There’s nothing more frustrating for homeowners and tenants than being passed from pillar to post when seeking a response to a strata query.
Smarter Communities Executive General Manager-Customer Management, Richard Eastwood, understands better than most how confusion can occur when it comes to clarifying the hierarchy of staff employed in strata management.
Eastwood says there is a common misconception that a strata community manager (or body corporate manager) is the same as a property manager. These are two different roles.
Simply put, Eastwood says the key difference between these two roles is that the strata community manager is responsible for the administration of the owners corporation (or scheme) and is an expert in the day-to-day management of an entire building.
A property manager is typically responsible for a particular unit and acts as the interface between an owner investor and their tenant.
Strata Community Manager responsibilities
The strata community manager must have a clear understanding of applicable state legislation to ensure they are able to advise the owners corporation of its responsibilities and obligations.
They must also be familiar with meeting procedures in order to prepare proposed budgets for approval by members at the annual general meeting.
Common activities include:
- Respond to inquiries from owners or occupiers
- Pay invoices
- Coordinate quotes for repairs and maintenance and instruct contractors
- Advise committees on matters of procedure and policy
- Prepare detailed budgets and adequate levies to ensure the owners corporation is properly funded
- Arrange strata insurance and manage claims made on this policy
A strata community manager also assists in the resolution of disputes between members by utilising their mediation and negotiation skills to prevent costly and lengthy legal intervention.
Property Manager responsibilities
A property manager looks after individual properties on behalf of owner investors. Eastwood says it is their responsibility to collect rent, act as a liaison between owner and tenant, and conduct property checks to ensure the property remains in good condition.
In this regard the property manager has a one-to-one relationship with the owner and the tenant.
Why are both roles required?
Eastwood affirms the strata manager acts in the common interest as determined by the committee or owners corporation members.
But there may be a clash when the interests of the parties diverge, he says.
“An example would be if a property manager advances the interests of a single owner which may conflict with the desire of the majority. Or if an individual owner did not want work undertaken but the majority does want it carried out. A conflict arises.
“In order to avoid such conflicts arising, it is preferable a property manager does that role and not act as a strata community manager, and vice versa,” he says.