House Stress

Stress
ARGH. I’ve been having stress about our house for the past week. (See? This is why I wanted to keep renting.) One of the neighbours stopped by last week to let us know about an exterminator that was going to be working, and then casually asked if we had any plans on paying our outstanding strata fees. Uh, what? Frantic inspection of the filing cabinet revealed that we have not received a single mailing from the strata management company for a full YEAR. No bills, no AGM notice, nothing. We’ve spent the last week trying to get anyone there to actually send us an invoice so we can pay it. We finally had to get the Head of the Body Corporate (and her paralegal) involved to get things moving. It turns out they’ve had our address wrong this entire time! GAH. So yeah, we’re getting it straightened out, but now I feel paranoid that all the other owners think we’re deadbeats. I’m going to have to bake them all cookies or something.

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  1. How on earth did they have your address wrong? Not being a home owner I’ve no idea about these things but that just sounds wrong…

  2. Nah, that’s just why strata titles suck 😉

  3. No idea. We actually got the first bill in 2008, but we’re now wondering whether it got delivered to someone else in the building and they put it in our mailbox by hand.

  4. Parramatta Council sent out rates notices to our old address for more than a year. Since I stopped the mail forwarding after 3 months, we didn’t find out until the previous owner rang us to tell us that the council had told THEM that we were a year in arrears.

    I made a formal complaint about it, and am still waiting to hear the outcome.

    And just to be spiteful, we are paying off the arrears VERY slowly 😉

  5. If I lived in your building I’d seriously consider changing your strata manager. Your building pays significant fees to the management company, and to allow fees to be outstanding for a year because of a stupid error in documentation is bad performance of a most basic kind. In my building we don’t employ a managing agent, but do it ourselves. We would know when fees are even a quarter behind and follow up.

  6. We’re trying to decide at the moment whether we should refuse to pay the additional “recovery” fines on the principle that any recovery notices they sent to us were not received. Also, Rodd has verified that our phone number is perfectly easy to look up in the White Pages, so they could’ve contacted us at any point via that method.

    (The interest we’ll cop to. I mean, yeah, we should’ve realized neither of us was paying the bills.)

  7. Honestly you have an address in the building they manage and they didn’t have it right. Surely the “definition of the property” you are paying strata fees for would have the address included.

    I would be disputing the recovery fines!

  8. I have a feeling that ultimately it may be as much Australia Post’s fault as anybody’s. Our address is 12 Moorgate Street, yet the strata agency had us as 12/12-30 Moorgate Street. (There are units in the building, but ours is a townhouse that fronts directly onto the street and hence doesn’t really have a unit number.)

  9. No it’s not Kris. The Strata Managers failed to manage. I would pay only the fees and not a cent more.

  10. Update: We’ve paid the fees plus the interest, which we both felt responsible for. (We should’ve caught it sooner.) However, I sent a strongly worded letter objecting to the $160+ in debt recovery fees, and also directly contradicting the strata manager’s assertion that Thursday was the first she’d heard of this matter. (I had documentation of all the calls and emails we’d made to them in the past week, so I kinda blew her out of the water on that one.) The head of the body corporate is siding with us. A quote:

    “…On the face of the detail below I don’t believe the Debt Recovery Fee
    should be the expense of Kris and Rodd, when it seems that far less
    expensive measures could have been employed to try to contact them to check
    why the levies hadn’t been paid; which would quickly have revealed that it
    was due to non-receipt of any levy notices.”

    EXACTLY. So I’m pretty confident it’s going to be worked out. The onus is on them now to drop the fees or to risk the body corporate deciding to fire them and go with somebody else at the next AGM.

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