OCN in the Media

OCN in the Media2023-12-20T18:36:38+11:00
17January, 2024

Chinese developer ordered to fix defects in 900 apartment complex

17 JANUARY 2024 People who bought into the Lachlan’s Line apartment complex in Sydney’s North were promised a “prestigious new community”. Now they’ve discovered the basement floors in all four blocks are at risk of collapse. Karen Stiles, executive director of the advocacy group Owners Corporation Network welcomed the order which follows increased scrutiny of apartment developments.  The Macquarie Park apartment’s car parks on the basement level are at risk [...]

10January, 2024

Owners Corporation Network proposes new e-bike, e-scooter rules to reduce fire risk in apartments

Owners of e-bikes or e-scooters will not be allowed to charge their batteries inside their apartments under rules developed for strata schemes concerned about fire risk. OCN has drafted a model by-law on the management of e-bikes and e-scooters after a series of fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries.  Read the full article published on the ABC website here You can also listen to the ABC Morning Show interview here Related [...]

11December, 2023

OCN Talks Short Term Letting with 2GB’s Bill Woods

11 DECEMBER 2023 Following a report of people renting multiple properties in order to sub-let on the short term market, Bill Woods dug a little deeper.  Do landlords know if their property is being short term let?  How can they find out if it's being short term let?  What can governments do to curb the commodification of housing?  All will be revealed! Listen to the interview:>  Related content:> [...]

7December, 2023

Treacy left Mascot Towers four years ago. Now she’s $1m in debt and has brain tumours

7 DECEMBER 2023 Desperate apartment owners in Sydney’s notorious Mascot Towers are appealing for the state government to buy their defect-riddled building after the NSW Supreme Court slammed shut the gate on their last-ditch exit strategy. The apartment owners’ peak organisation, the Owners Corporation Network (OCN), is also calling for action. Executive director Karen Stiles said: “The OCN has sadly witnessed the four-and-a-half-year Mascot Towers debacle, caused by wholesale regulatory [...]

23November, 2023

Elizabeth Farrelly on the Sydneyist Radio Program

Karen Stiles talked with Dr Elizabeth Farrelly, Sydney-based author, architecture critic, essayist, columnist and speaker. We canvassed topics such as tips and tricks for buying off the plan, the scourge of building defects, a new phrase "strata-induced poverty", and the wonderful strata living construct. Listen to the 23/11/23 segment:> https://eastsidefm.org/thesydneyist/ Related information:> https://ocn.org.au/off-the-plan-contracts-for-residential-properties/

30October, 2023

Elephant In The Room Property Podcast

30 OCTOBER 2023 OCN discussed "Strata Properties: What's Changing and Why? with buyers agent Veronica Morgan and mortgage broker Chris Bates. Listen here:> https://www.theelephantintheroom.com.au/podcasts/304 00:00 - Introduction 01:25 - Who is Karen Stiles? 02:26 - Building commission changes in NSW and its impact on property owners 08:02 - Complexities, challenges, and risks in strata property insurance 13:21 - Can the strata commissioner contribute to improved strata property management? 14:48 [...]

27October, 2023

Buyers of defective Sydney apartments allowed to break contracts, recoup deposits | ABC News

27 OCTOBER 2023 A landmark deal has been struck allowing people who bought apartments with major defects to get their deposit back. The deal will apply to more than a hundred people who purchased units in Sydney's Imperial Towers. Described as a 'radical' first for New South Wales, the breakthrough is expected to make waves across the finance industry. Watch the full video:> HERE

27October, 2023

Buyers of defective Imperial Towers apartments in Sydney allowed to break contracts, recoup deposits in ‘radical’ first

27 OCTOBER 2023 Nearly 100 people who purchased defective apartments in a Western Sydney development will have their contracts rescinded and deposits returned under a landmark agreement. Key points: Government inspectors found "serious defects" in 2021 and stopped buyers from moving in Developer said "serious defects" had been rectified prior to the receiver being appointed Apartments can't be sold for 10 years, and future buyers must be alerted to any [...]

10October, 2023

Backroom deals in strata insurance and how they’re costing you

10 OCTOBER 2023 Long-standing conflicts of interest can have a big impact on premiums. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to strata insurance, and a lot of the movement is hidden from the people who pay for it. Karen Stiles, executive director of the Owners Corporation Network (OCN), a not-for-profit strata owners' advocacy group, has long campaigned for the removal of insurance commissions and broker fees [...]

1October, 2023

This law was meant to solve Sydney’s housing crisis. It’s left owners devastated

1 OCTOBER 2023 The owners of apartments in crumbling old buildings who were offered multimillion-dollar sums by developers to hand them over for demolition and rebuilds have had their dreams dashed by loopholes in new legislation that was ironically intended to make redevelopments easier. Karen Stiles, executive officer of the apartment owners’ peak organisation the OCN, said repeated requests to reform the legislation had fallen on deaf ears. “The state [...]

