The ins and outs of the strata management role.
Property managers look after the apartments or homes of individual property investors, collecting rent and taking care of repairs, etc. The role of a strata manager is very different.
Strata managers take care of medium-large sized apartment complexes, often handling several within their portfolio simultaneously. Rather than handling tenant selection and rent collection, strata managers tend to be more involved with the smooth functioning of the building or complex.
Strata manager responsibilities
One of the more straightforward roles of a strata manager is to manage the external functions of the building. This involves making sure the structure is physically sound, windows are fixed and compliant with safety regulations, and equipment like automatic garage doors are functioning the way they should be.
Dealing with insurance is part of a strata manager’s job. This involves investigating the optimal insurance for the building on behalf of the owners before signing up for a policy and ensuring it is paid. Strata managers must also contract groundskeepers, repairmen, pool cleaners and tradespeople to perform necessary maintenance, upgrades and repairs to a building.
Paperwork is a large part of a strata manager’s job. As well as issuing communication such as meeting notifications and minutes to apartment owners, they must ensure accurate data pertaining to owner information and contact details is up to date. A strata manager will keep a record of repairs and work done on the property and will also document any key events which take place.
All apartment owners pay fees to the strata/body corporate so the building or complex can be effectively managed. The strata manager is responsible for sending invoices to investors, owners or managing real estate agencies and make sure fees are paid accordingly.
Then there is the annual budget to take care of. For a strata manager, this means forecasting expenses and major works and preparing a draft for approval by the Strata Committee or Owner’s Corporation.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the role of a strata manager is the management of owners and tenants.
When a large number of people live in close quarters, there are bound to be disputes. For this reason, the Body Corporate will create and regularly review by-laws for the property. These may relate to determining speed limits within the complex, preventing smoking on balconies or limiting noisy gatherings and loud music to specific times of the day. Once the by-laws are determined, the strata manager must ensure residents understand the rules and take appropriate steps to enforce them.
If a renter is not complying with by-laws, the strata manager is responsible for contacting the owner of the apartment. The owner has to then contact the property manager and ask them to notify the resident about the complaint. From there, the property manager must take the next steps to enforce the by-law, issue a breach notice and evict the resident if need be.
For apartment owners who do not comply with strata by-laws, a strata manager may have to take action on behalf of the body corporate. If compliance notices are issued but the conduct continues, it may be necessary to apply to the local Civil and Administrative Tribunal to issue a penalty fine.
As you can see, the life of a strata manager is certainly very busy. It involves working closely with the body corporate to ensure the building is safe, common areas are well maintained and all occupants are able to live in (relative) harmony. Good strata managers are highly knowledgeable, they are great time managers and they are diplomatic peace-keepers. These skills can make a huge difference between a building being a frustrating or an excellent place to live.
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