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Wait, who looks after that? Strata Management, Property Management and owner responsibilities

May 08, 2019

When maintenance is required, living in a communal building like an apartment complex can be a bit of a puzzle. Who looks after a leaky pipe? Who replaces that scuffed carpet in the foyer? Who do I call when the garage roller door is busted? It can all get very confusing, very fast.
This is where getting your head around your role as an owner and the roles of Strata Management and Property Management can be a huge help. By understanding the responsibilities of these different parties, you will have a better idea of who to contact when something goes wrong. Contacting the right person for the job means that your problem can gets solved as quickly as possible.

What is strata?

Strata is a type of land title that allows a larger property to be divided into smaller properties. These smaller properties are called lots. In an apartment block the apartments would be the individual lots and spaces like hallways, foyers, lifts and gardens would all be considered common property. These common areas all fall under the management of the Owners Corporation, assisted by the Strata Manager.

Responsibilities and duties of a Strata Manager

Like the name implies, a Strata Manager looks after the day-to-day operation and oversight of a strata title in conjunction with the Owners Corporation. Here are just some of the specific duties a Strata Manager carries out:

  • Organise maintenance of common areas like foyers, hallways and gardens
  • Organise urgent repairs of the building’s common areas
  • Send out levy notices and collect levies
  • Ensure the building complies with Work Health & Safety regulations
  • Set dates for strata meetings like the annual general meeting, executive committee meetings and emergency meetings
  • Write and distribute notices and meeting minutes
  • Pay invoices and budget for costs relating to the building’s common areas
  • Mediate disputes between neighbours or between owners and the Executive Committee

What is a Property Manager?

A Property Manager isn’t just someone who owns or looks after a house or unit. The title refers to a specialist who helps to market your home, find and manage tenants and assist you in building an investment property portfolio.
Property Managers are used when an owner decides to rent out their property to a tenant. In this case an owner would contract a professional service which assigns them a qualified manager. This Property Manager would then find a suitable tenant.

Responsibilities and duties of a Property Manager

Here are just some of the specific duties a Property Manager carries out:

  • Ensure rent it is paid on time and suggest when rent should be reviewed
  • Act as the main point of contact for the tenant and the go-between between tenants and landlords
  • Carry out open homes and vet potential tenants
  • Carry out routine inspections of the tenanted property
  • Organise maintenance of property
  • Organise emergency repairs of property
  • Prepare tenancy contracts and related administration
  • Advise you on how to grow and manage your property portfolio

Strata Managers and Property Managers: what’s the difference?

Sometimes people confuse Strata Managers with Property Managers or don’t quite fully understand where one’s responsibilities begin, and the other’s ends. Returning to the example of an apartment building, since the building and its common areas are looked after by strata, that means the individual apartments (the lots) and everything inside them are looked after by you, the owner. If you have leased out the apartment, then the apartment is looked after by a Property Manager.

The key to understanding both Property Management and Strata Management is understanding their main limitation: Strata Managers and Property Managers can only spend money and make decisions that you, or in the case of the strata the Owners Corporation which you are a part of, approve.

How do my responsibilities as an owner fit into all this?

Your apartment or unit (your lot), and everything inside its boundaries is yours to look after. This is pretty standard and comes with owning any property. However, when you own in a strata title building, you become part of the Owners Corporation, which comes with some extra responsibilities.
Being aware that you are living in a community is part of owning and living in a strata complex.

Not only does this require you to follow the building’s rules, it also means being mindful of the units beside you, above you and below you.
As an owner you are also responsible for paying strata levies. Levies cover things like the day-to-day running of the building, gardening, maintenance and emergency repairs.

Finally, it’s important that you attend meetings and have your say on the issues that affect your complex.

Strata Manager or Property Manager: who is responsible?

The table below contains some examples of repairs needed in a strata title complex and an explanation of who is responsible.

What? 

Roller door of garage 

Roof 

 

Foyer carpet 

Carpet inside unit/apartment 

Pipes

 

 

Electrical wiring

Who?

Strata Manager.

The roof of a communal building falls to Strata Manager. Interior walls of apartments/ units Owner or Property Manager.

Strata Manager

Owner or Property Manager.

Pipes that service more than one lot fall under strata. Pipes that only service one lot are the responsibility of the owner or Property Manager, regardless of where they are located in the building.

Wiring that services more than one lot fall under strata. Wiring that only services one lot are the responsibility of the owner or Property Manager, regardless of where they are located in the building.

So, there you have it. Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of what exactly it is Strata Managers and Property Managers do and what your roles as an owner are. If you have any questions get in contact with your Strata Manager and they can assist you with any questions you might have.

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