starting from basics... Who runs the owners corporation?
     
  19. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    this is exactly whats happening. I have everything in writing requesting repairs. Im now waiting for tenant to give me doctors certificate and statement as to why she is leaving. I feel sorry for her but I have pushed strata manager constantly to no avail.
     
  20. Christian

    Christian Active Member

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    So is the body corporate just as much at fault even though the strata manager hasn't organized repairs yet?