Why is your strata manager difficult to deal with?
You trust your strata manager to protect the value of your investment. Whether you’re an investor or an owner-occupier, you want to be certain that your strata manager is keeping your property well maintained and safe.
Too often, however, we hear of strata managers that are difficult to get hold of, unresponsive, or ineffective. Damaged items aren’t fixed promptly, safety hazards go unaddressed, and no one responds to phone calls or emails, and yet you’re still paying your strata manager every month like clockwork.If you’re having a negative experience with your strata manager, it’s most likely due to one of two possible reasons: either your strata manager isn’t doing a good job or your expectations aren’t realistic.
Are your expectations realistic?
The strata manager’s responsibilities reflect the direction given to them by the owners’ corporation. Clear, consistent, and regular communication is absolutely essential to a good relationship with your strata manager and helps them do their job.
A strata manager’s role can include:
- communicating with owners, tenants, and third parties about building management
- maintaining common property
- managing insurance
- preparing budgets and collecting levies
- enforcing rules and mediating disputes.
This role can become complex in larger developments, especially if there are more facilities such as pools, gyms, commercial areas, etc.
To make sure your expectations are realistic, you should discuss them with your strata manager upfront. A good strata manager will tell you what can be achieved within your budget and will be happy to take your phone calls (and call you back when you leave messages).
Is your strata manager just doing a bad job?
There are a few ways you can tell your strata manager isn’t doing their best work for you. Not returning phone calls and emails is a red flag. Here are some others:
- Not collecting levies promptly. When too many people are in arrears, it can affect cash flow and, therefore, your scheme’s ability to undertake capital works or even repairs. It’s the strata manager’s responsibility to collect levies promptly before debts get out of hand.
- Not arranging repairs quickly. If something breaks or is damaged on common property, it’s the strata manager’s responsibility to get it fixed. If you notice maintenance items slipping, it’s a sign the strata manager isn’t doing their job.
- Not being available in emergencies. Your strata manager should have effective emergency handling processes and health and safety policies in place. If not, you should consider switching to a strata manager that is correctly certified and compliant.
- Not scheduling meetings. Your strata manager should schedule regular body corporate meetings including the annual general meeting (AGM). If this isn’t happening, it’s a sure sign they’ve checked out.
- Constantly replacing personnel. If you have a new strata manager every three months, it’s another sign your scheme isn’t a high priority for your strata management company and it’s time to switch.
- Not being transparent with finances. You pay your strata manager to manage your scheme’s finances. If you can’t get a straight answer out of them, or they’re not willing to provide you with statements and information, then they could be falling down on the job.
A bad strata manager can damage the value of your investment. A good one can increase the value. As an owner, you need to know the difference between a good and a bad strata manager. If you’re stuck with a bad one, switching is easier than you think. Contact PICA Group today to find out how.