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Is starting an 'alt' committee a good option?
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Costa
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19/06/2018 - 2:29 pm
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I won’t bore you with the details except to say we just had the AGM in our Sydney strata of 36 and we have the same lazy, do-nothing, gerrymandered, faceless Strata Committee with everything signed-over to the lazy, do-nothing strata manager.

When anything needs to be done, say an urgent sewer leak needs attention, the SC says ‘tell the SM’ and the SM says he needs SC approval before getting it seen to. Get the picture?

I think it’s time to start that ‘alternative strata committee’ I’ve seen mentioned in these pages or a website or blog to get some transparency happening.

Would ‘Stratabox’ which I’ve seen mentioned here be the way to go? Or an independent blog?

The goals are, as I say above, to get responses faster and more sensibly and achieve transparency. There’ll be resistance, as one might imagine.

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Jimmy-T
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19/06/2018 - 8:30 pm
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What you need is a new committee and one of the best ways to achieve that is to get enough like-minded people to agree on an agenda and put themselves forward to take over at the next AGM.

There are many ways to do this but communication is the key to all of them.  I suspect Stratabox works best when it is run by the committee.  The trick is to become the committee and then install Stratabox so that you can keep the good guys in power for as long as they are needed.

Conversely, being a constant iritation to the committee doesn’t work.  You have to give people a reason for voting you in – and that usually comes down to showing them how their money is being wasted and how the value of their property is being harmed. 

Anything else is just politics and most owners couldn’t care less about what they see as purely personal conflicts.

So, yes, form your government in exile, but make it a force for good and not just a convocation of carpers.

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Flame Tree
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20/06/2018 - 10:48 am
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In some complexes the good folk you want on you committee are too busy elsewhere, with work or other commitments and wont take it on because of the constant hassle or time requirements. Which leaves the remnants who sometimes think they are king – not servant, and like things how they’ve always been, or may be nice just not competent in this role. Having been on the committee here I’ve decided I wont again but am convinced with the right carrot and stick approach it may not even be necessary.

The flow for who ever takes up the role needs to be first understanding their obligations, responding with timeliness and pro-activity, applying themselves adequately enough, and then having the authority to make decisions and get on with it. Somewhere in there is the order any committee needs to work to based on firstly referring to the Act, then the Budget, then the Contractors, then some other things but I’ve completely forgotten. And if that doesn’t work you certainly do have the right to further things with your State government entity responsible for all this.

Before you do that though please acquaint yourself with laws written in your state Act, and your complex’s (live)-by-laws which give you something to refer to for your own knowledge and to help enforce your requirements – if, in fact, you do have a legitimate point.

As to having a alternate committee I’d caution that you do so with an good spirit and open door and just seek the views of other owners who may feel as you do (or not, but at least you’ll find out) and from the numbers base you can then take that to your own committee. If that doesn’t go so well and you do have the numbers you can threaten and maybe calling for a EGM to role the current crop, but be careful what you wish for if it comes to that as some among you might like to plan for the war, but not for the peace… and then what happens?

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Bunyip1
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23/06/2018 - 10:24 am
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Hey Flame Trees,

I was in the same situation as you, the SC were overseen by a bully of a strata mgr who had a financial interests in the building and with his connected co owner and employee would ride rough shod over any others at meetings.  I felt helpless as I was the only person who questioned decisions. At our recent AGM there was an awakening, 2 other owners appeared that we have never seen or met before. Unfortunately, their premier attendance was because of a major issue affecting their lots.

Nevertheless, we were able to turn the tide by demonstrating just how lax and unprofessional they had been, expecting no one to understand figures and projections, we had them scrambling to get copies of their own figures, which the principal arrogantly did not bring to the AGM. Owners that had never spoken in past AGM’s added their voices to the cause. It was priceless the sense of being vindicated, I wish this for you Flame trees!

You need a battleplan, as it often feels like a battle. Firstly, gather evidence of possible breaches of duties by Strata Mgr or SC, quote and state SSMA 2015 sections and clauses like 106 requiring common property ( your sewer ) to be fixed or liability for damage will be on them, Shum v. SP30621 to name a case. Ask for the Strata roll, you can get all the contact details for all owners of the building here. It is illegal for them to refuse you this, you can convey your concerns to other owners. Sometimes it is a long wait and when you achieve the numbers, you will realise it’s always been about the numbers in support. Also to save time on decisions about repairs being passed between mgr and committee Propose a spend amount for items that don’t require a meeting, Maybe $6k – $10K.

Alternatively just wait as Strata  / management if left unchallenged for many years develop a sense of hubris and may do things which breach the Act. Wait and collect all these breaches then at the right moment ” on your command unleash hell !

Good luck

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Bunyip1
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23/06/2018 - 10:34 am
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Oh by the way Flame trees, I’ve still got an Ace up my sleeve a definite breach of the Act by the Strata mgr which I didn’t even use at the AGM. It;’s my security if they slip into bad habits again.

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Flame Tree
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25/06/2018 - 9:47 am
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Haha, good for you. Yes, we do have an increased spending limit here but that can be a two edged sword if the committee go off and do silly things with it. It seems being on the Committee tends to turn folks from your allies to enemies once they join and discover the practicalities and time consumption these things can take. And realize the nonsense that lands in their lap dealing with all sorts of people, agendas, competencies etc.

That’s why the numbers gathered of disgruntled owners who will form a united voice surely has it’s place, but the compiling person to gather these needs to probably be the architect of a proven battle plan before doing this and then determines to stay in control or you may find your group all falls apart on fractured desires.

Selling the broader dream of what you feel is beneficial (with reasons why) and backed up with Act requirements and supporting stuff will help sway things your way and help you make it less about you v them personally. A ‘less me, more we’ approach hopefully helps and so the numbers behind you surely can’t hurt.

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Bunyip1
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25/06/2018 - 5:29 pm
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Yes for sure Flame Trees the ” we ” and not ” I ” approach is good. Like other posts on Flat Chat, Strata Living and living in a separate House are two totally different animals and can never be compared, Although it is sometimes forgotten when there are repair and cost issues at hand. People must understand a Strata Scheme is a joint community and it’s meant to be all owners and committee members for the good of the scheme for everyone in the building. Good Luck, I hope more of your committee come around to this way of thinking.

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Ziggy
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12/07/2018 - 5:45 pm
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I’m in the exactly same position as Costa. There have been quite a few breaches of the SSMA in my unit block.

Re getting elected onto the SC, most of us don’t want to because of personality clashes. Which is where it gets personal.

Just a question, if an owner can’t make the AGM, can they put their name up for election to the SC?

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Jimmy-T
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12/07/2018 - 6:04 pm
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Ziggy said
Just a question, if an owner can’t make the AGM, can they put their name up for election to the SC?  

Yes, you can nominate yourself (unless you are a co-owner) in writing before the meeting.

Howver, speaking personally, I wouldn’t vote for someone who didn’t turn up at the AGM unless they had a very good reason for not being there

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