Standing up to committee bullies – you are NOT welcome here

For every Strata Community Manager around the country there would be at least one story each they will recall, but no doubt would prefer to forget, about a bully on the strata committee.

You know the kind. That individual who thrives on committee drama and whose sole purpose is to try to use their voluntary position as power for their own selfish gain.

Worse still, when their motives are uncovered for all owners to see, and in time they will, they retaliate by causing havoc and distress to what would normally be a pleasant, neighbourly catch up whilst discussing strata matters.

Years ago my friend moved into a beautiful block of apartments with well-groomed gardens and common areas worthy of a magazine spread. Excited about her new digs, she went along to her first strata meeting with eyes wide open. She met the chairperson and was in awe of everything he suggested about the property.

Fast forward 12 months and it’s a completely different story. Residing in the complex for almost a year brought on bullying clarity.

It appears the chairperson was quite eager to have a new cabana built on common property in a timely manner – specifically before Christmas – so he could have his family over for lunch and didn’t want to entertain them in his apartment.

After rallying the residents to encourage votes in favour of the works, he was quite assured of his success. He sourced quotes and arranged for a builder on standby… until the votes came in as a clear no-go.

Long story short, he resigned shortly after when he didn’t get the result he wanted.

We call that karma. United in numbers from a fed-up body corporate who saw right through the ‘communal’ benefit of his proposed structure and voted against the motion.

The lesson to the body corporate is this: a bully on the committee is only as good as just one vote. It is their right to have their voice heard in a meeting, but to have it voted on and accepted is quite another.

A bully shouldn’t be permitted to railroad any resident into voting for a motion they are not genuinely agreeable to.

There is also the option of a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the chairperson, or another office bearer or member, to have he or she removed from their position.

If you suspect there is a case of bullying going on within your committee, speak to your strata manager about some options. They will be able to provide you with the process involved in pursuing these, legally.

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