[AMA] I am a STRATA MANAGER (NSW) Ask Me Anything!

Not sure what your Strata Manager is doing with the building funds? ask me
Not sure why levies have gone up ? ask me
How to enforce a by-law? ask me
Want to change a by-law ? ask me
What's the Capital Works Fund for? ask me
When should I pay my levies? ask me
How do I choose a new strata manager? ask me
What is the Strata Management Agreement? ask me

Note advice is general in nature, for formal advice PM me

closed Comments

  •  

    how does one get employed to be a strata manager? what pre-requisites in experience and education is required or desired ?

    •  

      Always jobs going in this industry, Generally start as an assistant helping out one or a couple of managers with the mundane, get some experience in the admin and service side and then proceed to formal training.
      Pre-requisites - a knack for admin is definitely a bonus; accounting skills but not qualifications; good if you are service oriented
      How to move forward….Need to attain a license and register on completion. Beware - there's a big workload, means high turnover of staff. The good ones can organise themselves and arrange their workload, enjoy the lifestyle. Lots of busy days and usually Strata Meetings on a couple of weeknights each week/month.

  • +3 votes

    why are there no good strata managers?

  • +1 vote

    Most Strata Managers are good administrators and not such good communicators. As in all things that life throws at you, this business is particularly all about expectations and delivery. Manage that and the rest as they say is easy. Some companies have too few Strata Managers and the workload gets impossible - means some buildings just fall through the cracks where the bare minimum gets done, some things don't and before you know it…..its a bunfight to catch up.

  • +1 vote

    What's the average / margin made on a property?

  •  

    If you want to adopt a model by law already made by NSW Govt do you need for a lawyer to register it? How long should this take after an AGM approval.

    What are the penalties that can be passed on for by law breaches, specifically for smoke entering private property via windows?

    •  

      a Committee can register themselves, lawyers ensure that the proposed by-law is workable and enforceable so even with the model by-laws, your building may have some peculiarities that a lawyer can adjust for you. Need to register by-laws within 6 months of the resolution being passed, after which they then become the new by-laws.
      Penalties are the province of Fair Trading and are based on the points system where each point has a value and the penalty is then multiple times the point value.

  • +1 vote

    How do you impose parking laws from people that don't live or aren't visiting the premisses.

    •  

      is always a sticky one. Best way forward is to get one of the parking companies to install a lift barrier for each spot you need to protect giving access only to residents through a code or key - ie visitor spots are commonly abused by others not entitled. These are then only accessible to those so authorised.
      There are other laws around removal of vehicles, common and private areas etc. Not my area of expertise. best is to keep 'em out altogether.

  •  

    How do you deal with noise complaints?

    •  

      Noise and it's effects on neighbours is one of the most common areas of complaint.
      As with all these issues, the devil is in the detail of your by-laws. If the by-laws are being breached, there's a formal process to notify someone of the breach, the committee's involvement in pursuing the breach and finally the tribunal.

  •  

    Generally speaking, how many stratas per manager is manageable?

    •  

      For a manager working alone- probably around 7-900 lots. With an assistant and good systems maybe half as much again. Depends on size of buildings and the issues being faced. Capacity for everyone varies of course.

  •  

    @OP, I need your advice on this issue please

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/417832

    •  

      AIR BNB and the like is sticky kettle of fish.
      From an owners perspective ( I mean owner in the sense of the Owners Corporation) the facilities to which he/she contributes to for the welfare and running costs of the building are for the benefit of and the use of all owners and their tenants. It is usually the case that short term multiple use tenancies can 'overuse' and 'misuse' the facilities to the extent that the operating costs of the building become disproportionately borne by 'long term owners', to the advantage of owners of short term lettings who are being levied on the basis of all other owners. Make sense? So, apart from the behaviour and movement issues that arise when people aren't in tune with their building for a short period, there's a monetary balance that needs to be addessed - it is an Owners Corporation after all!!

      Zoning is an issue (council input into this) as is that of the "Change of Use" by-law which most Strata have - ie the situation that a residence becomes a commercial entity.
      NSW State Government is trying to set a model in place for this sector of accommodation, and lets be clear it's not residency or ownership we're talking about here. Short Term letting is a specific option being discussed and realistically a model needs to be developed where the 'fairness' test works for all parties.

