The matter dealing with the Budget for financial year 2015-16 and associated Recurrent Charges was heard by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) on 13 and 14 April 2016; 15 September 2016; 14 October 2016. The Decision of Senior Member G Meadows was handed down on 31 May 2017.
Here is a brief report provided by a member of The Landings residents committee:
- Against Sakkara’s application on 10 December 2015 seeking enforcement of their proposed budget (PB) for FY16 expense totaling $2,081,629 [and that would have meant a $785.08 levy per month if we had not challenged it] residents’ response/arguments sought Tribunal orders to remove $426,151 from that proposed expense. Result today: $230,557 is to be removed. That means the new levy ordered for FY16 is now to be $701.16 per month … and that’s $83.92 per month we have now avoided having to pay as the levy. It also means Sakkara’s proposed budget for FY16 can retain within it about $195k of expense. Nevertheless this success means that lessees have saved over $1,000 per year for FY16 and presumably for FY17;
We had also asked for an order that no ‘retrospectivity’ would apply to allow Sakkara to make ‘back charges’ [being the difference between the levies under the last approved budget FY15 and the newly set levies]. We asked that levies to be effective only from the new orders seeing the FY16 year was now well over – but no such relief was granted;
Our case had challenged 13 line items, each of specific expense amounts which totaled that $426,151. Had we won all that, we would have been paying only $619 per month. Happily we have won 5 of the more important ones outright; 5 more were ruled mostly to be 50/50 ‘shared’ but the reasons in the 176 pages need close examination to determine why and how each may affect the FY18 budgeting.
The good/bad news is that we lost only 3 of the items, two of which are minor –worth only about $43k – BUT … the bad news is we lost what I see as a big one – and this has been my own personal on-going fight [supporting RVRA against bad legislation we’ve been stuck with causing this] and it’s been the old elephant sitting in the room since 2010 when the new legislation started. Yes, it’s we have to again pay for external painting of Sakkara’s buildings. G Meadows, like J Smith, now admittedly rebuts J Bordon and says residents must pay the $55k involved but, don’t be fooled folks, the total painting contract is really an open-ended – i.e. no final cost nailed – deal already made to be paid off over 3 years at $55k per year to repaint all 12 buildings that were not painted in 2013 when all the other defectively painted dwellings were painted under earlier Tribunal orders! Very sad to me;
But some good news again: Meadow’s decision indicates our right as Respondent to seek costs. As we’re in for over $120k (with 9 of us outlaying our personal money to pay our barrister’s last bill) we now may be able to go for 80% of that cost, but no doubt whatever we try for, that will be another argument/challenge headed by Sakkara’s expert lawyer, Arthur Koumoukelis, to continue to give us a hard time.
A full summary of the case will be found on the Australian Legal Information Institute website