Strata: there is a path through the wilderness and resources to help you

wilderness

At a recent annual general meeting it became obvious very early on that no one wanted to stick their hand up to be on the scheme’s executive committee. One of the previous executive committee members had sold their lot and this left the other previous committee member in a quandary, should they volunteer again even if they felt unable to do so for health reasons?

After some discussion and much urging by myself and the strata manager it became apparent that a couple of lot owners were interested in volunteering but felt unable to do so. Why? They felt that they did not know enough about what it involved and felt unprepared. This is scary, for most people, owning a home or an investment property is a significant step and is likely to be their single biggest financial investment yet many strata scheme and community association owners feel that they are not qualified to be on the executive committee and to assist in running their schemes. Even more alarming is that some owners do not know where to find information.

More education is required. Many strata or association issues come about simply through owners or occupiers not understanding their rights and responsibilities. This includes knowing how decisions are made and the processes for decision making and accountability. Generally a community, which is what a good strata or community association should be, will thrive when a mix of people with different experiences make the effort to volunteer on their executive committees. There is no right or wrong profile for an executive committee member however a good committee member should be able to commit to educating themselves about their role.

If you are a lot owner or executive committee member and keen to learn more about your rights and responsibilities then ask your strata manager or if you are not comfortable doing this the OCN and SCA are helpful organisations to start with. Their details are:

  • Owners Corporation Network: http://www.ocn.org.au/ – They have regular meetings and a good website with lots of information & are particularly active in NSW and the ACT
  • Strata Community Australia: http://www.stratacommunity.org.au – has a strata owners day coming up on Saturday 25th October 2014 Hilton Hotel Sydney

Fair Trading NSW also has helpful information: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and Kerin Benson Lawyers also publishes regular articles http://www.kerinbensonlawyers.com.au/news-publications/

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