The difference between a strata manager, a property manager and a building manager

It can be overwhelming when you buy your first apartment and the bills start pouring in from left, right and centre.

You notice terms like ‘strata management’, ‘building management’ and ‘property management’ and although they may seem similar, there’s a significant difference. Here’s what you should know:

Strata manager (or body corporate manager)

If you’re living in a strata scheme, the owners corporation (or body corporate) may employ a licensed strata manager (or body corporate manager) to assist in the day-to-day management of the building. It is their responsibility to manage matters relating to common property. Common property is recognised as the areas of the building that are shared amongst the owners. This can include pool facilities, the foyer, hallways and communal gardens. They are also employed for building maintenance and financial administration.

A strata manager’s role includes but is not limited to:

  • Running committee meetings
  • Coordinating repairs and maintenance
  • Arranging invoice payments
  • Collecting strata levies
  • Debt collection
  • Record keeping
  • Managing insurance
  • Ensuring legislation compliance
  • Peacekeeping

Property manager

Property managers often work in real estate agencies. They oversee the management and maintenance of a single lot and are employed on behalf of the owner, and therefore not the owners corporation like a strata manager.

This means part of their role is to find suitable tenants for owners and to manage leasing contracts between the two parties. Some of their duties include collecting rent and conducting property checks to ensure the property remains in good condition. They must inspect and determine whether there is adequate fire and safety measures in keeping with legislation. For example, checking that the smoke alarms work.

Property managers are often the first point of contact in the event of an emergency and can offer peace of mind to owners. Additionally, they can help ensure no boundaries are crossed between the owner and tenant. Some owners may request that their personal details are kept confidential, such as, name and contact information.

Building manager

A building manager is often referred to as a caretaker or resident manager and can be appointed by the developer, strata manager or owners corporation. Their role involves assisting the owners corporation to manage common property and perform duties including:

  • Concierge
  • Security
  • Cleaning
  • Maintenance and repairs of common property

A building manager also acts as the primary contact for contractors working on site. Unlike a strata manager, a building manager does not have the power to enforce by-laws and is not licensed to carry out certain duties performed by a strata manager.

Want to know more about strata management? Here’s an example of a question we received on Strata FAQ:

Question (NSW): What is the benefit of having a professional strata manager, rather than self-managing the owners corporation?

Answer: The legislation governing owners corporations and the compliance requirements are quite complex. Self-managed owners corporations are expected to perform the role of a property manager, with the expertise of a lawyer, valuer, insurance broker and accountant on top.

In addition, owners corporations are well advised to make short and long term plans for ongoing, periodic, routine and urgent maintenance management. For owners who may have other jobs, getting to grips with all this can be daunting. That’s why many owners corporations are moving away from self management and turning to professional strata managers to assist with finances, insurance, administration, meetings and maintenance functions. Occasionally they are appointed to solve intractable problems, including those involving relationship breakdowns between lot owners.

If we haven’t answered your questions, you can submit a new one on www.stratafaq.com.au or for more information on committee management you can download a free guide here.