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  • #51159

    Desperately seeking advice. I’m on a Strata Committee which is dysfunctional. It’s basically dominated by two men who do what they want. They hold the purse stringsand insist on managing everything. The Strata agent manage is useless and under their thumb. The rest of the committee is also useless, refusing to stand up to them because they hold the purse strings and self-serving committee members want them to sign off on expenses which shoul be personal, but instead, get paid out of the sinking fund.

    I don’t think we’ve had a formal, minuted strata meeting in ten years. The AGM is well over due. Information is selectively distributed and questions from SC members are routinely ignored. I’m labelled a trouble maker for trying to instigate due process. I am often personally abused and accused of untrue actions in emails from the two hench men. I suspect their intention is to try and kick me off the SC. What can I do to prevent this? I’m reluctant to go the route of appointing a compulsory strata manager as I appreciate it’s drastic and I’ve read the warnings. But, the buildig is in bad disrepair and my primary concern is resale value. At least a compulsory strata manager would instigate proper procedure which would improve the strata record. I want to sell my place eventually, and, at this point, it looks like I’m going to take a heavy loss on my investment.Any advice gratefully accepted.

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  • #51187
    Strata AnswersStrata Answers
    (from NSW)

    Hi Darnell,

    It is a sad reality of strata that no matter how blatant the breach of strata laws, fairness and equity by one or more strata committee members, the only way to stop them is for other owners and strata committee members to stand up to them.

    The sort of lobbying  mentioned by Cosmo can help achieve change, if it opens the eyes of others to what is going on and how things could be done a lot better.

    Applications to NCAT may address the more egregious actions of a bullying few, but a campaign to engage owners and open their eyes to what is going on is the only way to deal with a pervasive culture of self interest and non compliance.

    If to begin with you only have one or two allies, you can build on this by together creating a newsletter with a positive message about how your scheme could be transformed eg. Putting more of the levies into the capital works fund to pay for essential maintenance and improvements that will help maintain the value of your building. Include some pictures.

    Resist the temptation to explain to owners what is wrong with the current committee and the inequity of the actions of one or two members. This will just lead to threats of legal action for libel, probably unfounded but distracting. Remember…Owners do not want to hear bad news, no matter how bad the bad, and you will get more support in painting a vision for a better building.

    You won’t change hearts and minds in a single newsletter but regular contact with other owners can win support for your thinking. Many will be coy about being outspoken but they can help your case when it comes to the AGM.

    You mentioned that the AGM is well overdue – it has to be held once in every financial year –  If you can alert the strata manager towards holding this, think about  motions that you, and those of like mind, can put on the agenda eg. That the strata committee does not depart from the budget  / exceed budget estimates without the explicit agreement of owners. And…. most importantly stand for election to the strata committee not as single person who can be outvoted, but as a group of 2 or 3 like minded owners bent on change.

    On a more hopeful note, it is amazing how often strata bullies collapse when they sense they have more than one person against them

    Kind regards

    John Hutchinson

    m: 0418 797470  e: john.hutchinson@strataanswers.com.au

    S T R A T A   A N S W E R S  PTY  LTD      practical solutions for strata living
    abn 11 600 590 083



    “It’s basically dominated by two men who do what they want. They hold the purse strings and insist on managing everything. The Strata agent manage is useless and under their thumb. The rest of the committee is also useless, refusing to stand up to them because they hold the purse strings and self-serving committee members want them to sign off on expenses which should be personal”

    You will probably find that technically the two men haven’t done anything they personally can be confronted with.  People like this make sure the minutes reflect overwhelming agreement to their actions or that others have signed off on stuff.

    I have encountered this on many occasions and many different circumstances. Do your numbers and find how many like minded owners there are.  Start the process informally outside of meetings. Discuss with the ‘likeminded’ the need to stand up to these ‘two men’ and the best issues to do it on.

    I have had both success and failure but found political lobbying is the only practical solution.


    My advice having dealt with now two dysfunctional strata committees is to bite the bullet and get your own legal advice from a strata lawyer and go to NCAT without delay about the repairs and management of the scheme. You need to play hardball sometimes.

    AvatarFlame Tree

    You need list and photo of all concerns. This quantifies how things are. There might be as many or not as many as you first think and I’ve found doing that might give you some degree of peace at least knowing what you are dealing with. Asking others to contribute give opportunity for others to add to the list and aire their own concerns. If its individual owners at fault issue bylaw breach notices, if its committee responsibility review your State legislation to know where you all stand. Be forthright but as calm as you can and start with the things that will help you feel better if these were done and off your list. Somethings you can do yourself if they are minor or can be arranged simply and from which help your problems go away. But having been flustered for over 4 years with my own problematic old committee im now realising going hard is better than enduring things owners are entitled to and and paying for yet not receiving. Good luck.

    AvatarBONNIE L

    Hi there, Without knowing how many owners there are, it’s hard to comment.   You don’t say either what exactly is happening to the levies if the repairs you discuss continue unaddressed.  If I’ve understood and that it’s a case of miss-spending, that’s one position and if it’s the other owners benefiting financially, that’s another.  By position, it’s whether you can make an approach for mediation at Fair Trading.  If it’s Fair Trading, it’s probably best to interest other owners who feel the same as you do.  Lastly, if it’s the strata firm in question, there is the question of who is responosible for this situation arising in the first place.  Also be careful about your own position.  By this I mean that the lack of meetings over a long period could backfire against your claims if you did choose mediation.   Others may know more.  Wishing you good luck with your decisions.

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