Strata CircleJerk

April Fool’s Day fell on Friday. You expect pranks on this day. You know you should know better but there is always a smidgeon of truth behind a well thought out prank. Your perceptions and interpretations are used against you.

Perhaps this is why both daily newspapers ran articles this weekend with a variation on a theme:namely, property management. The Vancouver Sun ran it’s Stratafied column,“Putting Strata Owners First Could Help Families” and The Province ran its CondoSmarts column, “You need to call a special AGM”.

To summarize: On the one hand, no one is really sure who should supervise and discipline property management to lend some integrity to the occupation and, on the other, property managers still seem to think they can be self-serving and walk around, over and through legalities. Clearly, the strata council of the Burnaby strata corporation is unable to determine what is right and what is wrong and the Real Estate Council needs to be investigating their licensee because, he apparently also does not know the difference between right and wrong either. Of course he might just see opportunity in relation to one dimensional thinking!

When you contact the Real Estate Council of BC to complain about property management you are reminded of course that any property manager only takes action at the direction of the Council.  Subsequently, the strata council has to lay the complaint. For the millionth time, it is quite obvious most owners DON’T know what they are doing, DON’T care to change that particular situation and DON’T want to question the council or the property management for fear of either reprisal or responsibility. That’s three DON’Ts for a hat trick!

I have a position about groupthink and when it comes to property management, the Real Estate council, rogue strata councils and apathetic strata owners I can’t help but visualize a big ole circlejerk. What’s a circlejerk? The Urban Dictionary assigns two definitions which are both appropriate as far as I’m concerned – one is more visual while the other is more of an attitude. It isn’t my intention to offend but the word is an appropriate choice in my opinion.

My swamp is particularly adept at the circlejerk when you consider the cast of characters on council and the greater group of owners who encircle them. From a distance it looks like some occult gathering but a closer look indicates nothing more than a pleasure fest of one dimensional stupid. A real close look and the little property manager is right in the center of the action. There’s another name for that but I won’t go there…..

I figure if no entity is around to supervise strata councils and their hired scapegoat, then I don’t need to exercise decorum when sharing my incredulity. Again – my opinion.

Real Estate Council needs a complaint from the strata council in order to initiate an investigation into their licensee: the property manager. One would be correct to assume an agitated owner would need to shoot an arrow over the bow and hire a lawyer to advise the council it isn’t omnipotent. An egocentric strata council would most likely become “hardworking volunteers unfamiliar with strata sdministration” and plead the more palatable ignorance defense and wash their hands of it.

Problem is that darn pesky property manager works for a broker. That managing broker is ultimately responsible for the antics of the employee. The offending property manager will be dealt with publicly when the perception of the public could skew the reputation of the Real Estate Council and its partner in crime the BC provincial government… about giant circlejerk there!

Pass the buck politics is the name of the game in the strata world.

Hey Liberals and NDP: you guys can continue to ignore requests to revisit your legislation and how you DON’T enforce it; you guys can continue to rely on the efforts of private individuals to step up to the plate and do your work for you;however, you guys DON’T have the right to act like you give a damn when  your promises never see action beyond the superficial.

It is my belief that eventually carpal tunnel will require apathetic strata owners, rogue strata councils, inept property management, ambivalent government and government hacks to seek respite from the circlejerk and start thinking and acting in a more productive manner.

The Strata Property Act deserves respect and needs enforcement just like strata corporation bylaws deserve respect and enforcement. As long as the regulatory bodies and government ignore strata issues until reputations require some breadcrumb of attention-elections– then the world of strata will continue to be an essentially unregulated swamp of seedy crimes and misdemeanors.

Yup……a strata circlejerk!

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Posted in Cost of Ignorance
4 comments on “Strata CircleJerk
  1. mark davis says:

    I love it when people talk about complaints on managment companies or their managers. We act under the law of agency hence being strata agents. Thank you for indicating the role of the council as most comlaints about us that do the job is due to lack of direction or the circle jerk syndrome in Councils that do not want to spend the money or get the work done or enforce the bylaws. We as agents can speak or advise till we are blue in the face careful not to be too pushy or the Council terminates to someone who will not talk or give direction. We can suggest comment advise all we want the Council has to accept the suggestions in order for anything to get done and really makes our job difficult. The governing body is the Council they make the descisions or lack thereof.


    • stratalife says:

      There is a very fine line between right and wrong;professional and unprofessional.

      I have met exceptional property managers and they are the benchmark for my own opinions about all the ones I come into contact with either directly or indirectly.

      It never ceases to amaze me how professionals are so willing to throw their personal and business ethics out the window rather than lose a management contract. The fault of the Strata Property Act is that it is self-regulatory in an environment of ignorance and playground politics. If property management had been regulated from the get-go, unsavoury types would not have exploited owners who in turn have become exploitive of management.

      If a Council is disrespectful and obviously not following professional advice, why oh why would you continue to represent
      that corporation? Unfortunately, you are only as good as your weakest link and a bad strata is not a strong link. Perhaps if a bad strata was unable to secure professional management then it may force that strata council to take a look in the mirror and initiate change. Perhaps owners need to be educated that their perceptions about the authority of a professional is completely undermined by the incompetence of their neighbours sitting on council. Owners truly believe property management leads and advises the council. A bad manager only perpetuates the delusion especially when they willingly allow councils to abuse owners like me.

      My opinion: Property Management is a mirror of the Council that directs it. Decisions have consequences. Reputations are made or ruined by the degree management companies are willing to serve the bottom line over business acumen.

      Sometimes walking away from a contract with an inept strata council supported by apathetic owners is the higher road for you and your industry.

      I appreciate very much that you took the time to read my blog and share your comments. Your insights are valuable and important. Best wishes for a successful career in management.


      • mark davis says:

        All I can say is well said, well said and thank you for your best wishes, it is apreciated. I enjoy my job and take it very seriously enjoying the relationships and trust I build with my clients (the Council). I especially like and agree with your comment on the weekest link but I would say a bad Council not bad Strata and but there are both just different. Keep blogging I look forward to reading more!


  2. Alica says:

    Good day! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page
    to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for


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