Owners of units at the troubled Mascot Towers will finally be able to move forward after a majority voted in favor of selling them to a consortium for a fraction of their purchase price.
More than three-quarters of the owners of the 131 units and nine commercial leases in the development agreed this week to a deal that would allow them to pay a percentage of the value of their properties.
Residents were evacuated in 2019 when serious structural defects, including large cracks, appeared in buildings in Sydney’s south, but had since been paying thousands of dollars a month in mortgages and strata fees.
A rescue package was presented to apartment owners in January, compiled by NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler, designed to waive fees and pay rock-bottom prices for uninhabitable residences.
The New South Wales government has given the plan its final step of approval, ending a five-year drama.
The owner-occupiers of Sydney’s infamous Mascot Towers (above) have struggled with debts worth millions of dollars after their homes became uninhabitable.
The towers were evacuated in 2019 when structural defects, including large cracks, were found and the building was declared unsafe.
One of the apartment’s owners, business manager Rachel Williams, 52, said she was surprised the plan was approved at the prices offered.
‘T“They improved their initial offer, but I’m still surprised that they reached a 75 percent majority,” he said. Doman.
‘TThere are still many people who are missing out. People had to register for different briefings as “outgoing” or “permanent.” We’d love to stay, but that’s too risky. You don’t know what will happen.
“So, in reality, everyone has been forced into the ‘exit’ basket, even though they are not very happy about it and it is financially difficult.”
The residents unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court last year to cancel the strata plan and its current rates, which would have allowed them to sell the building in its entirety to a new developer.
On top of this, more than $21 million in government-funded rental assistance to live elsewhere is set to expire on June 30, leaving landlords with little choice but to accept the Building Commissioners’ package.
The bailout package amounts to about $30 million across all towers and owners must sign contracts along with a confidentiality agreement by March 20.
NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler (above) proposed selling the apartments as “individual lots” and using the funds to pay off the owners’ debt after an attempt to sell the building in its entirety was blocked .
Large cracks (like the ones above) began appearing around residential towers in 2019 after Aland Developments began construction on a neighboring property.
“David Chandler has managed to pull a very big rabbit out of a very small hat with this deal,” said John Engeler, chief executive of Shelter NSW, who has been helping owners navigate the deals and reach an agreement.
“I think a lot of people have concerns, but most are relieved that this nightmare will soon be over.”
The evacuation of Mascot Towers came after defects in the construction were discovered. The owners claimed that the construction of an underground parking lot in a neighboring building contributed to the cracks. The latter two parties settled a confidential sum last year.
The Mascot Towers saga began about six months after residents of another Sydney apartment block, Opal Tower, were evacuated due to similar concerns.
The New South Wales government has since passed laws to make building standards more rigorous and provide attention to owners of failing apartment buildings.