Tempers have flared after frustrated apartment owners agreed to foot a staggering $1 million bill to repair the cracked Mascot Towers.
Outraged residents attended a four-hour emergency meeting at the Holiday Inn at Mascot, Sydney’s south, on Thursday night.
More than 100 apartment owners agreed to pay the $1 million special levy to fund emergency remedial works after their residential tower on Bourke Street was evacuated over structural integrity concerns on June 14.
Owner and resident Bill Tucker said they was little option but to pay the massive bill.
‘There’s not much choice,’ owner Brian Tucker told reporters.
‘It was a pretty overwhelming vote. We just want to see everyone back in the building.’
Outraged residents endured a four-hour long emergency meeting at the Holiday Inn at Mascot, Sydney’s south, on Thursday night
More than 100 apartment owners agreed to pay the $1 million special levy to fund emergency remedial works after their residential tower on Bourke Street was evacuated over structural integrity concerns on June 14
‘We do feel nervous, but we don’t have any other options.’
Residents first uncovered they might have to pay for the repairs after they learned the warranty on their building had expired.
NSW law offers owners a six year warranty period after the completion of the development for building defects deemed out of their hands.
Stephen Goddard, spokesman for the Owners Corporation Network, told the ABC the owners of apartments within Mascot Towers fell out of this warranty period almost four years ago.
Yelling was heard coming from the meeting room as confused residents listened to engineers and lawyers tell them it would be some time before they were allowed back into their homes.
Mascot Tower timeline
Authorities evacuate residents from 122 apartments at the complex on Bourke Street, Mascot in Sydney’s south, over safety concerns.
Crisis meeting involving senior building managers, government officials and strata representatives on Saturday confirmed multiple factors were at play for cracks in building.
Residents learn that the warranty on the building has expired and they will have to fork out the $1 million special levy bill for emergency repairs.
Residents attend emergency meeting held by engineers and lawyers as apartment owners agree to pay $1 million levy to fund emergency repairs.
The hour dragged on until midnight as sleepy and tired residents were told it could be as long as a month before they were allowed to reoccupy the Mascot Towers.
‘I guess we came looking for some answers and I guess there’s not too many at this stage,’ one resident said following the meeting.
MyPlace estate agent John Higgins represents 12 owners in the building, including some who flew from overseas to attend Thursday’s meeting.
‘I’ve got a few residents here that can hang on a month, I’ve got others here that say they can’t afford another week,’ he said.
Mr Higgins said he would encourage owners to pay what it takes to fix the building rather than have it sitting empty while lawsuits drag out.
‘It’s so important to get a building back up to speed,’ he said.
Mascot Towers building media liaison Patrick McGuire said that one of the biggest concerns among residents was retrieving furniture from their apartments.
Engineers are cautiously optimistic that residents in the ‘red zone’ of the apartment complex – a previously non-accessible area – will be able to recover some belongings by late next week.
As one resident explained, they felt they had no choice but to foot the hefty bill
Residents first uncovered they might have to pay for the repairs after they learned the warranty on their building had expired
Current NSW law offers owners a six year warranty period after the completion of the development for building defects deemed out of their hands
At another Mascot hotel tenants of the building met to discuss their own raft of concerns, of which extending the 30 minute window was a hot topic.
One woman was concerned about her goldfish that had been left alone in the building for a week.
The meeting heard some landlords had already told their tenants they no longer needed to pay rent, and had refunded their bonds.
An engineers’ summary released on the night said that while there are some signs the complex is ‘stabilising’.
The exact cause of the instability has yet to be confirmed, though an emergency meeting last Saturday suggested multiple factors could have contributed to the disaster.
Namely, the ‘underdesign’ of a transfer beam which is supposed to transfer the weight of the building onto vertical pillars may have been compromised.
Construction and excavation work from nearby was also floated as cause for concern.
The building and Church Street were blocked off on Saturday morning
Engineers noticed cracks in the building’s car park on Friday, which raised alarms
Engineers are cautiously optimistic that residents in the ‘red zone’ of the apartment complex – a previously non-accessible area – will be able to recover some belongings by late next week
Mascot Towers media liaison Patrick McGuire said engineers had found enough evidence to confirm that movement and cracking in the building had continued in some parts.
‘We can’t give an exact date on when the cause will be identified, but we can advise that the engineers are going to need another week at the minimum to provide findings that have more substance,’ he said.
A second firm of engineers has been appointed to review current assessments.
As tenants and apartment owners wait to receive the green light to move in, they have been forced to stay at hotels or sleep on the couches at their friend’s place.
Many residents have demanded answers as to why they have not been paid out according to temporary accommodation clause included in the building’s insurance.
The $9,000 payout allocated to residents for temporary accommodation has since been frozen, as the building’s insurer assesses if a third party is to be blame for the fiasco.
Outraged resident Fabiano dos Santos said temporary accommodation was the least the insurer could do for the tenants.
Another apartment owner has suggested the building be sold for its land value, in a bid to put the whole issue to bed.
Mascot Towers media liaison Patrick McGuire said after the meeting that owners were obviously disappointed.
‘They’re concerned about what the future is but its early days yet and there’s a very good team of people that they’re taking advice from,’ he said.
Many residents have demanded answers as to why they have not been paid out according to temporary accommodation clause included in the building’s insurance
Cracks (pictured) on the 131 unit apartment building caused a mass evacuation on Friday night