Resident managers work for owners

The continuing need for resident managers and the owners they serve to liaise and talk to each other regularly as it remains one of the key elements in ensuring the strata and community living functions positively and efficiently.

We at ARAMA continue to encourage all resident managers to maintain regular face-to-face dialogue with their owners where possible aside from the written monthly report on activities to ensure that all day-to-day and operational matters are dealt with and where necessary resolved. It is good business practice and common sense to deal with issues and disputes quickly and amicably and not let them spiral out of context and out of control.

The recent Gold Coast dispute that was resolved by a lengthy Supreme Court judgement has highlighted the huge cost that results from the formal disputes resolution process with major costs being awarded against the body corporate and the building’s individual owners. One of the comments made by the judge Justice McMurdo in his finding was that he recognised the efforts of the resident manager.

In the judgement, Justice McMurdo has recognised the efforts of Keiren Henderson on more than one occasion to negotiate a resolution to the dispute.

This is an example of the importance of why every resident manager must attend committee meetings and communicate clearly, frequently and accurately with all lot owners. Every manager should have a paragraph in their monthly newsletter to owners to remind owners to elect committees that can act responsibly. The former Merrimac Heights committee has cost each owner about $5000 in a special levy as well as reducing the ability of the committee to bargain.

Many owners like to see someone else take on the work involved with the body corporate but it can be expensive when incompetent committee members believe the wrong advice. The court ruled against the advice provided by the former body corporate manager who also acted as the legal representative for the body corporate of Merrimac Heights. The advice was allegedly for the committee to frustrate and then terminate a 15-year landscape contract that had 12 years to run.

Such advice is clearly contrary to any reasonable approach to community living.

I reiterate that Queensland strata and community title legislation has been established over the past 30 years and has been developed to enable the majority of matters to be clearly resolved by a proven course of dispute resolution. The legislation and its regulations have been developed to protect and foster the density living industry in Queensland.

The resident managers’ and the management rights industry roles are clearly defined in the legislation. Protection for owners is provided in the legislation when legitimate problems must be addressed.

It should be understood that the management rights industry has helped establish and consolidate Queensland’s tourism accommodation industry, with self catering accommodation providing a large proportion of holiday letting beds in Queensland. Thousands of Queenslanders and Australians have bought holiday units for investment and their annual holidays and this has resulted in the successful development of major tourism centres in many areas of coastal Queensland and supported one of our major employment industries tourism.

Resident managers have professionally operated these complexes that have resulted in creating a lifestyle change that now sees thousands of Queenslanders selecting strata and community title developments as their permanent place of residence. The onsite resident manager has an intimate knowledge of the complex and its occupants and is there to ensure that all stakeholders, owners, tenants, holiday makers and service providers are cared for to ensure the smooth running of the property for all.

The ongoing public criticism by the one of the owners’ groups of the strata and community title legislation and its regulations concerning management rights cannot be sustained in the light of the recent judgement. The management rights industry is an integral part of the structure of the community and strata title legislation and the industry it represents.

Large, medium and small complexes require day to day professional management and, under management rights, this is delivered on a 24/7 basis.

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