Updated on January 22nd, 2019
The concept of community living reflects very well through a strata scheme that comprises of one or many buildings having several dwelling units.
The owners buy the units better known as lots and together with their share of common property on the premises become responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the total property.
Unlike living in a freestanding house, living in strata schemes is quite different because the attitude and activities of individuals can affect others.
You have to be mentally prepared to live in the community with the welfare of the community in mind and should have a clear understanding of your obligations and responsibilities.
Although the community style environment creates positive vibes for becoming part of a larger community, you must be ready to compromise on some of your personal preferences of living for the sake of the community.
There would be likely restrictions on some activities. You might not be able to keep pets, play loud music and not be able to park your car anywhere except for the designated place. How much renovation you can undertake depends on the decision of the community.
The most interesting part of owning a lot in a strata scheme is that while you enjoy the ownership of the common areas used by others, the ownership of the floor and roof lies with the body corporate and not the lot owner.
1. The need for body corporate services
Although you might own a single unit in a strata scheme, you are responsible for maintaining the entire property including the common spaces, as you enjoy a share of it too.
Even the legal compliance related to the property becomes your responsibility together with other owners who are community members. To manage the entire property, the owners form a body corporate, which is a committee that includes every owner by default.
Therefore, the owners automatically become decision makers for the property and have to share the responsibility of managing and maintaining the property to keep it in good shape.
Lot owners have to pay fees to maintain the property and abide by the by-laws of the strata scheme. Since maintenance of the property is a complex and specialised task, owners usually engage professional companies like Stratacare Australia body corporate services to help them.
2. Specialists can do well in property management
Maintenance of property does not only relate to the physical aspects, but there is a need for running an administrative service to look after the other aspects of financial and legal compliances too.
Although owners are responsible for everything, they neither are experts nor can afford the time to deliver the administrative services required for the purpose. Therefore, entrusting specialists with a proven track record of services in a body corporate makes good sense.
As you keep reading this article, you will come to know more about what the right approach to would be managing strata property.
3. Maintenance of Strata property
If you look at the various aspects of managing strata property, you would realise that managing a house on your own is perhaps much easy.
Since numerous legalities govern the maintenance of strata property, to manage the property well, one must have proper knowledge and experience about building rules, municipal rules and what constitutes safe living.
This is where the expertise of corporate body services comes into play. Even if you take utmost care of your lot, you must be equally watchful about all other areas of the property.
Usually, the common areas do not receive the attention it deserves unless looked after by a property manager.
4. What is a body corporate?
Strata council or body corporate is a body of owners created for maintaining the property and responsible for the upkeep of the property to retain its value and if possible add more value to it.
When the strata council appoints a company for availing body corporate services, it becomes their responsibility to carry out the maintenance to the satisfaction of the owners.
The annual general meeting of the body takes place once in a year, and there are other committee meetings convened from time to time for taking decisions.
5. Responsibilities of the body corporate
Managing the strata scheme is the responsibility of the body corporate that has to look after financial management and record keeping.
Providing proper insurance coverage for the property and keeping it up to date as well as undertaking repairs and maintenance of the common property becomes their responsibility.
Engaging contractors and other service providers according to the maintenance needs and adhering to the by-laws are mandatory for a body corporate.
6. The property manager is different from Strata manager
Property managers and Strata managers have almost identical roles to play which is perhaps the reason that we use the terms interchangeably.
However, the scope of Strata managers extends much beyond the scope of property managers who have to manage an individual owner’s property only.
Strata managers have to look after the entire property for the common areas and spaces while the responsibility for maintenance of the owners’ lots rests with the owners.
Strata managers serve the entire community and not individual owners and are answerable to the body corporate that appoints them.
7. Legal compliance comes at the top
The body corporate can directly appoint Strata managers or can hire the services of body corporate companies that provide the staff including the Strata manager necessary for discharging their responsibilities.
The needs for legal compliance are much more for body corporate while the need for maintenance and upkeep of property come second.
Since complex legalities are involved, engaging professionals with experience in property management becomes almost imperative.
The professional managers also arrange for the insurance of the property that ensures the protection of the investment made by the owners.
The Strata managers can impose a financial penalty on lot owners in case of faulty property maintenance of their property that might have caused any injuries.
By availing body corporate services, you automatically avail property management services too but never make the mistake of seeking body corporate services from property management companies.