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Strata Living in Queensland: Why can’t we be friends?

Strata Living is great when everyone gets along, but sometimes owners don’t see eye to eye. Fortunately, there is no requirement to be friends, so when things get heated, consider these steps.

Strata Living is great when everyone gets along, but sometimes owners don’t see eye to eye. Fortunately, there is no requirement to be friends, so when things get heated, consider the following steps:

  1. Accept reality:

    Why can’t crocodiles admit they are wrong?

    Because they live in De Nile.

    Well, I’m smiling even if no one else is.

    Unfortunately, it takes some owners a long time to accept the reality of Body Corporate ownership. That is:

    • You are in a legally binding agreement with all the other owners of your complex. Everyone is entitled to vote on how it is run, and ultimately decisions come down to majority rules.
    • If you wanted a ‘my way or the highway’ system, you should have bought a house.
    • If you can’t get on with your fellow owners then OK, you don’t have to. But you do have to work together, and the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can finish your business together.

    Think of your fellow owners as colleagues: deal with them professionally and move on.

    Angry words and lengthy disputes rarely reach happy conclusions, so don’t waste energy on them. Cool heads prevail more often than hot ones.

  2. Follow the rule book:

    Of course, all plans should always follow the rule book but some plans may need to follow it more than others.

    The legislation and the by-laws lay out the structure for the management of your plan. Follow the prescribed process and there is no need for arguments.

    Yes, it is true that those rules are not always wholly satisfactory and they sometimes lead to odd conclusions, but they are the rules we have and if you try to reject them they can be easily turned against you.

    Work with your strata manager; make sure the rules are clear and observe them.

    And if you don’t like the way things are going do something about it:

    • vote
    • join the committee
    • take an issue to the commissioner.

    There is usually a pathway to change but make sure you follow the right one.

  3. Be transparent:

    In strata, information is neutral. Disputes frequently arise because one side has more knowledge than the other.

    Level the playing field and make sure all required information is available to all owners. Send out documents and explain the process.

    The more people understand, the easier it is for them to see both sides of an argument. And, if you are unhappy about something, make sure you are properly informed first.

    Even if you don’t like the outcome of a decision, there is usually a reason why it was made. Get the facts and go from there.

  4. Who votes wins:

    You wouldn’t know it from all the noise that surrounds the industry, but most of the time strata is a simple matter:

    1. put a proposal on an agenda,
    2. vote and
    3. carry out the resolution.

    That’s all there is to it and the tenser things get, the more you should defer to this basic structure.

    Someone might have a loud opinion, but that doesn’t mean they have any more voting power than their property allows. If you have to, vote in secret but make sure you vote. If you don’t vote, your opinion counts for nothing.

4 replies on “Strata Living in Queensland: Why can’t we be friends?”

My view is caretakers agreements need to be subject to market tender at the end of the term. In modern times long contracts are just not commercial. Only fools would hand out a long term cleaning contract with limited remedies or legislation dictating how you can bring it to an end. People fall into a trap thinking they are buying a business where in fact they are buying a job where they are a service contractor to the body corporate. I have not met one person in a building that has left the long term caretaker model that would ever go back. However I’ve met many people who’ve lived in buildings that have had a nightmare getting rid of bad management running up huge legal bills in the process.

Our complex was a peaceful happy place until a young couple in December 2016 bought the remaining 4 years of the management rights contract, reneging on their commitment to assist in the tender process 31/7/2020, instead, conning enough owners to give them a 10year saleable contract ????our main problem is that enough units have changed ownership for the caretakers to win majority and continue with unnecessary spending. E.G. For 37 years the building key has worked perfectly, since they now have majority on committee, they have just voted to waste close to $10,000 on fobs!!! Our levies are unnecessarily high $185w hence reducing unit prices. Investment owners vote blindly via caretakers advice!

Hi Marie,

Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, resolving issues with caretakers/building managers is extremely complex – it’s harder than managing relations between committee members because the tools for resolution are vague and insufficient. Hopefully, that’s something that will change over time….

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