A matter of land | HELP! My Portmore community lacks leadership
Dear Mr Francis
I always read your articles in The Sunday Gleaner and I have a question I need answers for.
I am interested in knowing about the rights of residents in a gated community. I live in a scheme in Portmore, St Catherine, and I pay my maintenance fee diligently.
But whenever you write to the executive committee board, there is not even an acknowledgement. The current board has become dormant. Notices are posted on the exit/entrance gates and long after the activity is completed, the notice remains.
Homeowners who do not live in the scheme have no access to these notices and I have not seen any accounts in the last two years.
I don't recall signing a contract to pay maintenance but that's not an issue. It would be good to see how it is used and what the plans are.
We have a community centre, which could generate revenue, but is neglected - flaking paint, rusting stairs, blown light bulbs.
We have not had an election in three years. The current members of the executive board decided to take another term and announced that elections should be held in June 2016, but we are still awaiting the forms to nominate candidates.
I know the president's name but I have never met him. The maintenance, security, and property management are outsourced. Unfortunately, some of the residents are nasty and so there is always loose garbage on the ground outside the dedicated area and from time to time flies are a nuisance.
I have never seen anyone checking to see if residents are conforming to the covenants - open burning and garbage heaps are a common site.
I would really like the community to come together as it once did. I find that persons who offer themselves for community service, do not have the time but hold on to the post for dear life.
I know a member of the Executive Committee Board and he tells me that it is a registered company. Is that so? If yes, shouldn't the board have yearly accounts that residents can view?
What would you suggest?
Good day L.W.
Thank you for always reading A Matter of Land. I will respond to you in two parts based on some assumptions.
I am not certain if the complex you are a part of is under the Strata Titles Act or not.
If it is under the Strata Titles Act there are several things that you can do, as there is a defined course of action that can be taken.
First, the management committee legally last for one year and elections are to be held every year. This can be waived if all the owners agree that the elections be suspended and the existing committee continue.
So if they are there for excess of a year and it's not by general consensus of the owners they are there illegitimately.
The Strata Titles Act calls for the presenting of and reporting of financials every year and if this is not done it constitutes a breach of the act.
What I would suggest you do is to contact the Strata Commission to discuss the matter.
The commission can come in and mediate between the committee and the owners as well as audit the committee and the management of the complex if needed. It will also assist in the proper organisation of the committee and effective operations.
So I suggest you contact the Commission of Strata where you can find out if the complex is a strata complex.
If it is not then that's a different set of problems and the treatment would be different. I will deal with that scenario next week.
Keep sending our questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time traverse well.
- Craig Francis
- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at email@example.com or Precision Surveying Services