What I’ve learnt working as a strata manager

Claire Wilson

By Claire Wilson at Dynamic Property Services

 

In my nine years as a strata manager, I’ve had my fair share of challenges, dealing with a range of managerial, compliance and dispute matters. Looking back, here are some of my foremost learnings.

 

Keeping on top of the latest industry updates is part of the job

I can honestly say my job always keeps me busy, but as the saying goes, “the busiest people always have time”. As a strata manager, you have to stay on top of industry news and relevant court judgements to provide guidance and recommendations to clients on how similar issues may play out. I refer to legislation and flick through sections of the Act on a daily basis, but having a broader understanding of what is happening in the industry enables me to provide practical advice.

 

Sometimes there isn’t a straight-forward answer

Strata is complex – the people, the rules, the legislation… It’s rare that there’s ever a straight-forward answer, simply because there are so many variables. Every building and committee is different, and so are people’s individual motivations, as well as their take on legislation and the associated rules. Everyone is doing their best to understand and adhere to best practice, but often you don’t know how a dispute will play out because it could go so many ways, especially with the recent changes to NSW legislation.

 

Happy customer, happy life

I believe that a strata manager’s role is predominately focused on managing people – property is just another part of it. That’s why receiving positive feedback from customers validates my work more than anything. I deal with people’s homes and investments, so most decisions made are personal and emotionally-driven. Not everyone responds to decisions the same way, either, which can add another level of complexity. When it gets tough, just having someone tell me I’m doing a good job gives me the motivation to keep on going, and the confidence that I’m on the right track.

 

You need the right mix of people to get the job done

I think having a diverse strata committee makes for a healthy owners corporation. You need diverse opinions and input, and you need to have everyone on board to keep projects moving. If some members are non-responsive or disruptive, it can incur additional fees, including fees from lawyers or consultants, which is not ideal. For full-circle harmony, matching the right manager to the right strata committee is also essential, to ensure that the relationship isn’t destined for disaster. When we take on new clients, we try to understand who our customer is, before appointing an appropriate strata manager.

 

You can’t please everyone all the time

Strata managers can often be the bearer of bad news – and a scapegoat for blame. In saying that, it’s important not to take anything too personally, and to rather empathise with owner’s grievances. A recommended course of action isn’t always what the customer wants to hear, but as a strata manager you need to fufil your obligations and advise the owners corporations to do the same.

 

Claire is a strata manager at Dynamic Property Services, a multi-award winning strata management company in Sydney. For more information about the business, visit dynamicproperty.com.au, or call 02 9267 6334.