The short answer is, yes you may manage your own strata. But any experienced Strata Manager will always recommend that a group be professionally managed. This recommendation will not necessarily come from a place that is seeking your business, but more so from knowing what skills and knowledge are required to ensure that the collective of owners is remaining compliant with the relevant legislation.
As a Body Corporate you may choose to manage your own strata to save on management fee costs, which is a feasible option in rare instances. However, the burden of running the matters of the Strata Corporation would then fall to the owners. The elected representatives will need to ensure that they can afford the time and resources which go into running a successful Strata Corporation.
So what is involved if you do choose to manage your own strata?
It is a lot to ask of one or a couple of owners to take on the burden of calling Annual General Meetings, raising and holding other owners’ money in trust and preparing records for potential purchasers every time unit is put on the market. There is also the matter of following up non-payment of levies. Most people would not relish the thought of following up their next-door neighbour for unpaid debts to the group.
These are only a few examples of the many things that the Owners are electing to be responsible for themselves by not engaging the services of a professional Strata Manager.
There is also a lot of benefits that can be derived from the experience of a seasoned Strata Manager. Unsure of what kinds of insurance policy will adequately cover the legislative needs of a Strata Corporation? Your Strata Manager can assist. Not sure if you require the other owners’ approval to install that garden shed or pergola? A quick call to your Strata Manager will get you a clear answer.
Most professional Strata Managers will also have extensive experience in conflict resolution, which while you may think is not necessary for your group, it can only take one decision that another owner does not look upon favourably, or an owner selling their unit to another person who may disagree with the other owners on an important decision. At these times, mediation is critical to the preservation of the complex and the continuing harmony between the owners.
A good thing to remember is, it is much easier to have a professional in place managing your affairs before it becomes necessary, to ensure that the rules and regulations of your Strata are in place and being upheld.
Some groups are happy to self-manage and have people in their group who have the right skill set to help the group but remember it’s not all about the current owners – if a new owner purchases a unit during the year and has not come with the same respect or understanding of Strata Titles like the one who is departing, unforeseen issues may manifest and it can become difficult to control the situation.
If you do decide that self-managing is not for your group, make sure you seek out a Strata Community Australia (SCA) accredited member and speak directly to the manager with whom you will need to work with to ensure that you are getting the right fit for your group.
If you are within a self-managing Strata and wish to remain so, please feel free to reach out to the team at Stratarama for support and advice if required.