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    1. As a lot owner my strata manager refused to give me the names and addresses of all my fellow owners. Why does he not provide me with what I want?

    The Federal Privacy Act does not permit an agent to divulge the information, as it is not a matter of public record that is freely available to all consumers.

    However, under section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act, as an owner you can make arrangements with the agent to inspect the books and records of the owners corporation and pay the fee as required by the Strata Schemes Management Regulations.

    2. My balcony door needs to be fixed. Who is responsible for the repairs?

    If your strata plan was registered before 1 July 1974 the balcony wall including the door and its working parts are generally part of the lot and the lot owner’s responsibility for maintenance and repairs (unless there is a notation on the strata plan).

    If the plan was registered after 1 July 1974 the balcony wall including the door and its working parts are generally common property and the owners corporation’s responsibility (unless the strata plan says otherwise). (Section 62). Information and copies of your strata plan are available from Land and Property Information NSW.

    In some cases the repairs may be covered by the building insurance policy and an owner can ask the owners corporation to make a claim. If the owners corporation refuses to repair common property an owner may lodge an application for mediation to help resolve the dispute.

    3. Water has leaked though my ceiling from the unit above and has damaged my carpet. Who is responsible?

    Firstly, the ceiling is generally common property and the owners corporation’s responsibility to repair (Section 62). The lot owner is responsible for the paintwork except where it is damaged by the owners corporation while repairing the ceiling. (Section 65(6)).

    Who is responsible for the carpet? Repairs to the carpet within a lot are the lot owner’s responsibility. (You may be able to make a claim on your home contents insurance policy if you have one.)

    Alternatively, you may seek independent legal advice about the possibility of compensation from either the owners corporation or the other lot owner.

    4. I want to install an air conditioner. What do I need to do?

    It needs to be established whether the unit is to be installed on common property or on a common property wall within the airspace of the lot.

    Airspace of the lot
    The owner needs to ask for permission under by-law 5 to drill the holes in the common property wall. The owner may also need to refer to by-law 17 in regards to any changes to the appearance of the lot.

    Common property
    An exclusive use by-law may be passed by special resolution at a general meeting and then registered with Land and Property Information NSW. A special resolution is one against which not more than 25% in value of votes is cast. The value of the vote is the unit entitlement (Section 51.)

    5. I am buying into a strata scheme. What documents can I see before I go to the auction and do I have to pay a fee?

    An owner or person authorised by an owner, mortgagee or covenant chargee may write to the owners corporation requesting to view the records of the owners corporation. A fee of $24 for the first hour is payable. The records would include the strata roll, minutes, accounting records, plans, specifications etc. (Section 108) A certificate with relevant information can also be obtained (Section 109 Certificate.)

    6. How are levies worked out?

    Levies are decided at a general meeting by a majority vote. A budget or forecast is produced at the meeting detailing the existing financial position and an estimate of income and expenditure for the coming year. Levies are payable by each owner in proportion to the unit entitlements for each lot (Section 75, 76 and 78.).