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strata council

Strata Council Bullies Make Strata Council Blunders

I have a pin given to me during a contentious struggle with numerous bullies. The intent was to encourage me to take the “high road” and sleep well at night.

The pin reads, “Never argue with a bully. They force you down to their level and beat you with experience”.

Unfortunately taking the high road would afford me nothing but nightmares and sleepless night with regard to my swamp strata council. More often than not I follow the advice to “pick my battles” and enjoy a victory here and there rather than set my blood pressure off the charts by trying to win the war.  In my swamp it’s uninterrupted bully bombs and sometimes making a stand is the ultimate sleeping pill and I have taken a few sleeping pills over strata. I mention all this because of a recent incident between the swamp bully and some owners over real estate signs.

I’ll call it, The Case of  Annexation by Strata Council

As readers know I have a resident green thumb who stirs the pot constantly. She is a strata council member but to my mind, she is actually a ventriloquist with four dummies who become personas she can use to bully owners to submit to her will. In order to appear on the up and up, she has two owners who may or may not speak for themselves and a property manager who everyone knows won’t speak if it will cost him the doors( I guess he’s more like a shadow puppet than a dummy). Remember as well she and her puppets were not voted onto Council, they were acclaimed because her stuttering stormtrooper predictably squashed democratic process and because again the masses are asses.

Because there is only one leader on this Council, her dummies and puppets echo her words and deeds so that they are “united” and “clear”. All the owners think they are represented by seven owners but they are really just manipulated and controlled by the delusions, idiosyncrasies and learning challenges of the green thumb bully.

Our strata plan fronts on city property. For this reason, our corporation is responsible for maintaining the public property, not in a Butchart Gardens way but more in a tidy, litter free way. We pay extra monies to the landscaping contract through our fees. Naturally, the strata bully believes maintaining the property to her personal satisfaction has afforded her special privileges and rights. Apparently, and unbeknown to the majority of owners and city officials, she is the self-proclaimed community consultant to the property use and bylaw departments of our city government.

For years the city property has been used by real estate agents to market listings. Realtors place their signs on posts and owners buy and sell. In our swamp, multiple owners recently put their units up for sale. One realtor hung a sign on a post and then another realtor attempted to hang another sign directly underneath. I say attempted because the realtor was hollered at by someone in the strata and told she could not hang her sign.

The strata council, through her dummies, began sending directives to realtors  instructing them that the post on city property was bought and installed by the strata corporation and was therefore restricted in its use by the strata bylaws.Additionally and most notably, owners had complained to Council- not the city- about real estate signs so the bully felt it was her duty to deal with the complaint (I imagine the bully sitting with both hands in two different dummies and a prop phone between them -voila….insta- complaint). Listing owners were flummoxed because they were not aware the Council was authorized to purchase a real estate post for city property or dictate (my council really likes that word)how city property was to be used citing strata bylaws.

Now what you might be thinking is: what is the city’s role in all this? Well, the city bylaws disallow any signage on public property so one wonders how a small strata council would think for even one moment they had any rights at all. Even so, real estate signs are one of those things in a community that occur and the city did not feel compelled to remove the real estate signs for all these years. The city also did not advise our corporation that owners could not post real estate signs on public property. Our Council did not advise us our strata plan  had made significant property gains and Land Titles did not have any documentation to back it up if we had.

The strata bully would not think of course that she would require permission to make  changes….she’s reminding me of someone here: a little guy, narcissistic, short haircut, European, imperialistic.

Anyway, her puppets and her property management hack followed her orders and spammed everyone with her edicts. Her marching orders were so intimidating some owners gave in and “did the right thing”. Even realtors were willing to pull their signs and only hang “bully approved” ones. Imagine that….realtors willing to yield to a bully. Other owners, thankfully, did not.

Subsequently, the Council sent around a document to all the owners advising them of the fact that some owners weren’t taking the pummeling as expected and if compliance wasn’t immediate everybody would lose because the city would remove all the signs. Well, the bully was bested by the one owner who said, “No”.  Kinda like Churchill during the Blitz, “We will never surrender.”

I’m assuming the city realized the problems inherent in enforcing a city bylaw contravention they had quietly ignored and advised the strata council  - I’m not sure about the property management puppet -all the signs could stay. The time frame for compliance with the bully edict has come and gone so the whole incident becomes just another bully blunder.

Knowledgeable strata owners 1 – Strata bully 0

The owners that stood their ground when confronted with the bully attack simply stayed the course: no arguments, no reciprocity-just plain old smarts.I hope they enjoy many restful sleeps because the rest of us benefited for their battle with green thumb bully.

