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Social Mediation: The technologies improving strata disputes




The introduction of an Airbnb hotline to address noisy neighbours has sparked debate within the strata sector about how strata community residents communicate with one another.


Designed to help communities report noise complaints, neighbours who are sick of noisy Airbnb parties will now be able to call a hotline and get quick help.

As one of the giants of the modern technology world, it’s no surprise that Airbnb continues to challenge the ‘old ways’ with this new hotline, but what does its adoption mean for strata communities?

Will problem solving now have a 10-minute timeline attached to it? Or will we remain comfortable having our issues addressed via email, phone and over the course of days and weeks, going back and forth through internal community processes?

In an era where barriers are being broken down, maybe it’s time strata went social.

Technology in the strata community

Over time the humble strata community has edged towards a high-tech pillar of the Australian property market.

But whilst electronic voting for annual general meetings and cloud-based management of strata schemes now appear widespread, the addition of social media and messaging apps for community members is still mostly an unknown.

It seems a natural use for the technology, especially as timeless issues like neighbourly strata disputes and noise complaints play an ever-present role in communities.

At Ace BCM, we’ve taken a look at how these tools can be harnessed to better community harmony.

How social media tools in the community may help

Disputes

Issues when left to fester for days and weeks without a solution can escalate and become insurmountable. Smells, noises – too often community members put up with issues that can be nipped in the bud quickly due to the logistics of reaching each other, or avoiding uncomfortable conversations, so taking the process of dealing with these issues to an app may make these conversations easier to broach.

We rate the ability of messenger tools to help community members touch base and work things through in a timely, clear manner.

Connection

A big argument for messenger apps of course, besides conflict resolution is their ability to foster relationships with community members.

Coming off a year where strata communities in Victoria and almost every major city experienced some sort of lockdown experience due to COVID-19, it’s hard to downplay how helpful a tool to connect with and speak to neighbours may have been to countless community members.

Outside of extraordinary times like we’ve seen recently in this pandemic, a messenger tool will be a great way for new community members or community members who speak English as a second language to participate in and stay engaged in community conversations.

Safety

Lastly, a feather in the cap of social media influenced communities would be the safety benefits. Of course, smoke alarms do a good job of getting community members’ attention when safety issues are about, but a community that’s contactable on all smart phones would take an alert system to a whole other level.

Many tools in the market offer ‘whole building’ messaging functions making it easy to keep community members in the loop when serious safety issues arise.

But there are things to be mindful of

Bullying

Like with any social media or messaging app, it’s only as good as the people using it. Communities looking to harness the benefits of messaging apps should be mindful of the potential for neighbourly disputes to escalate and bullying to reach new heights if there is not a strident set of rules and respect for how the app can be used.

We recommend communities work with suppliers and technology companies in the market to ensure there are rules in place when using the apps.

Getting started

There are a number of established suppliers in this space worth looking into and assessing their platform’s fit with your community – but first it is worth speaking with a strata manager to help understand what you’re looking for and how this tool will help your community function.

Seeking further advice?

If you wish to discuss any strata community matters further with an Ace Body Corporate Manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace Manager for a chat.


Ace Body Corporate Management
www.acebodycorp.com.au
Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice, and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients. However, we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.