The following was originally posted as a comment to our piece on why investors should get more engaged with the apartment blocks in which they own properties.
Our sponsors Strata Answers responded with this question: why do we allow absentee investors to freeload off the hard work and goodwill of the residents and other owners who get involved, do the work and make the building a better place to live?
Why have investors been able to reap the returns from their properties for so long whilst remaining disengaged from the planning and decision making so essential to a functioning strata building ?
In a nutshell …they have been freeloading off the efforts of a few committed owners who volunteer their time and energies to make their buildings attractive places to live and in so doing valuable investment propositions for others.
Don’t expect that we can go forward for ever relying upon the efforts of volunteers to man our Committees. The bush fire crisis reminds us we cannot expect our bush fire brigade volunteers to give up hours, days & weeks of their time without some reward.
Perhaps we also need to be reminded that there is a small band of strata owners out there serving on Committees and doing the heavy lifting for all those passive investors and owner occupiers who year after year fail to put their hands up to serve.
The volunteer strata committee model is broken. Our strata buildings now demand greater technical understanding, the acumen of a business operator and a time commitment that few could come up with. As long as a few engaged owners are expected to work unpaid for the benefit of everyone else, any pool of talent a building has will go largely untapped.
If a building is fortunate enough to have talented people amongst its owners, then it should be paying them, not through the vagaries of a golden handshake the year after next, but properly for the value they add.
It’s hard to say if any investors would step up for Committee duties, but at least they would be contributing to the costs of safeguarding their investment.
Practical Solutions for Strata Living