New laws will tease tenants with a false sense of relevance

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The cultural divide in Australia between owners and tenants will be widened by proposed laws for NSW allowing tenants limited rights to participate in meetings of owners corporations.

By these proposals a copy of the agenda of each meeting is to be provided to tenants on the owners corporations roll, and tenants will be entitled to attend strata meetings.

Some owners will be object to this reform merely on economic grounds. Strata managers usually charge by the page or in some cases, unbelievably, by the email so the more they send they more they are paid. The tenants’ objections will be far more personal.

The right of attendance given to tenants by the proposals is insignificant having regard to the limitations attached. Unless specifically resolved by an owners corporation on a case by case basis:

• Tenants will be entitled to be seen but not heard.
• Tenants will be asked to leave when financial matters are being debated.
• Tenants will not be entitled to see any documents sent with the agenda.

If the purpose of these proposals is to unite our strata communities, then they fail miserably. Tenants won’t come to a show to be relegated to the cheap seats without a program and to suffer the indignity of being removed when matters of finance are raised.

This is a policy so compromised in the making that it perhaps unwittingly will set owner/tenant relations back 50 years, ironically to a time of segregation when King had a dream and Kennedy thought what unites us was far greater than what divides us.

Not in strata my friends, not in strata.

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