Talk less, smile more!

4 April 2023

At the moment one of the most popular musicals of recent times is playing in Brisbane. I must confess that, whilst I had heard of Hamilton, it never really appealed to me – until I saw it! There are so many take away lessons hidden in the lyrics that relate to everyday life. One of my favourites – “talk less, smile more”. Closely followed with “every proclamation guarantees free ammunition for your enemies”.

As everyone knows from recent press and publicity, there are some factions doing their very best to damage the management rights industry. When we are asked about how a manager can best protect their business, our advice has rarely changed. That is – to undertake your duties to the very best of your ability and be seen to be doing so.

So how does that fit in with Hamilton – don’t fight about the little things, don’t argue for the sake of arguing, try and work with your committee and do a good job.

It remains that the overwhelming majority of owners and occupants of strata complexes – whether they be long term tenants or holiday guests – care about and notice how clean and tidy the complex is. If you get that part of your business right you will be on a good trajectory for success and will have owners who will largely leave you alone. If you get that wrong, then you are very easily headed down the path of disgruntled owners looking for other areas where you are deficient, leading to disputes about all sorts of issues. This very easily gets out of hand. All too often comments are made, and responded to in haste, and the relationship very quickly deteriorates.

I do not take “Talk less, smile more” as meaning to stay quiet, but rather don’t react impulsively and inflame the situation. Good communications with all stakeholders – the committee, the body corporate manager, owners and occupants – are essential for a good management rights business. It is very necessary for the manager to keep all key stakeholders informed of all their efforts and also of potential problems before they become a problem.

Our key tips remain:

  • Management rights are not passive investments – it is the role of a service provider. The main service in most agreements is caretaking. That is, to keep the complex clean, properly maintained with the grounds, lawns and gardens well kept and attractive;
  • Give your owners value for money and strive for excellence – go beyond what they might reasonably expect;
  • Thoroughly understand your agreements and duties – have a detailed checklist and follow it;
  • In short term complexes, be innovative with your marketing and seek professional advice where needed to expand that side of the business;
  • Communicate openly and regularly with your stakeholders – send periodical newsletters, encourage regular walk arounds with your chairman or designated committee representative;
  • Build – as best you can – a strong and professional relationship with your body corporate manager and the committee; and
  • Be and be seen as the driver of improvements and regulatory compliance at your complex.

We understand that there will always be a small minority of complexes where some owners or committee members will still not be satisfied even if you follow all or most of the above, but again simply talk less and smile more.