As a member of your strata council, you're tasked with maintaining and leading the community. Serving on the council can be rewarding, but it's a significant commitment that comes with a lot of responsibility. There are many management duties that require regular oversight, like maintaining common areas, managing finances, and enforcing strata guidelines.
Some councils choose to manage these responsibilities themselves, while others opt to hire an employee or management company to help shoulder the workload. While your strata’s governing documents will guide you through the options available, here’s what you should know about the three forms of strata management.
In a self-managed community, council volunteers living within the strata oversee its operations. There is no outside assistance to help manage tasks like member disputes, contract negotiations, and budget preparation. With this form of management, the council should have the legal, financial, and administrative acumen to accomplish various duties themselves.
PROS OF SELF-MANAGED COMMUNITIES
- Fees are often lower. Because there are no outside managers to pay, savings are reflected in lower monthly strata fees for homeowners.
- Members have more control over community projects. The process of suggesting and voting on projects is typically less complex.
- Rules and bylaws are less strict. Without a formal management structure, it can be difficult to enforce strict bylaws and rules. However, this means owners may have a little more flexibility. It promotes a tight-knit community. Because homeowners rely more on each other to handle community tasks, they often work together closely and develop deeper bonds.
CONS OF SELF-MANAGED COMMUNITIES
- It requires more time and effort. When council members assume these responsibilities, it means time away from jobs, lives, and families.
- There’s often a lack of follow through. Some self-managed stratas defer maintenance and other tasks to save money- opening the door to higher maintenance costs in the long run.
- Conflict resolution is challenging. Self-management means there is no neutral party to resolve disputes or work through internal issues.
- Homes may be harder to sell. Some potential buyers aren’t interested in the time and responsibility that self-managed communities require, even if it means lower fees.
2. Strata Management Company
A community management company, or strata management company, is often contracted by the council to help fulfill duties they cannot carry out. Typically, these companies help support maintenance, accounting, and other community efforts, depending on the strata corporation’s needs. A strata management company helps councils streamline processes and provides professional services. As resident needs evolve and expand, a strata management company works with council to accommodate changing operations.
PROS OF A STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Save time, effort, and peace of mind. With a strata management company as a partner, the council can let go of stressful and time-consuming responsibilities and focus on important community needs.
They offer a professional and credentialed workforce. Property managers employed by a strata management company are often required to complete training, gain relevant experience, and hold industry required strata management license and certifications. They have connections with skilled vendors. Management companies usually have connections with trusted vendors, offering contracted discounts that extend to you.
You can leverage management technology and software. Strata management companies have exclusive resources and technology to help improve communication, accounting, maintenance requests, and record keeping.
CONS OF A STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Strata fees may be higher. In general, strata fees are higher if your community is working with a management company. However, this means the council is working with professionals who can resolve disputes, enforce policies, and maintain community areas —which may save council from costly mistakes.
The strata council isn’t as involved in the day-to-day operations. The management company handles most daily operations, which means council will need to let go of that control . Some council members may find this challenging.
Serve Your Community Better with a Strata Management Company
Working with a strata management company allows council members to share responsibilities and provide the best service possible to strata owners and residents.