Your Strata Manager is slow to get back to you. They take forever to resolve problems. Meeting notices and minutes are always late.
Sound familiar? Your Strata Manager may not be doing a very good job. Harsh? Perhaps, but sadly, this is all too often true.
Does it matter? It definitely does. You have more important things to do than chase your Strata Manager for actions and answers. And, because your apartment is often your biggest asset, you need a Strata Manager who’ll work hard to help safeguard your investment.
That means not only will they distribute clear, timely levy notices and minutes and promptly return your calls, they’ll also be proactive about building maintenance and understand the nuances of your Strata Plan, and what it needs to run smoothly.
Why would you change Strata Managers?
Wollongong Strata’s managing director, Tanya Edwards, says the most common reasons behind a decision to change Strata Management companies, are service and communication.
“It’s almost never about cost,” Tanya says.
“To save money won’t motivate an Owners Corporation to change Strata Managers, but to get better service and good communication will.
“Not to mention the fact that the existing Strata Management company will often just match your new rates, if they think that’s why you’re leaving.”
According to Tanya, the biggest bugbears for owners is when they can’t get their actual Strata Manager on the phone; communication with owners is slow and sporadic; Capital Works funds are too low and the building itself looks uncared for.
“These are BIG issues. If your building isn’t maintained properly, it’s less attractive to buyers and your apartment isn’t worth as much when it comes time to sell,”
“Likewise if you don’t have enough cash in your Capital Works fund to look after the building properly – it really puts buyers off.”
“For example, I just took over a Strata Plan and there was only $21,000 in the Admin Fund for the year, but the annual insurance premium alone was $39,000!”
Is it hard to change Strata Management companies?
While it’s not difficult to change Strata Managers, you do need to follow a framework to ensure the process is simple and painless. Do this and it’ll be worth your effort in the end.
You need to decide early on if it’s your Strata Manager you’re unhappy with, or if the Strata Management company itself isn’t up to scratch.
Tanya says if you decide to stay where you are, you need to have an honest conversation with your Strata Manager about what’s not working and set clear expectations around turn around times and other issues.
“Now is not the time to be polite. Owner’s are paying for professional service and that’s exactly what they should get.”
How to change your Strata Management
1. Agree to appoint a new Strata Management company
If you feel like it’s best to start fresh with a new Strata Management company, the next step is to get the Strata Committee (or Executive Committee in QLD) to agree – so at this point call a Strata Committee meeting and put your case forward.
2. Investigate options
Next, you need to look at alternate Strata Management companies. You can request proposals from two or three companies or approach a particular Strata Manager.
A good Strata Manager will be proactive when you reach out to them and will offer to help the Strata Committee navigate next steps.
“I’ll meet with the strata committee, look at the existing management agreement and advise when to talk to the owners corporation (or body corporate in QLD)- you don’t want to leave it to the last minute or you risk not having enough time to action the change,” Tanya says.
3. Present options to Owners Corporation
Tanya says she will put a proposal together and, depending on timing, help table the proposal at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).
The owners vote at the meeting on the motion to change managers and then the hard part is done.
4. Sign the paperwork
Sign on with your new Strata Management and look forward to better days ahead for your Strata Plan!
Give your new Strata Manager minutes from the meeting and they’ll step in and help ensure a smooth transition.
Your new Strata Management company will contact the outgoing company to arrange the collection of your books and records.
6. Get the Strata Management service you deserve
SO. IS IT HARD TO CHANGE STRATA MANAGERS?
No. It just needs a little bit of effort and, if you choose the right Strata Management company, they’ll help you with the ins and outs. Remember, good Strata Management is every owner’s right. For more about changing Strata Managers look at the Department of Fair Trading’s Strata Living Guide
TIP – Culture often comes from the top. Poor training, oversight or leadership from company management may contribute to your Strata Manager’s poor performance!
Are you ready to make a change? For exceptional Strata Management in Wollongong and the Illawarra, contact Wollongong Strata on 02 4214 0444 or visit wollongong-strata.com.au