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Flat Chat

Air-con con trick

Amid all the complaints I we get about Executive Committees being too hard to deal with, occasionally we come across one that's being way too accommodating.

QUESTION: Tenants in the unit next to mine have put in air conditioning without permission or even informing the owner of their unit. This goes against our bylaws but the executive committee is suggesting we create a new bylaw that allows it.

My problem is that my neighbours use it each night just as I am going to sleep. I now have to sleep with ear plugs and which still don't stop the dull thudding in my ears.

Can I suggest that, if it is allowed, they have hours of use to let me get some sleep? Should I be insisting that it's removed?

Hot And Bothered, Sydney

ANSWER: This has a serious whiff of the EC using this breach to create a precedent that they can exploit later when they want to install air-con.

First up, your EC would need to call a general meeting of all owners to change by-laws. You can go to the Office of Fair Trading and challenge any attempt by them to post-date approval by any other means (Call 13 32 20).

You can also ask the OFT and Consumer, Traders and Tenancies Tribunal (CTTT) to order the tenant and their landlord to comply with the existing by-laws (ie remove the air-con).

Even if that fails (and it really shouldn't) State law says residential air-conditioning noise must not be able to be heard in a habitable room in any other residential premises (regardless of whether any door or window to that room is open) before 8 am or after 10 pm at weekends or public holiday, or before 7 am or after 10 pm on any other day.

Contact your local council. They can issue warnings and fines so at least you'll be able to sleep.

Meanwhile, suggest to your executive committee that they acquaint themselves with some OFT literature on how to run the building properly. Backdating by-laws to suit tenants to the detriment of owner-residents is NOT how it's done.

First published SMH May 2007