We’re giving a fair amount of space to Queensland caretaker management rights at the moment, and that’s for two very good reasons.
Firstly there is a multimillion-dollar rort of strata owners going on in the sunshine state. The government knows about it but is slow-walking its way to a “solution” that seems to be designed to give the rip-off merchants equal or greater consideration than is offered to their victims.
Secondly, the media in Queensland is suspiciously silent on this. Why? Maybe it’s because developers spend more on advertising than home owners do.
Or maybe it’s because it’s just too bloody complicated with too many moving parts and it’s hard to explain in simple journalistic terms.
It shows in great detail how much money is poured into developers pockets in exchange for taking away apartment owners’ rights to choose their own service providers.
At a Queensland apartment block’s beginning of life, the developer can establish whether it is a “standard” module, designed for owner occupation, or an “accommodation” module, more suited for short-term holiday lets.
As explained in this article, the management rights for the standard module can be pre-sold for a 10-year term while the accommodation module contracts are for 25 years.
Guess what, even though developers are marketing their buildings as being for residential owners, they are registering them as being for holiday lets. Why? Because they can sell a 25-year contract for considerably more than a 10-year contract.
The UOAQ study found that 88% of strata residential buildings built in the last 10 years in Queensland have been assigned the management rights accommodation module.
That means the management rights for almost 90 percent of blocks under 10 years old have been locked up for quarter of a century.
That means no competitive pricing for services 25 years, costing Queensland owners an additional $140m a year.
And that doesn’t even address the bullying, lying and generally disgraceful behaviour of managers on 10-year contracts who want them converted to 25-year deals.
And, as this post explains, even 10-year contract can be stretched to three times that length by the managers constantly asking for extensions and the apartment owners being too uninformed or even scared to say no.
Imagine, if you were an investor and you got the message that your unit would be last on the list for repairs and care if your caretaker didn’t get what they wanted.
On the other hand, there’s the plight of hapless managers who buy renewed contracts – again, the apartment owners have no say in this process – and discover that there is a backlog of work left behind by the con artist who sold them the rights.
The management rights scandal in Queensland is an open sewer and the only people who aren’t smelling the stink are the politicians who are more interested in looking after vested interests than taking care of the people who actually pay for the buildings – the apartment owners.