COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our life and unfortunately its likely to linger around for the immediate future. Smarter Communities is proud to have led prompt and decisive action to best protect our staff and communities during the onset of COVID. Our teams have firmly proven that even a pandemic cannot dampen our drive to provide the best service to our customers and uphold our corporate values of honesty, quality, curiosity and collaboration.
As always, our priority is to ensure communities we manage continue to run smoothly, especially during turbulent times. Being a national company, we are well resourced and well positioned to guide strata committees through any current and future community issues.
For existing customers, don’t hesitate to contact your Community Manager for assistance or if you are looking to experience better, seamless strata management, click here to Request a Quote or call 1800 519 642 to see how we can help address your community needs.
An essential and unique part of living in strata is the necessity to follow set rules to ensure all residents can enjoy their home and live safely and harmoniously together.
By-laws are the registered rules and regulations adopted by the Owners Corporation that all owners and occupiers living within a strata scheme legally must follow.
Some by-laws are set out in legislation, other by-laws are adopted by the Owners Corporation.
Each strata scheme can decide and enforce its own by-laws to suit the way its owners want to live. It’s important to understand your responsibilities and obligations.
STM can advise your Owners Corporation how by-laws can be changed, or new ones created, to meet the needs of all owners.
Pets, parking, noise, renovations, behaviour of residents, use of common property, and smoking are all common by-laws found in strata schemes.
By-laws can vary significantly from scheme to scheme. It’s important you know and understand which by-laws apply to your scheme and you must abide by these by-laws.
Some by-laws, such as pets and renovations, may require permission from the Strata Committee or Owners Corporation.
BEFORE you do anything, check the by-laws, follow procedure and seek permissions.
These rules are in place to protect all residents and to promote a harmonious environment and community.
The administration and management of the strata scheme may be performed on behalf of all lot owners by a Strata Committee.
The Strata Committee is a group of owners elected at each Annual General Meeting who can make many of the day-to-day decisions about running the scheme on behalf of the Owners Corporation including the control, maintenance and repair of common property.
The Committee has the responsibility of enforcing by-laws (rules), the ability to make new ones, and must budget how much money is required to maintain your building now and into the future.
Election of the Strata Committee
The Strata Committee can have up to nine members. You can be elected to the Committee if you are:
A Strata Committee meeting is held straight after the Annual General Meeting to decide who is to hold the office bearer positions of Chair (Chairperson), Secretary, Treasurer and Ordinary Committee Members.
Remember, it is you, the owner, who votes for the Strata Committee.
Once levies have been collected from all owners, they are typically divided into two funds; an Administration fund and a Capital Works fund.
The Administration fund is used for regular payments including council expenses, insurance, management fees and payments to service contractors, cleaning, general maintenance and utilities such as power
The Capital Works fund is essentially a savings account for future major expenses as the building ages. This includes painting, tiling, plumbing, carpet and plant and equipment, or the purchase of new Owners Corporation assets.
It is a compulsory requirement of state legislation to prepare a Capital Works fund budget forecast. Having a healthy Capital Works fund reduces the need to raise a ‘special levy’ to pay for unexpected costs. It makes good management and smart financial sense.
Some Owners Corporations choose to engage the services of a Building Manager to oversee the onsite maintenance of the building. They often live or have an office onsite.
The Building Manager is responsible for maintaining the building, common property and shared services such as heating, air conditioning, ventilation, waste disposal, lifts, garages and utilities.
The Building Manager also oversees or undertakes onsite works and arranges for any permissions or access requirements for contractors.
Every Owners Corporation is legally required to manage and maintain shared property and services. This includes ensuring the strata scheme is compliant with strata law and regulations.
This takes time, skill and an understanding of the complex legislation. That’s why most Owners Corporations choose to engage the services of a professional strata manager. Like STM.
When contracted to a strata scheme by the Owners Corporation, STM is delegated the responsibility of managing the day-to-day affairs of the scheme on behalf of the Committee.
Tasks will vary according to the management agreement, but broadly cover:
There is so much more to managing your scheme, including tasks we perform behind the scenes, but you will experience the difference STM professional management makes.
As a lot owner you must financially contribute towards the running costs associated with your building and common property.
These contributions are called levies and they are payable to your strata scheme.
Levy notices are commonly distributed to each owner four times a year to meet the financial obligations of the Owners Corporation.
As part of STM’s management contract, we will issue levy notices to owners on behalf of the Owners Corporation.
It is important to pay your levies on time, every time. Penalty fees can be applicable for late payments. It is your scheme who receives these funds.
Ultimately, it is you, the owner.
Levies, as part of the budget, are voted on and approved by the Owners Corporation at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year.
Utilising its wealth of strata experience STM prepares detailed budgets for the Committee to present to owners at the AGM. These have been carefully forecasted to assist your Committee make better, more informed financial decisions to future-proof your scheme.
REMEMBER: it is the owners who vote on and approve budgets. This determines the levies they need to pay each year to maintain their building.
Owners Corporation is the name given to represent all lot owners within a strata scheme.
When you purchase an apartment, or lot, you automatically become part of the Owners Corporation for your building.
The Owners Corporation is responsible for the overall management of the strata scheme. This includes financial management, arranging insurance, conforming to strata law and by-laws, record keeping, ongoing maintenance and managing repairs of common property.
As a lot owner, and part of the Owners Corporation, you also share the ownership and responsibilities of common property with other owners in the scheme.
The Owners Corporation should hold regular meetings to discuss the scheme’s management and decide on a course of action to manage tasks required.
To enable quicker and more precise decision making in your strata scheme, every year you can nominate yourself, or vote for candidates, to form the Strata Committee at the Annual General Meeting, who will in turn represent all owners.
It is in your best interest to attend these meetings, especially the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
You have a right to participate in the decision making of your scheme and influence how your community functions.