Living in a strata complex has many perks, but a lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly, from admin and finance to maintenance and resolving social issues.

This is where a strata manager comes in. The difference between a good and bad strata manager can be detrimental to a peaceful and coexisting strata community.

If you are looking to buy within a strata complex or need to find a new strata manager, what exactly should you look for when choosing the right strata manager?

1. They should be licensed or suitably qualified
Make sure to check the paperwork. New strata legislation means all strata managers need to obtain mandated qualifications within the next four years. Until then, using a licensed real estate agent as your strata manager is the best way to ensure the person handling the running of the scheme is qualified to do so.

To ensure the best possible service use a licensed REIWA agent as they are obliged to act under the rules of the Real Estate Agents Code of Conduct. A licensed real estate agency must also follow the requirements from the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

Check that the agent also has an Annual Audited Trust Account to ensure your levies are being handled appropriately.

Considering large amounts of money from multiple people are gathered in a strata complex, it is one of the easiest trust accounts to be misappropriated. A licensed real estate agent is required to have trust accounts audited each year at the cost of the agent.

2. Good reviews
Online reviews are an authentic way of founding out the reputation of an agent or an agency. How have they been rated against other strata managers? Try and find other strata complexes they manage or have managed in the past and see the comments.

Word of mouth is a great way to find a good strata manager. If you have friends or family that live in a different strata complex, ask them what their strata manager is like and see if they recommend them.

3. Years of experience
When choosing a strata manager, their experience is something that should be considered. Find out how many years they have been in the industry and specifically managing strata complexes.

Managing a strata complex is exactly that, complex and rarely two issues are ever the same. This is why choosing a strata manager who can demonstrate their experience and is confident is valuable.

Some strata managers may only have experience with big apartment buildings or some with smaller blocks with less than 10 units. This should also play a part in your decision.

4. Communication skills
Like a property manager, a strata manager should be the first point of contact between owners and residents in a strata complex. With this comes people management and at the core of that is communication.

Like any good real estate agent, your strata manager should be approachable, transparent, and have awareness when it comes to communicating effectively. Strata managers are in constant contact with all stakeholders in a building, which means exceptional business communication skills are a must.

A good strata manager should be able to confidently organise and lead meetings, distilling an open line of communication between them and their owners.

By promoting open and honest communication, your strata manager is limiting any risk of dispute arising in your strata community, which takes us to the next point.

5. Dispute resolution skills
A crucial role that comes with being a strata manager is ensuring there is harmony amongst the owners and residents within the strata complex. Being able to negotiate is a highly valuable skill that all strata managers must have.

When conflicts arise, your strata manager will ensure the community’s best interests are a priority. They have systems in place and sound knowledge to be able to listen to everyone’s concerns while also making the right decisions.

6. Good understanding of legislation
The best strata management companies invest in regular training to keep up with the latest legislation and management practices. As a REIWA member, this training is timely and qualified.

Your strata manager must have the ability to guide and navigate a strata complex through the newly amended Strata Titles Act, the biggest piece of WA legislation.

7. Accountability
After concerns have been communicated, an accountable strata manager will quickly respond and work on resolving issues as soon as possible.

They are reliable and able to tackle administrative duties such as repairs and maintenance, insurance, and ensuring the complex or building meets the requirements of legislation are handled efficiently.

You should rightly expect your strata manager to work hard in making sure all services are done with the highest standard.

 

Originally published on REIWA.com.au