Before the state elections in Queensland last year, the state’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles invited the Unit Owners Association of Queensland (UOAQ) Committee to contribute to a legislation review regarding management rights in the state’s apartment buildings.
Queensland strata owners and residents have all the issues that affect apartment residents in the rest of Australia. But they are also unique in have to deal with the consequences of the legalised corruption (my term, not theirs) of pre-sale of management rights.
Under that system, developers pre-sell the management rights to their new blocks to individuals and companies. The apartment owners, who have to pay the bills, have no say in the terms and conditions of these contracts, or even their on-sale to other bodies.
Yes, it’s true. They can’t negotiate the terms of their management contracts or even choose who their managers will be, and the contracts can last up to 25 years and beyond.
Oh, and naturally they have to pay a hidden premium on the contracts to cover the cost of their purchase.
What is the purpose of pre-sale of management rights? To put more money in developers’ coffers – there is no other reason for it.
Why hasn’t this blight on the image of Queensland strata been wiped out?
Partly because the banks make too much out of lending the finance needed to buy the contracts. Partly because developers make too much out of it the sale of these contracts. And partly because the principle is so ingrained in the Queensland system that it would take quarter of a century to undo it.
But that’s not the only issue confronting Queensland apartment residents – for a start, there are the councils that turn a blind eye to online holiday letting in blocks that were designated, before they were even built, to have zero holiday lets.
And, as we said, there are also all the other issues that come with communities sharing facilities and responsibilities in modern cities.
UOAQ have been invited to contribute to a legislative review panel that was flagged to start this year to the review and are working towards having as comprehensive a body information as possible.
To get the views of owners and occupiers to present to the government, they are conducting an online survey covering many aspects of the management of apartment blocks and schemes.
“The key recommendation of the UOAQ Discussion Paper titled “What to do about Management Rights?” was to ensure that all levels of government had a formal mechanism to gather feedback from owner and occupiers of strata schemes in Queensland,’says UOAQ President Bradley von Xanten.
“The voices of commercial interests in strata buildings often drown out the voices of owners and occupiers.”
So they are interested in gathering data from Queensland (only) unit owners and residents. The survey is on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UOAQ.Inc, and the direct survey link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BM9WJZQ.
If you live in or own an apartment in Queensland, this represents the best opportunity in decades to get your opinions heard by those who can make a difference.
The survey takes about 20 minutes. The questions are mostly yes/no or satisfied/dissatisfied type of questions.
There are some areas where UOAQ would appreciate a brief review of your circumstances. Any questions where you are not familiar with the content, just mark “N/A”.
The survey is anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself and UOAQ say all responses will be confidential.