Management
Dealing with complainer, body corporate, management

How you can deal with a serial complainer to a body corporate

By Sasha Karen

Owning a property in a strata complex can be difficult, but dealing with serial complainers may be the most difficult task of all. Here’s how you can overcome it.

No one likes a complainer, and no one particularly likes a serial complainer either. If you find yourself in a strata complex with a person like this, it could be difficult to resolve their issue, especially if they are complaining about something that could threaten the value of your property in the complex.

Grant Mifsud, Archers – the Strata Professionals partner, said that dealing with serial complainers is more of a life skill than anything else, as they are not just relegated to the body corporate of a complex.

“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,” Mr Mifsud said.

He described a body corporate as a fourth layer of government composed of unit owners who make the majority of decisions within a complex.

“These decisions deal with situations that affect people’s living arrangements, making even the smallest of issues seem very personal to the resident,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Some people find bodies corporate to be a perfect place to complain. Unfortunately, too often there are no repercussions for people behaving badly, except for causing higher administrative costs for the body corporate which includes themselves.”

He continued, stating there have been some examples where residents were actually deemed to be breaking body corporate by-laws for being a nuisance by repeatedly sending lengthy complaints, and other cases where volunteer body corporate members resign due to consistent pests, as they “ they no longer want to deal with the local village idiot who makes life hell for everyone”.

“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 individuals correspondence, with one complainant restricted to 1,000 words per week,” Mr Mifsud said.

Knowing how to deal with difficult people can not only help you through life, but can also make your stay in a body corporate much more pleasant.

“When dealing with a difficult person, you must remain detached and calm, knowing your response can either exacerbate or diffuse the problem,” he said.

“While a vocal minority can make life difficult for bodies corporate, usually by the proven method of death by a thousand key strokes, most residents in strata communities are pleasant people.

“Thankfully most residents are amenable and if they have any issues, they are usually straight forward to accommodate.”

Mr Mifsud’s tips for dealing with serial complainers are:

  • Keep calm and impartial and carry on with the complaint - Complainers are never frustrated with you personally but the situation they are in;
  • Take notes while listening - Not only does it help to keep a written record of the complaint, it shows the complainer that you are in fact paying attention;
  • Empathise with them - Agreeing with a complainer that the situation does sound bad will help in placating them and make them more manageable;
  • Be clear with their role - Do not create unrealistic expectations that you can solve all their troubles – tell the complainer what your role is and how far you can help them; and
  • Come to a solution - Make sure the complainer is told when the complaint is being worked on and when it is resolved.
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How you can deal with a serial complainer to a body corporate
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