Strata corporations are political hotbeds and don’t listen to anyone or any entity that tells you different. They can get super hot if a couple of owners actually own the council – nothing will ever change unless it serves those particular council members.
Every council has a caricature of some newsworthy politician. Every strata corporation has cliques of owners who choose their representatives based largely upon perception rather than truth. Every strata corporation has one or two owners who actually know something, try to do the right thing but get shut down by spin and whispers over muffins and tea or wine, lots and lots of wine.
It is so easy to stick a bug in someone’s ear and have it turn into a magnificent malfeasance(Yeah, so what it’s a big word but I learned it in Grade 6). Strata crap goes viral really, really fast depending on the gossip train. Sometimes runaway trains can be stopped without too much damage but other times the damage is devastating.
Oftentimes a strata corporation will have a core group of owners who really like to control things for “the good of everyone” of course. Problem with a heavily supported core group? The heavy support is really not educated or willing to be educated about strata law, strata bylaws, or logic and common sense. Essentially, the heavy support amounts to a passive-aggressive majority present and accounted for at the Annual General Meeting. Just get a good seat at an AGM next time and watch the visible cues between present council members and their core. Pay attention to the timing of statements and even the lack of statements. Listen to how certain types of questions are raised and answered and others are raised but put down – I mean out and out PUT DOWN. Observe which particular council member deals with which particular topic.
A strata corporation with long serving members is not a good thing. It’s not a good thing in national politics so why small communities of people believe it’s a good thing is baffling. Yet, year after year the same people step forward and year after year they are unchallenged. The owners only know what they choose to know. The council cannot and should not be blamed for this. If a strata corporation has the same faces on council year after year – well that’s the fault of owners. No lawyer or association or tribunal will challenge an election outcome unless a law is compromised.
Owners have rights to most corporate documents because owners are the corporation. The S.P.A. provides owners with legal access save specific types of information and circumstances. It may take numerous visits to research and study it and money may have to be spent on copies. More research and study may be required but if it turns out the same faces serving on Council are contravening the legislation and/or bylaws and/or human rights and/or privacy, then one person with one voice can and should challenge those long serving council members.
Often, long serving members are unaware they are making mistakes because there has been no effort on their own part to stay on top of changes to the Strata Property Act,Privacy Act,Human Rights Act, etc. Often, long serving members are simply just as comfortable with the status quo as the owners who keep re-electing them. Often, long serving members are a little too comfortable with power and control and for this group it is best to keep the majority blissfully ignorant. Best to have lots of socials so council manipulation feels like individual thought before an AGM, or have meetings behind closed doors with owner lobbyists who like to pull strings without taking any heat.
The best advice for ANY strata owner out there is this: A collective requires everyone’s participation to succeed. A healthy strata will see all owners volunteering for a term or two as council members and then time as executive members. In this way all owners are contributing and the chances for a well run successful strata corporation are greater. It’s like any election where every voter votes and every citizen contributes – everyone’s a winner not just willing “lifers”.