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I’ve been thinking and writing critically about various strata myths, platitudes, and negativity to question accepted strata norms, thinking and behaviours recently. Particularly, about whether or not they hold up to scrutiny, and if they should be debunked.

Links to a few of my other articles on these topics are at the end of this article.

I’ve also made a 2024 NYE resolution to adopt an anti-negativity or a positive [but considered] approach to strata title matters and information to counter the typical doomsaying, scaremongering, and ‘no can do’ mentality that commonly exists.

So, today, I’m considering a long-running platitude in the strata sector that illustrates that mindset and needs to stop and change.

It’s the idea that strata title is characterised by the 3, 4 or more P’s.


In case, you’ve never heard it, since the 1990’s strata commentators have cleverly described the challenges of strata title using alliteration as the ‘3 Ps’.  Since then, a few more have been progressively added to the list.

Here they are and an explanation of what they typically refer to.

Pets:  Problems caused by pets in medium and high-density buildings

Pets can be a contentious issue in strata buildings. While many residents love their furry and feathered companions, others may have allergies or concerns about noise and cleanliness.

Pet related problems often include:

Noise: Barking dogs or noisy pets can disrupt the peace and quiet of the community.

Allergies: Some residents may be allergic to pet dander, which can cause health issues.

Damage: Pets can damage common areas or neighbouring units.

Waste: Irresponsible pet owners who don’t clean up after their pets can create unsightly and unsanitary conditions.

But resolving pet issues in strata buildings involves:

  • establishing clear rules and guidelines for pet ownership within the strata community, including restrictions on breeds, sizes, and behaviours, communicating those rules and guidelines clearly, frequently and to everyone who needs to know, and
  • applying and enforcing those rules and guidelines fairly and consistently, and
  • taking enforcement action when serious violations make that necessary.

It also involves a level of tolerance and compromise between individual preferences and interests over pets that balance differing views.

Parking:  Misuse of parking spaces and common areas

Limited parking space in strata buildings [or too many cars and other vehicles] can lead to disputes among strata residents.

Common parking problems in strata buildings often include:

Insufficient parking: Not enough parking spaces for all residents and guests.

Unauthorized parking: Residents or visitors parking in spaces not assigned to them.

Towing disputes: Arguments over when and under what circumstances vehicles can be towed.

Visitor parking: Conflicts regarding the use and availability of visitor parking spaces.

But, addressing parking issues in strata buildings involves all the same guideline and rules based processes as for pets, as well as:

  • intelligently assessing the special parking issues facing the strata building due to its size and layout,
  • assigning special parking spaces that may solve short-term parking issues,
  • clarifying visitor parking policies,
  • use technologies for car parking access, parking space protection, surveillance, etc, and
  • dealing with parking violations promptly and, ideally, in person.

It also involves a level of tolerance and compromise of individual convenience and interests.

Parties: Noise and other disturbances caused by socialising

Noise disturbances from parties and gatherings in strata lots can be a source of tension in strata buildings.

Common party related problems in strata buildings include:

Excessive noise: Loud music, conversations, or late-night parties can disrupt neighbours.

Guest limits: Disagreements about how many guests are allowed and for how long.

Damage and clean-up: Post-party mess or damage to common areas.

But, mitigating party related issues in strata buildings is, once again, like dealing with pets, about:

  • establishing clearer rules and guidelines for parties [not just to not create disturbances like the standard by laws and rules],
  • communicating those rules and guidelines clearly, frequently and to everyone who needs to know, and
  • applying and enforcing those rules and guidelines fairly and consistently,
  • a level of tolerance and compromise over strata resident socialising since it is a normal human activity, and
  • taking enforcement action when serious problems occur.

Puffing: Smoke [and smell] drift from strata lots

Smoking-related issues arise when residents smoke [or create smoke, which also smells, usually from cooking] excessively and indifferently within the strata building.

Common smoke drift problems in strata buildings often include:

Second hand smoke: Non-smoking residents being exposed to second hand smoke from other residents puffing [usually on balconies or terraces].

Barbecuing: Smoke and cooking odours from barbequing in common areas and/or from strata lots [again, usually on balconies or terraces].

Odour complaints: Smoke and food odours permeate into shared areas and neighbouring strata lots.

Fire hazards: Improper use and disposal of smoking materials can create a fire risk.

Dealing with smoke [and related odour] problems in strata buildings is more complex since they arise in differing ways, various locations and have variable impacts on strata owners or residents depending on their sensitivities. So, they need more nuanced and subjective management.

In practice and as a result, most strata buildings have avoided serious attempts at dealing with smoking; leaving action to stop it to individual strata lot owners.

But, smoking and smoke drift control benefits from a combination of general public laws about smoking, common law mechanisms under trespass and nuisance laws, and, in some states specific strata laws about smoking and/or smoke drift.  So, there’s more universal control mechanisms.

Politics: Cliques or minorities manipulating strata processes

Strata building operations involve decision making, often via strata committees, which often lead to political disputes among strata owners due to actual or perceived undue influence or behaviour.

Common political problems in strata buildings often include:

Conflicting interests: Strata owners may have differing priorities and views on strata building issues and decisions.

Corruption: Strata committee members acting self-interestedly, perversely and/or corruptly.

