1 out of 3
This is just one scenario that can happen to you in your strata. It doesn’t matter if you were having a really bad day, or just experienced a family tragedy, you will find it hard to forgive, and forget. The issue just seems unresolved somehow, and you might feel the need to defend yourself. The strata manager didn’t seem all too concerned about it. What happens next, though, is one of the reasons why contemporary strata management in BC unintentionally and repeatedly stokes benign and minor complaints such as this one, into major conflict.
How this happens is that you are often easily looked upon as just a faceless person complaining by email among 100 other complaints from the 10 other buildings that your strata manager works with. It simply gets lost in the pile. Regardless, it leaves you with some pretty strong feelings of not being heard, and that your concerns are not important.
Strata corporations in BC seem to be immune to people’s ‘feelings’, and customer service is not a word bandied around much in the industry. Instead, the ‘stick and carrot’ is a popular and effective strategy for keeping residents in line. A bylaw infraction letter gets sent because you left a garbage bag in your parking stall (stick) while council has been promising to set up a community garden for years now (carrot). Again, this is no fault of the volunteer strata council, or the strata manager; everyone is just trying to do their best in the situation.
You might think that this only happens with small and relatively unimportant issues, but it can also happen with crucial ones that can have a profound impact on the building, and residents. It’s not a failure on the strata manager’s part, it’s actually a broken system that is able to operate because of people’s dreams of home ownership. Your fear of losing your home can actually paralyze you into avoiding doing anything to improve the situation. You don’t know what could happen if you made someone angry that held a position of power in your strata, or expressed yourself to your neighbour about the constant noise. Besides, they know where you live. The ones who aren’t afraid to retaliate utilize all kinds of destructive strategies (lawsuits, common area damage, nasty emails) that end up costing all owners in the end.
Is it even worth it in the end to complain?