Strata bullies don’t rise to intelligence because they don’t know what it is. Intelligence is and always will be the best offensive weapon for owners but it requires knowledge,nerves of steel and firm resolve. It especially requires owners to understand that they are actually always at least one rung above a bully council because they are the ones who give authority to a council. They are only beaten when they buy the lie, stay ignorant and submit.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Strata Council Bullies Make Strata Council Blunders

  1. the strata property act states that strata bylaws can restrict posting of real estate signs but cannot ban them… :)

    Posted by louise lemieux | October 10, 2010, 9:40 am
  2. I have an interesting situation with a ‘For Sale’ sign.
    I went to the Strata President and asked for permission to put up my ‘Property Guys’ For Sale sign [Mine would be the only sign on the board, so I would use the top space]. I was told to go ahead and put it up. I advised the President that the sign was 1.5 inches taller than the opening on the board. His response was ‘Just nail it up’. So I put the ‘For Sale’ sign up on the top space for signs and let the extra 1.5 inches lie over the top edge.
    At the next Strata Council Meeting the President made a motion that a letter go out to the own (me) and have her remove the sign and replace it with the proper sized sign.
    When I received the letter, I wrote on the bottom: “The sign was viewed and approved by the president. Thank you for letting me use it in the interim, I will have it replaced by “. I sent it to the strata council through the proper channel [via the property manager], but I copied all the council members with my response.
    At the next AGM the President brought forth a new bylaw, that owners had to send correspondence to the strata council via the Property Manager only. However, prior to the new bylaw I received two (2) letter of warning that I was in violation of a bylaw and that I was not to send anything to the council members [by fax, e-mail, under their door, taped on their door, etc] or I would receive a fine of $100.
    It is interesting that when I receive copies of the Financial Statements, they are stuck in my door by a council member.

    Elaine

    Posted by Elaine Corner | January 27, 2011, 1:19 pm
  3. We have a potential squirrel problem at our wooden frame complex. For a couple of months I have been hearing digging and scratching and have reported it a few times.

    Last week a pest control company left a live trap which captured a squirrel. Several people were upset that this was inhumane treatment. The squirrel was struggling for a few hours and the pest control company had to be called to remove it. Apparently they would only check the traps after some days had passed.

    I then encountered one of the council members and asked about further pest control as I was still hearing digging and scratching.

    The council member then yelled at me and argued that I had wasted council funds and caused the demise of a sentient being.

    I was then accused of not allowing pest control people into my unit. This was news to me as I had never been contacted.

    A yelling match occurred back and forth.
    The council member stated that I had caused the council to spend hundreds of dollars. She also suggested that squirrels have a right to nest in our complex.

    I am worried about squirrels causing damage, chewing wires and creating a health hazard.

    This verbal confrontation escalated to a treat by the council member who suggested that I could be charged with assault if I came any closer to her.

    I am not sure what has happened to cause such upset. I have no intention of allowing myself to be bullied and I expect this squirrel problem to be resolved.

    Should this person continue to remain on council if their personal beliefs do not endorse pest control?

    Should an owner have been subjected to yelling and threats by a council member?

    Should I bring this up to the property manager or reference the problem at the next AGM?

    I have asked for an apology.

    Posted by Confused | May 21, 2011, 2:49 pm
    • Thank you for reading my blog and I really appreciate the comment. I would also like to apologize for the length of time for the reply. Technical difficulties abound!

      First: It is the duty of the council to maintain the common property. Period. Squirrels are a member of the rodent family despite those fluffy tails and cute paws. They have their place in the natural world we all share but NOT where their presence represents a liability. A quick call to your insurance provider will really enlighten you about the damages that can be wrought by an aggressive rodent family. Add that to the lack of peaceable enjoyment of your property and you have nuisance.

      Second: There is no excuse for a strata council representative to confront you as this person did. Unfortunately, I have to wonder how many other owners have been intimidated into not complaining about pests because of this woman’s passionate opinions. It could be quite costly to your corporation to have a large rodent population thriving within your buildings.

      Third: Those council funds are representative of the total contribution of all the owners specifically to maintain common property. Perhaps your council representative needs a reminder that “council funds” are in actuality the “operating budget” authorized by -wait for it- YOU. You have a right to expect the operating fund to serve your needs.

      Fourth: Property managers serve at the pleasure of the council. By all means write to Council and property management so you have a document trail. The only time you can speak directly to both the council and the management is at the AGM. I’d bring this up under New Business for sure and if you haven’t received an apology by that meeting, demand one. Remember, elections occur following business on the agenda.

      My very best advice to you? Run for council and be the voice of reason. Whatever you decide, don’t give up and always communicate in writing to your council and its management representative. Documentation contributes to accountability and accountability diminishes bully tactics.

      Cheers,
      Stratalife

      Posted by stratalife | June 2, 2011, 10:43 am
  4. Our strata council also bully owners who speak up against an unethical matter. Do you know where to file a compliant against unethical strata council members?

    Posted by Sandi | May 24, 2013, 6:21 am

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