The strength of your body corporate committee comes from the success of its relationships. A good committee encourages debate, listening to multiple viewpoints before drawing conclusions. It’s only natural for body corporate disputes to arise, but it’s important to resolve them in a way that preserves the future of relationships.
As a strata manager, you play a significant role in settling internal disputes and ensuring conflicts don’t leave lasting damage. Consulting outside mediation services should only ever occur if a dispute is in absolute dire straits.
Good strata managers possess solid leadership and people management skills, helping settle disputes internally which paves the way for the body corporate committee to reach constructive solutions. You might think it’s too much administration and far easier to get an objective third-party mediator for strata dispute resolution, but in the long run, it's better to sort them out internally.
Realise the Benefits
Establishing an internal dispute resolution process for your body corporate committee helps maintain a high-functioning organisation. It also prevents arguments spiralling out of control and encourages positive communication, which preserves relationships within community title schemes. With external mediators, dispute resolution can take longer and cost more money, which inevitably adds further frustration.
The trick to solving conflicts with the body corporate committee is to handle them as quickly and efficiently as possible. With an efficient internal process in place, you can resolve matters fast and with little fuss. To implement this, the body corporate merely needs to pass a motion adopting the process.
Even though each particular scheme decides the details of the dispute management process according to their structures and needs, there are a few fundamental principles you should include that contribute to successful conflict resolution.
Keep Communication Open
Communication channels should be open and transparent at all times. Instead of having multiple platforms to vent, identify one committee member as the point of contact. They are responsible for hearing and noting all sides of the dispute. This minimises miscommunication and centralises information relevant to the discussion.
Adopt Good Time Management
Good time management is essential for settling disputes with the body corporate committee quickly and efficiently. Conflicts come with frustration, and nothing angers individuals more than feeling like they’re not being heard.
To solve this, set general time frames indicating how long your committee will take to respond to requests. This varies from request to request but a having a rough idea will make the process smoother, put concerned parties at ease and resolve the conflicts quicker.
Most conflicts are worsened not by what is said, but by the manner and tone they’re communicated in. Address the issue as soon as possible in an environment that makes everyone feel relaxed and comfortable. Outline the problem clearly and calmly to everyone and, before offering suggestions, ask for the conflicting parties’ views and suggest they work with you to find a solution.
Disputes can be healthy, as they present alternative viewpoints that committees might not have previously considered. Most negotiations take time and require a degree of compromise from both sides, especially when people disagree about the problem or how it can be resolved. If you’re a good strata manager, you and your committee will include and consider all acceptable options – not just ones that are beneficial to your organisation!
Ensure easily avoidable disputes don't happen. For example, use a painting maintenance contractor that’s professional and equipped to handle your requirements without it becoming a problem for the body corporate committee. Working with reliable and trustworthy contractors is the solution to efficient property maintenance. Avoid potential conflict and download our guide to ‘Maintaining your Painted Property’ to help you keep your property in stellar condition.
Higgins Coatings is Australia and New Zealand’s premier commercial painting contractor with over 65 years of experience in providing a cost-effective painting service and tailored maintenance solution. As the preferred painting contractor for the Strata Community Association (SCA), we help strata managers plan their painting requirements and execute them with minimal disruption to residents. Contact us for a consultation.