If an owners corporation is to develop any sense of responsibility for self-determination it usually happens about year three or four.
By then the penny has dropped that the builders not coming back to fix anymore leaks and cracks, the warranties on repair and replacements have expired and there is no money in the tin to pay the bills. Maybe now the owners are ready to embrace and even thrive on the responsibility of taking matters into their own hands and determining the future of their building.
At about this time, as when a corporate takeover is concluded or a new government is elected; all the developers’ people are ousted. This purge will start at the committee level and the first chairperson who became a little too matey with the developer will go, followed by his or her acolytes and the strata manager appointed by the developer when in total control of the newly formed owners corporation.
Strata mangers get work from developers by setting up owners corporations for the developer for free. Instead of taking a fee for this service from the developer who has the legal responsibility to set up the owners corporation, the developer promises to grant to the strata manger a contract to manage the new owners for up to three years and in some cases longer. This contract, the developer fixes at that time when the developer controls all of the newly formed lots and therefore the owners corporation. No matter how good a job is done in this time by the strata manager, towards the end by virtue of the developers exclusionary appointment process the strata manager is a dead man walking and as ineffective as a twice elected American President in his last year of office.
With a new team in place and ready to face their responsibilities as owners, the committee goes to work not always knowing what those responsibilities might entail. But that has never stopped a board of directors of a newly floated company or the cabinet of a newly elected government. On the job training is the best, in fact that’s all there is – but there are two important differences. Company directors and government members are paid and their undertaking will be the sole focus of their working lives. Here we have a group of owners who are unpaid, unfocused and unappreciated. The mantle of responsibility just got a little harder to bear.