Picking the fights you need to
By Frank Higginson14 Nov 2011
Frequent readers of our newsletters have probably seen some repetitive themes in recent times. Acting reasonably is definitely one of them. This is both in the context of what you should do personally, as well as what judicial authorities in management rights matters are requiring committees to do.
Unfortunately, by the time judicial authorities are involved in any matter, it has probably got too far out of hand to mend relationships.
Therefore, this newsletter deals with the cause of some of these issues.
It is a truism in management rights matters that there is always one difficult person (or insert your own defamatory word as you choose) in your body corporate. If you are unlucky, they will be on your body corporate committee. If you are very unlucky, there might be more than one and they might all be on the committee. The absolute worst case scenario is that they are the chairperson and your committee representative.
In any event, they are there and you have to deal with them. In the closed relationship that is a body corporate, they cannot escape you and you cannot escape them.
Dealing with difficult people is never easy, but there is one thing you can do.
Do not pick the fights you do not need to and aggravate people unnecessarily.
We have had numerous instances of clients recently who out of a sense of frustration have lashed out. Examples include:
- Correcting a chairman’s letter to owners for basic syntax and incorrect use of words;
- Writing to a body corporate manager (and copying the committee) blasting the body corporate manager for giving the inside word on a quote to a preferred contractor;
- Having a go at a chairman for using a related party (who was a proper contractor) to do a job requiring a specialist tradesperson when the relationship was not disclosed to the committee; and
- Aggressively taking on a committee for the failure of the body corporate to issue an invitation to submit agenda motions as required by the BCCM Act - when the resident manager had nothing to submit.
In every single one of these situations the conduct:
- complained of was not right - and in some cases was unlawful; and
- had no impact at all on the resident manager’s business or income.
In each of these instances, the resident manager had absolutely nothing to gain by raising the issues, other than maybe a notional win on the point scoring ladder. On the other side of the coin they had plenty to lose. At a minimum, the resident manager has put their head up above the parapet for a square up when they do something incorrectly, which will happen at some stage. It is just a reality of life that no one is perfect and things will go wrong - whether intentionally or otherwise.
It is always up to you to how you want to run your business. You can be a crusader for strict and proper practice and adherence to every rule. There are certainly plenty of them to adhere to in a body corporate and management rights context. You have to be ready though for that same standard to be applied to you.
Our view is that being a crusader for all that is correct is not always in your interests. You should assess the commercial benefit (or risk) to you before you charge into something that does not necessarily hurt or concern you.
Rock the boat if you want to, but just be ready for what may follow.