Strata Management involves the day-to-day management and operation of a property that has multiple owners and consists of multiple units or lots as well as common areas and facilities. The Strata Management concept is derived from an Australian law by the name of “strata title”. This applies to the management / administration of common lot & property ownership within a building complex. Although Strata Management originated in Australia, it has been widely adopted across the globe in countries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Canada and the Philippines where the need for such services is vital.
Although Strata Management is still somewhat “faceless” and the general population may not be aware of what the exact duties of a strata manager are, this article will look to demystify what owners, tenants and any other such parties can expect from their strata managers. Within a strata scheme of a particular building complex, firstly a strata manager is appointed. This person is a professional who is responsible for the administration management of owners’ corporations for a particular strata scheme’s building complex. The role of a strata manger can be somewhat of a juggling act as they are specialists in their field who are aware of the state-based legislation requirements. They also work alongside the owners’ corporation and the strata committee to achieve consensus in decision making regarding any issue which affects the building as a whole. Other titles for strata managers include body corporate managers, owners corporation managers & strata managing agents.
Other specific duties of a Strata Manager include conducting meetings, collecting and banking levies, arranging property maintenance, advising on asset management, arranging insurance as required for a strata scheme by law and keeping accounts of all financials of the building. The Strata Manager also needs to have a great deal of professionalism, experience in handling schemes of different sizes and complexity as well as good people management skills where even the most complicated issues don’t faze them and the pressure is taken off the owners’ corporation.
Just like any other service, the saying “you get what you pay for” will generally apply to strata management as well. If a company is offering a fully-fledged service with a price that may seem too good to be true, chances are that it most likely will be. In these cases, companies may be looking to cut corners to make up for the lower price and within building management, cutting corners is never a good thing especially in the long run. When the basis of an operation is cutting corners, then most likely it will be reactive. What you want from your Strata Manager is to be proactive rather than reactive where the prevention of a problem is priority as opposed to band-aid fixes for problems that need immediate solutions. A superior level of service from your Strata Manager comes down to a few extra dollars per week per owner. That is usually what the difference will be in receiving better quality where no kicking and screaming is required from owners for tasks that are a part of the Strata Manager’s role.
What you can expect from a good Strata Manager in general is maintenance of all financial and accounting records, provision of experience in handling ‘difficult’ or complex strata issues (like disputes, disasters and emergencies), ensure the scheme complies fully with all Strata Law, Fire Safety & WHS regulations, maintenance of the strata roll & levy register (incl. keys, notices, contributions, arrears & defaulters), property repairs and maintenance oversight (incl. quotations, incident prevention plan, engage tradespeople re licensing & insurance, payments), meeting preparation, attending to resolving disputes or getting appropriate authorities involved if it cannot be resolved, liaison with the ATO and other such governing bodies regarding tax affairs, building insurance liaison, owners corporation correspondence and advising on all matters involving the need to comply with the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act & Regulations.
The tasks listed previously are only a tip of the iceberg and usually involve various other subtasks which fall within those major topics. Therefore, although some may think that they can “self-manage” a strata scheme, the complex and precise nature of Strata Management law as well as the continuous updating of it can lead to the demise of those responsible. The recommended option is to engage with Strata Management that offers the correct services for a fair price that isn’t impossible to believe.