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Nosey EC members who want to tell tenants what to do
Strata Plan of 4 by the beach
Flat(chat)Mate
15/10/2012 - 12:41 pm
Member Since: 04/10/2012
Forum Posts: 41
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11

I live in a 4 lot plan with 2 owner/occupiers & 2 tenants (1 of which is mine, next door).

The owner of the other tenanted lot felt free to 'instruct' my various tenants about all manner of things including that they are not allowed to have a washing basket on top of their washing machine in the common laundry as  well as telling another one to "Do something with that garden", referring to the COMMON PROPERTY garden bed in front of their unit.

However, now that this owner has moved out & has tenants of his own, we have strict instructions not to communicate with his tenants despite them repeatedly coming to us with questions about what they are allowed and not allowed to do.

Our managing agent has told us to tell these tenants to contact their real estate agent about any questions they have as this is the specific request of the real estate agent and the owner.  We are willing to do this but we are thinking that if this is an issue for the tenant - apparently they don't like us telling them yes or no but don't stop asking - we can't make sense of that bit, the real estate agent and the owner, we wonder why the agent/owner don't instruct THEIR tenant not to approach the owner/occupiers with questions and requests.

Anyway, it's actually preferable to us to have it all go through official channels as it makes it easier to say no to the tenant and maintain a positive relationship with them - they have asked for all manner of things from storing their 4 bikes in the common laundry, to having a compost bin and vegetable garden on common property to storing gym equipment and outdoor furniture, including a fire on comon property.  They didn't ask about the cat though - funny that.  They also tell us about (the many) repairs that are required in their unit and at first, we were active in assisting in having these repaired by arranging quotes (via the Managing Agent) for the EC to approve etc which their owner would have input to of course, but now, they are on their own and can wait for their (lax) owner to finally get around to it.

considerate band fair
Flat(chat)Mate
22/08/2012 - 6:33 pm
Member Since: 14/12/2010
Forum Posts: 169
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10

Well done jeff.f. Impressive!

Cheers CBF Smile

jeff.f
FlatChatter
19/08/2012 - 5:44 pm
Member Since: 14/04/2012
Forum Posts: 14
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CBF - no, we're not in a large strata plan with an onsite manager.  Our plan has circa 60 apartments and townhouses and is run with a very hands-off strata manager.

We're just lucky enough to have a EC members who include retirees, those who work from home as well as a couple top tier lawyers who can quickly draft and manage correspondence (e.g. notices, warning letters, letters to property managers).

As a number of tenants are foreign students or new migrants, there was a big issue with educating residents when the strata plan began early last year.  We partly solved this by preparing a detailed "residents guide" which we're now in the process of converting into a website, hopefully like the one we found here: http://www.cammeraysquare.com.au

One of our EC members also monitors apartments which are newly tenanted to ensure that the new residents receive a welcome letter enclosing a copy of the by-laws and residents guide.  The main real estate agent managing the majority of tenanted apartments also keeps a copy of this to provide to new tenants.

It's quite a bit of work for the current EC members, but it saves us a hell of a lot on strata manager disbursements (especially in the early years when levies tend to increase exponentially) and ensures that we're always on top of things. Smile

alley cat
FlatChatter
19/08/2012 - 2:48 pm
Member Since: 15/08/2012
Forum Posts: 24
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We actually had a tenant who was on the EC for a time (with proxy from owner). We refer to everyone who lives here as resident (not identified as owner / tenant unless absolutely necessary), that we live in apartments and not flats or units. This consistency contributes to everyone being part of the community and that rules are applied to all residents fairly. Some may disagree, but we take the view that when you decided to live here you where provided with a contract that included registered by-laws and in agreeing to the contract you also accept these rules regardless of whether you are a tenant or owner. 

 

Cheers

considerate band fair
Flat(chat)Mate
17/08/2012 - 8:04 pm
Member Since: 14/12/2010
Forum Posts: 169
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Hi jeff.j, you wouldn't happen to be in a large plan with an onsite manager would you?

Cheers,

CBFCool

jeff.f
FlatChatter
16/08/2012 - 6:13 pm
Member Since: 14/04/2012
Forum Posts: 14
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In our strata scheme (which is approximately 60% tenanted), we have adopted a procedure of posting notices on a nicely framed notice-board in the apartment lifts. 

By default, the notice is one which informs all residents of key duties required by the by-laws.  However, from time to time, we might place notices reminding residents of various things e.g.:

  • monthly council kerbside garbage pickup this coming Thursday;
  • electrician is attending to rectify issue on particular day, so there may be intermittent power outages;
  • garage door malfunction - so please be aware of security issues in basement;
  • garbage chute blocked again - please don't shove pizza boxes down otherwise the culprit may be hung and shot.

We also issue a periodic newsletter which provides an update on various improvements and capital works performed by the Owners Corporation and allows to remind residents (tenants and owners) of current by-law issues (such as illegal garbage dumping etc). 

Where there are breaches of by-laws (usually by tenants who aren't aware of their duties), we send them a polite letter informing them of their breach and the process for escalation to a notice-to-comply and fine where it continues.

Only where there are recalcitrant residents who continue to ignore repeated letters do we escalate this to their rental property manager.  We have good relationships with these property managers, so the issue usually gets resolved very promptly after that.

