How to deal with bullying in your strata property
When it comes to dealing with bullying in a strata property it’s normal that people don’t always see eye-to-eye. However, when someone in your strata property behaves in an inappropriate and bullying manner – what do you do? We’re here to help.
We cover these two key topics on dealing with bullying in your strata property below:
- What should you do to deal with and stop bullying in strata?
- Understand your protection under the Residential tenancy laws
What should you do to deal with and stop bullying in strata?
- Let your voice be heard
Often, when an owner, resident, or manager resort to harassing or intimidating tactics, it can affect the community. If several people are affected by a person’s uncivil behaviour, you may take a collective step to address this behaviour in a general meeting of the owners corporation.
You may seek to file a motion on the agenda that addresses bullying behaviour and amend your by-laws or building rules with this provision – aligned to federal and state laws. Make sure to keep any evidence that may help your case – pictures, emails, messages, screenshots or recordings that prove bullying or threatening behaviour is occurring.
If a bullying situation creates an immediate health and safety risk to someone, you should bring it to the notice of your strata committee immediately and urge them to call an extraordinary general meeting to remedy the situation.
- Know your strata by-laws
Model by-laws or model rules in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales all have a provision that deals with offensive behaviour on common property (generally where bullying takes place in person).
Rules aren’t merely suggestions, they are legally binding on all residents and your strata committee is legally responsible to act if a person is in breach of a by-law by acting or speaking inappropriately to another resident or owner on common property.
If the committee fails to be able to resolve it, the matter may be taken further, such as to a state tribunal or governing body.
- Choose mediation
The NSW Office of Fair Trading, Queensland Government Body Corporate and Community Management, or Consumer Affairs Victoria) is responsible for strata and community title legislation offer mediation services which can help address bullying issues.
- Formally address bullying behaviour from strata committee members
Bullying behaviour does not always happen on common property. It also occurs in emails, phone calls, and intimation from within so what is the recourse then?
Under the Fair Work Act, the Fair Work Commission can make decisions and orders about bullying in the workplace. A worker is deemed to be bullied at work if, while at work, an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. The definition of “worker” under the Fair Work Act is given a much wider meaning than just the traditional employee/employer relationship.