More than a responsibility: discovering the rewards of being an active member of your strata title.
Many owners in developments like apartment buildings or townhouse complexes don’t consider being involved with their strata. Perhaps they feel that they don't have much to contribute or aren’t sure what they stand to gain.
The truth is, every owner can make a worthwhile contribution to the complex. By viewing it as a collective responsibility and actively joining in, you’ll ensure your voice is heard and become an integral part of the community.
We’ve previously broken down the basics of how strata works in our 5 myths about strata management, but in a nutshell, every owner in a strata title complex automatically becomes part of the owners corporation. Owners who want to take their involvement one step further can join the executive committee, a smaller group appointed by the owners corporation to take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the strata title.
Your basic responsibilities as a member of the owners corporation boil down to paying your strata levies, abiding by strata rules and attending the Annual General Meeting. However, there is more to being an active member than that.
By taking an active interest in the meetings and contributing your knowledge and expertise, you can:
- make sure you’re in the loop on any decisions made in relation to the complex so you don’t get surprised by added costs or additional rules you don’t agree with.
- help keep the complex in the best possible condition. If a light is out or a garage door is broken, let the strata manager and executive committee know. By keeping an eye out for things that need to be addressed, you’ll help ensure repairs are done quickly and problems don’t worsen.
- get your opinions taken into account and your requests heard. Want bicycle racks installed? It’s up to you to relay the request to the executive committee. They won’t start the process to have racks installed if they don’t know they’re wanted.
Being involved in the executive committee offers a great opportunity to really make a difference to your development. You’ll be able to:
- approve invoices and keep an eye on costs
- review requests for modifications to ensure that the complex maintains a cohesive look
- check that the rules stay relevant and appropriate for your needs.
If you do join the committee, it’s important to stay actively involved with the various tasks, from attending meetings to answering communication or meeting contractors on site.
There are plenty of reasons why people choose not to become active in their strata. Many of them come down to time and effort.
Independent’s recently released strata technology platform has streamlined communications and operations, making it easier for the entire owners corp to be heard and making the process of running a strata quicker for committee members, leaving fewer reasons not to get involved.
To help explain the rewards of participating in strata, we spoke to five owners all heavily involved in their strata.
Control how your strata fees are spent
Being on the executive committee gives you a direct influence over how strata funds are spent and what projects they are spent on. It also gives you the ability to make sure that funds are spent effectively.
“Living in a strata building is the most cost-effective way of living for us. Being involved in the executive committee takes that one step further, since we are making sure finances are spent carefully and efficiently. By looking after the financial health of our strata, we are helping to protect the investment of everyone who lives in our building. We all benefit.”
- Brian and Barbara, secretary and treasurer at the Pearl apartment building
Have an impact on the lives of those around you
By owning in a communal building you are part of a community. You have the potential to make a significant contribution to the facilities and culture of your complex, which can lead to a better quality of life for you and those around you.
“We recently expanded and upgraded our building gym with new professional cardio and weight training equipment. Feedback we are getting from residents is that our building gym is now considered better than some commercial gyms and a number of them have cancelled their gym memberships and are saving money by using the building gym exclusively. It’s outcomes like this that make the volunteer work each month worthwhile.”
- John, executive committee member at the Globe
Balance commercial and residential interests
Not all strata-titled buildings contain only residential lots. Some buildings feature a mix of residential and commercial lots, which means some of the owners are commercial investors. Through participation in strata, commercial investors can advocate for their interests and work with the residential investors and live-in owners to come up with solutions that suit everyone.
“Residential investors and commercial investors can have slightly different interests. We had an issue where one of the Greenwich’s commercial lots was going to be rented out as a bar, but the live-in owners weren’t thrilled with the noise that would bring, particularly late at night. Working with the other members of the committee, we were able to change the strata rules, which meant the space could instead be leased out as a medical clinic. A compromise that made everyone happy.”
- Chris, executive committee member at Greenwich Park
Maximise your investment returns
“My investment properties are my security for the future. I want my tenants to be happy about where they live, and my property to maintain and increase its value. We added a rooftop garden to another complex in which I owned an apartment, and it was so popular I put my asking rent up and still got heaps of applications. I brought the idea to the my other executive committees and we’re getting quotes to do the same thing.”
- Chloe, owner of three investment properties
To get involved with your strata, get in touch with your property manager, or read on for more information on Independent’s strata technology platform and how it can make your strata experience better.
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Get in touch
Got an inquiry, question or feedback? Drop us a line and our Strata Management team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Current owners please contact your Strata Manager. Our after hours phone line is contactable from 7am-10pm on weekdays and 8am-10pm on weekends.