As I have said many times, the pre-sale of management rights in Queensland is a form of legalised corruption that leaves apartment owners to pay for contracts that they had no say in negotiating, and found virtually impossible to rescind, regardless of how badly they were treated,.
One saga in the Forum vividly reveals how desperately distressing that can be for the owners caught in a trap created by developers and sprung by carteakers who buy and sell contracts.
Apartment owners in Queensland are being ripped off left, right and centre, and harassed and abused if they dare to pursue a fair and equitable resolution (as this series of posts vividly illustrates).
That’s an extreme but not an isolated case. I have been hearing stories like the for the past 15 years.
Caretakers buy a contract off a developer (nice little earner) but they only pay top dollar if the clauses in the contract mean they can never be sacked, in the main, regardless of how poorly they perform or how badly they behave.
Then they get a grip on the rental roll and used that and their ability to decide which empty units are let first, to duchess owners who go along with them and bully and intimidate others who don’t. In extreme cases they will drive resident owners out of the building to increase their rental commissions.
Finally, looking for a last pay-off, they railroad owners into allowing an extension on to their ridiculously long contracts, of up to 25 years, so they can on-sell them at an inflated price.
Resident owners have to take it in the neck. Investors, many with their own sweetheart deals with the caretakers, don’t mind so much because they can write off additional costs through negative gearing. Sweet!
This is not all caretakers, by any means. Some of them are small scale Ma and Pa operations who are valued members of their communities. Some. But not all. And there is little or no protection against those who aren’t.
For very good reasons, this practice is illegal in every other Australian state. It’s a stain on Queensland, with more than a whiff of white shoe, and everybody who actively supports it or even just knowingly turns a blind eye, right up to the Premier herself, should hang their heads in shame.
By the way, someone from the Queensland branch of Strata Community Australia – the strata managers’ organisation – called me a few weeks ago to roust me for making misleading statements about their view on the pre-sale of management contracts.
I had written that the Queensland SCA thought pre-sold management rights were “fine and dandy”. Now, according to the person who called me, this is not true. They have not taken an official public position on this so I have no right to say what they think about it.
Well, remarkable as that may seem, I have to take their word for it. Nothing to see here … just move along.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty more food for thought on the Flat Chat Forum.
For instance, what can you do when your neighbours are enclosing their balcony, blocking the light and the view? Apparently, the work was approved years ago by both the strata scheme and the council. That’s HERE.
One reader’s bath is leaking where it meets the wall and the water is going into the flat below. She reckons she can fix it with some silicone filler but her downstairs neighbours want her to reseal the whole bathroom floor. Who’s right and who’s wrong? That’s HERE.
You’re not allowed to paint your front door a different colour, but what about your garage door? And who can give permission for you to do so? That’s HERE.
A strata scheme raises a special levy to pay for necessary work. But then another issue arises that takes priority. Can you use the money raised for one thing to pay for another? That’s HERE.
A strata manager won’t let a reader see the video or read the reports relating to an accident she had beside the scheme’s swimming pool. Can he do that and, if not, how can she make him hand them over? That’s HERE.
Even as I was writing this, new posts were popping up on the Flat Chat Forum, so by the time you read this, there’s bound to be something new.