Tag Archives: strata schemes

Legislative Changes Enhance Swimming Pool Safety

The New South Wales State Government recently passed legislation regarding backyard swimming pools, which will affect strata schemes that currently have a pool onsite. In enacting the changes, the Government argued that safety around residential swimming pools is imperative given that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in young children, especially those under the age of five who lack cognitive skills.

The Swimming Pools Amendment Bill 2012 made several changes to the Swimming Pools Act 1992. By October 29 2013, all pool owners, including Owners Corporations who manage common property pools, will be required to join a pool registry administered by the State Government. Additionally owners will be required to show a current swimming pool compliance certificate to be able to lease a property with a pool and there will also be mandatory inspections of pools by accredited certifiers. There may be a cost to pool owners associated with site inspections.

Property owners who fail to register their swimming pool may be subject to a maximum penalty of $2,200.
At Netstrata, we fully support any legislation that makes a strata scheme’s common property safer for all. Given that many strata schemes in Sydney have a swimming pool; it is only logical that we’d all want to make, what is a potentially hazardous addition to the strata property, as safe as possible. Therefore, while it is now law to comply with these tightened safety measures, we think they’re all also sensible proposals.

There are a number of other options Owners Corporations and pool users can take to minimise harm from pools. Pool users should never leave the gate open to the pool and the gate should be both self closing and self latching. Pool fences should be at least 1.2 metres high and the vertical gaps should be no more than 10 cm apart. Keep all furniture and garden beds a clear distance from the pool fence to eliminate the chance of a toddler using them to climb over the fence.

If you have any questions regarding swimming pool safety, please contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.

Sydney’s strata surprises

THERE was a gaggle of geese living in an apartment. A vindictive owner who regularly ran all the taps in his unit to deliberately push up the water bill for the rest of the block. And a horse that was kept in a Glebe townhouse.

The number of complaints about strata schemes has been steadily increasing over the past decade, rising from 945 requests for strata mediation lodged with NSW Fair Trading in 2003 to 1405 in 2009 and 1474 last year.

The top three complaints – which include problems with the management of the owners’ corporation, bylaw breaches and repairs to common property – make up 80 per cent of all strata complaints. Fair Trading and the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal have been called in to mediate on a range of sensitive issues which have caused headaches for some of the 2 million people in NSW in strata schemes.

There was a family who were using an above-ground pool in their apartment to fatten trout for their restaurant, as well as a horse trainer who kept his trotter in the courtyard of a Glebe townhouse before it raced at Harold Park. It is understood the landlord turned a blind eye to the horse because the trainer was giving him racing tips.

There have been complaints about inappropriate sounds at all hours as well as a man who was ordered by the tribunal to urinate on the side of his toilet bowl rather than directly into the water.

A woman living in an apartment under the man’s unit complained she felt like she was ”living under Niagara Falls” every time her neighbour used the bathroom. She said she had been living with the noise for 13 years.

There have also been complaints of theft, including one multi-storey residential block that had all its copper gutters and downpipes stolen. Residents mistakenly thought that the “workmen” who turned up in overalls and spent the day removing the plumbing were part of the scheme’s ongoing maintenance work.

The state government has launched a major review of strata laws in NSW, which were a world first when they were introduced in 1961, with the first scheme in Enfield still in existence. There are now more than 70,000 schemes.

Online submissions closed at the end of last month and the government received 1200 responses.

The Fair Trading Minister, Anthony Roberts, said the majority of matters requiring intervention were mainstream disputes, but the complexity of community living resulted in increasingly difficult mediations.

He said he would release a discussion paper this year and invite further input from the community.

“NSW residents deserve to have the best strata and community scheme laws … that can effectively deal with schemes with multimillion-dollar budgets as well as buildings coming to the end of their usable lifespan,” Mr Roberts said.

Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald for this article.

Strata schemes regulations reform

UDIAManaging Director Stephen Brell has been appointed to the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s Strata & Community Title Committee. Stephen will be involved with reviewing the current Strata Schemes Management Regulations and will be preparing some recommendations to be submitted to the NSW Government for consideration. Stephen said “I am pleased to be part of this committee, as there are a lot of opportunities to enhance the current regulations resulting in greater options for strata schemes”.