Has your strata manager stopped caring? Here’s how to fix it
If your only interaction with your strata manager is paying your fees, then it could take a while to realise it if they’ve stopped caring. If your committee isn’t particularly engaged, a poor strata manager could be neglecting your property for a long time before the signs become visible.
Things like poorly-maintained common areas, repairs not being carried out, or strata managers that won’t return your calls can be a sign that your strata manager isn’t prioritising your property. However, it’s important to remember that just one or two things going wrong or not quite up to your preferred standard isn’t necessarily a sign that your strata manager has stopped caring.
Signs your strata manager may have stopped caring
One of these signs in isolation isn’t necessary a signal that you should sack your strata manager immediately but, if a few of these warning signs are present, then you may want to consider your options and next steps.
- Poor financial management. A warning sign of financial mismanagement is a high level of levies in arrears. If your strata manager isn’t collecting levies diligently, and following up on late payments, it could be a sign the strata manager isn’t well organised, engaged, or invested.
- Few meetings. It’s essential for the committee to meet regularly and annual general meetings are legislated. If regular meetings aren’t happening or, worse, the AGM is being missed, that’s a big red flag that your strata manager has checked out.
- Lack of responsiveness. If you can’t get your strata manager on the phone and they won’t respond to emails, it’s clear your building isn’t a high priority. This can be a real problem if it means maintenance and repair issues aren’t being attended to promptly.
These are just a few of the common signs. There are plenty of others that can demonstrate that your strata manager doesn’t care anymore. The question is, what can you do about it?
Here are six key steps to take:
- Confirm. If you’re not a member of the committee, speak with someone who is and ask for confirmation that there is an issue. Sometimes, what seems like a problem is just the result of miscommunication or misunderstanding. If there really is an issue, it’s the committee that will need to act.
- Communicate. It’s important to start by communicating with the strata manager transparently and openly. Let them know your concerns and ask for an action plan to fix the issues. Make sure you include deadlines and ask for regular progress updates.
- Escalate. If you don’t get a response from the strata manager, the next step would be to speak with their superior. This could resolve the issue with your existing strata manager or you may request the company appoint a new contact person for your property.
- Research. Strata laws are different in every state and can be complex. If you’re not sure where you stand, consider seeking a second opinion from a legal or financial professional.
- Switch. Switching is easy: start by finding out the terms of your current contract then shop around to find a new strata manager and ask for their help and advice.
- Escalate (again). If you believe the issue is serious enough, you may want to take your complaint higher. This can include contacting the relevant strata governing body or licensing authority in your state. If the dispute isn’t resolved, you can take it to the Tribunal for adjudication.