Stronger laws needed to stamp out overcrowding

1 Jul 2015

Stronger laws are required to stamp out illegal overcrowding issues in Sydney apartment buildings according to Australia’s leading strata management company.

While supportive of the efforts of the City of Sydney to tackle chronic overcrowding issues, BCS Strata Management believes it is time for the state government to step in.

BCS Strata Management spokesperson, Mr John Georgas, said the company supported the recent actions of Mayor Clover Moore and the council.

“In fact BCS Strata Management brought many of these matters to the attention of both the council and the state government through the Fair Trade Commissioner, Rod Stowe, earlier this year,” Mr Georgas said.

“It’s great that some of the issues we raised are being tackled but more needs to be done.”

Mr Georgas said BCS Strata Management contacted the New South Wales State Government after a number of their managers were physically threatened by owners, who council now suspect have criminal links.

BCS Strata Management are now calling on the state government to strengthen the Strata Schemes Management Act and give the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) more power to act against unscrupulous owners.

“The current rules limit the number of persons per bedroom to two,” Mr Georgas said.

“All this has done is encourage owners to build new bedrooms by using loopholes in the development approvals.”

BCS Strata Management had a recent ruling go against them because the owner claimed the wall he put up to partition a new bedroom was in fact “furniture” because it did not extend all the way to the ceiling.

“This meant the owner could put more people in the apartment, creating a number of issues, not the least being an increased risk of fire,” Mr Georgas added.

“It is difficult to enforce the rules we have and it’s made even harder when the state legislation does nothing to back them up.

“We need much better co-ordination between council and state laws if we are going to stop overcrowding and the issues it can create,” Mr Georgas concluded.

BCS Strata Management will continue to pursue the state government to ensure practical solutions are enacted.