I was recently invited to speak on the subject of Strata at the Rose Bay RSL Club. It was a free talk and therefore we amassed a crowd of 120. At the end of my one hour presentation, I took questions from the floor. This was one of the most illuminating experiences in relation to the industry I operate.

As a solicitor, I deal with the rights and obligations of parties to a dispute. These are legal rights set out either in legislation, under common law or within a contract. I am trapped within those legal principles and have been taught that complying with these principles will resolve all issues. This night proved to me that this teaching was erroneous.

I took numerous questions from the floor that the law was not able to answer. There were general questions relating to experiences and in some cases awful experiences, suffered by the participants in the room. It confirmed the opinion that strata management laws fail because they do consider human frailty.

Most, if not all the complaints related to discourtesy, unfairness, bullying, outright rudeness, and human indecency. For many of them, I didn’t have a legal answer, because none existed. It demonstrated, not only the frailty of human beings, but the frailty of the legal system we live in.

24% of Australians live in Strata or Community living. It is primarily popular because it is all that is available. Most don’t want to live in a strata complex. I know for our last property, we refused to look at anything that had a title with SP in it. The one year of living in a strata plan taught me that it wasn’t a place where I’d want to live.

Lawmakers believe that if you put laws in place, people will abide by them. Obviously not where I come from! Rules were meant to be broken and most people tried. Rules don’t make life better to live. In actual fact, rules give those who wish to abuse them, the power to be more abusive.

If strata living is to work in this country, we need to find a way to love thy neighbour. Maybe not love them but treat them with respect and decency that all of us wish to be treated with. We have done huge amounts of corporate and team training to allow inhomogeneous groups to get on in a workplace, why can’t we do it in our home?

This article was written by Bailey Compton, Principal Solicitor & Director at Leverage Group.

To get in touch with Bailey, please email info@leveragegroup.com.