I am proud to be a strata manager. Unfortunately however strata managers often receive a bad rap. When I am discussing my profession socially, almost invariably I hear comments such as - my strata is hopeless, they never return calls. Or my strata is so expensive, we have to pay over $1,500 per quarter.
This has led me to postulate - what is reasonable to expect from your strata manager? To answer this question, we also need to answer the broader question - Where can delays occur in strata decision making and how can this been improved?
In most instances, strata managers are able to complete common property repairs under $1,000 efficiently without requiring copious approvals. Proactive strata schemes will have this level of delegation provided to the Strata Manager to avoid delays. However, many schemes do put restrictions on their strata manager therefore preventing them from carrying out even the most minor common property repair, without approval from the entire strata committee. This ultimately slows down the process.
In other instances more expensive work may be required but cannot be completed without following due process for work over $1000. This process usually involves obtaining quotations, sending these to the Strata Committee to vote upon and then commencing the works as soon as possible after. However, 'as soon as possible' may mean an extended period based on the difficulty of the work and the cost involved. Typical examples include sewer overflows and mold in apartments which impact residents.
Streamlining the approval process is essential to ensure works are conducted quickly and efficiently with as little as possible disruption to owners.
We believe that strata managers can improve their client relationships by responding to communications in a timely manner. We suggest that the following time-frames can be achieved on most occasions by a good strata manager:
- Personally answering phone calls 80% of the time. The 20% going to voicemail should be returned same day.
- Replying to emails within 24 hours to acknowledge receipt and 48 hours (at the longest) with a complete response.
- Issuing work orders within two hours of receipt and if an emergency, immediately.
- Trades-person to be attending a site within 2-3 days (immediately in an emergency) and ensuring a quote turnaround of two weeks (at the longest) to the committee.Invoices of work completed to be paid within three days of receipt.
- Meeting Minutes being issued and actioned within seven days of a meeting.
If your strata manager cannot achieve the above timelines, you should consider your options. The Strata Collective suggests speaking to the Licensee in Charge of your current strata manager as the first step to discuss and agree to a suitable action plan.
They may be able to offer extra training and support to meet these service standards as a possible solution. Keeping the communication channels open is the key.