Not all buildings are owned by a single person. Sometimes the owners are many, especially in apartment buildings. Here each family will normally own their unit and a relative portion of the “common property.” Since a law passed in NSW back in 1961, these are called “strata” – division of property or layers of flats, parking, and another use area, from the origins of the word in Latin “stratum.”
Strata buildings may be residential, commercial, industrial or mixed-use. Sometimes strata refers to a single building, and sometimes it may relate to a whole complex of buildings. Whatever the case, these buildings will have facilities that are used by more than one or all of the stratum tenants. These are entry doors, stairs, electricity, water and gas supply, lifts, air conditioning equipment, fire safety equipment, and the like. If you’re looking to see the dates when you should have your AGM, make sure to check out this handy AGM Calculator and other strata resources offered by CondoVoter.
Hunter Strata offer a wide range of services that include strata management, maintenance, and repairs. Check our website.
As the use of these common facilities is by many or all of the tenants, it is important to arrange for their proper maintenance and management. It is also important for the costs of these to be shared among the tenants who use them, and this is where strata management services come into play.
The owners of a strata building form an “owners’ corporation” or “body corporate”. They appoint a strata management company. Strata management relates to the management of the common properties and facilities within a strata building, on behalf of the owners’ corporation.
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Initially, the strata services related to strata property management and strata maintenance:
- Management of the strata facilities;
- Collection of service charges from tenants;
- Ensuring the security and safety of the strata building.
Over time the strata management services expanded and now include:
- Control, location and maintenance of all access points for the property
These will include the location of any entry doors to the strata complex, their proper maintenance, paint, repair and function. They will also include the installation, maintenance and proper function of any security mechanisms, which will ensure the safety of the tenants, like locks, handles, chains, alarms, audio and video control;
These will include the organisation of bins, their purchase, maintenance and the control of garbage collection services. These also include the return of bits to their normal locations;
Cleaning And Window Washing;
Strata cleaning services include vacuuming and dusting of stairs, elevators and common areas. The cleaning services will also include mopping of hard floors and cleaning of any common equipment at the property (such as mailboxes, car parks, clotheslines, etc.).
Cleaning and washing the windows of all common areas is another important part of the strata management services;
Irrespective of whether the strata complex has only a patch of grass adjourning the front entrance or a magnificent lawn with trees, bushes and flowers, it will be enjoyed by all of the tenants. Hence its management and cleaning will be included in strata garden management. These services will include lawn mowing, pruning of trees and bushes, managing flowers, weeding gardens, planting and mulching, management of green waste, hedging, pond maintenance and all activities related to the open area of the strata property;
Strata tenants will be using different supplies from external service providers. Some of these will be delivered to their stratum via a pipe network. Such is a supply of water and gas. The pipes over which they flow will mostly be situated in the common areas of the strata. Hence their regular cleaning, monitoring and management shall also be included in the strata management of the building;
Similar to pipe maintenance, so are managed any wires over which electricity or communication services are transmitted to the tenants of the property. Wiring will also include any cables related to TV or radio systems. All of these shall be monitored, serviced and cleaned within strata management;
Common areas like stairs, doors, windows, pipes, fences and external walls will be tiled or painted for protection. Strata management envisages monitoring, cleaning and re-paining as part of the strata management. Any repairs and fixes, which need to be made on such facilities, should also be done;
Every building will need from time to time some general repairs – be it on the roof, fences or external walls. As such areas are of common ownership, strata, managers will take care of them. Strata managers should organise tenders and subsequently manage the execution of the repairs.
It is the strata manager who will be responsible for receiving, monitoring and maintaining fire safety certificates and lift safety certificates.
As compliance, tax and regulatory legislation on strata property and real estate management is mounting over the years, monitoring it all is now a hard task. Hence one of the tasks of the strata managers is to advise tenants and owners of lots to various regulations which may be important to them. It is important to note here that this is not legal representation, but rather guiding owners with unbinding legal advice on strata legislation.
Strata management will include a very wide array of financial services. These start with annual budgeting of strata fees and future costs and investments. They include regular bookkeeping and financial reporting to the Owners’ corporation. Collection of strata fees, monitoring of arrears, payment of invoices on behalf of the Owners’ corporation;
Strata managers are responsible for an array of administrative services. These include, but are not limited to correspondence on behalf of the property, notices and conduction of owners’ meetings, drafting and maintaining minutes from the meetings of owners.
It is the Strata manager’s duty to maintain several important documents related to the strata property for a period of not less than seven years. These include:
– the agreement between the strata manager and the corporation;
– notices for the meetings of owners;
– correspondence of the scheme;
– records of the strata manager submitted to the corporation;
– minutes of the meetings of the corporation and the relevant decisions passed;
– proxies are delivered to the corporation. The seven-year period will start upon the expiry of the proxy.
A lot of owners or mortgagees are the only ones allowed access to these records against a legally prescribed tax.
Insurance of properties, collection of insurance premiums and monitoring of insurance policies also fall into the scope of strata management. They will also take care of any insurance claims which may arise;
The strata manager is responsible for maintaining balance relations with all property holders and tenants. She will also communicate any property regulations with the tenants and monitor for their compliance.
This list is by no means exhaustive and will continue growing as the needs of the strata tenants grows.
Strata management is executed by dedicated strata managers. These may be one of the owners of properties, but more often than not they are professional strata management companies. The obligations of a strata manager are clearly defined in the Strata Management Act from 2015. They function on behalf of the owner’s corporation and receive remuneration for their services. Strata managers and strata management are an indispensable part of property management in Australia.