Family hit with $15k bill for carport they didn't want
A brother and sister have been forced to pay a $15,000 bill after their mum was taken to court over a new carport and strata fees the siblings claim they told the strata manager she couldn't afford.
Vicki and Jerry's parents used to live in a unit with a body corporate managed by a private company.
A few years ago, the Owners Corporation decided to replace the carports, at a cost of $3600 to the residents.
Vicki said to A Current Affair she told the strata manager her mother couldn't afford it, but the installation went ahead regardless.
"Dad was too unwell at that stage to pay any attention to that, he was fighting stomach cancer," she said.
Jerry said he inspected the new structure and could tell "at a glance" that it was "substandard work".
"The roof was not even safe enough for a cat to walk on," he said.
Vicki claimed they just wanted answers for their mum, who doesn't speak English, but instead, they got legal letters demanding payment of unpaid fees and levies.
The Owners Corporation took their mum to court and got a judgement against her for the money owed, sending the bill up to $15,000.
"They sent the sheriff around to my brother's workplace at a panel-beating shop looking for my father," Vicki said.
"And a hundred and one times we've said to them, dad has passed away in 2015, yet they knock on the door asking for Mr Elton."
She said they had also sent an email demanding payment or else her mum would be evicted and her property seized.
Another dad, Adrian Comiskey, has his own beef with his body corporate.
He said he was outraged when he found out his building manager is on a salary of $140,000 a year, according to body corporate documents.
He said he bought in the complex because he thought it would be a safe place to raise his kids, but he claims they can't even go down to the shared pool because of the dangerous steps.
Property advisor for Suburbanite, Anna Porter, said the body corporate could affect property values.
"I spent a lot of my career as a property valuer, and we would often see people having trouble selling properties that have been poorly managed, or the finances weren't looked after correctly, or there just wasn't enough money in the funds to do future works," she said.
But Strata Community Association CEO Alisha Fisher said people should understand that there was a lot going on behind the scenes, including insurance, repairing building defects, and long-term maintenance plans.
"Don't sit on the sidelines, make sure you're taking action by going to the general meetings, asking for information and keeping on top of what's happening," she said.