One of the suggestions that I made in my overly lengthy submission to the strata law consultations was that seriously incompetent strata managers should face serious penalties, including potentially being struck off.
As far as I know, no strata manager in NSW has ever lost their licence for incompetence, regardless of how much distress and damage their actions may have caused.
And while the good, professional strata managers can be very good, the bad ones can be very, very bad.
For instance, by sucking up to the committee (to keep their job) and giving bad advice, they can cause chaos, hardship and waste time, money and energy for all concerned, on both sides of a dispute, when all they have to do is obey the law.
Take the character who is the strata manager for our Flatchatter Snazzy Granny’s strata scheme. She had some work done on her unit that the committee claims blocked the drains.
The committee decided this cost several thousand dollars to repair.
Strike One: They should have called for quotes and taken the least expensive one (and there were much less pricey alternatives).
Snaz disputed both that the fault was entirely hers – there were other elements involved – and refused to pay the entire cost of the repairs so they took the money out of her levies.
Strike Two: They had no right to do that as it was only their opinion that she was at fault and this had not been established at Fair Trading or anywhere else. In effect, they stole money from her.
Snaz then decided to raise this at their AGM but the strata manager said she couldn’t attend as she was unfinancial.
Strikes Three and Four: She was only unfinancial because they’d illegally taken money out of her levies and, in any case, even if she was unfinancial, she could still attend the AGM and even speak at it, although she couldn’t vote.
So what has happened here seems like a committee member has demanded action against an owner and, instead of saying they can’t do that, the strata manager has gone along with it enthusiastically.
Now to me, that SM is a prime candidate for Strata Management re-education camp, and maybe even an invitation to take up a job where they can be of greater benefit to their community … like food delivery or street sweeping or selling Big Issue.
But I’m thinking, if there had been the potential of serious consequences for their cavalier disregard for strata regulations, this SM might have checked the laws before they took an owner’s money out of their account to pay for a disputed bill.
You can read all about this HERE.
Elsewhere on the Forum.
- Another strata manager over-reaches. Despite a by-law enabling the committee to approve renovations, and strata law saying air-con installation is a minor reno, the SM is insisting on a general meeting. Did someone say “Schedule B charges”? That’s HERE.
- How can you pass a special resolution by-law requiring 75 percent when only two out of three owners are in favour? That’s HERE.
- Is it possible to tell before I purchase if I will be able to take out a supporting wall? That’s HERE.
- I want to build a sense of community in our scheme but the strata secretary isn’t interested. What can I do? That’s HERE.
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