Roundup: Fixing a hole in the strata-sphere


AS we have said many times in the past, there is a great big hole in the otherwise comprehensive advice offered by Fair Trading to strata residents.

We have all sorts of rules and regulations about who can be on strata committees, who can vote, how they should vote, what should be in agendas and how they should be distributed.

But there’s nothing to tell you how people should behave or what the nuts and bolts of a committee should be.  Who gets to speak and how often? What if you have an angry shouty person who won’t let anyone else get a word in edgeways. What if you have rules but someone refuses to obey them?

The articles below were prompted by a number of emails about out-of-control committee members and the frustrations of owners who just want to do the right thing.

I won’t say too much here, there’s plenty in the articles below, but suffice it to say that strata owners – especially new ones – could do with a bit more help from the government and its associated bodies.

People who have never owned apartments before are expected to know instinctively how to run a committee.  People who have been running strata committees for years often either don’t know or don’t care about the right way to do things and bullies can ride roughshod over the rights of the majority of owners, many of whom don’t even know what their rights and responsibilities are.

Admittedly a lot of apartment residents don’t want to know about how their buildings are run.  As long as their levies don’t get too high and no one parks in their car spot, they are happy.

Fair enough; if you don’t want to get involved, that’s your choice, but you can’t blame anyone else if decisions are made that you aren’t happy about.

As for the rest of us, I have posted a couple of templates –  Codes of Conducts and Standing Orders (committee rules) – to be discussed, debated, edited, rejected or accepted to make it easier for everyone in YOUR scheme to have their say.

And on that note here are some new topics straining the strata brains of our regular contributors.

  • What do you do about major changes to common property made without proper consultation or permission? THAT’S HERE.
  • Committee won’t take action against residents who dry laundry on balcony. THAT’S HERE.
  • Can the strata committee ban direct communications with its members? THAT”S HERE.
  • What can you do when everybody has to pay for increased water bill thanks to one Airbnb-let unit? THAT’S HERE.
  • What do you do when you are shut out of participating in your strata scheme by your strata manager? THAT’S HERE.

Finally, with appearance of Flat Chat in the Herald online currently a bit erratic (for reasons that have nothing to do with the popularity of the column), I would once again urge regular readers to forward this to friends who are living in strata – especially relative newcomers – just so they know they are not alone.

There’s no downside to that.  They don’t have to subscribe or even read it.  But they should have the choice.

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