Management Rights Must be Done Right

More importantly, management rights has to be seen to be done right.

By this I mean that we as management right operators need to project an image and a professional aura that clearly demonstrates that we know what we are doing and that we are daily fulfilling our caretaking duties in a diligent manner.

I am finding that this is fast becoming a serious “issue” for our industry. In this avaricious dog-eat-dog society we live in, especially in Strataland where litigious, opportunistic strata lawyers prowl the buildings looking for their next “feed”, resident managers are high up on the attack list! Strata lawyers seem to delight in attacking our contractual agreements with a barrage of spurious half-baked breach notices. As a resident manager in Sydney, doing what you think is a pretty good job, don’t be surprised to wake up one morning to a letter from your owners coprporation’s solicitors containing a breach notice for all the things you “supposedly” should be doing but are not doing – at least to their perceived standard.

When this happens, know that the knives are out and frankly someone on your executive committee is trying to knife you!

The reasons are multifarious: They can be personal, biased and agenda based, (someone hates you); they can be financially inspired (you get paid too much); or they can be plain old misinformed (they don’t really know what your job is). It’s not hard for anyone to walk around your building and find “issues”. In fact lawyers pay and get professional companies to secretly audit your performance and write a report to the executive committee. Guess what is going to be in that report? A long list of everything they could find that was notable – serious breaches unlikely – but a long list of quibbling little annoying oversights and minor cleaning issues, most of which probably got fixed up two days later on a regular clean. But the damage has now been done and the trust has been lost.

You are now a lazy manager that doesn’t do his/her job and, worse, you are now possibly ripping off all the other owners with your huge caretaking fees. It’s too late now to logically redress these breaches (which is what your contract allows) because now there are moves afoot to get rid of you!

I am not joking.

It’s at this juncture that I am often asked to help and help I do. But how much better would it be to totally avoid this “wake-up call” because frankly you might wake up to find yourself dead!

So let us please be pro-active in our caretaking duties, let’s be more personal in our dealings with owners and EC members. Our position as resident managers is not a sinecure; we don’t get paid to “not be in attendance” or to run around the building looking like the janitor. We are not employees remember, we are self-employed service contractors who get paid in similar fashion to facility management companies. So we need to look, act and project an image that says “professional”.

Trouble is the ones that need this timely wake-up call are the ones least likely to read this!

Pip West
Management Rights P/L

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