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Need Help, feel that the Body Corporate is treating us poorly

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Larry B, 3rd Aug, 2016.

  1. Larry B

    Larry B New Member

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    3rd Aug, 2016
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi All, I'm a complete newbie to this forum so I'm thanking anyone who can give me a guide as to what we can do next.

    We live in Melbourne and have a property in Brisbane (Town House) part of 25 other Town Houses. Our dumb luck we were the ones that picked the property with the shady gum tree out the back. It was sold new to us.

    For the past 7 years, we were led to believe that the tree belonged to us and that there was an injunction against cutting the tree down. This information was provided to us by the Body Corporate.

    Last year after many other issues to do with building defects, we decided that we wanted to sell the property and move on.

    No one wanted to buy the property because of the tree. So we approached the Brisbane City Council to get the approval, and their reply was "Sure! But you know the tree belongs to the Body Corporate, and you need their permission."

    To cut a long story short, the BC refused to cut the tree down but gave us permission to chop it down at our cost. $5,500 later the tree came down.

    The end result is that we got an offer on our property but during the post inspection sale, it was discovered that the upstairs balcony had been eaten away by white ants and was now no longer safe to use.

    The cost of replacement is over $10,000 and although the BC has now dismissed the pest inspectors they will not accept any responsibility for the damage.

    What are my options?
    My primary interest is getting the damage repaired.
    Do I have any recourse against the BC and if so, where do I start?

    Many thanks.

    LB
     
  2. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Sydney & Adelaide
    As the balcony is part of the building it is generally on the owners corporation to maintain and repair it.
     
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  3. hobo

    hobo Well-Known Member

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  4. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro SE Qld Property Management & Investor Services Business Member

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    Hi Larry B - That sounds like an unfortunate situation. I have added some general information and thoughts below for you however the QLD Govt have a Dispute Resolution Department that specifically deals with Body Corp Disputes. Contact 1800 060 119, bccm@justice.qld.gov.au

    They will suggest that you attend a Mediation/Conciliation with the Body Corporate, cost is $76.50 - here is a link to the page for you Conciliation for body corporate disputes | Your rights, crime and the law | Queensland Government.

    A large gum tree so close to the property is always a safety issue in storms etc so chances are it might be questioned why no action by either party was taken earlier. If you had it rented through an agency then then this is something that should be reported by the Property Manager at the routine inspections and they possibly could have then earlier found out that it was actually Body Corp responsibility as sounds like it should have been cut back/removed some time ago and further investigation by the agent should have reveled the tree is actually Body Corp. Not sure if this is the case for you though here. Body Corporate however should have been aware that this was their responsibility which i get is frustrating!

    All the best!
    Jodi
     
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  5. Larry B

    Larry B New Member

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    3rd Aug, 2016
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Sensational Advice to one and all. I will keep you posted to the outcome
     
  6. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    That is classic.....

    So your part of a strata scheme ?

    Well seems they may owe money for the tree removal to you, that is part of what your maintenance fees are for, however maybe you did not really need to cut it down, but it should have been maintained.

    The balcony, part of the building, unless there is something written/agreed that all owners look after such things, then they are all part owners....the BC should have been looking after this, but this is a common thing.....most do not understand BC at all, in places like Bris, should be yearly pest inspections, did you ever vote to not have inspections ? again, all part of maintenance.
     
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  7. Matthew Savage

    Matthew Savage Active Member

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    10th Nov, 2015
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    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Hi Larry,

    I'm a body corporate manager in Queensland. The responsibility for the tree and the termites will depend on the format plan of subdivision. Townhouse developments are often subdivided under a 'standard format plan' which was previously known as a 'group titles plan' if it's an older block.

    Maintenance under a 'standard format plan' is like that of a standalone house - you own the land and the property on that land, and the body corporate intervention is minimal.

    In a 'standard format plan' you will generally be responsible for the tree, and the termite damage. In a 'building format plan', the termite damage would probably be a body corporate issue, but the tree is probably still yours, depending on whether it is in an exclusive use area.

    If the body corporate is responsible, you need to arrange a quote and submit a motion to the committee. If that does not work, then as some posters have said, the QLD dept. of Justice has a BCCM branch that runs dispute resolution.

    Termite inspections are not compulsory under either plan, they are optional only. In some schemes the body corporate coordinates a pest inspection but that does not make the body corporate responsible for the results.

    If you want to send me a private message with your phone number and the address of the property I can probably have a look and talk you through it. The QLD legislation regarding maintenance is very specific and not always straightforward.

    Cheers, Matt.

    I
     
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  8. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    There you go, what a great offer.....