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  • #73562
    slicendice
    Flatchatter

      Hey flatchatters

      If a strata management agreement delegates the roles of chair, secretary and treasurer to a strata manager, where do the responsibilities lie in relation to the strata committee and holding meetings?

      Our strata committee (small block of 12, NSW) haven’t had an official meeting, other than the AGM, for years. There are no minutes, and they have (so far) refused to forward correspondence relating to a current dispute. The strata manager is now being actively obstructionist and quite rude.

      The committee recently made some decisions that some of us have issues with – both in substance and process (see my post in Common Property re BBQ Conundrum if you really want the details).

      I’m trying to figure out if I have a case against them for not fulfilling their responsibilities.

      Cheers

    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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    • #73580
      Jimmy-T
      Keymaster

        I’m trying to figure out if I have a case against them for not fulfilling their responsibilities.

        Against whom – the committee or the strata manager?

        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.
        #73583
        Sir Humphrey
        Strataguru

          With only 12 units, I’d find a few like-minded neighbours, work out an agreed reform and improvements agenda to roll out over the next few years, and stage a coup at the next AGM. Assuming that only 7 or 8 unit owners are take part in meetings, you only need 3 or 4 others to have a clear majority of the AGM and the elected committee.

          Then you, the committee, start to direct the strata manager, not the other way around. Remember that any committee function can still be exercised by the committee when it chooses to exercise that function, even if the function has been delegated.

          #73589
          slicendice
          Flatchatter
          Chat-starter

            Against whom – the committee or the strata manager?

            Both!! Is there a code of conduct or professional rules for strata managers?

            As for the committee, the same people nominate every year. I joined when I first moved in but found my suggestions, ideas and questions constantly dismissed – especially changing strata management companies. The excuse was always “Why bother? They’re all the same”.

            I’d very much like to do as @SirHumphrey suggested – stage a coup and implement reforms – as a short to medium-term goal. But I may not be able to move that mountain because of entrenched apathy in the building.

            #73636
            kaindub
            Flatchatter

              Nothing will change without a little pain ( for both sides)

              Someone has to take up the cause and if you feel so aggrieved, then let it be you.

              I had a problem with strata manager and committee. It took me 3 years to firstly get on the committee, then agitate. In the agitation period I was the bad guy, until the committee saw they were being hood winked by the strata manager.

              Then I became the good guy and the rest was easy

              ( we got a new strata manger person, but retained the same firm)

              Dont give up and become apathetic like the current committee.

              #73642
              TrulEConcerned
              Flatchatter

                Slicendice I agree with you. Given apathy is like a virus in most schemes, do not rely on a coup working in your favour. I was involved in a small and a large strata where I was a latecomer to a group that organised a coup, but the existing committee members obtained proxies and called enough of their supporters to the AGM in order not to allow any change in committee composition.

                In your stead I would act against the strata committee and the strata manager.

                * Get the ball rolling by filing a complaint against the strata manager for not complying with what is required of him under the Property & Stock Agents Act. Note it’s not the Strata Act which regulates his conduct.

                To complain online about the agent not doing his job, see

                https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online-tools/make-a-complaint

                scroll to

                real estate, property management and strata

                click on

                complaint form

                and fill it in.

                There is no cost and FT will look into the matter.

                I did just that 18 mths ago and the result was the strata manager quit running our scheme.

                For more details you can call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 (but the website is pretty easy ot understand).

                Good luck!

                #73656
                Columbo
                Flatchatter

                  How much proof does one need?

                  I am on a committee that does not seem to understand that to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs. What are the most likely ways to get complaints going using the Property and Stock Agents legislation? And can people other than the committee initiate these things – and be noticed?

                  #73658
                  The Hood
                  Flatchatter

                    I did just that 18 mths ago and the result was the strata manager quit running our scheme.

                    And most likely did so to vex the OC.
                    I have traveled that PSA Act and Regs path. I used to follow the letter of that Act and Reg until one day someone from FTs compliance office rang me and told me to stop because of how resource heavy the process was. I was given a direct number to an officer. Nowdays we have the online form.

                    What does FT do – they typically try to look the other way, firstly they try what is called re-education which is someone from FT explains where the agent is going wrong, as things ramp up the agent might get a warning or two, FT might come to the office and inspect things and if things continue the agent might end up being asked to show cause.
                    A very long and protracted process where until the very end there is no real consequence for the agent.
                    You think agents don’t know all this?
                    Ask FT how many licences they have revoked and what for. Enjoy the laugh.

                    I know of agents who have dropped OC’s for less. For some agents if the client isn’t easy money then the client can take it elsewhere.
                    I would wager the agent did not drop you because FT scared them.

