Unhappy with ineffective strata board

| 26/04/2016

I have a nice little condo in a small development but the strata board is weak, the chairman rude and ineffectual, and the common areas untidy and uncared for. It is starting to affect the value and enjoyment of my property. The majority of other owners are either uninterested or just don’t care as they are never here. What are my legal remedies?

Auntie’s answer: It will probably come as no surprise to you that I have little patience or respect for people who do not show regard for others. In your case, this is evident by your description of the common areas of your condo, the rudeness of said strata board chairman and the apparent lack of interest in these issues of others who live there.

One wants to come back every night to a peaceful and lovely home; you do not seem to be living that dream right now.

What can be done to make things better? To point you in the right direction, I put your question to local realtor Tony Catalanotto, who has been involved in Cayman’s property market for 12 years and sits on a strata executive, so knows of what he speaks.

One small caveat: since he does not know where you live or the by-laws of your particular complex, he is working on the assumption that they would be similar in both content and intent to those used by many other places in Cayman. He also points out that most by-laws outline the parameters and obligations of the strata executive (Exco) including how this governing body is elected.

“I am assuming that Exco is poorly populated thus leaving the chairman to have his way and manage the affairs of the strata as he sees fit,” Mr Catalanotto started out. He added that the usual remedies that are covered in the by-laws would typically include making the chairman and/or Exco accountable and possibly removing or replacing them.

And you might take some heart from his next point, which is that if you were to hold them accountable, since these are volunteer positions, those people would be likely to resign.

But, if you try to get them removed, he believes the by-laws could require a special vote.

Mr Catalanotto continued, “The problem then becomes that in either case, a new Exco would need to be elected and based on the other owners being uninterested, this in itself may see no volunteers willing to be elected.”

Sounds to me like, to paraphrase the wise old Groucho Marx, not wanting to join a club that would have you as a member. But I digress.

Our friendly realtor’s final bits of advice: “Depending on the size of the strata and its financial position, it may be well served to hire a third-party property management company to take over the day-to-day management of its affairs. Alternatively, the reader can chose to stand for election to the Exco and become more involved to help insure that the property is kept to a higher standard.”

It seems you now have a few things to contemplate: whether you are prepared to fight to change the makeup of the board and chairman, and, subsequently, if you would be willing to put yourself out there as a candidate to head your strata executive.

I hope that you will be able to negotiate a solution so that you can once again enjoy your home.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Aunti you should advise the above person that Ms. Cheryl Neblett of the Law Reform Commission has a very improved Strata Law from about 2009 she has been asking strata owners to look at the proposed changes and give input – to date only the professional strata managers have taken the time and trouble to review and comment on the proposed changes.

    Suggest to your letter writers to help themselves by getting other strata owners to work together and contact Ms. Neblett.

    Yes, working together in a Strata Owners Association they can have a voice even if in their strata most of the owners are deadbeats.

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