28September, 2023

Strata committees can cause grief for apartment owners. Here’s where conflict starts, and how to avoid it.

28 SEPTEMBER 2023 There are almost 3 million apartments or townhouses around the country that have one thing in common: they're covered by a strata scheme. It means the people who own those properties pay regular strata fees to cover any costs related to shared space. Strata committees — elected volunteer owners — make day-to-day decisions about things like building maintenance, repairs, renovations and other big-ticket items.  They're important decisions. But strata [...]

16September, 2023

Telcos Have the Right to Install High Speed Internet on your Apartment Building Whether You Like it or Not

16 SEPTEMBER 2023 Recently, an ITC Lane Cove Chat reader asked if a Telco called GigaComm had contacted anyone living in an apartment complex about installing high-speed internet infrastructure in their apartment building.  With over 50% of Lane Cove residents living in apartments, this was an issue worth investigating. So, what do you do when a Telco contacts your owners corporation with an official notice stating the Telco will be installing fibre and [...]

13September, 2023

Three ways to prepare your unit block for an emergency

13 SEPTEMBER 2023 With extremes of weather, bushfires and strained infrastructure on the way, is your building ready for a crisis to become a catastrophe? OCN is hosting Strata Matters with three panel sessions on how to prepare for any hard times ahead. Read more:> HERE

12September, 2023

Preventing Conflict in Strata Communities

12 SEPTEMBER 2023 OCN spoke with Hilary Harper of Radio National 'Life Matters' about how to prevent conflict within a strata community and a strata committee. Listen:> HERE

29August, 2023

Strata debts sending more Aussie homeowners bankrupt

29 AUGUST 2023 The Business | ABC News A growing number of homeowners are being sent bankrupt because of debts owed to body corporates over the upkeep of building complexes. Consumer groups say it often starts as a small amount but quickly escalates once fees and charges are added, landing some Australians in court. Strata companies are facing calls to offer hardship arrangements. Watch the full video:> HERE  

29August, 2023

Collapsed developer Toplace ordered to fix another defective Sydney building

29 AUGUST 2023 The Business | ABC News Collapsed developer Toplace has been ordered to fix yet another defective Sydney building. Uncontrolled cracking has been found in the Kellyville apartment complex. It was the third Toplace development slapped with a rectification order in one week. Watch the full video:> HERE

25August, 2023

Big changes in store for apartment laws

25 AUGUST 2023 Major updates to NSW strata are being proposed, with working groups having recommended some bold regulatory reforms for the sector. Among the changes afoot is a recommendation to make the initial annual general meeting of new buildings a two stage process so that owners, especially first timers, cannot be railroaded into agreements that are not in their best interests, such as embedded networks [https://www.afr.com/wealth/personalfinance/howtostop-dodgymaintenancecontractsinyournewapartmentblock-20230801-p5dt3d]. Allied to the recommendation [...]

19July, 2023

Apartment owners face strata fee increases of 20 per cent as costs soar

19 JULY 2023 Strata levies paid by apartment owners are up by 15 to 20 per cent on average over the past year as the costs of insurance, utilities and repairs and maintenance outstrip even the rapid rise in general inflation. Apartment owners are facing an increase in strata fees on top of rises in mortgage repayments. Without any official source of strata levies, the evidence for rising levies is [...]

17July, 2023

Is Strata Mediation A Good Idea?

OCN Executive Director talks with Fran Kelly on ABC Radio 702 Mornings about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of mandatory mediation.

16July, 2023

The ‘extra obstacle’ for owners clashing with body corporates over building defects

16 JULY 2023 The number of people applying for strata scheme mediation has surged by 45 per cent in five years as owners clash with owners corporations over building defects and repairs. The average wait time for parties to meet with a mediator was three months, NSW Fair Trading confirmed, while it takes another four months on average for a resolution for those who escalated the issue to the NSW [...]

15July, 2023

NSW’s building industry is reforming after years of apartment defects, but comes too late for many owners

15 JULY 2023 Brian Tucker is forking out thousands of dollars on quarterly strata fees and paying down his mortgage on an apartment that's been uninhabitable for more than four years. So far this year NSW Fair Trading has issued more than 30 work rectification orders across building sites, including The Laneways Rosebery, which remains empty and has serious structural defects, and Toplace's Vicinity complex in Canterbury over "potential serious [...]

13July, 2023

Apartment owners fear multi-million-dollar repair bill after developer Toplace goes into administration

13 JULY 2023 Patrick Quintal was newly married and eager to begin a fresh chapter when he bought a Sydney apartment two years ago. Now the IT manager feels financially trapped, fearing a $180,000 repair bill after the developer of his apartment, Toplace, went into administration. Karen Stiles, head of peak residential strata body Owners Corporation Network, said the situation surrounding Toplace was "not a one-off occurrence". She said apartment [...]

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