What Does a Strata Manager Do?
What is a strata manager?
A strata manager working for a strata management company performs the day-to-day management and administrative tasks of the strata property. The strata manager acts on behalf of and under instruction from the Council of Owners. The Council of Owners has final authority to instruct the strata manager and strata management company.
What is the role of the strata manager?
The strata managers role is mainly administrative. The strata managers duties can be broken down into 3 main categories.
Interpersonal/Social Relations/Information Sharing
An ever-growing part of the strata managers role is to assist in providing a comfortable living environment for residents. As strata schemes become larger and with the expanding expectations of residents, the strata manager’s role continues to grow to satisfy a wider range of lifestyle essentials to include:
• clearly communicating and consistently enforcing the rules of the strata property.
• providing initial unbiased mediation to owners who have a dispute over matters such as pets, parking or noise.
• providing basic strata information to owners and Council members.
• offering suggestions to enhance the harmony of the strata scheme. For example, the strata manager may suggest that a quarterly newsletter is sent to all owners or that a community vegetable and herb garden be established.
• suggesting by-law changes or additions which will improve social cohesion at the property.
• communicating with the Council of Owners to keep them updated on issues at the properties and providing them with options that may reduce disharmony.
• advise the Council on compliance requirements
• the strata management company staff should be proactive by suggesting options for the Council
The strata manager is mostly an office based administrator who makes sure that the strata property is properly serviced, maintained. The strata management company is responsible to:
• suggest options and maintain appropriate insurance cover for the property. Lodge and manage insurance claims.
• correspond with owners regarding common property maintenance.
• correspond with owners to issue levies, notices of meetings of owners and other general information.
• when requested, act as chair for general meetings of the strata company and provide minutes for the meetings.
• manage the day-to-day repair and maintenance of the property, including regular gardening, pool cleaning, lift maintenance, fire equipment inspection and any other maintenance to common property.
• archive the records of the strata company.
The strata management company should have systems and procedure in place that allow them to:
• monitor routine invoice payments on behalf of the strata company.
• obtain quotes for repairs, maintenance and insurance.
• prepare annual budgets and levy options for approval by the owners.
• track levy arrears, advise owners with arrears and recover arrears
• manage GST payments and recovery
• prepare regular financial statements for review of the Council
What’s the difference between a strata manager and a property manager?
A property manager looks after a single unit or apartment in a strata scheme for the individual owner. They will conduct property condition report on the individual unit, collect rent and liaise between tenant and owner. They will contact the strata manager if they need to discuss problems in the common property.
A strata manager looks after all common property at the strata scheme on behalf of multiple owners. They ensure common property structures and facilities are maintained and insured. They will collect the levies and liaise with owners and the Council.
What shouldn’t a strata manager do?
A strata manager cannot give legal advice but may offer suggestions based on their experience. A good strata manager will advise that a legal opinion is obtained if there is any doubt.
A strata manager is not a project manager or builder and cannot give specific advice regarding building maintenance. But, a good strata manager will suggest that an expert should provide a report on the maintenance needs of your property and that an expert should properly supervise any maintenance works.
A strata manager should not act independently of the Council. The strata manager should not enter into or terminate contracts or agreements, approve non-routine payments, issue notices of breach without the approval of the Council.
A strata manager should not, without the permission of the Council, include any non-standard motions in the agenda of the general meeting. A non-standard motion could include a motion to renew the management agreement of the strata manager.
The strata manager’s role is essentially administrative and office based. It is not the role of the strata manager to visit the property on a regular basis, although a good strata manager will visit the property sufficiently to maintain a good working knowledge.
How to judge your strata manager’s performance?
Most owners and Council members are not strata experts. They rely on their strata manager to be their trusted advisor, offering suggestions to assist in the good management of their strata property. If the strata manager does not offer options and alternatives, it may be that they are not experienced or properly trained.
Your strata manager should receive on-going training, and Strata Community Australia (WA) accreditation is strongly preferred.
The strata manager should always act in a professional manner and respond to owner’s requests and correspondence promptly.
If your strata manager ranks highly on the above criteria, you have found a good strata manager. Good strata managers can be difficult to find, so I suggest that you keep this gem. Try to resist the temptation of moving to another strata manager just to get a marginally reduced strata management fee. This could be a false economy.
If your strata manager does not perform well, you should let the strata manager know what you expect. It’s always best to give them the chance to improve. You can ask that the strata management company assign a different strata manager. Finally, if the strata manager and strata management company continue to breach the terms of your agreement, the Council can terminate the strata management agreement.
Can you contact the strata manager directly?
Yes. If you are an owner, you can contact the strata manager with your questions and concerns. The strata manager will act as a conduit between owners and the Council of Owner members.
How can I change the strata management company?
The Council of owners selects the strata management company on behalf of all owners. Sometimes a change is necessary – please see 4 Steps to changing your strata manager