Strata managers are engaged by the strata scheme’s owners committee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the scheme. Strata schemes are becoming larger and more complex. Strata managers provide services and advice on:
• Financial management
• Clerical and administrative support and follow up
• Ad hoc maintenance and contract support
• Ensure requirements of the relevant legislation are met
• Advise on the legal requirements concerning the operation of the strata scheme.
The role varies depending on the size and type of property and involves people management, requires someone who is organised and is able to handle difficult clients from time-to-time.
How do I choose a strata manager?
The first thing to establish is whether the strata manager has a good working knowledge of the relevant legislation. Look also at how the strata management company communicates and consider whether they have the depth and experience to service the building.
A lot of strata schemes choose their strata manager based on price but this is not necessarily the best way of choosing. If the building is going to be complex then it may be best to consider on experience instead. Sometimes there may be hidden costs such as charges for stationery or archiving so it’s always best to check this out too.
SCA is currently introducing an accreditation program where members in each state will be able to gain a certain level of accreditation according to the training and experience they have in the sector. This will make it easier for strata schemes to determine if their strata manager has the appropriate qualifications and experience to manage their property.
By choosing an SCA accredited strata manager strata schemes are also choosing someone who adheres to a code of ethics and undertakes regular training.
What is the benefit of having a professional strata manager, rather than self-managing the owners corporation?
The legislation governing owners corporations and the compliance requirements are quite complex. Self-managed owners corporations are expected to perform the role of a property manager, with the expertise of a lawyer, valuer, insurance broker and accountant on tap. In addition, owners corporations are well advised to make short and long term plans for ongoing, periodic, routine and urgent maintenance management. For owners who may have other jobs, getting to grips with all this can be daunting.
That’s why many owners corporations are moving away from self management and turning to professional strata managers to assist with finances, insurance, administration, meetings and maintenance functions. Occasionally they are appointed to solve intractable problems, including those involving relationship breakdowns between lot owners. Strata managers are experts in the administration of all aspects of owners corporations. They work to ensure owners corporations are compliant with their legal responsibilities and strive to protect owner assets.
Can I contact a strata manager directly?
Yes. However, you need to understand that the strata manager works for the strata scheme and not for individual property owners or tenants. If you have an issue that you raise directly with the strata manager they are obliged to pass it on to the owners committee for review.
How do I evaluate a strata manager’s performance?
Ask whether your strata manager is providing a proactive service delivery. Are they professional? Do they act in a timely manner? Do they provide the level of care you expected? If the answers are yes and if your strata manager is also SCA accredited, then you have likely found the right person for your scheme.
I’m not happy with our strata manager. What do I do?
If you’re not on the committee, you can voice your concern at the Annual Meeting, or do so in writing to the Chairperson of the committee. However, your first step should be to talk to the strata manager themselves to explain your concerns, which may arise out of a simple misunderstanding.
If you’re a member of the committee, you can also discuss the matter with your fellow members and establish a consensus of opinion regarding the performance of the strata manager. You can also examine the terms of their contract. It may be that the committee agrees that there has been under-performance, and sets new performance benchmarks, or chooses not to renew the contract.