Responsibility is creeping up on hapless strata owners

Buried Alive

There’s a thing happening in strata I’m going to call ‘responsibility creep’.

Ever so slowly strata entities are taking on more and more responsibility for things they aren’t able to handle.

Some of this responsibility creep is being forced on owners by higher levels of government, but much of it is self-imposed; well-intentioned, but nevertheless self-imposed. And the compliance burden is heavy.

The classic case of responsibility creep is for roads and parks transferred to strata and community titled entities by local government – under these arrangements owners pay twice – once in the form of rates to the council and once more in higher levies to their strata, as well as the administrative costs of risk of owning parks and roads.

Responsibility creep can come insidiously with calls for law reform. Take overcrowding for example. Strata owners complain of this happening in strata and the state government say “Okay, you can pass by-laws for that but you get to police the breach. Forget that this is the job of local councils with employees, budgets and accountabilities, and let’s give it to the people, so they can be responsible for who sleeps where.”

Over-zealous exercise of the by-law making power can also induce responsibility creep. In an over-the-top effort to regulate building work and renovations, all of a sudden an owners corporation can find itself second guessing local council development consent conditions and certifying work where others are paid to do this and enforce standards.

If strata management is getting too hard, and most think it is, then we need to call out responsibility creep whenever we see it.

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