Wow – what a crazy couple of years…… thankfully, the world didn’t collapse because of Covid and StrataLand just keeps on giving. As we move into 2024 I wonder about what the new year brings as challenges.
I read the book into the history of strata title by John Coleman “From the Ground Up”. I started to read it (after of course checking to see if I was in there – I was…woohoo) and there it was, page 29, the first set of statistics in strata on disputes (1980)… the three major areas of dispute before the Strata Commissioners office were:
- Breaches of By-laws;
- Poor construction of buildings; and
- Faulty meeting procedures
I cried with laughter, here we are 43 years later and what are the hot topics, the same 3… 😊, I emailed my friend in Canada (a strata lawyer) and she replied, OMG, same 3 here… we are not alone!!
Everyone I talk to says “AI” is the biggest thing, so I thought (armed with my profound knowledge from John), why don’t I ask AI what it thinks and see if it agrees with my top 10 (and yes, I did my top 10 first). The results are in with an excuse from AI that it doesn’t have enough information.
I don’t have access to information beyond my last training data in January 2022, so I can’t provide specific challenges for 2024. However, based on common issues that strata communities face, here are some potential challenges that could continue to be relevant in 2024:
Maintenance and Repairs: Aging buildings and infrastructure may require extensive maintenance and repairs, and funding for these projects can be a significant challenge.
Budgeting and Finances: Balancing the budget to cover ongoing expenses, planned maintenance, and unexpected repairs can be a constant challenge for strata communities.
Legislative Changes: Keeping up with changes in strata laws and regulations, which can vary by state and territory in Australia, can be complex and time-consuming.
Disputes and Conflict Resolution: Resolving conflicts among residents, between residents and the strata committee, or with neighbouring properties can be a significant challenge.
Aging Population: Strata communities may face challenges related to an aging population, including accessibility issues and the need for special accommodations.
Insurance Costs: Rising insurance costs, especially after events like natural disasters, can strain strata budgets.
Sustainability and Energy Efficiency: Implementing environmentally friendly practices and energy-efficient technologies can be a priority for many strata communities, but this may come with initial costs.
Technology and Security: Adapting to new technologies for access control, surveillance, and communication systems can be both a challenge and an opportunity for strata communities.
Short-Term Rentals and Airbnb: Balancing the interests of owners who want to rent out their properties on platforms like Airbnb with the concerns of other residents can be a contentious issue.
COVID-19 and Health Concerns: Ongoing concerns about health and safety, especially in shared spaces like elevators and common areas, may continue to be a challenge for strata communities.
Colin’s Crystal Ball
OK, so where did I land? I agreed with a lot of the above as being relevant but to me AI did miss a few or constructed them differently.
Technology – technology is taking over our lives. If you can’t get it instantly it isn’t worth having. In managing buildings this will be an ever-increasing challenge as technology moves at a rapid pace.
Legislative review – stop the train! The difficultly is that each state/territory have their own views on title structures, procedures and dispute resolution. With businesses now crossing borders more this creates opportunities for harmonisation of laws. However, having “harmony” in laws is something I gave up on a long time ago I think we stick with, “just love the one your with”.
Construction – there are so many facets to this topic that you could write volumes, but developers/builders need to have confidence in the market and consumers need to feel that what they are purchasing won’t fall down around their ears (seems to be a theme from at least 1980!).
Certification of building construction and the ensuing construction defects will continue to be a major impact of all those in the industry from owners through to managers and suppliers.
Lot owners – owners are becoming more involved in the daily activities of their buildings. They ask more, listen more and want to be involved in the decision-making process. Going hand in hand with that they are now more demanding of service from providers. Trying to find the balance between service and expectations will continue to be a challenge to all of those involved in the industry. So, meetings will continue to be fun (2 down from 1980).
By-law breaches – everyone is having a go at this little gem. Not everyone should live in strata, let’s be honest. Compliance with a set of rules that you don’t make is hard, even harder when you want what you want and stamp your feet to get it.
Committees will continue to struggle to balance reasonable by-laws versus the expectations of an ever-increasing diverse group of owners. The balance will always be as to how to regulate them, so they don’t unfairly interfere with anyone else’s lives. We need tough regulation, powers to enforce them, steep penalties and a regime to allow the good ones to get on with business/living (no 3 from 1980 covered).
In conclusion, in 2016 I said in an article, it was to be “the beginning of the fastest rise in the strata industry for a while to come”. And in 2018 I said we were running as fast as we can because of it. In 2022 I said, “here it comes – 2022 with a vengeance!!” So, now here comes 2024 – run as fast as you can.