Forum: What to do with a do-nothing committee


Sometimes you have to apply the Goldilocks principle to strata committees. Like the three bears’ beds, some strata committees are too hard, some are too soft and others – maybe the majority –  are just about right.

In any case, I suspect it’s the strata softies who are driving one of our Flatchatters to distraction.

“An owner has commenced unauthorised bathroom renovations of which no detail is yet known,” writes Ozzietars in the Forum.

“As secretary of the SC for eight years my frustration over lack of interest,  support or action from the other owners and the strata manager has grown to the point where I feel I’m the only person interested in by-law breaches.

“If I ignore what I believe to be a by-law breach, what can be the consequences for myself personally or the OC?

“In recent years … I made an application to NCAT myself with the strata manager only coming ‘on board’ at the 11th hour.

“I’m loathe to go down that path again. There is no appetite to change our strata manager.”

Apart from Flat Chat’s own frustrations at the obvious courses of action being closed to us – NCAT and sacking the strata manager – you have to wonder what would motivate these strata softies to harden up and look after their own collective interests.  

Section 260 of the NSW strata Act says that strata office-bearers can’t be held liable when things go wrong provided they have acted in good faith.  But what is “good faith”?

Trawling the interweb for guidance, preferably with examples of where this has been an issue, I came across this information sheet from an insurance broker. 

They give the example of the members of a committee accused of not pursuing a building defect forcefully enough, who were granted immunity from liability by the Supreme Court.

In another example, which echoes the original question, owners went ahead with renovations believing they had permission, then sued the strata committee chair when it turned out they hadn’t and were ordered to reinstate common property. 

The committee chair was taken to have acted in good faith.  Now none of these examples cite specific court cases but I’m going to accept that the company is acting in good faith by quoting them.

More to the point, what is Ozzietars to do? If they give up, it doesn’t sound as if there’s anyone itching to take the reins and the whole scheme could go to pot.

I’ve made a suggestion that might stir things up, and you can read it HERE.

Elsewhere in the Forum:

How many proxies can a strata manager take to a general meeting? Go on, test yourself: in a scheme of 39 units, how many proxies can any one person take as extra votes.  You’ll find the answers HERE.

A common property path cuts off a chunk of my yard.  Can I make them move it?  That’s HERE.

Are the strata manager and committee chair allowed to edit my motions to general meetings? That’s HERE.

We have nine lots and the maximum number of committee members in NSW is nine.  Can we all be on the committee? And is it a good idea?  That’s HERE.

The strata insurance excess doesn’t cover the cost of repairs to damage caused by a common property defect and the committee says they don’t have to pay.  Do they? That’s HERE.

Don’t forget there may be other questions on the Forum by the time you read this, as well as responses to questions you’ve already read.

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