Decision-making processes: Disagreements amongst strata owners over how decisions are reached within the strata building.

Transparency: Concerns about transparency and accountability in strata governance over disclosures, information supply and internal processes.

Navigating political issues in strata buildings is logically simpler and practically more difficult than dealing with the other strata Ps,

It’s simpler since taking politics out of strata buildings involves following the formal strata processes correctly and consistently, being transparent about information and processes, permitting strata owner involvement, and explaining those actions when necessary.

But it’s practically more difficult since it involves people who are always volunteers [so it’s hard to make excessive demands on them], often have limited knowledge of strata processes and time [which is understandable], and sometimes act self interestedly [which strata owners can do otherwise].  Plus, trying to stop corrupt behaviours is difficult in all situations, not just strata titles.


Since these 5 Strata P’s issues are real and still exist in strata buildings, what’s wrong with talking about them as characteristic of strata title?

Well, there’s a lot wrong, which has nothing to do with fixing these issues.

Firstly, if after 25 years tens of thousands of strata stakeholders [like strata committees, executives, managers, government, etc] can’t resolve these basic, day to day and universally common strata issues what’s really going on?

Are they such impossible challenges that we can never resolve them either completely or in most situations?  Or have we just not tried hard enough, been innovative enough or applied enough effort?

Secondly, it suggests strata stakeholders are adopting a victim mentality.

A victim mentality is that bad things will keep happening no matter what. And, at the root of this mentality is that:

  • these things will always happen no matter what anyone does,
  • none of these situations are their fault, and
  • they can’t change what happens, so there’s no point in trying.

Thirdly, I believe the Strata P’s traps strata stakeholders into rote, conventional and easy [lazy] thinking rather than analysing issues, situations, options and the best actions.


Instead of these simplistic, old and tired Strata P’s here are my suggestions for a new set of forward thinking, modern and ambitious Strata Ps.


This Strata P refers to the various stakeholders involved in a strata title property. These include the strata owners, residents, strata managers, building managers, property managers, service providers, etc. Understanding the needs and rights of these individuals is crucial for effective management and dealing with problems when they arise.


This Strata P encompasses the physical aspects of the strata buildings, including common property, strata lots, facilities, and infrastructure. Effective management of the strata building property ensures that it is well maintained, safe, functional, sustainable and long lived.


This Strata P refers to the laws, regulations, rules and policies governing strata title. These policies can cover a wide range of issues, from day-to-day issues [like noise, smoke, etc] to broader long term objectives [like building infrastructure replacement] and are essential for maintaining order and ensuring that the strata building [as the core feature of strata title] is enjoyed and benefits all strata stakeholders.


This Strata P includes the established strata methods and processes for handling various aspects of property management, such as records, decision making, dispute resolution, repairs and maintenance requests, and communication protocols. Well defined and clearly communicated procedures ensure consistency and fairness in managing the strata buildings.


Privacy as a Strata P is a significant and growing concern. Strata building operations and management must balance the need for transparency and communication with the individual privacy rights of strata owners and residents.


This Strata P relates to proactive measures for maintaining the strata building and other strata actions and either managing or preventing strata issues. This can include regular maintenance schedules, inspections, and early intervention strategies to address small problems before they become larger issues.  It can also apply to non physical matters like strata records audits, legal compliance reviews, etc.


A Strata P to encourage active participation from strata owners in meetings and decision making processes is vital. This can extend to engage strata residents in strata building operations and activities. This ensures that a diverse range of views and needs are considered, and strata owners and residents feel heard, understood and invested in their strata building regardless of outcomes.


A long-term planning Strata P is essential for the strata building’s future. This extends beyond the strata building to include financial planning for major repairs or upgrades, considering the evolving needs of strata owners and residents, and adapting to climate and societal change, and preparing for changes in laws and regulations affecting strata title properties.


A Strata P to monitor and evaluate the performance of those involved in the management and upkeep of the strata building, including strata managers, building managers, maintenance contractors and staff, professional and technical advisors, and strata committee members. Performance reviews and assessments help ensure that standards improve, higher standards are achieved over time and they can be benchmarked against other strata buildings.


For investor strata owners, the profitability of their strata lot is a key Strata P as to revenue and capital growth. It’s also very relevant to non investor strata owners because of the knock-on value impacts.  So, it involves maintaining strata building property values, maintaining rental returns, ensuring efficient use of building resources, and even exploring revenue generating opportunities within the strata building.


Whilst the old Strata Ps [Pets, Parking, Parties, Puffing and Politics] make amusing and entertaining anecdotes of the strata experience, I believe we need to move past them and change strata stakeholder attitudes towards the inevitable challenges that do and will arise in strata buildings.

So, I suggest adopting a new set of Strata Ps that are forward looking, proactive, individualised, and involve innovation.

We’d all be better, happier and more satisfied strata citizens if we did.

The article was contributed by Francesco Andreone, GoStrata

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  1. Pamela Fairley

    Another P: PIPES – air-con drainpipe continually dripping onto apartment below causing constant noise and staining windows. The offending air-con is 1) not in common area; 2) does not service more than one apartment.
    HOW can the owner of the offending air-con unit be made accountable when they refuse to rectify this problem?

  2. Marion Morgan

    Can body corporate refuse permission for 2 small dogs in a owners own unit