Welcome to our exclusive column by Chris Irons, Dear Strata Solve, untangling your strata problems.
Dear Strata Solve
I’m on the committee and we have an owner who is, shall we say, ‘colourful’. They bombard us with endless emails day in, day out. Now, they want to get their hands on the body corporate roll and do the same thing with owners. I’ve had plenty of owners tell me they want nothing to do with that. What can we do?
Colourful in Chelmer
It’s worth remembering first of all what the roll is: namely, the primary means by which owners (and other parties too, including occupiers and agents) can contact each other. That’s vital in strata. There are plenty of instances where owners might want to speak to each other about an issue, or perhaps contact a neighbour about something which occurs. And of course, it becomes a very useful tool for the committee to communicate with everyone.
So it is on this basis that strata legislation is framed very much in terms of accessibility to the roll for people who are defined as an ‘interested person’. An owner is very much an interested person and we’re afraid it doesn’t matter the purpose for which they want a copy of the roll: if an owner asks for it, they must be given it.
Now, we totally get why you and other owners are concerned. No one wants that kind of incoming email traffic and it certainly sounds as though this owner is the type of person others are not keen on communicating with. Here’s the key point though: it is actually optional for owners to put their email address on the body corporate roll. Once they do so, it is taken to be their address for service and it also means it is available for that ‘interested person’ we mentioned above.
That poses a dilemma, because we can’t really see many people wanting to get reams of printed material posted to them – few people do that anymore. Email is convenient for both the body corporate and the owners, and it keeps costs down. So what to do? Well the obvious solution is to have an email address on the roll and make sure that email address is a strata-specific one. In other words, avoid using your personal email address for the roll and create a new one (e.g., ‘[email protected]’). In doing so you create separation between your daily life and your strata responsibilities. In time, owners can train themselves to check that address only at certain times, to ensure they do not get sucked into a constant vortex of strata issues.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the committee contacting owners to recommend they do the above. It will not stop the colourful owner from having access an email address. What it will do, though, is ensure that the impact of that contact is greatly reduced and that your personal and strata lives are kept distinct and properly managed.
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