      •  

        Thank you - there doesn't seem to be a clear differentiation between renting out the "Entire Premise" (like a hotel) or renting out a "Private Room" (like having a boarder).

        •  

          this is precisely the sorts of issues that need clarification.

          personally I would always side with the fair use fair pay principal.

          Short term holiday letting means giving one owner an commercial return on a residential facility over those that use the premises within the by-laws.

          I see the arguments about people using pools, stairs, bins or whichever common facilities regardless of whether or not they are 'permanent' but I can't rationalise that the costs are being borne proportionally on the current basis under which levies are raised - ie through the units of entitlement for each unit.

          The Units of entitlement are generally based on value of a lot at time of completion. Commercial lots are measured/valued differently to residential lots for the simple reason that their use and cost structure is different to a residential - read for example wear and tear on the common are access to a cafe in a foyer of a building - why should residents shoulder the costs of replacing the floor coverings at the same rate as the cafe lot owner who's customers only use that flooring? Likewise the residential lot measurement is again different to the commercial because their usage is different and so the values and costs basis is different. A quick and simplified explanation, but my point is - the Units of Entitlement do not take into account the future use of a residential and therefor do not allow for modified use of same….

          To then change the use of a residential levied lot to a commercial lot- be it for a whole or part lot - is unfair on those who don't. This is the sticking point for most buildings

          Don't forget zoning and Council's influence on what happens and where within an area or zone. Councils can and do get involved and apart from the social affects of the accommodation sector impinging on residential; there's a cost differentiation to each that the community (read Council) is certainly going to get involved with.

          So, these are the isolated thoughts of Strata Manager and I'd best leave it there.

  •  

    A couple of questions
    I live in a high rise in the City

    I would like to put a security screen door on my apartment so that way i can leave the door open when its hot

    Do i have to put any specific type security screen door on ?

    •  

      So you need to check the common property of the Strata. Likely that the front door is common property and so you're asking if you can affix something to the common property>>!! This will likely require Owners Corporation input or approval. Other units have security doors? If so, the OC will have a policy for dealing with this.
      generally buildings decide their own policies in this regard - aesthetics, security, commonality of look etc
      Fire egress is an important issue and your OC will ask their inspector's advice also.

  •  

    I have an issue where the tiles within my unit block is buckling due to poor installation and poor sizing that didn't not factor in expansion. The lot currently tenanted but is now deemed inhabitable - they have notified to be moving out and i will not be able to lease my property if this issue is not resolved from Strata.

    The floor tiles in the lot are the same as the common area.

    Overestimating, i would say it is no more than 60 square metres and a quote was issued from the strata's builder of $11,000 incl GST to supply and replace nwe tiles which seems ridiculous to me.

    As such, my question is, do all Strata Managers act in good faith? I am in question that my Strata Manager is colluding with companies to provide repairs/construction. As well as ripping off the BC with their improvements/recommendations of builders.

    What are my options if the issue is not resolved?

    May need to pm you on this if you're okay for me to do so.

  • +1 vote

    First things First.
    The NSW Act under which we work governs lots of things, good faith being one of them.
    Collusion is not on and should be checked. Your manager will work to get the requisite number of quotes for works the OC seeks to get done, or has to in some cases !, you can always get the scope of works he's using as a basis and get alternate quotes for works. That's the only way you'll assure yourself that your quotes and costs of work are realistic. Remember supply and demand drive prices as much as the complexity of works. All works providers need to be compliant as well (Insured and Licensed etc). The OC should be across costs in any case, it's their responsibility but nothing stopping you from helping where you can. OC's are run by volunteers and are just as time poor as you may be.

    Is the tiling a fault of the builder - can rectification work be sought from developer/builder? Time limits apply here.
    Are the tiles original and part of the common area - see Common Property Memorandum - available from Fair Trading website. It may help identify precisely the responsibility. If so there might be a case for Strata to repair and /or replace. If damage is insurable, the insurer will assist but it doesn't sound as if insurance will cover this - ask the insurer anyway - there's no cost in asking the question.
    Do you have insurance as landlord or home owners insurance? Coverage limits this? Coverage for loss of rent included?
    Get a quote directly from a tiler - avoids the builders margin and they should be compliant for removal and replacement works. If structural work is required though, this will need appropriate skills….

