Strata manager vs. self-managed strata: pros & cons
While it is not a legal requirement for a strata scheme to engage the services of a professional strata manager, it is most certainly advantageous to do so.
Owners corporations can perform the duties of a manager but whether they have the required time, expertise or willingness to take on the responsibility of doing so once they gain an understanding of what the job entails, is quite another matter.
The management of shared living spaces (common property) is subject to complex legal requirements, which vary from state to state and continually evolve. Keeping abreast of these changes and making sure that your property remains compliant can take a lot of time and effort, particularly if works need to be carried out to ensure the property remains compliant or if you own investment properties interstate.
A dedicated, professional strata manager tends to be better equipped with the expertise to perform this role much more effectively than volunteers on a committee, and can typically identify when action needs to be taken to maintain legal compliance than would otherwise be the case with a self-managed strata scheme.
An impartial voice
Being independent of the property, a strata manager can also usually achieve a consensus amongst owners when action needs to be taken a lot quicker than a committee that may be seen to have other self-interest motives at play when deciding on how to spend the property’s money or what issues on the property need to be prioritised.
Strata managers can also bring their expertise when determining how much needs to be budgeted to keep the property in an optimal state of repair and attractiveness and, so that money is always available when needed to carry out works.
Limit unnecessary costs
While it is true that there is an additional cost involved in having an independent strata manager looking after your common property compared to the owners doing it, the associated costs of doing the latter can quickly far exceed the former.
For example, a strata manager tends to be more familiar with what the maintenance and repair costs should be and have a list of qualified local suppliers on-hand to ensure the maintenance and repairs are in good order and that costs are kept to a minimum.
There are also other responsibilities that can be overlooked when a dedicated manager is not in place, such as the submission to the council of an annual fire safety certificate, or ensuring that structural changes to the property in accordance with new regulations are met before the deadline elapses.
PICA Group CEO, Greg Nash, said ‘Any issues that are overlooked or not dealt with in the appropriate time-frame, such as scheduled maintenance, reporting, or regulatory compliance, can end up costing a lot more in fines and increased repair costs than it would to have a dedicated strata manager attend to these tasks on their behalf, so it absolutely makes fiscal sense to do so, for the benefit of all owners and residents’.