There’s an interesting statistic that I never tire of quoting: no strata manager in NSW has ever been struck off for being really bad at his or her job.
And by really bad, I mean ignoring or not even being aware of the law, to the point that it costs their clients time and money.
Admittedly, some strata managers who were also real estate agents have been dropped (and even jailed) for plundering their clients funds – but that has more to do with real estate than strata management.
Even if your strata manager proves to be utterly incompetent, the worst that will happen is that they will be “counselled” by someone from Fair Trading.
How would we define utterly incompetent? How about turning up for an AGM using the previous strata laws as their guide, rather than the 2016 version, as happened to one Flatchatter?
The out-of-date strata manager’s excuse? “Nobody told me they’d changed?”
Or there was the strata manager for a block where I once owned who spent the entire budget for repairs to 48 windows on getting just two fixed by a building restoration expert.
So what happens to these people if they don’t lose their licences? Maybe they are sent back to strata manager school, but I haven’t even heard of that happening.
That said, the level of professionalism among strata managers has improved beyond belief in the past 20 years or more. The majority I’ve met tended to be smart, well-trained and well-resourced.
But there are still the backsliders out there who either don’t know what they’re doing or don’t care.
Take the SM about whom one of our Flatchatters has written to the Forum, who won’t send the strata roll (the list of owners’ names and addresses) to the secretary without payment of a fee. That’s HERE.
Another one won’t answer owners’ questions about why there hasn’t been an AGM (or a levy-setting budget) for 18 months. Does this mean owners don’t have to pay their levies? That’s HERE.
Also in the Forum this week:
- A tenant wants to know if the by-law banning Airbnb-style rentals applies, as the council say they won’t enforce their own planning laws and the new state laws haven’t come in yet. That’s HERE.
- Speaking of tenants, whose responsibility is it to inform the strata committee (or is it the strata manager?) about changes of occupancy in a unit? That’s HERE.
- In a rare foray into commercial strata, we ask if it’s OK for an owner or tenant to install a communal fridge or kettle in an office kitchen without approval? Seriously! That’s HERE.
- Can we charge residents the call-out fees for causing false fire alarms? That’s HERE.
- Can the costs of damage from water leaks be added to the culprit’s levies? That’s HERE.
- What do you do when your strata manager and committee won’t push through an insurance claim? (Yes, it was in the podcast last week.) That’s HERE.