Small strata buildings where managers act with impunity

We tend to think of the worst strata misery occurring in multi-unit high-rise blocks. But a dysfunctional mini-development with a skewed idea of right and wrong can be even worse – especially when you are the only one complaining.

Take the small townhouse development occupied by a friend of Flatchatter Alkatraz. One owner operates as the “strata manager”, but they have no bank account for the strata scheme and owners have to pay strata fees in cash.

“My friend once paid with a cheque and it was rejected by the strata manager, who demanded at least that it be made out to cash,” writes Al. “And there are no receipts. When requested, a hand-written very unofficial piece of paper was provided.”

Plenty of small self-managed schemes operate on an ad hoc basis, but this one sounds like it is out of control. There are no agendas or notice of meetings, and no minutes from these meetings, despite strata law demanding that they be provided within seven days of the meeting.

There are no financial records covering spending, including proof of mandatory insurance for the scheme, and no understanding that the owners’ corporation must pay for repairs to common property.

Adding up the various breaches of record-keeping obligations alone, this scheme could be up for more than $1000 in fines.

Meanwhile, one owner is extending their balcony out across common property, without any of the by-laws or payments to the strata scheme that this kind of work would normally need. Al’s friend has been told he was outvoted at a meeting he wasn’t told about and for which there was no agenda or minutes.

Another owner has changed his garage into a living area, uses visitors’ parking for his cars and now visitors have to park on…

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