Apartment living is on the rise in Australia.
More and more people are choosing to live in apartments, for their relative affordability, their proximity to workplaces, and their convenience in central locations often close to public transport.
As a consequence of this lifestyle change, more and more properties are being managed by strata corporations – making it all the more important that owners understand how owners corporations work – and how to spot problems if and when they arise.
Here are five tell-tale signs that your owners corporation isn’t being properly managed by the strata manager.
Poorly organised meetings
All owners corporations must have an annual general meeting once a year.
There must be no more than 15 months between meetings.
At the AGM, the owners corporations discusses the key aspects of the management of the property, including an update on repairs and maintenance, voting for the committee, and an examination of the committee’s financial position.
Owners corporation meetings should also be held regularly, to ensure that the ongoing needs of the property are being met.
If meetings are late, or if some items are not discussed at the meeting, problems can arise.
Slow responses to repairs and maintenance
One of the strata managers’ key responsibilities is organising maintenance and repairs in the common areas of the building on behalf of the owners.
A good owners corporation manager will take a proactive approach to maintenance, nipping issues in the bud, rather than waiting for them to escalate into serious problems.
By taking a look around the common areas of the building, you should gain a sense of how well the strata manager is looking after the building.
Going over previous owners corporation meeting minutes to see how long repairs and maintenance take to be actioned can give you a sense of how efficient and effective the manager is.
Fees and levies in arrears
If fees and levies have fallen into arrears, the strata manager may no have the appropriate financial systems in place to manage your owners corporation.
If levies are not collected, the building’s expenses may not be adequately covered.
Lack of knowledge about legislation
Your strata manager should understand all owners corporation legislation, and know how to implement the laws.
They should be abreast of any recent changes, and can implement changes that apply to your building promptly to avoid being non-compliant.
Poor financial management
Your strata manager should manage the owners corporation’s finances transparently and ethically.
Owners should be able to receive a financial report from the strata manager at any time, and it should be clear how money is being spent.
If questions about finances are left unanswered, or you have any concerns about where owners corporation funds are going, you should investigate immediately.
What can you do if you’re worried about your strata manager?
If you are concerned your strata manager is not performing their role properly, it’s important to speak up.
Raise the matter with the committee, or other lot owners – you may find they also have concerns.
Sometimes joining the committee can help answer any questions you have and ease concerns.
If it turns out that there are irregularities or inadequacies, it might be time to change managers.