How many of us are shocked by ‘Keep your child quiet or pay $550’? The headline that caught our attention Tuesday, 8 March 2016.
Have we gone back to shock therapy to scare us into living isolated, cell like existence?
Is this the new for raising our children in Strata, I think not.
Principal Dieb P Khoury, a senior in Strata for over 40 years, has 9 children, and can tell the difference between normal, acceptable noise levels and party volume noise levels. He has represented many clients’ Strata issues successfully and continues to do so.
Following various articles posted on a variety of media platforms, the Strata Management Company has responded by commenting that they can only discuss the headlining correspondence with the intended receiver. That is an understandable and a safe comment considering the high profile held by the Strata Management Company and the reaction received from its correspondence to Janin Mayer ‘a mum raising her child in Strata’. It seems that Janin does not hold the same view, and understandably so. Janin is happy to share the content of the correspondence, maybe in the hope that this does not happen to others in the same situation.
What was once the Australian dream to own your own home, has changed. It is now to own your apartment/unit/townhouse. Multi complex/unit living is the new residence. NSW Fair Trading says ‘currently more than a quarter of NSW’s population lives or works in multi-unit buildings’, and this figure is only set to grow.
If you live in Strata, a good resource tool is the online book by NSW Fair Trading ‘Strata Living’.
How many of us can relate to Janin and her husband Evi’s situation, a 19 month old child and their second due shortly, in a few weeks? Whilst renting in the city, they are trying to find the family/community place for them to raise their child(ren) for the long term.
As Janin makes comment in her article ‘There are other kids in the building but they are a bit older’.
However, has anyone considered?
When Janin and or Evi completed the Application Form to rent the apartment, was there consideration taken into account of the age of the child, compared to the average age of the other apartment residents?
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Is it the Real Estate Agent’s responsibility to inform Janin and Evi? Is it Janin and Evi’s responsibility to ask the Real Estate Agent about the other tenants and whether there are any issues, such as the age of their child and potential related noise, which they should consider before signing a rental agreement? Once signed, the rental agreement locks them in for a fixed time and disadvantages them if they move out sooner than the life of the Lease.
As the letter from the Strata Management Company says ‘Living harmoniously within a Strata Scheme requires all occupiers to be aware and considerate of each other ……………………………………… to ensure that all residents enjoy a peaceful existence’.
Living harmoniously – isn’t that acceptance and tolerance of the tenants with a young family? It can’t be both ways, surely you can’t buy an investment property, rent the investment property, so that you see a return, and then the Owners Corporation becomes upset with the tenant renting. If in fact, the Owners Corporation was successful in issuing the fine to the renter, then why isn’t the owner partly responsible for not renting the unit to a like couple of the existing Strata?
It doesn’t seem fair to punish a young family, paying rent and raising a toddler in a Strata unit, where there is no consideration for appropriate noise levels for families with younger children.
With Strata Reforms around the corner, let’s hope the situation of the Mayer Family can be considered and used as a precedent for the future in regards to living harmoniously. Without our youth Australia has no future, our population reduces, which is occurring, our family sizes are reducing and we currently have the largest number of no children couples. That is a scary realisation.
Maybe the reforms could take into account long term renters and having an ability to vote and be an active member of the Owner Corporation as long as the levies are paid. Levies are paid by the owners, which are normally paid from the rent. It is said often if you pay your rent on time, the levies are paid, hence the reason why some consider that long term renters should be able to vote and attend Strata meetings without the owner having to give their authority over. We are not saying both have the same vote, only one if the owner is not active and the renter is long term, then why not let the authority pass automatically pass over to the tenant?
Whilst the reforms will bring a better quality of life for residents living in Strata, and not knowing the full impact of the new Reforms, particularly in this case regarding By-Laws, in short, it seems the reforms will make it easier to own a pet, smoke drift controlled (smokers in short, not the Aussie Barbie), but the reforms do say it will be easier to take action against noise amongst other things.
We were all children at one time, we all cried when we didn’t get our way, or we were over tied or sick and the list goes on, except in the older days more of us where living in residential houses and the noise wasn’t noticed as much. Now a quarter of us are in Strata and the noise is more apparent. The numbers are only going to increase, and our tolerance and acceptance is going to have to adjust accordingly.
Ms Janin Mayer, if you or your husband would like advice in this area or anyone else please contact Principal Dieb P Khoury of Benjamin & Khoury on (02) 9231 3433 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If for any reasons Dieb is unavailable please ask to speak to Jean-Paul Khoury whom will assist you.