This article about scheduling garden maintenance in apartment buildings has been supplied by Karina Heinz, Progressive Strata Services.
Question: The garden directly outside my apartment never gets maintained as I’m the only one affected by it. How can I ensure garden maintenance is scheduled and regular?
I live in an apartment in a small scheme. In the block I live in, we have a walkway that has a well-established garden on either side of the path. In front of and beside my unit is a well establish hedge to block the view of the garbage area.
None of the owners corporation members live in the block of units with a garden or hedge, so I find these areas are just left to grow wild unless I ask for the hedge to be trimmed. Every time, I have to ring and complained and then it takes a while to have the job done.
I get the feeling that unless the garden maintenance is near their apartment and directly affects them, they don’t care. Knowing that the garden and hedge need maintenance at less twice a year, it makes sense to me for the job to be scheduled.
Why doesn’t the garden maintenance outside my apartment happen without me asking?
Answer: The scheme has a strict obligation to maintain all aspects of common property. Follow our 4 steps to find out how to make sure this is regularly scheduled.
The scheme has a strict obligation to maintain all aspects of common property – here is what Judge Brereton said a long time ago.
“….4 The duty to maintain involves an obligation to keep the thing in proper order by acts of maintenance before it falls out of condition, in a state which enables it to serve the purpose for which it exists. Thus the body corporate is obliged not only to attend to cases where there is a malfunction but also to take preventative measures to ensure that there not be a malfunction. The duty extends to require remediation of defects in the original construction of the common property. And it extends to oblige the owners corporation to do things which could not be for the benefit of the proprietors as a whole or even a majority of them. 5 It follows that as soon as something in the common property is no longer operating effectively or at all, or has fallen into disrepair, there has been a breach of the s 62 duty…..”
The section is now Section 106 under the new legislation.
I should think the easy way to handle this is to raise at the AGM:
- when you are discussing the budget, get the cost allocated in the fundraising
- get the committee meeting after the AGM to commit and instruct the manager to organise it. Work out the dates in the year eg April and November when the maintenance needs to be done so the manager diarises this and then it’s locked in and minuted
- If it is still not done, you know it is an issue with the manager, not the committee and you can raise this as a performance matter about the strata manager (and bring the oversight to the attention of the committee) at the next meeting. They’ll make sure they do it in the future.
- If it doesn’t get up at the meeting at budget level (and the committee meeting after the AGM to approve the frequency and dates and instruct the manager) then write to the manager to put on the meeting agenda for next year. They are legally obligated to put it on or you can go to Fair Trading (which starts with mediation) and this may be the reality check they need to get on with it.
Can you relate to this situation? Is something similar happening at your scheme? What have you tried to solve garden maintenance at your apartment building? Please let us know below in the comment section.
This post appears in Strata News #264.
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