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Archive for the 'legal' Category

TasWater Billing & Strata Unit Tenancy

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Note: I am not a lawyer and have no qualification to offer legal advice. However, if this issue is relevant, you might contact the authorities listed at the bottom of this article to pursue your stolen money. Also, I hope at least some people stop paying illegal water bills to Tasmanian landlords. This article includes research conducted by my partner and I because my property manager emailed an illegal water bill.

If you are renting a unit (in a block of units) in Tasmania there is a good chance your landlord is passing on water bills that are illegal. If so, you may even be entitled to ask for all of that money returned.

The issue is that Tasmanian landlords and property managers (like BluEdge Property) don’t have the right to chop up a water bill into (say six) parts. If there is only one water meter to the property then it would be illegal to merely divide the water component of that bill by (for example six) units. It would be arbitrary… either for the number of rooms (on the assumption that more rooms means more responsibility for usage), the number of tenants (assuming more people use more water), or time into the tenancy agreement (assuming a linear progression of water usage over time).

An added complication that makes this type of billing impossible (and therefore unfair) is that unit occupancies stagger through a billing period. So whatever the billing regime that calculation was based on it would be a guess. And landlords may try to dupe you by saying it’s in your Tenancy Agreement or they have sighted the bill. Or that the Act says metered to the property (a meter on the property), when it means metered to the part of the property that you are legally responsible for as a tenant.

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Life isn’t that Complicated

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

It is not uncommon for victims of serious crime to misunderstand the sentencing regime in Tasmania. This is not because the sentencing regime is beyond comprehension, but often because prosecutors give witnesses false ideas about the outcomes offenders face in the Justice System and about what the parole system means within that world view. A classic misunderstanding is about Life Sentencing.

To be clear, a Life Sentence is no more a literal definition than it is to say the Governor ever took personal succour from the sentencing of men to serve at the Governor’s Pleasure (also known as The Key, or more recently The Dangerous Criminals Act). Life Sentence or the Term of his/her Natural Life, at least in Tasmania during my lifetime, has not meant that someone will never be released. Although a Life Prisoner can be held, if circumstances and behaviour warrant, for their entire lives. Thus, the term Life in that particular phrase.

Tasmania last executed a prisoner at Campbell Street Gaol (from memory) in 1946 – the death penalty was abolished in Tasmania in 1968. At that point we commuted anybody sentenced to death into Life prisoners under a new Act invoking mandatory Natural Life sentences for murder and treason that were implemented through to 1994. At that point, Tasmania enacted the Criminal Code Amendment (Life Prisoners and Dangerous Criminals) Act 1994 that allowed for truth in sentencing and for existing Life Prisoners to apply for resentencing at the Court’s discretion under the new Law. In fact, Life Prisoners were told their only path out of Tasmanian prisons was through this application process. The Court could impose 16 years… or restate the Life sentence (with or without a non-parole period)… or any appropriate sentence in-between.

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Common Name Web Domains can be a Problem

Friday, November 29th, 2013

I’ve had this web domain for years and invested tens of thousands of hours in content generation, site maintenance and relationship building. Throughout my university years up until now this has been the main marketing channel that brought in business and income. It endorses my expertise. It provides a form of legitimacy that I need to sell myself as a professional. And it makes me look good when people hunt me out as a web professional.

However, over the last two years there has been a growing (and slightly annoying) problem with emails that I receive through my main email account. The one attached to this domain.

A South Australian lawyer shares the same name and has a very similar domain name. His URL is different by one letter because he includes a middle initial. And I get approximately three emails per week from clients or people related to his law firm.

At first I used to forward these private and confidential emails along to the other Steven Clark. Then I began replying instantly to the sender that they have the wrong email address. But my issue with both of those solutions was the lawyer perceives that the problem doesn’t exist simply because I’m the sap using up cognitive load dealing with these errant emails.

Add that up… three emails times fifty two weeks in a year. That’s how many times I receive notifications or meeting requests, attached PDF and Excel documents clogging up my limited account space… over 150 free services that I have provided in the last twelve months. I’m not an employee.

My other concern is that I am receiving private and confidential legal documentation. This is really not a good situation. But it comes about because they chose their domain name or named their business very badly.

So at the moment I’m ignoring this spam. Because that’s what it’s become from my perspective. I have a huge sympathy for the lawyer and can see how this has occurred but I really don’t like having to deal with my clogged up inbox or the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that private information isn’t being appropriately secured.

The moral of this story is probably that a near enough domain name is always going to be an issue. One letter wrong in the sender’s email address and the communication channel has a high likelihood of chaotic error. If you only receive 99 per cent of your mail then you really have no idea what should or shouldn’t have arrived in the first place.

I really don’t know what to do about the issue though. I know it would bother me if I was their client.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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