This question from ACT on whether there is a code of behaviour for difficult Lot Owners has been answered by Jan Browne, Bridge Strata.
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- QUESTION: Our complex has a very abusive and difficult owner. Can we introduce a motion for owners to vote on a Rule with a code of conduct for corresponding with the Committee?
- QUESTION: There is a code of behaviour for Executive Committee members but is there also a code of behaviour for difficult lot owners?
Question: Our complex has a very abusive and difficult owner. Can we introduce a motion for owners to vote on a Rule with a code of conduct for corresponding with the Committee?
I’m in a complex with one very difficult owner who’s been incredibly abusive and antagonistic to a succession of Executive Committees and Managers for a long period of time. It’s at the point that no-one wants to be on the Committee because of the behaviour of this owner.
Are we allowed to introduce a motion for owners to vote on a Rule with a code of conduct for corresponding with the Committee? We’d want to make sure that the Rule would stand if it’s challenged by the difficult owner, and I’m not sure how to write it.
Answer: The EC can certainly develop a list of protocols in dealing with members and the manager.
I’m not clear if the owner is a current member of the Executive Committee or not. I am presuming they are not.
The EC can certainly develop a list of protocols in dealing with members and the manager. I would suggest that all requests are in writing through the manager and that EC Members are not to be approached personally.
The manager may have to sign off on some emails once a subject has been addressed – “No further correspondence to be entered into”. The unfortunate scenario with some of these type of personalities is that you will not hear from them for a period of time and then it is like they are let off the leash and the constant barrage of emails and demands becomes unreasonable.
The manager could also consider advice to this owner that additional emails outside what is considered normal will equate with additional costs against the OC which may be added to the unit owner under section 31 of the Act. Any protocols determined could be passed as additional Rules by special resolution at a general meeting.
This post appears in Strata News #369.
Question: There is a code of behaviour for Executive Committee members but is there also a code of behaviour for difficult lot owners?
We have a lot owner in our building who is so combative and vexatious at our AGM’s that makes it very difficult and uncomfortable for others at the meeting, particularly our Executive Committee.
His aggression is mostly verbal but at our last two AGMs he has actually come close to physical violence. There is a code of behaviour for Executive Committee members but is there also a code of behaviour for difficult lot owners?
Answer: I would suggest that the Executive Committee develop meeting protocols/procedures.
Difficult lot owners can be very hard to handle, particularly in a meeting.
The best thing for handling these difficult lot owners would be for the Executive Committee to develop meeting protocols/procedures. These protocols/procedures are to be sent with the meeting paperwork or if already sent then as a followup. Make a point at the start of the meeting to confirm that these protocols will be followed.
There are several templates available online to help with the writing of the protocols/code of behaviour.
Owners attending a meeting need to be aware of what their responsibilities are in relation to their own code of behaviour and what is acceptable conduct in this arena.
If all else fails then an order may be required through ACAT under Section 129
- The ACAT may make the following orders:
- an order requiring a party to do, or refrain from doing, a stated thing;
The Owners Corporation will need a strong chair who can control the meeting and declare any owner out of order if inappropriate behaviour is displayed. The chair needs to keep the meeting on track.
One suggestion is that at the start of the meeting the Chair declares that all motions will be by way of Rules of Debate:
1 speaker for the motion and then a speaker against the motion and then declare that the motion “BE PUT”
Update: After publishing this article, we’ve been asked how to access the Code of Behaviour for ACT Executive Committee Members. It can be found on page 21 of this document – Unit titles management in the ACT: What you need to know
This post appears in Strata News #280.
Have a question about dealing with difficult lot owners or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- How to Make Strata Committee Meetings Run Like Clockwork
- ACT: Q&A Rules Around How to Chair a General Meeting. Can this be done by an Independent person?
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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