Self Managed Group bullying owner

In late 2014 I was called upon by an owner within a small group of 3 units who advised that there were issues in the unit group which was self managed and needed someone to talk through matters with.

The issues boiled down to one owner being bullied by the owners of the neighbouring units for their own gain.

The owner of the unit at the rear ran the corporations affairs and our contact felt bullied through behaviour such as minutes for previous meetings being delayed and not given to all owners until directly before the next years meeting; and these minutes coming signed as a true and correct record by this owner and another owner within the group before all unit owners have even seen them, let alone passed comment or an appropriate resolution.

The owner of the unit at the rear had apparently been granted by the corporation approval to park up to 4 cars and a caravan on the common property, while the owner of the unit at the front had been granted approval to convert the garage into an additional living room, use the park in front of that garage and also turn the pergola at the rear of the unit into a carpark and park in front of that.

This of course impacted on the unit in the middle who was squeezed on both sides and created the scenario that the front unit had 4 available carparking spaces, 5 for the rear and just 2 for the middle unit which was an inequitable situation.

The owner at the rear also granted approval to himself through the corporations meeting to place a shade sail over his caravan which then encroached on the land of unit 2 and discharged stormwater into unit 2s property, which is not only a prime example of using the corporation to bully an individual but also illegal; a body corporate cannot give away an owners land!

The affected owner wanted to appoint Strata Management SA to manage the affairs of the corporation fairly, but unfortunately where two owners have joined forces to bully an individual in a group of 3 the vote just isn't going to go their way. Our free, no obligation advice was for this owner to seek a remedy in the Magistrates Court as a resolution of a strata dispute and we assisted this owner in getting notes together for the Magistrate.

While bodies corporate aren't perfect, they can be a good way of bringing people together with individual ownership forming a positive coalition, but the corporations will not work where self management is used by certain owners to protect their patch rather than work in the best interests of the property as a whole.

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