What do owners expect from their strata manager?
It takes a lot of resources to run a strata scheme. In between liaising with the executive committee and managing the scheme finances, there’s coordinating maintenance repairs and dealing with complaints about noisy neighbours. A strata manager is required to wear many different “hats” for many different purposes, and keeping everyone happy is no easy feat.
As Sydney’s Northern Beaches most experienced painters, we’ve worked with many strata managers and owners corporations over the past 20 years, and have come to understand what the important qualities of a good strata manager are. Take a look at our list of what it takes to keep owners and residents happy; and how to maintain your sanity as a strata manager:
Every owner and every resident within a strata scheme will have a slightly different expectation of what defines “good strata management”. In fact, some will have a very strong view of the roles and responsibilities of their strata manager, whilst others won’t even be sure of what a strata manager does! As body corporate painters, we understand the key to keeping such a broad range of perceptions happy is to actively set up their expectations from the start.
To ensure all owners and residents understand your role as a strata manager, it’s a good idea to provide a written explanation of what you actually do. If this is not already clear in your strata scheme, perhaps a one off bulk email to all owners and residents would be a good start. In your email, clearly list what your responsibilities are under the fee arrangement. Is it managing body corporate painters? Or is that the building manager’s job? Whilst this may have been buried in the initial strata management contract, many owners/residents will not take the time to read through all this information. This is why it’s important to call this information out on its own. Each time there is a new owner/resident, be sure to provide them with this information also.
Have a contact list
Depending on how the strata agreement is structured, you might be receiving inquiries for jobs which aren’t actually your responsibility. Of course you will be more than happy to pass on the right contact, however you could actually remove this time by ensuring owners and residents knew who to contact from the start.
Again, a short email with a list of contacts will ensure your time in the office is better spent. Provide owners with the phone number and email addresses of contacts they can go to directly. These could be internal or external providers, but it means you don’t spend your day redirecting inquiries. For example, as body corporate painters we are often happy for members of the executive committee to contact our foreman directly.
There are many guides available online from reputable sources which can assist owners and residents with questions they might have about their strata scheme. As body corporate painters in the Northern Beaches, we recommend finding a few of these guides and making them available to all owners and residents from the start.
These guides will provide information to people who might be interrupting your day, saving you hours of time fielding questions. Some good resources include a free online executive committee training session run by the Strata Community Australia, a guide to Strata Living, by the NSW Government department of Fair Trading and a guide to Selecting and Working with your Strata Manager, by the Owners Corporation Network.
Manage your workload
Whilst you want to be seen as carrying your load around the office, taking on more and more strata schemes can leave you spread too thin which means nothing actually gets resolved. If you need help to get through a particularly busy time, tell someone who can do something about it. Perhaps a new junior could relieve some of your more arbitrary tasks; or is someone available to assist on a large scheme? Your owners will appreciate the extra attention you can give them and you might actually be able to get things done! Being experienced body corporate painters, we have seen the difference a focused strata manager can make to ensuring a scheme is properly managed and maintaining happy residents.