Possum Removal in Strata Schemes – more complex than one would have thought!
If you hear something moving around in your roof void in a Strata property on Sydney’s North Shore and Northern Beaches, it is just as likely to be a possum as a rat.
Brushtail and Ringtail possums are the most common possums across Australia. Possums are nocturnal and are not normally seen during the day. Ringtail possums are smaller than Brushtail possums and are distinguished by a white tip at the end of their tails.
A Brushtail possum is roughly the size of a domesticated cat. They adapt well to any habitat and often make their homes in suburban garages and roof voids in all property types, including Strata Schemes.
How do you get rid of a possum?
Possums are a protected species and cannot be intentionally harmed or killed. If one is trapped they cannot be removed more than 150 meters from the original location. This is a requirement as possums are very territorial, and will likely die if taken outside of their territory. Simply removing one will not resolve the issue, a new possum will shortly move into the vacant territory.
The best way to evict a possum is to seek assistance from a professional possum remover. They will install a temporary one-way possum door to allow the possums to exit from the roof void/garage. At the same time seal any entry points the possum is using to get into the roof or garage. Trimming any tree branches touching/overhanging the roof or garage is also a good idea if possible.
The possum will leave to forage at night through the one-way door and not be able to return at sunrise. It will be forced to find an alternative sleeping location within its territory. If the possum returns to the roof void or garage, another access point needs to be sealed.
Why is important that the possum be removed?
Other than the noise and nuisance possums cause, they create other problems. For example, possum urine can cause significant damage to ceilings if they are in a roof void. Possums seek out warmth and often cuddle to recessed lights in a ceiling. They won’t usually eat wires like rats but can get caught up in lighting wires. It’s for the best to get them out of the building and to a location that is less likely to cause any damage to your property and/or themselves.
Is it strata’s responsibility to remove a possum?
As with a lot of things in strata, whether a matter is strata or the individual owner’s responsibility comes down to where the issue is. In our experience, most of the time, it is strata’s responsibility as possums like to sleep in the common property areas like roof voids and even under floors. Contact your Committee or Strata Manager for assistance with possum removal in strata schemes as they may have dealt with similar issues.
Possums keep getting onto my balcony, how do I keep them away?
Cutting branches so that they are 1.5 meters from the balcony can be an effective way to stop possums from climbing onto your balcony, this is however not always possible nor practical. There are several products available from supermarkets and hardware stores that can repel possums (such as mothballs or quassia chips).
Also worth trying:
- rearranging the balcony furniture
- removing pot plants that possums like to eat
- removing pet food or bird feeding trays that they visit, and
- as possums are nocturnal a sensor light might help keep them at bay.
NSW Government DIY possum removal fact sheet:
- First, make sure it is a possum and not a rat or mouse – sprinkling flour near the manhole and checking the footprints will determine this – possums are the size of a cat.
- Next, set up an alternative home for the possum. You will need a nesting box – buy one from wildlife rescuers or build your own.
- Where possible, get inside your roof and locate the possum’s nest. The nest, which has the scent of the possum, should be placed in the new possum house to encourage the possum to its new home.
- Encourage the possum to investigate his new home by putting pieces of fresh fruit in or near the nesting box.
- Locate a suitable tree in your garden to site the box, securing it at least 4 m up.
- Find out how the possum is getting into the roof space by observing it at dusk when it will leave to forage.
- Repel possums by sprinkling the roof cavity with quassia chips (from hardware stores), or naphthalene or camphor (Note: do not use a combination of products) and putting a light into the roof cavity and leaving it on for three days and nights. The combination of the light and the smell should drive the possum out of your roof and hopefully into the possum house you have provided.
- After you are certain the possum has moved into its new home, block its access into the roof by filling the hole with chicken wire or wood and trimming any overhanging branches. Night time is the best time to block off the access points as the possum will have left to forage for food.
- If the possum returns, there is another access point you need to find
About Strata Life – Strata Management Services
At Strata Life we strive to take the pressure of the day to day running of a strata scheme off of the shoulders of the committee members and owners. Whilst the nature of strata itself does mean that the owners/ committee are responsible for the decisions, the pressure is reduced by having a proactive manager provide guidance with a plain sense approach and quickly actioning issues as they arise.
We appreciate Committee members often have full time jobs and busy lives. Add to this that the strata scheme is often your home where Committee members do not want to have to police other residents.
Our aim is to minimise the work and time where we can, take on the role of reminding owners and residents of the by-laws so that everyone can peacefully enjoy community living.
Our team has extensive experience with properties on the Upper North Shore, Hornsby and the Northern Beaches areas, with excellent local contractors and superior local knowledge.
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Whether you’re an existing client or not, our strata managers are here to help with all matters relating to strata schemes and community living. Our office is open Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm to answer your call or, for after-hours assistance, please complete our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you the following business day.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way. Strata Life disclaims any liability for negligence or otherwise in any way connected with this article.