The main issues for many strata complexes are pets, parties, parking and passive smoking, but apparently another item should be added to the list.
Grant Mifsud, a partner at Archers the Strata Professionals, said that another headache for body corporates and residents are serial complainers — those who complain for the sake of it.
Mr Mifsud said that most residents are good to deal with, but serial complainers were a constant challenge for body corporates.
“It’s a fact of life that we have to deal with serial complainers, constant whiners and people who are just angry at the world,” the Archers partner said.
Mr Mifsud said that body corporates are made up of unit owners and not government officials, despite making decisions that affect people’s living arrangements.
“Bodies corporates are like a fourth layer of government, except it’s the unit owners and not public servants that make up the committee who make the majority of decisions. These decisions deal with situations that affect people’s living arrangements, making even the smallest of issues seem very personal to the resident,” the partner said.
Residents complaining can breach corporate by-laws by making repeated and lengthy complaint correspondence, Mr Mifsud said.
“There have been instances were serial complainants have had to have restrictions imposed on the number of times they can write to the body corporate and the length of the individual’s correspondence, with one complainant restricted to 1,000 words per week,” Mr Mifsud said.
Mr Mifsud added that serial complainers can have a negative impact on committee members if they make their lives too difficult.
“Unfortunately, many volunteer committee members get worn down and decide they no longer want to deal with the local village idiot who makes life hell for everyone including the strata manager, so they simply resign.”
Mr Mifsud’s tips for dealing with complainers was to stay impartial and calm, empathise, listen and take notes, set boundaries and work to solve the problem.
“When dealing with a difficult person, you must remain detached and calm, knowing your response can either exacerbate or diffuse the problem,” the Archers partner said.