Monthly Archives: July 2013

Your Guide to the Common Property

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The guide to common property for a particular strata plan might list out some of the tricky things peculiar to the site, like who pays for broken pipes and essential services, and skirting boards and architraves on common walls.

Each place will be different but a list of these things tailored to the needs of each plan is an invaluable learning tools and reference source. When an issue comes up, the document that might be called, “ Who’s responsible? Your Guide to Our Common Property”, becomes the authority and much time, money and goodwill will be saved by its frequent use.

The Life Span of a Strata Committee

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Like a butterfly, the life span of a strata committee is about one day. In fact, it is a little less than that, it is one working day.

Just four meetings of say 2 hours each (if well run), and that is it. So with just eight hours to do the job, every minute must be made to count.

Saving for Future Expenses in Strata is Like Shipping Lettuce by Rabbit

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Saving for the building’s future expenses is where financial irresponsibility is most likely to be found in strata land. ‘Why pay now, what we can pay tomorrow’ is the line of argument.

Some agree and would rather keep their hands on their money and make it work for them before parting with it to a lazy investment in a term deposit by the owners corporation. It’s true that there is probably a better return on investment capital then a low interest bearing deposit account of the strata organisation. But here’s the problem with that argument, when the big bucks have to be spent and a special levy struck to pay for the work, those without the funds will argue persuasively for less or no expenditure and the building falls apart.

This is a looming problem for governments everywhere. Attempts have been made to make rolling 10-year replacement studies and progressive savings compulsory to avoid massive waste and deterioration of our high-rise apartments and high-density townhouses. In the main however these legislative initiatives are toothless tigers because the laws merely say that a study must be prepared and considered. Asking an owners corporation to consider a study to take funds from them individually and put it away to cushion the blow for future owners of the day when the money has to be spent, is about as effective as shipping lettuce by rabbit.

To Do or Not To Do

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In defining a focus, it can be instructive to decide what is not the point. It’s liking having a ‘to do list’- life would be better with a ‘not to do list’.

So what is an owners corporation not? It is not a body for world peace- go to church or a mosque and pray for that if you are so inclined, or take up banners and join a march. An owners corporation is not a social networking group- go to Facebook for that. It’s not a therapy group – for your anger management issues see a psychiatrist or take up yoga. An owners corporation is not a platform for aspiring or frustrated politicians – seek endorsement for parliament for that. An owners corporation is for the management of common property.

I Think That We Should Think it Out Again

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In our unique Australian way, we have eight sets of laws for strata property in our sparsely populated land. Each has of course, its own language to express the same or similar concepts.

This does nothing for the development of better standards and understanding in a shrinking world where cross border travel and property ownership is at an all time high.

These language barriers make it difficult for business to develop across state and territory borders and for learning to be transported from one jurisdiction to another. Our advancement in this area is hampered by the absence of a common language for those living and working in the strata world. I think we’d better think it out again!

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