Investors: Four legs good, no legs bad

by BN16 May 2012

Cats are fine in strata properties, but snakes should be banned due to their frequent escaping acts, according to a suggestion to come out of an ongoing strata law review in NSW.

Dogs, too, should be banned, due to their “propensity to bark”, says the recommendation, as highlighted in the 134-page Strata Laws: Online Consultation Final Report from Global Access Partners.

The report summarises the numerous concerns about the current strata provisions in NSW that were brought up during the online consultation period, and offers a fascinating insight into the concerns of tenants, landlords and owner-occupiers.

There are several suggestions may be of some concern to landlords. For example, one recommendation highlighted in the report is that owners should be made liable for the behaviour of their tenants, “with the sanction of fines for repeat offences added to strata levies. A percentage of such fines could be passed on to tenants from owners”.

Another suggestion mentioned in the report could take responsibility for the eviction process out of the hands of landlords, with any resident of the strata property being allowed to take a tenant to the NSW Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) "to be warned, fined or ultimately evicted”.

And if you happen to run through a string of tenants in quick succession, then you could end up facing severe penalties.

“Executive Committees should be able to apply for sanctions against owners of properties that change lessees or sub-lessees unreasonably often. Sanctions could include cutting off utilities, issuing fines to the owner or imposing higher levies on owners,” says one of the suggestions highlighted in the report.

Other interesting suggestions include:

•Prohibiting residents from selling or lending their personal car spaces or car park access keys to others.
•Banning smoking in strata buildings completely, and mandating the display of signs warning visitors that smoking is not allowed.
•To protect new owners and people "buying off the plan", developers should be compelled to carry building insurance and bank guarantees against insolvency for the first six years of any building's existence.
•Allowing the drying of all clothes except underwear, which should be dried on racks below the rail and out of sight of others.
•Ensuring that owners pay sinking fund levies on time, with heavy fines for those who delay

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