With more Australians now investing in apartments, acquainting yourself with the role of a ‘strata’ manager is a fundamental part of the ownership exercise.
The owners also called the ‘body corporate,' appoint the strata manager. Unlike a property manager who is employed by individual owners, a strata manager oversees the legal, insurance and maintenance requirements of the entire property such as a block of home units or townhouses.
Maintaining the property to a suitable standard is a crucial part of the strata manager’s duties. This responsibility might involve employing cleaners for the common areas, horticulturists to tend gardens and lawns and so on. If a building isnot maintained it would affect the value of the individual units – or worse could contribute to an injury.
It is also the role of the strata manager to organise annual general meetings for the body corporate, organise proxy votes for members who can’t attend, and finalise the minutes of the meeting. The minutes of the annual meeting along with the financials and budgets are distributed to all members of the body corporate, who might either be landlords or owner-occupiers.
Other duties of a strata manager can include organising extraordinary meetings, maintaining the owners’ corporation register, arranging the payment of invoices, preparing and distributing contribution notices, attending to orders, submissions, and appeals and ensuring the strata scheme complies with all the Work Health & Safety (WHS) regulations. Strata managers can also act as a mediator between owners, providing advice in handling 'difficult' or complex strata issues.
The strata manager is also responsible for arranging ‘residential strata insurance’ (also known as body corporate cover in some states). This cover is general insurance that usually covers common property such as lifts, pools, car parks, gardens, wiring, balconies, walls, windows, ceilings, and floors. Strata insurance must provide liability cover in the event people are injured on the common property.
Strata managers make sure that the correct valuations are completed so that the building has enough insurance that is equivalent to the full replacement cost. This responsibility is an essential activity as owners could be significantly out of pocket if something unexpected occurs and the property was underinsured.
To find out more about the role of a strata manager, talk to your Raine & Horne property manager or visit the website of Strata Community Australia at www.stratacommunity.org.au