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I live on the Sunshine Coast in QLD and for the past year, our Strata Management company has been denying owners their legal right to attend general, or any, meetings. They are citing covid restrictions as the only reason in all and every email they sent me. They say that their board room is small and only holds 8 people, which I did not believe, and even this month when I and 2 other owners asked to attend they said it was 3 people too many. The meetings comprise of a chairperson, our caretaking manager, and the committee members. I even asked them to hold the meeting somewhere else that’s large enough, but that request was ignored.
I turned up at the committee meeting after sending several emails stating that I would be attending, only to be met at the door by an employee (the one who sent me the emails) who told me that I could not attend the meeting because of fire regulations (excuse number 1), then he changed his mind and said it was because of covid restrictions (excuse number 2) and the board room was only big enough to seat 8 people with a 2 square metre per person allowance. I said that wasn’t true. He then shouted and said to get out or he would call the police. He even held open the front door and repeatedly told me to leave. He then said that he couldn’t allow me to attend the meeting or he would be fired from his job (excuse number 3).
I then asked him that if he was so insistent that only 8 people could be in the room at one time, if one of the committee members didn’t turn up (2 of them didn’t attend) could I come in then. He said, “potentially.” I asked what that meant but he didn’t answer and once again started stating over and over that only 8 people were legally allowed into the boardroom because of his original excuse being covid restrictions. He was red in the face the whole time and every time I spoke he ignored what I said and just shouted over me.
I stood my ground and he again changed his reason for not allowing me to attend the meeting by saying that it wouldn’t be fair to another owner who was attending via Zoom (excuse number 4) and then he changed his mind again and said that it was up to the committee who they allowed into the meetings (excuse number 5) and that he would have to ask the committee during the meeting if they would allow me to attend the next meeting in 3 months time. I said no. I wanted to talk to the committee myself and that what he was doing was denying me access to my own committee. I also reminded him that his original reason for not letting me into the meeting room was because of his supposed 8 person rule and that there were only 6 people in there so no covid restrictions would be breached.
This whole upsetting incident went on for 30 minutes, by which time the committee has arrived. He then went into the board room and slammed the door behind him.
Then one of the committee members came out and asked me if this was true that I wanted to attend the meeting to disrupt it. I told her no, I only wanted to attend the meeting as an observer which I’m legally entitled to do. She then disappeared back into the boardroom.
The committee chairperson came out and said it was fine for me to come in as there were only 6 people in the room anyway so there were 2 spare seats. After that, I went in, sat down, and the meeting proceeded without incident.
I cannot believe that I had to stand in the reception and be shouted at and bullied by this man for over half an hour simply because I wanted to attend a committee meeting and he knew that I was going to be there as he was told several times the previous week in all my emails.
I had to endure being was shouted at and continually lied to (his reason for refusing me entry kept changing by the minute).
This whole incident was intimidating, upsetting, unnecessary and completely unprofessional.
And I can back up everything I’ve said because I used my phone to video his behaviour from start to finish.
Afterwards, I also discovered that of the 6 committee members, 2 of the positions have been taken by one person so although there are 6 positions there are in fact only 5 people on the committee, so in every meeting with 8 chairs, there is ALWAYS one spare seat so I COULD have been allowed in any way.
I’m disgusted at the way I was treated.
And after all the continued insistence about only 8 people being allowed into the boardroom at the same time, and how it was a complete breach of covid restrictions to have more than 8 people in the room, and how he would be fired if he were to let even one more person into the room, it turns out that according to the minutes of the previous meeting there were nine people in attendance. Nine. That’s more than 8. I was saying to him all along that he was lying about only 8 being allowed in the room and I was right because the previous meeting had NINE people in attendance at the same time in the same boardroom, and those 9 people included the employee who was using an 8 person covid restriction excuse for not allowing me to attend the committee meeting that had less than 8 people in the room at that time.
I have since been in touch with the Strata management commission and was told that there are no covid restrictions for private meetings any more and even if there were, it is up to the strata manager to ensure that the venue is big enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend.
I want to complain about what happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again, but who do I complain to, how do I do it and what should I ask for?
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