I FIND myself in the unfortunate position of owning an apartment.
It’s not unfortunate that I own a property, of course – that part I’m quietly chuffed about. I bought it many, many years ago as an investment and although it hasn’t set the world on fire with whopping great returns, it has ticked along nicely and caused us few issues.
However, the unfortunate byproduct of owning a unit is the fact that you must then belong to a body corporate, also known as an owner’s corporation.
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If you haven’t had the pleasure of being part of a body corporate before, allow me to regale you with tales of wonder and excitement!
A body corporate is made up of all of the owners in a particular complex – it could be anywhere from four to 400 people, who happen to share very little in common accept for an address.
A handful of the group are elected as ‘committee members’, and everyone is thrown together once a year for an annual general meeting, where they get to vote and decide all sorts of things like what insurance policy to buy for their apartment building, how much to allow for gardening and maintenance, and whether Jim from unit 403 is allowed to keep a dog.
When you put random people together like this, it can often turn ugly as there are many different agendas and opinions at play – which is why this article about body corp disasters caught my attention this week. In one case, an estimated $300,000 was spent on legal expenses to remove a manager from one Gold Coast complex; it doesn’t get much uglier than that.
In the last 12 months, developments surrounding my investment have proved interesting. I thank the good Lord that I don’t live on the premises because within our humble complex of 10, we’ve had plenty of fireworks – figuratively, not literally.
Some tenants and residents are refusing to speak to each other in person, corresponding only via email. Two neighbouring residents reached fistcuffs over an illegal cat. One tenant has had his mailbox glued shut seven times, which we suspect was the handiwork of another tenant, who accused our mailbox friend of spying on him via a hidden camera. It’s like Melrose Place, but without the bed-hopping.
Police have been involved. Real estate agents have been involved. Body corporate managers have been involved. It’s all a bit embarrassing, considering that grown adults are involved here.
In the last two months, things have thankfully calmed down as two households have moved out, and two more are planning their escape. I’m crossing fingers, toes and all other crossable appendages that the next lot of residents just manage to get along…
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