From scheduling homeowner events to managing the budget, there are many community items that council members must constantly juggle. Leading a strata corporation is a lot of work and can quickly become an all-consuming job. That’s why establishing committees to help share and divide the workload is so important. With support from various committees, council members can focus on fulfilling their duties more efficiently and effectively. Read on to learn the top eight committees that would best serve any Strata Council.
Considerations for Forming a Committee
Each community is different, and it’s important to prioritize creating the committees that would benefit your unique strata. Even though it’s necessary to gather input from homeowners, it’s ultimately the council’s responsibility to set up the committees they see most appropriate. Basic factors to consider when forming a committee are:
- What type of committee best benefits the community?
- What are the goals for the committee?
- How will the committee function to meet those goals?
- How often and by what methods will the committee report to the council?
- What will the approval process be to fund a committee?
Top 8 Committees for Any Strata Corporation
While your council and homeowners have first-hand knowledge of the committees that would best serve your community, there are several committees that any community can adopt to improve council functionality. Here are the top eight.
1. ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
A crucial component of maintaining a community’s aesthetics and home values is a well-run architectural review committee. While most stratas have a system in place to review and approve home alteration requests from strata owners, very few are fulfilling their duties in an easy way. The architectural review committee, or ARC, is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the strata’s bylaws related to architectural guidelines for home improvement alterations.
2. WELCOME COMMITTEE
The welcome committee is in charge of meeting and greeting each new homeowner. Acting as the first impression to new homeowners, committee members welcome residents with a friendly introduction to the community. This might include introduction to anything from a high-level overview of the bylaws and rules to the welcome package prepared by the management company filled with important information about the strata corporation,
3. SOCIAL COMMITTEE
This committee takes on creating enthusiasm and maintaining interest in the managed community lifestyle. In doing so, the social committee is tasked with everything involved in planning and hosting social events, such as garage sales, block parties, or a recipe exchange. With the amount of organization and structure needed for each event, committee members must clearly understand their goals, the funds available for events, and how they’re expected to account for funds.
4. LANDSCAPE COMMITTEE
Part of the appeal of living in a managed community is the clean and attractive aesthetic but maintaining a property landscape is a group effort. The role of the landscape committee is to ensure the community’s grounds are cared for and tended to regularly. Responsibilities may include upkeep of flower beds, lawns, and trees or finding a landscaping vendor and maintaining that relationship in accordance with the strata’s governing documents.
5. HOMEOWNER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
While most residents take pride in their homes and will do anything to protect them, many homeowners struggle to see the bigger picture of living in an strata property. This committee changes that by educating homeowners on the benefits of living in a strata community and the importance of being engaged. This group may hold orientations for new residents to help them understand community living or host quarterly informational meetings for existing homeowners to interact with council members.
6. NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
A neighbourhood watch program promotes safety and improves the quality of life for the community. This team helps keeping the community secure by doing things like forming a nighttime patrol group or installing lights in dark parking areas. Maintaining a strong partnership with the local police department and sharing crime prevention and emergency response information with residents are also to-dos for a neighbourhood watch team.
7. BUDGET COMMITTEE
The budget committee should be comprised of homeowners but led by the council treasurer and receive input from the council president, strata manager, and the leader of the finance committee. Committee members are committed to the budget with a business plan in place that addresses both immediate and long-term needs and wants. The committee should have a timeline for key action items, such as establishing and communicating dues, budget approvals, notifications, and ratifications.
8. CONTRACT REVIEW COMMITTEE
Vendor contracts are often large and complex. The contract review committee reviews vendor contracts to make sure the strata corporation is getting what it wants and is charged appropriately for the services rendered. Other tasks may include conducting annual performance reviews with vendors.
10 Steps to a Well-Established Committee
Committees consist of homeowners who volunteer their time and efforts to consider, investigate, and act on strata-related tasks that require group oversight. While some governing documents specifically name mandatory committees, strata council usually has the power to adopt additional committees they deem appropriate. Read our article, “Built for Success: 10 Steps to a Well-Established Committee,” for guidance on creating a successful committee.