A Strata manager is relied upon by others to ensure that their property is being carefully managed at all times. If you are unhappy with your current strata manager due to ill communication or constant unresolved issues, it may be a time to look at other options.
There are many Strata properties out there that come fully packaged with a Strata manager that the previous owners or developers have used, which means that there is very little say in the person or company in charge of their property management.
It’s not easy for owners or developers to entrust their property to a manager that they do not know, and this is understandable given the size of the investment made in a property. It’s important to be aware of who previously managed the property and who manages it now, as well as how they handle all queries relating to issues with the property.
Owners may have to work together at some point and decide that there must be a change ahead if they are not happy with the Strata management they are inheriting, which means that the hunt for a new Strata manager is on.
Strata Management is as much as managing people as managing property. If a Strata manager is not communicative, slow to action their words and generally difficult to communicate with, then people aren’t going to trust them.
Most people don’t know what to look for in a new Strata manager. If you are in a position where you are looking for a new Strata manager, then take some time to read this guide of 5 things to ask your strata manager.
1. Who Will Look After Your Property?
Your working relationship with your strata manager, is a relationship that will matter the most to you, as it the them and the executive committee and owners will deal with on a day to day basis You need to know who the Strata manager is from the team of people within the prospective company you are looking to appoint. You need to discover how well they will communicate with you and how much time they can dedicate to your particular scheme, as often Strata managers have more than one Strata scheme to manage.
It’s important that you also know how much experience they have, and whether you will be working with them directly or whether you will deal with their assistant. When you speak to the manager for the first time, assess their experience; it could be vital to your success.
2. Experience – Can They Cope with the issues that may be facing your property ?
You will need to figure out whether they have more than enough experience in handling the kind of issues that your property faces. Do they have experience on the type of properties you are asking them to manage? There are a number of specialist managers to consider, who deal with large/luxury properties or commercial/industrial properties.
You need a Strata manager who can deal with the complexities of the system and the building itself, and they need to have a track record at solving disputes in a calm, fair and prompt manner, as they arise from time to time. If you need to know what they can handle, the best thing that you can do is ask them!
It’s these skills that often take many years of experience. Every scheme is different, and there are huge differences between even residential, commercial and community strata schemes, which means that you need the right manager with the right experience. There are managers out there with experience in different localities also, so choosing a manager with experience in your locality is vital to your ongoing success.
3. Are They Capable and do they have any Support?
It is very hard to manage a property without support. and you cannot be supported by a Strata manager who is late, uncommunicative and not there when you need them. It goes without saying that you need someone reliable, professional, an expert in their industry knowledge. You need someone who is going to act with your Strata’s best interests in mind, and they need to be able to offer exceptional customer service skills. The Strata companies of today are no longer limiting their services to the repairs needed, so your Strata manager really needs to know how to look after the community well-being, too.
There are plenty of ways to get to know whether your Strata manager is capable enough to handle your property. While the main response will be that yes, they do know how to do it, you need to ensure that they have a great support team. A manager is just a manager, but with their team around them, they can handle the accounts, taxes, arrears and levies. You need your Strata manager to have time for you; so if they handle one too many Strata properties, are they able to handle yours, too? They need to have a back-up, in case they are unavailable, and this is a vital question to ask!
Your Strata manager also must be licensed, and there is nothing wrong with checking if your Strata manager is continuing to train and learn new laws and techniques. Continued professional development is quite possibly one of the most important things that your Strata manager can offer you, as it shows that they are making an effort to stay current. Lastly, you need your Strata manager to have a team of qualified and trusted tradesmen to rely on to help you when you need it.
4. What Is Their Approach?
It’s not unusual for property owners to be unhappy with their Strata manager – that may even be the reason you’re out looking for a new one, too! The thing is, you need to know that your manager is actually going to support you. When you read about repairs that are not carried out and you know your calls aren’t being returned, you know this is unprofessional. Not all Strata managers work the same way, and one size does not fit all properties..
You need management services that you can trust. If you are unhappy with the way that you are being treated, you need a new manager and you need one quickly. The only positive is that you’ve learned what you won’t accept from a Strata manager, so that you can look to what you will accept going forward. You need to ask how flexible your Strata manager will be, including whether you can use the tradesmen of your choice and whether you can conduct meetings when they suit you and your schedule. If you can’t ask questions like that, then you need to decide if you have the best manager for you.
Some other questions to ask include:
- Are there more ways to pay levies?
- Do they stand by their service?
- Are you going to be locked into a contract or are you able to be more flexible?
Always ask the hard questions; the right Strata manager should be able to provide you with the service that you want.
5. Are You Getting Value For Money?
It’s vital that you are paying the right price for your Strata manager; it’s not a free service so you deserve to get what you’re paying for. This is not a cost – it’s an investment and the better your investment, the better the return. That doesn’t mean that the more you pay out, the better service you get, but it does mean that you shouldn’t go cheap because you’re trying to make savings. It means that you need to look at what you get for the price you pay for a Strata manager. The right one is absolutely value for money, but you need to know that you are paying the right rates for the right person and getting everything included that you were looking for in the first place.
Plenty of owners out there know that they will get what they pay for. If you are someone complaining about the cost of your manager because you’re not getting the service, it’s something that you need to address early and get fixed. If it’s still not working, like most relationships, you need to move on. You can’t hang around and pay money for someone who isn’t doing the job.
However, if you’re paying a tiny amount for a manager, you cannot expect an above and beyond service. It’s for this reason that you need to look at this as an investment. When you’re on the hunt for a new manager, make sure you’re not just replacing one bad manager for another!
Judging a Strata agency on the relationship that you have with your Strata manager may be a bad move, as not every Strata manager is the same.
There are some questions that you could ask before you decide, and these can include:
- What are the services covered in the monthly management fee?
- Am I the only account or are there other buildings that you manage?
- What are your qualifications?
- Are you confident in your experience of dealing with property issues?
- Will the entire committee receive financial reports or just the treasurer? Will these be weekly or monthly?
- Can we agree a timeframe for actioning requests and returning calls?
- Can we discuss how much input the committee will have?
These questions can make all the difference in your Strata management search.