The term ‘strata’ refers to a model of property ownership where individuals purchase a lot within a more extensive development. In addition, the collective group shares ownership of the common areas like gardens, recreation areas, lobbies and the like. Strata are a single entity comprised of several people. They can be considered as organisations. Just like regular businesses, strata require some hierarchy and management to operate efficiently.
Strata management is the act of administrating a strata. The majority of strata in Australia today appoint a professional to carry out this mandate. A company or individual who takes up the role of strata management on behalf of a body corporate is known as a Strata Manager. Before one is selected, the owners’ corporation is responsible for interviewing and vetting qualified candidates.
Once a strata manager has been named, it is time to take up the mantle of overseeing the day-to-day strata operations. Their responsibilities are outlined in the contract they sign with the body corporate. Chief among them are:
Administration and Clerical
A strata manager handles all matters pertaining to the needs of the strata. They are tasked with overseeing maintenance of the common areas and ordering repairs when needed. Managers also certify that the strata has sufficient insurance and that it remains valid at all times.
Their clerical responsibilities fall toward correspondence with the owners’ corporation on all matters to do with the strata. They inform the owners about issues pending review and action. They also give notice of meetings, archive the records and communicate concerns raised by tenants to the owners. Occasionally, the body corporate may call upon their strata manager to chair general meetings before sending meeting minutes to the owners’ corporation committee.
Maintaining a strata requires a careful, accurate balance of boundaries. Technically, a strata manager is only responsible for the areas which are considered to be common property, including, but not limited to: the garden, any footpaths, the lobby area and the gym. Some owners misunderstand these demarkations and rely on the manager to oversee a piece of personal property. Managers often educate the owners to correct this misconception.
A strata manager obtains work quotations and invoices from the relevant technicians or tradespeople before presenting them to the committee for review, approval, and payment to facilitate maintenance.
There are numerous monetary obligations associated with a strata scheme. It falls to the members of the body corporate to meet these financial commitments. Therefore, owners have to come up with different funds into which a levy is paid. If more than one fund is established, they must define each category to keep track of the money within each section. The funds are then handed to the strata manager to be disseminated as needed.
A crucial aspect of managing the funds is the timely payment of all monies, both when crediting and debiting. If the need arises, a strata manager can issue reminders or file disputes.
A strata must have clean and clear records to remain compliant. The duty of record keeping is part of the strata manager’s list of responsibilities. The most important records are known as strata rolls. They contain a list of owners’ information and a notation of all tenants in the building or strata area. In addition to strata rolls, the manager must also maintain financial and maintenance records to keep track of the community’s needs.
These are just a few examples of the functions of an individual or group whose expertise lies in strata management. The body corporate’s needs define the scope of the position; therefore, a strata manager has to be flexible enough to adjust accordingly.