Property owners around the country could end up bankrupt if they fail to come up with the funds for urgent costly works on many apartment complexes to bring them into line with local council fire and safety regulations.
Many owners have been asked to pay thousands or more to bring their buildings into line with regulations, with tens of thousands of apartment complexes around the country potentially affected.
Many strata buildings are asking owners to pay a special levy to cover the cost of these works. If owners don’t pay their levy on time, under strata law the outstanding money attracts interest at a rate of 10 per cent a year.
“Strata committees do have the discretion to vary this if there is a good case for leniency,” says Karen Stiles, executive officer of the Owners’ Corporation Network (OCN), which represents owners. “But the owners’ corporation also has the right to hand the matter to debt collectors. They can also start bankruptcy proceedings to recover the debt including interest if the money owed reaches $20,000.”