Anyone who has been around the management rights industry for any length of time can tell tall tales but true about the sometimes crazy goings-on in bodies corporate!
The ex-bus driver (no offence intended to bus drivers) who is elected to the position of chairman and then struts around the place for the next 12 months doing his best impression of Adolf Hitler; the domineering (and pedantic) lady whose task in life is to patrol the complex picking on the tenants for minor transgressions; the ex-schoolteacher (no offence intended to schoolteachers) whose haughty behaviour at the AGM suggests he thinks he is still in the classroom and his fellow lot owners are still his pupils – we have all met them!
Just be thankful you do not live in the good old US of A!
In America the body corporate is known as the Homeowners Association and the HOA really has teeth.
In one HOA in California, a lot owner on a 1.6ha block was fined by the committee for growing too many roses. The lot owner refused to pay and was subsequently taken to court. He lost the case, was forced to pay the HOA’s $70,000 legal bill and then had his home repossessed by the bank! Damned expensive roses!
In another Californian complex, an elderly lady who walks with a cane, was fined $25 every time she failed to carry her small dog through the lobby of the condominium. A by-law states that pets’ feet must never touch the floor of common areas. After racking up hundreds of dollars in fines, the lady was forced to leave! It puts the current Australian argument about pets in complexes into perspective, doesn’t it?
In Clearwater Florida, a Mr & Mrs Stuttler assumed guardianship of their six year old granddaughter after her drug addicted mother was ruled unfit. The problem was they lived in an “over 55” retirement community and the youngster was neither over 55 nor retired! The alarmed HOA immediately took action to force the child out. The Stuttlers attempted to move but even after dropping their price from $250,000 to $129,000 no buyer could be found. This was of course during the recent real estate slump in America. They were eventually sued by the HOA and the child’s fate is now before the courts.
So the next time you are tempted to whinge about your body corporate, just remember — it could be a lot worse!
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