Hiring a strata manager to assist with the day-to-day operations of a strata corporation can strengthen your community and simplify your responsibilities as a council member. A good community manager will advise on key strata aspects and serve as your representative with other service providers. Fostering a strong relationship with your manager benefits everyone, providing both your council and the owners, a direct avenue for support. Read on to learn how to work better with your strata manager and maintain a successful partnership.
Understanding the Role of a Strata Manager
A strata manager's responsibilities are defined in your community's governing documents. While they vary by stratas, a community manager is most commonly responsible for the overall operations and administration of the strata corporation in accordance with council policies, bylaws and rules, and applicable local, provincial, and federal laws and regulations.
A strata manager works closely with council to perform many vital functions and resolve any complaints or issues that come up along the way. Contrary to what some may think, managers don't make decisions for the community; they serve as consultants, make recommendations, and execute the council’s decisions as long as they are compliant with SPA (Strata Property Act).
How to Work Better Together
Serving on your strata council can be a rewarding experience, but it's a position with many responsibilities that can easily overwhelm a council. A strata manager helps with the heavy lifting, providing support, advice, and oversight in all aspects of the strata corporation, including maintenance, financial, and administrative. To ensure an effective relationship with your strata manager, consider these to-dos:
Set clear expectations. Ensure your expectations are defined in the Agency Agreement or contract and refrain from using ambiguous or confusing wording.
Be objective. Work as a team with your strata manager and consider other ideas or opinions when solving an issue.
Communicate openly. Communicate often and effectively, set meetings with your manager, ask questions, and be open to dialogue.
Ensure adequate resources are available. Allow the strata manager to have the tools and information they need to do their job well.
Be knowledgeable. Know your organization's needs, understand what's in your bylaws and rules documents, and learn the federal, provincial and local municipal laws and regulations that may impact your strata to help your manager best serve you.
It's part of a strata manager's job to know the operations and structure of your strata corporation, but making it clear to them how they can help you accomplish your goals as a council member is the key to a sustainable partnership.
How to Foster a Positive Working Relationship
Any professional relationship can, at times, go through hurdles. In fact, a recent report from the Foundation for Community Association Research found that the biggest challenge facing strata managers is balancing demands from strata councils, homeowners, and their management company while facing limitations that prevent them from properly fulfilling their role. To help foster a positive working relationship and ease the burden on you and your strata manager:
Define expectations in a contract. Make sure your community manager understands these expectations and is eager and willing to meet them within the SPA provisions.
Budget appropriate funds to sustain necessary partnerships. This includes not only your strata manager, but also other professional service providers, like the legal retainer services, insurance specialist, so it's not an issue down the road.
Communicate service gaps proactively. Don't wait to address the things you think may become a problem. Talk to your manager early on and remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
Conduct an annual review. Routinely check that your strata corporation is getting what it bargained for, including the services promised and the agreed-upon price.
Tips for Maintaining a Long-Term Partnership
Strata managers bring expertise that helps them carry out the policies set by your strata council and oversee a community's daily operations. Many are credentialed, proving that they're dedicated to serving you and your strata corporation with the highest industry standards. Having multiple responsibilities, among other factors, are significant in their overall sense of satisfaction—and may contribute to their longevity in serving your community. Here are tips for maintain a good partnership long-term:
- Show you value their expertise by enlisting them as a major contributor to solving important community issues.
- Keep their workload manageable but also ensure they have a variety of tasks assigned for each day.
- Provide opportunities to help homeowners and be involved in events that create a positive relationship.
- Acknowledge how they've helped you improve your community—whether it's the appearance, financial health, or enhanced processes.
6 Reasons Your Community Should Hire a Strata Management Company
Strata management companies can help council members fulfill their roles, complete requirements, and assist with duties. These companies administer the strata corporation’s business affairs and support maintenance and accounting efforts, and so much more. If your council is on the fence about hiring a strata management company, read our article, "6 Reasons Your Community Should Hire an Strata Management Company," to learn the benefits of having one.