The Leaky Condo crisis in BC is not so much in the news lately. There is just so much more juicy fodder with pipelines and two-faced politicians subverting ethics for votes, stealing all the headlines. It’s always what lies beneath in the sub terrain of an unresolved issue that slowly, over time, builds pressure and implodes.
Many strata owners were left holding the bag for government failures at all levels during the Leaky Condo Crisis not the least of which belonged to their own strata councils. Never, ever forget for even one minute that strata owners choose their government and as in all democratic process, the majority wins the day. Most owners do not bother to attend annual general meetings, read bylaws or familiarize themselves with the legislation that apparently offers guidance,policies, laws and recourse for strata living.
Many owners use this apathy as an excuse to practice denial and avoidance. Other owners prefer to think of their home as an island with a narrow channel between neighbours and a drawbridge controlled by “don’t ask,don’t tell”. The norm is a fairytale of sorts….”strata living is really not communal but I agreed to acknowledge it to get a piece of the real estate pie”. Ambivalence is a cancer as I’ve said many, many times until something happens and then in 0 to 60 seconds, ambivalence wakes up to reactive anger. When reactive anger confronts ambivalence all hell breaks loose.
Generally vacillating strata owners are ignorant — not naive, definitely ignorant. When confronted by reactive angry strata owners, ambivalent owners have nowhere to go but on defence. Uncertain owners bury themselves behind their council – elected of course by the bare minimum participant owners without care or for no better reason than deafening campaign noise and racket. Council members elected this way of course are egocentric agenda hacks with no respect for community. Strata ownership was simply a means to an end.
A strata council’s sole purpose is to maintain common assets and exercise the good governance required to do so. The government is all puffy with righteous superiority about requiring depreciation reports so strata councils everywhere are responsible, accountable and transparent. But, government legislation is often rather puffy too —-looks really substantial but deflates when poked. One leaky strata unit becomes a deluge – a flood of government bureaucracy,strata owner ignorance and blind justice treading water in an impossible rip current.
Strata owners lose their minds over structural repairs. Pity the poor owner with a leak because the water will wash away decency and community on the part of dry neighbours. Where owners within a strata do not look after each other and their common property swift recourse must ensue. It makes no sense to force owners dealing with leaks to also deal with ineptitude and boondoggles of a resistant,cheap strata council. Salt gets poured on the wound when the only way to get action is to open wallets.
Where there is clear ineptitude about its own legislation, the government needs to step in and make it right. Any government that would heave legislation like the Strata Property Act without a watchdog to enforce it outside lawyers and government hacks is only contributing to the problem. I have always found it interesting that landlords and tenants have a whole branch of government working for them but strata owners have nothing save expensive lawyers who charge what the traffic will bear.
You see, when you are fighting for your home you are really fighting for yourself but in a strata, like it or not, you are part of a collective and “I” is always “We”. Judicially, a strata owner can’t beat the efforts of a good strata lawyer but in the end those judicial games cost more than the leak repair. A good community comes together and helps their own…everyone doing a little saves one person paying a lot.
These days, strata owners need to manipulate the media like the media manipulates news. In these days of overpriced real estate markets, nothing creates activity like a spotlight on equivocal strata communities.Put it out there, don’t expect the wheels of justice to give you an umbrella. A council behaving without reason or accountability requires a bit of righteous indignation from within its own corporate community. After all, once a strata springs a leak there are two options: You plug a leak when it is manageable or you grab a seat on some dry, dubious patch of ground and watch the waters rise.In the end it is difficult to assess the subversives within a strata corporation but sometimes the right intent is a necessary evil in terms of a leaky strata.