A bumper set of Forum links this week signals an uptick in interest in all things strata – and reminds that there are so many people out there who don’t know – or don’t want to know – the rights and wrongs of strata living.
A friend who is a very successful and highly regarded young strata manager told me the other day about a scheme where another manager is trying to muscle in on his territory.
FirstlyThe first signs were when the rival SM started chairing the AGM. When our pal – let’s call him Mark – pointed out that since he was neither the strata manager, nor a member of the committee nor even an owner, so this was not allowed, he said he was merely “assisting the chair’.
He then proceeded to read the motions, direct the discussion and tally the votes. Among the motions he promoted was one to allow the secretary a levies holiday for a year in recognition of his hard work.
Mark pointed out that this was illegal on two fronts. Firstly everybody in strata has to pay levies based on their unit entitlements. That’s the law.
Also, you aren’t allowed to pay someone in advance for work on the committee. It’s a payment that can only be made retrospectively for work done the previous year.
Various other highly dubious motions were pushed through, including one to spend several thousand dollars upgrading common property in and around the real chairman’s flat.
And then in the middle of all this, the “Counsel Assisting the Chairman” took his dentures out and put them on the table. Bizarre.
Now Mark is faced with a dilemma. A cabal on the committee is clearly running the building to suit themselves – the majority of owners don’t bother to turn up – and he’ll be out as soon as his contract is up.
His instinct is to take this to NCAT and Fair Trading but wonders if they will be as toothless as the denture-free strata manager.
It’s worth noting that no strata manager in NSW has ever been struck off for corruption or incompetence. Ever.
And with that thought in mind, here are the latest rumblings from the Flat Chat Forum.
Can I record the discussions at a strata committee meeting? That’s HERE
Do I need to put acoustic underlay under my kitchen tiles? That’s HERE.
Who owns the windows on the inner wall of an enclosed balcony? That’s HERE
How do proxies work on strata committees? Is it limited to one per person? That’s HERE.
Should the committee be displaying pictures of people captured on CCTV not doing the right thing with recycling? That’s HERE.
I want to fix a leaky shower by renovating the bathroom. Do I really have to wait for approval at the next AGM? That’s HERE.
I wasn’t allowed to vote at our AGM because my levies were in arrears. But three others who were also unfinancial were allowed to vote and that changed the outcome of the committee election. Can I get this overturned? That’s HERE.