Owners in Sydney's Opal Tower say they are struggling to pay for ongoing costs arising from cracks in the 36-storey building, after spending about $1 million over the past 18 months. The owners' corporation is considering a special levy to pay for fees for lawyers, engineers and other consultants, as well as $1.28 million in insurance premiums for the new financial year.
Owner Andrew Neverly, 60, shut his tour and car rental business several months ago because it was reliant on foreign tourists. Mr Neverly said owners were livid at the prospect of having to fork out for a special levy at a time when they were struggling financially.
"As far as we are concerned, it's throwing good money after bad. We can't sell it. Banks won't lend on the building," he said. "It is a hideous situation. Everyone is under loads of financial stress."
Mr Neverly, who was a strata manager for a decade, said the commissioner’s key power to withhold occupation certificates was encouraging but he remains sceptical about the protections for owners. "I advise anyone who is looking to buy into the property market not to buy off the plan, and just buy the finished product," he said.