Who is Responsible?
Strata property management roles and responsibilities
Many lot owners are confused about the roles performed by a strata manager, a property manager and a building manager. Who does what? Which one do you call to resolve an issue?
For more detailed information on which area of your property is considered common property, and thus the responsibility of the owners corporation, download Strata Community Australia (NSW) Who’s Responsible Guide.
More information can also be found on the NSW Department of Fair Trading website.
If the owners corporation is responsible, then who do you contact to resolve the issue? We have included below a brief summary of the key differences in the roles of a strata manager, a property manager and a building manager.
The strata manager is engaged by the scheme and is accountable to all owners as a group. The strata manager is appointed to assist with making sure that the scheme is fulfilling all its legislated obligations.
THEIR DUTIES INCLUDE:
- Liaise with the strata committee to help with the timely making of decisions
- Maintains all required records relating to the scheme, including the strata roll, registered plans and by-laws, correspondence and specialist reports
- Prepares budgets to assist with the financial viability of the scheme
- Establishes, maintains and reports on all trust account transactions, including invoice payment, levy and GST management
- Manages formal meetings of the scheme which includes the preparation of agenda motions, chairing, and the administration of notices and minutes
- Assists with arranging necessary insurances and administration of any claims
- Assists with community matters including by-law breach management, mediation, NCAT Orders & Appeals
- Provides advice in handling ‘difficult’ or complex strata issues and recommends specialist providers if appropriate
- Facilitates with council and government obligations for various types of necessary certifications, Work Health & Safety obligations
- Facilitating repairs and maintenance of common property
The strata manager does not make decisions for the scheme on how to meet their obligations. Pending scope and cost of works will determine if the strata committee makes the decision or whether it needs to go to general meeting. The strata manager is instrumental in giving the client cost-effective, practical advice to help with risk minimisation.
The property manager, usually in a real estate office, is engaged by the landlord (lot owner) and is the liaison with the renter (tenant) to collect rent and ensure that the property is maintained in good condition.
THEIR DUTIES INCLUDE:
- Setting, collecting and adjusting rent.
- Marketing the property.
- Finding and screening tenants.
- Property leases.
- Maintenance requests (besides common property maintenance).
- Regular inspections of the property.
- Move outs, bond evaluations and evictions.
- Legislation requires the property manager to advise the strata manager that they are the agent for the lot.
The landlord (lot owner) decides what their property manager’s relationship with the scheme. For example, do you want the property manager to receive all correspondence to do with the property including notices and minutes of meetings? Do you want the the property manager to pay the levies?
If there is a common property issue that relates to the lot, then the property manager provides the strata manager with all necessary information and asks when they can expect a decision to be made. Should you be renting a strata property, and a property manager is appointed, you should contact your property manager to report any repair and maintenance matters.
The building manager is engaged by a scheme to be an on-site resource for common property matters. The responsibilities and level of authority of a building manager will vary depending on the schemes needs. Their contract should clearly reflect what their duties are.
THEIR DUTIES CAN INCLUDE:
- Being the on-site contact for owners, occupiers, suppliers.
- Facilitate repairs and maintenance of common property by obtaining quotes.
- Instructing strata manager on work orders.
- Supervision and quality assessment of suppliers.
- Contract register and management.
- Provide cost-effective options for prolonging the life of the building’s assets.
- Maintaining and managing the asset register.
- Creation and management of maintenance programs.
- Capital works fund assessment management.
- Management and/or provision of security systems and items.
- Ensure building compliance and safety is maintained.
- Certifications including lifts, swimming pools, fire systems, and roof anchor points.
- Assists with the management of upholding by-laws.
- Helps to create a harmonious and positive community.
If a property manager reports a common property issue to the building manager, then their contract should define whether they have the authority to make a decision or whether the decision rests with the strata committee. It is important to note that there is no contractual relationship between a strata manager and a building manager. They are both engaged by the owners corporation to perform different duties in relation to the scheme. The building manager generally has specialist skills that are not required for the provision of strata management services.