Most people who live in strata, or have lived in strata previously, would know of that individual who thrives on causing chaos within the community. Not for any particular reason, just because they can. And they do.
You know the type. They disagree with the mainstream, often disrupt discussions at meetings and unduly try to influence the voting on their ‘pet’ issues. Let’s call them disrupters.
Would you want to appoint a disrupter to your committee? Because they would potentially do just that… cause disruption.
Ask any Community/Strata Manager and they’ll tell you opinions vary amongst Owners Corporations or Bodies Corporate. Some feel it is better to let them vent in a closed situation than publicly, where others believe the majority may not always be right and minority views need an opportunity to be heard for a more balanced discussion.
The answer lies not with the principles involved, but rather on pragmatism. Will the disrupter add to the discussions or simply destroy the decision-making process? That’s an assessment that is difficult to make.
Unfortunately, we know of experiences where a disrupter has literally paralysed productivity of the committee. Sensible, earnest and caring owners have relinquished their positions on the committee because they have lost patience with the one who simply refuses to accept majority decisions and continually causes havoc.
Worse still, some owners have endured terrible verbal abuse at meetings in front of their fellow neighbours, and the disrupter is uncontrolled by Codes of Conduct and/or procedural discipline.
This is where the disrupter becomes the destroyer – someone who literally scares and intimidates good people away – leaving like-minded disruption with them at the helm.
In those circumstances, ultimately it is the community that suffers from long term dysfunction. It could even prove detrimental to property values. A complex with a reputation as being a difficult place to make proper decisions is hardly a desirable prospect for potential buyers.
The sad fact is, it is extremely difficult for a community to deal with disciplinary action. It usually creates a permanent divide between owners and ongoing factions will eventually destroy the community spirit. Sometimes, being inclusive can be disastrous.
That aside, Owners Corporations and Bodies Corporate should always aim to be inclusive. They should make every effort to recruit office bearers who have a broad range of knowledge and skills. Minority views should always be welcomed to be heard so long as the proper decision-making processes are respected and protected.
Protect your complex from falling victim to disrupters. Be respectful to your neighbours always. Respect one’s right to raise any concerns and respect there are by-laws in place to protect everyone.
For the sake of harmonious community living… compromise. After all, this is your home and the life you chose, so make it a pleasant experience for yourself and all residents.