                    #73672
                    TrulEConcerned
                    Flatchatter

                      @TheHood

                      Thank you for your reply. A few points come to mind:

                      1. As to your comments on FT process, you are correct:

                      (a) Very little consequences for the strata manager;

                      (b) Many staff do look the other way. I however had a sterling woman who seemed to have had enough of rogue strata managers and asked him to respond chapter and verse to my allegations. He was unable to dispute a single one; and

                      2. Your assertion that the strata manager did not quit because of FT is IMHO erroneous. He loved the OC. There was one guy on the committee who he worked with, his only contact and it seemed like they shared a brain. They saw everything the same way. I am sure that he was rattled by the dozen or so allegations I made, every one of which he could not defend to FT. He did little and was paid a good sum to rubber stamp the committee’s very very few decisions.

                      So I do think in this case it was not FT per se that scared him but that he did not want his name blackened (if nothing else, when compared to his colleagues managing other schemes).

                       

                      #73677
                      slicendice
                      Flatchatter
                      Chat-starter

                        Thanks folks. Thats all very enlightening. I’m now trying to get my ducks in a row for the AGM, whenever it’s held. I appreciate the case studies and advice.

                        #73679
                        TrulEConcerned
                        Flatchatter

                          Slicendice, you mention the AGM.

                          If you want to put forward any motions for the AGM, I suggest you get your skates on.

                          Cunning agents and committees like to thwart anyone who wants to provide motions. They do this by not formally

                          asking for motions before they issue the agenda for the AGM. In  many cases the first many owners hear of an AGM is when they find the agenda for the meeting in the mail.

                          By then the barn door has long closed. No opportunity exists for you to provide a motion(s) for that meeting.

                          So I suggest you assume an AGM or a general meeting may be called at any time without advanced notice to owners to submit motions. Hence, I recommend that you forward, as soon as possible,  to the committee and agent all the motions you want listed. That way it’ll be impossible for them to exclude them from the agenda on the basis of you sent them after the agenda was already prepared.

                          If at a later date your issues are resolved, you can always withdraw your motions before the agenda is prepared or if it is already prepared and your motions are listed, you can withdraw them at the meeting.

                          Best of luck!

                          #73726
                          aa0691
                          Flatchatter

                            Would you all agree a strata manager should not lead the OC, but rather just be in a capacity as a committee advisor? Too much power for one person leads to many disaster and frustrations to lot owners.

                             

                             

                            #73767
                            kaindub
                            Flatchatter

                              I say the role of the strata manger should be as trusted advisor.

                              They should provide an impartial input to the committee, in relation to what the act allows and how they have handled similar cases .

                              Their role is not to be judge or jury.

                              Having said that, the role of the committee is to make the decisions . Sometimes they may go with the advice of the SM and sometimes against their advice. The strata manager , as it says in the act, is not responsible for the decision making of the committee or the OC.

                              In my opinion, the SM can only be held accountable for carrying out the FUNCTIONS that have been delegated to them. The act clearly states the functions of the chair, treasurer and secretary – to which I say is the standard the SM should meet.

                              The act does not say a function of the SM is to make decisions.

                               

                              #73776
                              Jimmy-T
                              Keymaster

                                To be fair to strata managers, in a lot of schemes the owners either aren’t interested or lack the expertise to run their own show.  The problem is when the strata managers get locked in a corporate culture where they expect to be left alone to make all the decisions and don’t know how to function any other way (as I have witnessed at close quarters recently).

                                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.
                                #73780
                                slicendice
                                Flatchatter
                                Chat-starter

                                  @TrulEConcerned Thankyou… I have put the SM on notice that I intend to put a series of resolutions to the meeting. I requested she give me notice. She has told me the meeting will be held in June (our FY ends May 31) so I fully intend to send her the resolutions before the end of the FY. I agree that most owners only learn about the AGM with the notice of meeting.

                                  @aa0691 Yes… that is what they’re supposed to be. And in this case, it’s hard to know if the cart (SM) is leading the horse (SC). I expect the committee is hiding behind the SM to enforce an unpopular decision. In fact, I finally managed to speak to the “chair” of the committee (I use the term advisedly as he wants the status of being in charge but refuses to take responsibility for any decisions). He blatantly lied to my face, saying the area had never been a BBQ area!! (my neighbour laughed out loud when I told her).

                                  @Jimmy-T Correct. We’ve had more than half a dozen individual strata managers over as many years, and it’s always been a bun-fight. We are small bickies for these guys. They treat us like we don’t matter. Even now, I made a formal complaint to higher management in the firm and have not received a reply from anyone. Perhaps it is an entrenched corporate culture.

                                  Some of the other owners and I are planning a coup. One of the first items on the agenda will be to review the strata agreement and invite submissions from alternative firms. I tried this in the past but was too inexperienced.

                                  And can I say, the support and information provided by this forum has gone a long way to helping me understand best practice for a small strata. Thank you all!!!

                                  #73795
                                  Jimmy-T
                                  Keymaster

                                    But the act does not confer decision making power to the strata manager.

                                    The Act says that the strata scheme can delegate all or any of the powers of the office-bearers to the strata manager.  This is a standard “back-up” position.  However, a strata scheme can – if they’re not engaged or unaware- vote to delegate all powers to the strata manager and the only way to rescind that is by holding another general meeting.

                                    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.
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