    Resolution of building issues is best done through mediating an outcome acceptable to everyone. Remember you don't always get everything you seek, reality of costs and practicality often arise and compromise is the key.

    •  

      Thank you for your help.

      The tiling was fault from the builder at the time of construction of the property - No longer have their contacts/in business i believe. The floors in my lot falls within the Common Property Memorandum.

      I have landlord insurance however this will fall outside of the insurance policy.

      On the other hand, I have already notified my BC and because this responsibility falls with them - would i be able to request for my loss of rent to be reimbursed till the works are completed/rectified? I have been advised by the strata manager that give then scope of work, this may need to wait till the next AGM (August) which is ridiculous.

      Appreciate your feedback

      •  

        You can arrange for an EGM to happen before your next AGM which comes at a cost, requires notice to be sent to all owners etc

  •  

    If under warranty then the Strata Manager will pursue, keep communication in writing - advising issues, follow ups, promises made etc. Remember, builders are notorious for evading 'faults' and 'rectifications' - of course there are those that do want to do the right thing and I hope yours is one of them !!

    If OC needs to identify and rectify - again write to the OC via the Secretary as well as the Strata Manager seeking Strata repair common property. If the issue is in your unit, may be in others and a delay may be in play here as the Strata Manager and OC get on top of the problem.

    Either way, sounds as if there's a quote in hand and need an alternate to compare. Use the quote data(excluding the price of course) from the original quote to get an alternate costing of similar works.

    Call your Strata Insurer for advice re loss of rent if your insurance won't cover this circumstance. Direct action is needed here.

  •  

    I am seeking answers ,hope everyone can help me.

    I received a typed out notice yesterday ( Saturday) in my letterbox, i live in high rise apartments.

    The notice is from a fire company saying they would like access to my apartment this Wednesday between 1pm and 2pm to check my fire alarm inside my apartment, with a list of 4 other apartments to do in my building on the same day.
    It says it will take approx 15 minutes.

    It says if I am not home i should email them and arrange a alternative time and will be charged $180 if i have to.

    Ths isnt enough notice or me to take leave from work on Wednesday,so i phoned the fire alarm checking cmpany who told me to ring building manager who tried to tell me to ring the Strata Management company but they are not open till Monday

    However the building manager said if i have to arrange another time as i cannot just stay home in 3 days (Wednesday) then the Strata will add $180 fee to my next levy notice on behalf of the Fire alarm checking Company

    Is this reasonable or even lawful ? I can be home on Friday but giving me 3 days notice and expecting me to be home on Wednesday is unreasonable,why should i be slugged $180 to change the times ??

    If i dont pay it apparently they will add interest until i do.

    My concern is that im required at every notice they ( the Strata) put in my letterbox whether that be fire alarm checks, window checks, plumbing checks etc etc that i must drop everything including going to work to wait for their tradesmen ,

    I didnt ask for these checks , it seems they are required to do these every 2 years or so and whilst i agree with them surely givi g me reasonable notice is required??

    My question is , because i cannot be home this Wednesday and they decide to charge me $180 to change the time of their check, are they ( Strata) legally allowed to add that $180 to my next levy notice?

  •  

    generally 14 days notice is required for access.
    If the by-laws have been amended to allow the penalty, then yes the return call will be chargeable. However, as with all these things the Strata has to prove the dates and effective notice as you may well challenge the penalty if the conditions of the by-law haven't been met
    The way forward here is to do one of the following:

    leave the key with the building manager if there is one there with instructions for him to attend your lot when the inspection is undertaken - ie not give to inspector on his own.

    leave the key with a neighbour as per above

    The notice should give an option as to non availability which needs to be honoured.

    AFSS inspections are mandatory and annually undertaken at the behest of the Council and NSW Fire Brigades. Government uses a big stick approach and some Strata Managers think this license for them to do the same. In all fairness, this is a community issue and all need to work together for the good of the building. I appreciate that AFSS inspections need to be done, but a pro-active manager will have this in hand well before the inspection is due and can then work with the inspecting engineer to minimise the hassle…

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