Flexibility in Strata Communities

In enforcing community rules, reasonably a degree of flexibility is required. Every so often some officious looking strata chairperson will be interviewed on a current affairs show about his or her efforts to evict a fish.

Typically there will have been a problem in the community about animals and upon checking the by-laws, it becomes clear all animals are banned. Someone works out a fish is an animal and knows that the fellow who voted against them at the last meeting and took an unpopular position on the animal issue is secretly harbouring a single goldfish in a bowl on his mantle piece. The ‘rules are the rules’ approach to the interpretation of by-laws is taken and support grows for the deportation of the fish.

On a ‘matter of principle’ a breach notice is issued and before we know it the talk shows and the radio ‘shock jocks’ have made a story out of the fish, the apartment block and the crazy things that people do to each other when reasonable people sit by and fail to put the extremists back in their place.

Every set of laws has some antiquated provisions and unintentional consequences if interpreted literally. A good test for when some flexibility is required is to imagine how the public will react to your side of the story when it goes to air.

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