Most apartment blocks have strata managers.
These are fully licensed professionals trained to deal with the everyday needs of a strata scheme.
A strata manager is essential to manage legal requirements and pull together the myriad details which must be attended to in order to keep the apartment block maintained and functioning as a whole.
It sounds easy, but it’s a complex task requiring experience, knowhow and great communication skills to pull off properly.
So how do you know if your strata management is really shaping up?
1. They have watertight legal expertise
This is top priority in strata management. Sydney in particular has a high proportion of apartment blocks, and it’s vital that apartment owners are covered for unexpected events. Insurance, including public liability, must be comprehensive to ensure everyone is protected in the event of problems.
With an array of ever-changing legal requirements and by-laws affecting strata ownership, strata managers need to be ahead of the game.
2. They understand property maintenance
Every detail of property maintenance must be attended to by the strata manager including common areas and facilities both inside and out. Workplace and occupational health and safety requirements must be met at all times.
If poor maintenance leads to someone being injured, the owners of each apartment could be held legally responsible.
3. They work with excellent tradies and suppliers
Smart strata managers know that choosing the best contractors is essential for the smooth running of any apartment complex.
It’s worth paying a little more for quality workmanship and materials – this keeps owner-occupiers happy and maintains the building and common spaces at a far higher level over the long run. It ensures faults are attended to promptly, reducing the risk of future problems.
4. They know the owners as well as the property
Good strata managers make time to visit owners, talk to them about their concerns and familiarise themselves with the building’s layout, quirks and problem areas.
This detailed knowledge enables the manager to offer sound advice and support to the owners’ corporation.
5. They are experts in conflict resolution
Hosing down conflicts and neighbourly disputes are the bread and butter of strata managers.
They need to be adept in every aspect of conflict resolution, and well versed in the requirements of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal – or your state’s equivalent – if a dispute needs to be formally settled.
6. They have people skills as well as property skills
Some strata managers understand the legal and technical issues far better than they understand the owners.
If you can find a strata manager who loves talking to people as much as they love the nitty-gritty of managerial duties – and excels at both – you’ve found a gem.
7. They have financial transparency
Every owner wants to know where their money is going, and sound strata managers maintain immaculate books which are available for the owners’ corporation to examine.
It should be easy to check that invoices are paid on time, fees and levies are fully documented, and tax compliance is followed to the letter.
Sometimes it’s worth changing strata managers to make sure you have the right one for your apartment complex. It’s an essential part of protecting your financial investment.