If you’re unfamiliar with how strata schemes operate, you may not quite understand just how much is involved in managing commercial and residential strata plans.
Strata schemes can include properties such as retail complexes, factory complexes, apartment buildings, townhouses and even caravan parks, so having the help of someone that understands the nitty gritty details of how strata schemes work is an invaluable tool to any owners corporation.
In a strata, your strata manager is a wealth of knowledge that you, as a property owner, can turn to for answers to questions such as:
- How do I know what belongs to my strata title and what is common property?
- Who do I call if repairs are required?
- How do I learn more about the strata scheme I’m part of?
- Who can I turn to for support if I’m having issues in my strata property or with other strata owners?
As a company that prides itself on customer service and expertise in the area of strata management, our team at Fresh Strata have pulled together the points below to share an insight into the different roles of a strata manager within your strata scheme.
Firstly, what is a Strata Manager?
Strata Community Association NSW defines a strata manager as ‘a licensed, professional agent appointed by the owners corporation to manage the affairs of a strata scheme.’
However, a strata manager isn’t just someone who pops in for the occasional visit or works alone to make decisions about your strata scheme – they are your ‘go to’ person for most matters related to managing your strata scheme.
When you buy into a strata scheme, you’re purchasing your own property or lot that shares areas of the overall property with other lot owners within your strata scheme. These shared areas are known as common property and may include gardens, visitor parking, driveways, fences, and the communal pool.
A strata manager oversees the maintenance and upkeep of this common property, generally obtaining quotes from a range of contractors and running these by the owners corporation for approval.
In the event that urgent repairs are needed to your strata property, your strata manager should be the first point of contact.
Record upkeep and Maintenance
The value in keeping thorough records of communications, contracts and agreements often isn’t realised until things go wrong, then good record-keeping is worth its weight in gold!
While the owners’ corporation is responsible for keeping up-to-date records of some documents for a minimum of seven years, this role is usually entrusted with the strata manager.
Section 180 of the Strata Schemes Management Act (2015) outlines the documentation that needs to be retained including;
- financial statements and accounting records;
- meeting minutes;
- copies of correspondence received and sent by the owners corporation;
- notices of meetings of the owners corporation and its strata committee;
- proxies delivered to the owners corporation;
- copy of the signed strata management agreement; and
- other documents as listed in the Act.
The benefit of tasking this responsibility to your strata manager is that they are more experienced with the nuances of strata management so they can ensure everything is properly documented and maintained.
Your strata manager is responsible for managing the financial requirements of your strata scheme including the following tasks:
- Acting on behalf of the owners corporation to obtain quotes for maintenance and repairs of properties and common areas within the property;
- Managing the property’s building insurance and handling any insurance claims;
- Organising the collection of levies for the payment of bills arising from the use and upkeep of common areas, such as water, cleaning and electricity bills;
- Preparing budgets and financial statements; and
- Monitoring invoices and payments.
With owners leading busy lives, it can be difficult to organise a time for everyone to get together to discuss your strata issues and management. This is where having a strata manager to organise meetings takes the stress off members of the strata committee
While your strata manager is there to bring everyone together to discuss important topics, it is still up to the owners corporation and/or strata committee to come together to make decisions on contracts and agreements, manage agenda items for discussions during meetings, and suggest property improvements.
An experienced strata manager can help to facilitate the various processes required by your strata scheme, such as organising meetings, but they should never act without the consent of the owners corporation or strata committee.
Mediator and Keeper of the Peace
Your strata manager can act as a mediator during disputes or heated discussions, both as part of organised meetings and issues arising from complaints about parking, noise, pets or other problems within your strata scheme.
As an external, unbiased third-party, your strata manager can help to restore peace to the strata community by sharing and reiterating the rules of your strata, assisting in amending by-laws and working with the unhappy parties to come to an agreement.
Adherence to Laws & Requirements
Strata managers play a crucial role in ensuring that any relevant local, state and/or national regulations and laws are adhered to at all times within your strata scheme.
This is another responsibility that is best left with an experienced strata manager, as it can become quite overwhelming to try to understand all the different requirements of your strata scheme at the various levels of regulation and law.
Update and Maintain Strata Roll
The strata roll contains information about common property, by laws, insurance details, as well as a register of all lot details, including the names and addresses of owners and their lot entitlements. Its purpose is to ensure all the relevant information about the strata scheme and the lot owners is kept in one easy-to-access place.
While this is the responsibility of the owners corporation, the strata roll can be passed onto your strata manager to update and maintain.
Fresh Strata: Strata Management with a Difference
Strata managers exist to help owners corporations and strata committees to navigate the sometimes confusing world of strata schemes, taking on critical roles such as property maintenance, updating important registers, organising meetings and keeping your strata scheme in line with the law.
As an Australian family-owned company, Fresh Strata is passionate about employing a team of reliable, knowledgeable, and qualified strata managers to provide you with an exceptional strata management experience here on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and North Shore.
Freshen up your strata scheme – contact Fresh Strata on 02 9939 8061.