I’ve never been in quicksand so I can only guess at what it would feel like to swallowed up by muck and done in by my own attempts to get out of it.
I suppose the closest I can come to this struggle in real life would be the relationship between me, the property manager, the Council who controls the property manager and the apathetic owners who, “hear no evil; speak no evil and see no evil”. Yup ….quicksand.
A strata corporation pays a strata management company to exemplify professionalism. Strata managers even have a code. Managers are licensed after thorough educational requirements and in some cases, oaths of ethics demonstrating their loyalty and commitment to serving the public confidence and interests. The public assumes the checks and balances are all there and because there are associations, like for example the Strata Property Agents of BC, there is no need to question the integrity of property management.
Yeah, well apparently, the buck stops with the “client” or in the case of stratas, the corporation. I always thought I was similar to a shareholder in terms of strata; once the ink is dry on a contract between corporation and property management, it becomes quite clear my only importance is to feed the money pit. It appears I should expect to avail myself of a bunch of volunteers who, amazingly enough, are completely and wholly responsible for every action taken by the paid and licensed professional. In a disarming twist,this same professional is protected by contract from accountability for any actions stemming from the fiduciary responsibility he is supposed to epitomize with all that honesty and integrity in the “Code of Ethics and Conduct” he swears to live by. Geez!
Point out a problem with the Council? No can do because that would be like ratting on the boss. If the Code does win out then the Council gets to whine about the fact they didn’t know any better, the property manager didn’t tell them or they are just overwhelmed with all the decisions that they have to make for free.Therefore, the paid professional adopts the strata owner motto: ” hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”. It all begs the question: What do we pay property management for?
They are the ultimate bureaucratic redundancy. Why? Well the language in the contract of course. The following phrases make up the majority of every contractual obligation in my agency agreement: “….as the strata council shall deem adviseable; ….subject to limits expressed by the strata council; obtain approval of the strata council; as directed by the strata council; as the strata council may direct…” (The last phrase is most interesting because it was included in the section “Compliance with Laws”).
Once you finish shaking your head over all that nonsense you get hit with all the fees. For example, a strata manager will attend a maximum of 5 meetings each with a time limit of 1.5 hours. Go over the included hourly and you are charged $95.00/hour. Meeting #6 will automatically cost you $395.00. To supervise inspection of records the cost is $65.00 and of course depositing special levies is a different effort than strata fees so each strata lot will be assessed $2.00 for each month of depositing said special levies.
You can see why I feel like I’m in quicksand right? The professional serves at the direction of the Council who hired him because he has a license and can guide them. Strata managers themselves by deferring to people who are neither educated nor have sworn to be ethical in matters pertaining to Strata law, contravene 14.1 of Code of Ethics of the Strata Property Agents of BC which states the following:
” No inducement of profit and no instructions from clients can ever justify departure from the ideals of fair dealing and high integrity resulting from adherence to a high standard of moral conduct in business relationships.”
It really seems to caution against passing the buck doesn’t it?
Please somebody, anybody toss me a rope!!!