Seven things to consider before changing your strata manager
We break down what to look out for if you are considering changing your strata manager
Changing your strata manager is easy. Selecting the right strata manager can be confusing and time-consuming, especially when comparing different service agreements to understand what is included and what will incur extra costs. You may also be looking for a strata manager with specific skills or a provider that can offer more innovative solutions such as managing maintenance requests online and tracking requests.Here seven essential things to do before changing your strata manager, to ensure you choose the right one for your strata property:
- Establish what is important to your property
- Compare like for like when it comes to getting the best deal if changing your strata manager
- Ensure you have access to state legislation expertise
- Seek out knowledge and expertise of different property types
- Inquire about adequate online services
- Find out what other customers have to say
- Ensure all owners are involved in the decision.
Establish what is important to your property
Determine the most important aspects of managing the property and rank the items in order of importance as a committee. For example, if your building may have defects that need rectification, you will need a strata manager who has a good understanding of the relevant legislation and plenty of experience with managing defect rectification. If your building is older, it may require more maintenance. If so, appointing a strata manager with a maintenance background and an online work order system may be favourable.
Once you’ve established the criteria and determined your shortlist, compare the proposals or service agreements to ensure your needs have been listened to. Also, check the agreement adequately meets your strata requirements well before changing your strata manager.
As a rule of thumb, make sure your strata management contenders tick the following boxes:
- Plenty of industry experiences
- All the necessary industry-recognised qualifications
- Good industry knowledge, especially with regards to strata legislation
- Approachable, transparent and effective at communicating clearly
- Utmost professionalism
Compare like for like when it comes to getting the best deal if changing your strata manager
Services listed in the service agreement tend to be divided into those that occur on the strata committee’s behalf under an agreed fee and services that will incur an additional fee.
While a low fee may be attractive, you might end up paying more if the fees and charges for additional services and their associated disbursements (such as envelopes, photocopying) are high. Take the time to compare all the fees and charges before changing your strata manager, as what looks attractive may not tell the whole story.
Ensure you have access to state legislation expertise
Changing your strata manager to one with detailed knowledge of your state’s regulations, as well as any expected changes to the law, can make an enormous difference when it comes to efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The strata management provider’s knowledge of the law might be tricky to ascertain, so ask questions like “how often do you hold CPD training for your strata managers?” or “how are your strata managers briefed on changes to legislation and the impact of changes to a scheme?”. This will help verify whether they have the right processes and training in place to stay on top of legislative changes.
Seek out knowledge and expertise of different property types
Each strata property is unique and will therefore need specialised care. Whether your strata property falls under the category of community title, company title or building management committee (BMC), you should seek out a strata manager who has an understanding of your property type and is capable of meeting your unique needs.
Inquire about adequate online services
One of the most complained-about matters is how long it takes for a strata manager to respond. This is often due to managers being bogged down by emails if there aren’t any self-help or automated systems to provide support services. The presence of an online service hub for easy access to information can make a massive difference to a strata manager’s ability to respond in a timely fashion.
Easy online access can also provide owners with real-time documentation whenever they need it, allowing committee members to view the strata property’s financials and check the status of a request or a compliance obligation without going through the strata manager.
This frees up the strata manager to focus on servicing the committee or to going beyond the “call of duty” to be proactive and recommend ways to lower energy consumption or improve waste management.
Find out what other customers have to say
The key attributes that contribute to a successful strata manager are a combination of efficient systems, responsive management, the right processes, and well-trained and motivated staff. Before changing your strata manager, ask for references from those who live in a similar-sized building or read their customer reviews to get a feel for how matters are dealt with.
7. Ensure all owners are involved in the decision
If you’re looking to change your strata manager, you need to circulate the terms of the agreement out to all owners via a general meeting agenda. You will need an ordinary resolution (50 per cent of the eligible voters in favour) to approve the engagement of a new strata manager.Don’t forget, you and your fellow strata committee members will have to maintain a close working relationship with your strata manager for your contract’s duration. In this light, it’s essential to choose a strata management provider you can collaborate well with, who cares about your property and strives to deliver high-quality customer service.Having set up the very first strata scheme in Australia back in 1948, we’ve come a long way in our knowledge and experience across a variety of property types. Whether you are new to strata management or an active committee member, we have developed an extensive library of resources to assist you. Click here to download our FREE Community Living guide on committee management. For a consultation to review your current by-laws with the Kemps Peterson Legal team, click here. To find out more about the services we offer, click here for a free strata assessment.