Monthly Archives: June 2014

Getting Beyond Growing Pains

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Any form of growth is not without its challenges and there are many ahead for our strata communities as our urban skyline grows up. We need an urgent and informed dialogue about the way we look after our built environment and the way we relate to one another as co-owners of such property. For any dialogue we need a common language and that is where we should start.

A Singular Responsibility

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The responsibility of an owners corporation is singular: to manage the common property. All apparently singular responsibilities have many other facets on closer examination. This is no exception. When broken down, the responsibility of an owners corporation regarding common property is:

  • Keep it safe
  • Keep it clean
  • Keep it repaired and maintained
  • Keep it insured, and
  • Keep it used in an orderly way

To do these things of course requires money. An owners corporation funds the costs of communal ownership of common property by setting budgets, striking and collecting levies and keeping books and records. But these are matters incidental to the core responsibility of an owners corporation: to manage the common property.

What’s In a Name?

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There is something missing in the term ‘owners association’. It is cold and clinical. It says nothing of proximity – of the micro-communities that are apartment blocks and townhouse complexes.

Belonging to an association connotes images of going to a meeting and coming home somewhat detached and resigning or not renewing membership if the wrong types seize control.

There is no such option in a group for the management of co-owned facilities in an apartment block or townhouse complex. So when the village idiot takes control of the apartment village in which you live, the only way out is to sell up and be gone. This is not an association, its much more complicated than that, it’s a community.

Higher Issues for High-Rise

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Stereotypes aside, whatever brings us together in smaller and smaller household formations ideally suited to strata communities, it is time for us to address the issues that arise from this form of living. These are issues that go beyond the mere management of owners corporations and common property. These are higher issues that are being debated in a corporate context and are evolving as accepted mainstream standards. Issues such as governance, compliance, sustainability and reasonableness dominate our thinking about corporate life and increasingly the not for profit sector but are yet to be applied in earnest to our strata communities. These are issues, which we must address and disciplines we must learn if we are to live well in strata communities in the second half century of the strata age.
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