Residents and owners of Sydney’s evacuated Mascot Towers are being told to go to the Salvation Army if they are facing financial hardship.
- The Mascot Towers development was evacuated on Friday night after cracks were found
- Some residents were allowed back into the building to collect belongings
- The building, which dates to 2008, is no longer under warranty
Building management issued an update this morning, saying the 10-storey high rise remained partly off limits after cracks were discovered in the building’s beams.
The update said the claim on the building’s insurance policy for temporary accommodation has been declined and residents facing financial hardship had been told the Salvation Army Moneycare Counselling Service might be able to help.
The Mascot Towers were built in 2008 and are therefore too old to fall under warranty — NSW laws mean defects are covered for only six years after a complex’s completion.
Stephen Beacham, who owns a unit in the building, said the incident had been costly.
“It’s costing me in terms of mortgage and lost rent, and I’m actually paying for the guys [tenants] to stay in a hotel,” he said.
“The neighbours next to my apartment up there have got a tiny baby and suddenly with a half hours’ notice they’re told to bundle up everything and move out … you’re suddenly homeless with a small child.”
John Higgins, a real estate agent who manages 12 apartments in the building, said it had been a difficult weekend for owners.
“I spoke to one lady yesterday and she said that she can’t afford to pay back the bank based on the tenant not paying rent,” he said.
Some residents have been allowed back into the building on Monday to collect their belongings for the first time since the evacuation on Friday night.
The car park and recreation areas are still inaccessible, however some shops in the building have been allowed to re-open.
The State Government is in the process of overhauling the building industry, including increasing the rights of people living in strata buildings, following a report into cracking at the Opal Tower at Sydney’s Olympic Park in December.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was a complex issue but the Government hoped the legislation would be discussed during the next session of Parliament.
“It would be easy to rush things through but then you’d end up with a whole series of unintended consequences which we didn’t want so we’ve been consulting with industry, we’ve been consulting with other states,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said a Building Commissioner, originally promised after the Opal Tower incident, would be appointed by the end of the year.