The Landmark St Leonards: Residents slam luxury building

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A luxury apartment block with an $18 million penthouse and views of Sydney Harbour has been blasted by residents who have likened the building to a “prison”.

The Landmark, in Sydney’s Lower North Shore suburb of St Leonards, touts itself as “a true oasis” which boasts “luxurious amenities” including a pool deck and “harbour view roof gardens”.

However, current and former residents have claimed the upmarket building and its management are a “nightmare” to deal with, slamming the “excessive and unreasonable rules” in brutal Google Reviews online.

Bill McGowan, the Chairman and Secretary of The Landmark’s Strata committee and founder of Fastway Couriers told news.com.au the complaints are unfounded.

The 43-storey building, which appeared on Luxe Listings Sydney, has been rated a measly 2.3 out of five stars on Google.

One person, who rated the building a single star, warned hopeful homebuyers not be “deceived by the attractive pictures”.

“AVOID LIVING IN THIS BUILDING AT ALL COSTS!!! It’s the worst place to reside in Sydney,” they wrote in a Google Review.

Another wrote: “If you want to experience how life is in Tibet, Xinjiang, China, just buy or rent a place in the so-called Landmark, yet looks like a Big Prison”.

“So disappointing. I rented here with a view to consider potentially buying,” said another. “As others have mentioned, the building management is nothing short of being draconic and unreasonable.”

Parking issues
A number of residents called out the building’s “punitive” visitor parking rules, claiming those who visited the building on a semi-regular basis are classed as tenants.

“A person who visits you more than once a week – such as a sibling or your partner, is now classed as a ‘tenant’ and cannot park in visitor’s parking,” one person wrote.

“That’s really funny because in the real world, a tenant is someone who is listed on the lease, who contributes to rent and utilities, and has personal mail come to the specified address and changes their address to that of The Landmark. But The Landmark seems to be in its own world with its own internal rules and interpretations of the law.”

Another person claimed they were given a $350 fine after their friends parked in visitor parking spaces over the weekend.

Bill McGowan, the Chairman and Secretary of The Landmark’s Strata committee and founder of Fastway Couriers told news.com.au The Landmark Owners Corporation has never issued a fine to any resident for noncompliance of the by-laws.

“Residents in one bedroom and studio apartments with no parking entitlement, continually park in the visitor’s car park which is in breach of the by-laws,” he said.

“Any resident can apply to the concierge or building managers for a permit for their longer stay visitors to park in the visits parking area.”

Drones used for ‘surveillance’

Among the complaints, residents claimed drones had flown around the building to “check on you”.

“In 2022 (unsure if this is still their practice) they were sending up drones and then sending the captured images to all residents showing washing/items on balconies,” one person wrote.

“If you enjoy being spied on with regular drones sent up to check on you, and what you’ve got on your balcony, then this is the place for you,” said another.

“So disturbing, when weather is not windy, there are drones flying around balconies. My neighbours on (the) same floor also encountered (this).”

However, Mr McGowan said none of the Owner’s Corporation, strata committee, building managers or concierges have ever used a drone.

Residents reportedly ‘shamed’ in newsletters

One resident accused management of shaming those who broke the rules in regular newsletters.

One newsletter, obtained by the Daily Mail, told residents not to hang washing on the balcony alongside a photo of a resident’s clothes line that had fallen onto the balcony below.

“An owner or occupier must not hang any washing, bedding or any other articles on any part of the complex including on or from the balcony or lot or any other place visible from outside a lot,” the newsletter states.

Rubbish issues

The smell of rubbish and issues with the building’s rubbish chutes were other common complaints.

According to the Daily Mail, residents were sent an email informing the chute would close permanently if they continued to ‘misuse’ or block it.

Speaking to news.com.au, Mr McGowan said the rubbish chutes get blocked when “tenants put unauthorised items” down there, including boxes, sheets and rugs.

“There is signage on every floor rubbish room showing what can be put down the chutes, however some tenants continuously put these items down the chute causing blockages, because they are too lazy to take their rubbish down to the rubbish sorting area on B1.”

He also claimed some tenants refuse to sort rubbish and instead dump it on the ground.

A ‘musty’ basement

One resident also complained of water issues and a musty smell in the basement, sharing it was the main reason they sold their property.

“During rain spells, water will run down the walls in certain areas of the basement levels. The mould in our storage cage was severe as a result. There is a persistent musty smell in the basement levels,” they wrote.

“The developers have put plastic wall covers to cover the walls in certain areas but haven’t fixed the root cause of the water ingress. It’s the primary reason we sold after getting professional building advice.”

Mr McGowan said the basement carpark is a wet wall area, which was “disclosed by the developer to all purchasers prior to settlement”.

“Originally some of the water was not contained on the wall so the Strata Committee forced the developer to install false walls.”

Residents said when they tried to raise any of the issues, they found communication with the management was a “lost cause”.

“They were unresponsive to calls and emails, making it nearly impossible to address any concerns or queries. It’s almost like they were intentionally trying to avoid their responsibilities,” one resident wrote.

Mr McGowan assured his phone number has been made available to residents, and building managers are available Monday to Friday 7am-5pm on top of a 24-hour concierge service.

Other complaints included amenities such as the pool, gym and sauna constantly being out of order.

However, Mr McGowan said the pool area is the only common amenity that has been closed, due to “warrantee issues”.

“The Strata Committee has pursued the developer and builder to get the issues remedied prior to the warrantee period expiring. If we did not do this, lot owners would have eventually been hit with massive repair costs,” he said.

When it comes to common areas, Mr McGowan also raised that some tenants in the pet-friendly building refuse to comply with by-laws.

He said he knew of seven instances of dogs urinating on common property and claimed the tenants did not bother to clean up the mess nor contact the building manager.

“In one instance a dog shat in the lift and the tenant just left the mess there,” he said.

“By-laws are in place to protect all lot owners and residents. All strata buildings in NSW have by-laws that have to comply with the NSW strata schemes management act.”

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