Logrunner
Newbie
16/08/2012 - 2:26 pm
Member Since: 16/08/2012
Forum Posts: 1
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apples45 needs to be a bit more understanding. Is there any objection to complying with the local rules? Sure the EC should not adopt a dictatorial manner but some tenants in particular seem to feel that thet can behave as if they are living in a hotel. Our Strata has a handout welcoming new residents and tenants and advising them of all they need to know, including people's 'duties'.  apples45 needs to remember that the rent relates to the strata fees so if the fees go up because of increased admin then so in principle does the rent.

As for only making the contact via owners or agents, I think this is positively daft. apples45 seem to have a misplaced faith in owners and agents. Having had to contact all the owners/agents for an 80 apartment block on a subject needing a response, a good proportion of owners and agents simply don't respond, and you spend ages tracking people down. So the tenant will not find out about matters in the tenant's interest, eg fire safety, if all contact is via an intermediary. 

Maybe apples45 should get to know some of his EC and see if they actually are as authoritarian as imagined.  

JimmyT
Admin
03/08/2012 - 11:39 pm
Member Since: 06/01/2014
Forum Posts: 2876
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apples45 said

The EC wants to communicate with tenants and tell them of "duties" that they should be participating in - like rubbish removal etc.

I don't agree with EC members/strata manager communicating with tenants. It should be left to the strata manager/EC to communicate with the real estate agents/owners. The EC and strata manager are not managing the tenants. It is the owners responsibility to inform them of by-laws and duties.

Tenants are subject to the same by-laws and properly constituted rules as any other resident. The Executive Committee and/or strata manager, as representatives of all the owners, are perfectly entitled to inform them when they have breached them. 

If it's just a building's unwritten rules, like taking turns to put out the garbage, and they aren't covered by their lease or in by-laws, then they are entitled to ignore the requests. But if there is a problem, do you really want their rental agent and landlord to get phone calls and letters from the Executive Committee and Strata Managers telling them that they are bad neighbours?

Trust me, even if the landlord starts off sympathetic to the tenants, in a city where rental occupancy is below 0.5 percent, the easiest way to make the phone calls and letters stop is to ask the tenants to leave.

If they feel they are being unfairly treated r harrassed by their neighbours, the tenants can certainly ask the landlord to tell the EC members to back off. And the tenants can get good advice on their rights (and responsibilities) at the Tenants Union website.

But it's standard practice in most buildings for the Executive Committee or strata manager to tell tenants directly if there's a problem.  They will then take it up with the landlords if their complaints are ignored.

When they get a Notice To Comply, a warning which can lead to a fine if they don't pay heed, it comes from the Executive Committee or Strata Manager, not the landlord. 

Ignore one of those and the next communication they might get from their landlord may be the one informing them that they have breached the terms of their lease by breaking by-laws, and telling them that they have to leave.

There's a fine line between informing tenants of their responsibilities and harrassing them or bullying them.  But surely a gentle reminder from someone in the building is better than a letter of complaint to the landlord or agent. I'd personally prefer a quick chat with a neighbour to a letter of complaint being sent to my landlord.

considerate band fair
Flat(chat)Mate
03/08/2012 - 7:37 pm
Member Since: 14/12/2010
Forum Posts: 169
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Hi apples45,

In this case I think it would be easier for the EC or SM to send a letter to all residents. Especially if your garbage is becoming a problem. There is a bylaw I believe that instructs and advises how rubbish should be disposed of as in all garbage to be tied and placed in appropriate receptacle and all recycleable items the same. Could be different in your plan but I think it a good idea in the interests of maintaining a healthy happy building for the EC on behalf of the OC or the Strata manager to send a friendly letter to all residents to remind them of their obligations rather than spend too much time and money contacting individual agents as not all owners of investment properties use the same agent.

We have done so and we have now an impeccable garbage room. Some local councils also offer a service where they do a door knock in your building to advise of appropriate garbage disposal and give you a free recycle bag. We have used this in our plan. There are some times when an agent should communicate with tenants but I do not believe this is one of them. Your etc would be another thing.

Cheers CBF

scotlandx
StrataGuru
03/08/2012 - 7:18 pm
Member Since: 02/02/2012
Forum Posts: 487
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No, you're right.  The EC/OC doesn't have a contractual relationship with the tenants, the landlord does, and the landlord has a legal relationship with the OC.

The EC certainly can't tell tenants to perform duties, that is just ridiculous.  They can't tell owners to perform duties either, e.g. rubbish, gardening etc.  In both cases how they are going to make them comply?  A strata plan isn't a police state.

apples45
FlatChatter
03/08/2012 - 12:35 pm
Member Since: 14/03/2012
Forum Posts: 10
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The EC wants to communicate with tenants and tell them of "duties" that they should be participating in - like rubbish removal etc.

I don't agree with EC members/strata manager communicating with tenants. It should be left to the strata manager/EC to communicate with the real estate agents/owners. The EC and strata manager are not managing the tenants. It is the owners responsibility to inform them of by-laws and duties.

Do I have a leg to stand on in this matter? Do all owners with tenants need to specify to talk to them only and not tenants? 

Who knows what the EC will tell tenants to do without the owner's consent!

Thanks very much.

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