Apartment Living


SPECIAL OFFER - APARTMENT LIVING - DESCRIBED BY 'THE AGE' AS "the Lonely Planet for apartments' IS NOW AVAILABLE HERE FOR HALF PRICE Apartment Living and the more recent and modestly titled Ultimate Guide to Buying and Renting Houses and...



Flat Chat

Forgive our Trespasses

(Please read author's confession at the end of this piece)

Did you know that every time you open your car door in most apartment car parks you are technically trespassing?

If your car spaces are privately owned lots ( and not common property with an exclusive use attached) every time your car door crosses the line into the next space, you are invading someone else's space and you have no right to do so.

This was discovered by one prestige building where an owner was told she couldn't build storage in her car space because it would prevent her neighbours from opening their car doors. But she went ahead and did it anyway, the neighbour could no longer use their car space and she was taken to the Office of Fair Trading for breaching the by-laws.

And the result? In a blow for the freedom of the individual (to be a selfish dickhead), the OFT ruled that the space was hers, the person parking next to her had no right to expect to be able to open their doors over her property and she could keep the cage.

Now the EC concerned has to take the case to court - at huge expense - to try to impose some commonsense on the Office of Fair Trading. The alternative is that any car space can be rendered worthless by a selfish neighbour exercising their "right" to do what they want with the little rectangle of concrete that they own.

As an aside, I also heard about someone who was on the point of buying the penthouse of a very up-market inner-city development when they realised that, with 4WDs on either side of their parking spot, they wouldn't be able to get in and out of their own urban battle tank. The multi-million dollar sale fell through.

Meanwhile, that larrikin Ned Kelly, Crocodile Dundee spirit of "freedom of the individual" seems to be alive and well at the Office of Fair Goes - sorry - Trading, leading to much pain in your personal parking spot.

(NB: I was wrong to aportion blame to the Office of Fair Trading. The blame for this lies with the Adjudicator who was appointed by the Consumer Traders and Tenancies Tribunal. I corrected this in a later column (Who Ya Gonna Call) although, as you'll read, it was an understandable error.}

First published SMH June 2006