Are Baby Boomers really the new strata baddies?

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Who do you think the fastest growing group of strata troublemakers is?  Pet owners or pet haters? Airbnb hosts or tenants and owners with by-law blindness?

According to some highly experienced strata managers I met recently, some down-sizing Baby Boomers are likely to be ruffling feathers in otherwise happy strata schemes.

Now you might think that more mature residents with a bit of life experience under their straining belts would bring calm rather than chaos to strata schemes.  But according to the people who have to deal with the fall-out when residents fall out, all too often the opposite is true.

The typical downsizing Boomer has probably been king or queen of their castles for a couple of decades at least, living in a place where ownership equals autonomy.

Nobody tells them where to park, when to turn their music down, whether or not they can have a pet and how little their dog’s barking can be tolerated.

They can paint their front door any colour they want, hang their washing wherever they please, or frolic in their swimming pool at any hour of the day or night.

To be fair, these folk have earned the right to make choices from years of hard work, during which they have become used to being listened to by their employees or underlings.

But move them from a very large house into a fairly large apartment and the very idea that they only own the air within their four walls, rather than the walls themselves, is a concept that many struggle to deal with.

It’s a combination of ignorance of strata law (sometimes wilful), arrogance, relative wealth and a sense of entitlement that makes the very worst members of this demographic the kind of neighbour who will have you scanning the internet for somewhere else to live.

Boomers have never lived through a world war (although Vietnam was no walk in the park for some) they’ve bought their homes when property was cheap, enjoyed the bulk of their working lives when wages were rising, haven’t experience a depression and have seen their lifestyles steadily improve over time.

Okay, they have time on their hands so they can contribute to the running of the block. But when they do get involved, some tend to run their buildings as if they were businesses where profit and loss are the only considerations.

That may sound like prudence and good management but there is no balance sheet that itemises happiness, well-being and harmony.  If they are on fixed incomes, watch levies for essential repairs and services being squeezed into submission.

Also, a few too many of them feel that the fact that they own the larger apartments in their block not only gives them more voting power but entitles them to use “common sense” rather than obey by-laws and strata law.

Even worse, once they get a toehold in a block’s committee, they may start clustering, loading it with fellow Boomers who share their world view.

Of course, these are gross generalisations and age and circumstances may have nothing to do with how individuals behave in strata.  Also Boomers have acquired skills and experience of life and business that can be very useful to your community.

But before you elect them to your committee, ask them if they’ve read the by-laws … or are they just using common sense?

The growing and occasionally negative influence of Baby Boomers was discussed by Sue and me, both members of that tribe, in last week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast.

This column first appeared in the Australian Financial review.

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  • #62079
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

      Who do you think the fastest growing group of strata troublemakers is?  Pet owners or pet haters? Airbnb hosts or tenants and owners with by-law
      [See the full post at: Are Baby Boomers really the new strata baddies?]

      The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
    Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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    • #62088
      Laney101
      Flatchatter

        Jimmy as soon as your podcast went up re Boomers in strata, well…. Was nodding my head adamantly in agreeance the whole time. Complex made up of above mentioned and Gen Xérs. 2 tenant boomers impeccable. The other 2 are owners. Uneducated in strata living with no desire to learn or listen. If I was paid for the amount of time I spend as a council member dealing with their breaches and non compliance ( one in particular ), I could afford to escape this living hell a decade ago. Very very much the mentality of  I can do what I like in my own home, you can’t tell me what to do and the bylaws don’t apply to me. But they certainly do to everyone else in their eyes.

        #62130
        Just Asking
        Flatchatter

          Yes there quite possibly is a “troublesome type” who already know better because they used to run BHP or similar.

          However many downsizing boomers are buying expensive apartments which sometimes cost $multi million. When someone has a large amount of capital tied up in asset they are motivated to become involved in its management. With more money at stake the issues become amplified.

          These “badly behaving boomers” may become the generation of strata owners and residents that forces changes such as the introduction of a Strata Commissioner?

          #62138
          Jimmy-T
          Keymaster
          Chat-starter

            These “badly behaving boomers” may become the generation of strata owners and residents that forces changes such as the introduction of a Strata Commissioner?

            Apparently we have a strata commissioner.  His name is John Minns and his official title is Property Services Commissioner.  We don’t hear very much from him because, presumably, he and the Small Business and Fair Trading Minister are preoccupied with trying to work out where exactly in the busy, overpopulated Venn diagrams of their collective bailiwicks the minor concerns of the more than 1 million NSW residents actually sit.

            The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
            #62221
            pukoh
            Flatchatter

              It’s not even that they’re baddies. They’re just nosey ignorants with too much time on their hands. They want to be involved in everything but have no idea what the rules are and aren’t capable of using google.

              I’m generalising here, so no, this doesn’t describe ALL boomers. But I just moved to a new development in QLD, and 80% of the residents are downsizing boomers who have no idea what living in a strata entails.

              #62238
              AJP
              Flatchatter

                I don’t think age has anything to do with who the troublemakers in a strata complex are. Our present troublemakers are in their 20s, 40s, 60s and 80s. I think IQ is a better measure than age, and let’s face it, there are idiots in every age group.

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