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Top 10 Strata Myths

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Article by Bryan Phillips from Tideways Property Management 

1. Pets are banned in shared buildings

In 2020, Consumer Affairs Victoria changed the law to allow owners to keep pets in shared buildings within reasonable guidelines. A landlord can no longer refuse a tenant’s request for a pet, except where there may be an inherent danger or nuisance concern. However, tenants need to complete a Pet request form; while the rules of an Owners’ Corporation (OC – the body governing residential and commercial buildings) contain conditions for keeping animals, including in common areas.

2. Strata managers make the decisions  

Owners appoint strata or OC managers to take their decisions, ensure rules are adhered to, carry out the works scope and conduct meetings. Managers are paid a fee to act in the owners’ interest and importantly, have no stake or ownership in the building.  

3. We don’t need a strata manager

While smaller OCs may choose to self-manage, this means delegating the work to unit owners and tending to unfamiliar challenges when an owner sells, or complex problems arise.

Beyond the day to day, OC managers navigate expected and unexpected issues that require knowledge of the Owners’ Corporation Act around compliance, governance, project management and dispute resolution.

4. There is nothing we can do about Airbnb in our building

In 2019, reforms were introduced to halt abuse by short-term guests in apartment buildings who host noisy, dangerous and nuisance parties.

OCs and residents can now legally act against offending owners and guests who are liable for any compensation, fines for breaches or damage to the building’s common property.

5. My levies go to my strata manager

Strata levies raised by the manager are conducted on behalf of the property committee and owners. They typically cover administration (day-to-day); maintenance (repairs and capital improvements); and special (emergency or unexpected works). The appointed manager manages funds deposited into the property’s OC bank account which can be monitored by owners 24/7 via a portal.

6. The committee can do what it wants

OC committees are bound by the Owners Corporation Act to carry out only day-to-day decisions on behalf of the owners. They cannot make decisions that require a unanimous or special resolution.

Typically, they make decisions on repairs and maintenance, trades and contractors, insurance renewals, reporting to other committee members and the OC at Annual General Meetings.

7. I can opt-out of the OC

While owners can determine how active they are within the OC, they cannot exclude themselves from the OC or be excused from paying fees. The Plan of Subdivision determines the fee amount, based on the unit size within the development or property and owners pay their proportioned fee annually. Being involved in the OC is a great way to get to know people and to share in decisions affecting the property.

8. Strata insurance is all I need

Strata policies only provide general insurance for the building, common property and common contents, plus liability cover for people injured on common property. Owners and residents must ensure they have their own insurance for personal content and public liability.

An Investor who rents property to a tenant should take out landlord insurance to cover the property, its fixtures and fittings; and loss of rent.

9. I don’t need a maintenance fund

Strata properties, just like stand-a-lone homes, need to be maintained to work and look their best. Building maintenance not only prevents expensive and unnecessary repairs, but also upholds the long-term value of the property.

10. My strata fees are much higher than my friend’s

Facilities like ducted air-con, swimming pools, gyms, spas, saunas, in-house cinema rooms all come at a cost, as do services like gardeners, cleaners, concierge, security and building management. These amenities need to be repaired and maintained for optimal enjoyment.

Comparing building fees is like comparing apples and oranges. Different variables such the number of lifts, car stackers, levels and location mean different costs and result in different fees.

 

Tideways is a privately-owned Owners Corporation Management company (OCM) with 20+ years of local industry experience. The company focuses on meeting the strata plan needs of developers and owners, striking the delicate balance between managing strategies and services at every stage.
 

 

 

 

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