Apartment repair tangle
Question from alison updated on 11th February 2019:
I own one apartment in a block of 12 and we are a cross-lease situation. We do not have a body corp. We pay a small monthly fee to cover the building insurance and lawn garden maintenance. We have no official property manager and things have ticked over nicely for the last 20 years. But now we are well overdue for repaint and repairs. It has never been done before because it is almost impossible to get everyone to agree on what needs to be done, who is to do it and how the money will be raised.
My question is what repairs should be a shared cost – eg: the roof or the ends of buildings? Any suggestions on how to get agreement and move forward would be welcome. We have three quotes for repairs and repainting but getting agreement is another story. There are a couple of tricky people who refuse to engage in discussion.
Our expert Aaron Tunstall responded:
This sounds like a bit of a tangle and, unfortunately, you've still got some work to do before you can sort it out. Unlike most apartment buildings, yours is not governed by the Unit Titles Act, which sets out clear and binding rules for how maintenance is arranged and paid for. Instead, your building's maintenance rules will be set out in its own specific 'Memorandum of Lease' document.
Each Memorandum of Lease can be different for each cross leased property so the only way to know what your building's rules are will be to get hold of that document. The best course of action would be take it to your solicitor for advice, or you could consult with a body corporate management company that offers cross-lease administration services (like Strata Title Administration).
Typically a Memorandum of Lease might require maintenance decisions to have a majority agreement of owners or 75% agreement - but there's no way to know exactly what your building's document sets out until you get it into your hands. Good luck and here's hoping you can get moving on those improvements.
Aaron Tunstall is the owner of Impression Real Estate, specializing in sales, building and property management.