If you are anything like me, you appreciate a good yarn about funny / interesting work place incidents. Some industries bear more fruit when it comes to tall tales than others. Strata management is fertile ground in this department.
A colleague of mine from Victoria, Stephen Raff (CEO of Ace Body Corporate Management) has recently published a book on this subject called “Strata living stories, an insider’s guide to the weirdest, wackiest and downright hilarious things residents do!”. My personal favourite involves a resident coring a hole between his apartment and the long vacant unit below to create a dual level residence – pure genius.
Contained within the pages of Stephens book I found an interesting recurring theme that I identified with in my own experience. In conversation with other colleagues of mine, they also recognised the same issue. For some inexplicable reason, when confronted in an urgent situation, the first reaction of a resident within a strata building is to call their strata manager.
Depending on the situation this can be cause for a mild chuckle, however occasionally it is actually somewhat more alarming. For example, I recently received a call from a concerned gentleman who informed me that the adjacent balcony was…. on fire. You read that correctly. When I enquired with the caller as to whether they had informed the fire department they responded with an emphatic “well you’re the strata manager; shouldn’t you do that?!”
Let me be abundantly clear in my advice on this point – if you live in an apartment, whether you are an owner or a tenant, when faced with an emergency you are entitled to take reasonable action to respond to the emergency. The example of a fire is pretty clear; you should feel free to make a call to the fire department without first squaring it away with your strata manager. However, other examples of emergencies would include anything that is making the unit unsafe such as sparks coming out of the fuse board, or sewage backing up from the toilet or overflow pipes.
For non-urgent matters you should naturally call your strata manager, and in cases where you deemed it appropriate to directly engage with a service provider, you should attempt to call upon the preferred contractors of the strata management company or your property managers. After that fact you should also make the managers aware of what occurred and what action you took.
As always, the best advice is to apply common sense to each situation. If you keep that in mind you should avoid making it into the second edition of Stephen Raffs catalogue of stories from the world of strata!