Apartment Living

The complete guide to buying, renting, surviving and thriving in apartments

Australia is currently going through the most dramatic lifestyle shift in 50 years, with the culture of the quarter acre block rapidly giving way to a nation of apartment-dwellers, both owners and renters.

Sue Williams and Jimmy Thomson wrote APARTMENT LIVING both in response to this trend and as a result of their own experiences renting, owning and investing in apartments.

The book is full of cautionary tales, hilarious anecdotes and useful information on how apartment dwellers, whether they are renters or owners, can have comfortable, enjoyable and profitable lives.

But the authors also have dire warnings for anyone who rushes into this sector of the property market without considerable care. They say that:

  • The current laws are so stacked against purchasers that developers are cheating their shareholders if they don’t cheat apartment buyers.

  • Multi-unit buildings worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and with six-figure operating budgets, are being run by “enthusiastic amateurs”.

  • Some developers are ‘hi-jacking’ bodies corporate, with owners having to sign away basic rights – including having defects and faults repaired.

APARTMENT LIVING also tells you everything you need to know starting from the very basics, including:

  • How to choose a good apartment

  • How to have a say in your building’s running

  • How to be a good neighbour – and how to deal with bad ones

  • How to handle the vexed question of pets

  • How to turn your apartment block into a true community

Full of well-researched, practical information as well as amusing and frequently amazing true stories, APARTMENT LIVING is as entertaining as it is informative and is as relevant to apartment veterans as it is to those taking their first tentative steps into the high rise world.

Apartment Living was also the spingboard for Jimmy Thomson’s Flat Chat column, originally in Domain in the Sydney Morning Herald and for the past few years in the Australian Financial Review.

Apartment Living: The Complete Guide to Buying, Renting, Surviving and Thriving in Apartments was published in July 2004 by ABC Books rrp $29.95


Apartment Living, a kind of Lonely Planet guide for apartment buyers and owners …They highlight the classic pitfalls for buyers and owners – buying off the plan, building committees, strata fees, and the leitmotiv for apartment living, body corporates.
— Mike Bruce, Herald Sun 11/7/04

Top 20 Tips for buying an apartment, Number 19: ‘Buy yourself a copy of the indispensable book Apartment Living.’
— Sunday Telegraph 18/7/04

Sue Williams’ new book with television writer Jimmy Thomson, Apartment Living, is a must-have if you’re in the market for an apartment and about to plunge in head-first.
— Sandra Lee, Sunday Telegraph 18/7/04

Williams and Thomson combine their talents in this easy-to-read guide to the best way to buy, rent or just survive living in city apartments. An ideal guide for new buyers or long term residents keen to check their rights.
— Lisa Power, Daily Telegraph 17/7/04

With the use of cautionary tale, hilarious real-life anecdotes and well-researched material, the authors give a clear indication of what life is really like in an apartment building – and it’s not all roses (like some television programs would suggest.)
— City Weekly 8/7/04

Their advice is simple – ‘loosen up, get to know each other and it’ll change your life’. It’s advice that should be heeded by the increasing masses of Gold Coasters who have made the city lead the state.
— Rachel Syers, Gold Coast Bulletin 13/7/04

In short, as apartment blocks rise, so will the expectations of apartment owners. And that could mean short shrift for the short-sighted developers of cheap ‘pack ’em in and stack ’em high’ developments, whose only saving grace is that, when they are ready to be demolished in 20 years or so, they won’t offer much resistance to the wrecking balls.
— The Australian 8/7/04

Conventional wisdom may have it that suburban neighbourhoods have the monopoly on community, with their potential for street parties, knocking on doors to borrow sugar, garage sales and neighbours chatting over fences. But as the population continues to decamp from houses and backyards on the city outskirts and into city apartments, increasingly these residents are seizing the initiative to establish their own tribal communities.
— Sunday Age 11/7/04

A lot of pain and expense could be avoided if buyers of apartments did some simple research before signing on the dotted line.
— Lyndall Crisp, Australian Financial Review 9/7/04

Buying apartments can sometimes be just as hazardous. The traps are numerous – from investing your life savings in a turkey that’s going to lose you money as soon as the deposit’s down, to buying off-the-plan at what you believe is a bargain price, only to discover it’s riddled with defects and bears little resemblance to that stunning display unit that first captured your imagination.
— The Wentworth Courier 10/7/04

This authoritative, one-of-a-kind guide, will help you be prepared for all manner of developers, builders, agents, tradesmen, enighbours and managers who cross your path. Combining sound fact with anecdotal evidence, Apartment Living is an essential refernce for all those wanting to live high above the earth.

Apartment Living