Significant Difference in Roles of Strata vs. Property Managers

If you are considering buying a unit or apartment in a strata complex and are new to the concept, you are at the start of a steep learning curve. To get the most out of this experience understand that there are quite a few things that are different when living in this environment. One of the most important is to accept that when you buy into this type of living arrangement, you are legally responsible for many things that are often outside your control.

Understanding of Different Roles Needed by Strata Owners

The way that most large complexes manage these responsibilities is to appoint a strata or building manager. Be aware that this is not the same role as that of a property manager. The differences are significant and understanding them is important. WA Strata Management is just one of a number of companies that provide astute strata services and our role is to work for all the owners as a group.

In contrast, a property manager works for one person, the owner of the property being tenanted. It is often the case in a large apartment building that there are many property managers doing inspections and visiting tenants as part of their responsibilities to look after various units on behalf of the owners. They may collect the rent, organise tenancies and look after all the associated paperwork.

Building Managers Work to Protect Owners’ Investments

However, they are not inspecting the common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, parking areas, gyms, spas, etc. This is the role we fulfil as building managers. A significant part of our responsibilities is to protect the investment of all the unit owners. We do that by preventing situations such as under insuring and making sure maintenance is done as and when it is required.

We organise cleaners for common areas, and arrange maintenance for the pool and other common equipment like exterior lighting. If this is not done, an injury to someone using the common areas becomes the responsibility of all the owners and they could be liable for thousands of dollars in compensation.

Owners Committee Issues Instruction to Us

One of our informal roles is to act as peacemaker when disagreements arise between the residents of the complex. We become the go-between and try to help solve the issues. We also make sure that the owners committee meets regularly to discuss the building management and to issue instructions to us on their behalf.

Being a property manager at the same time as our other duties would be a conflict of interest and it is something we never do. When owners understand this it makes our job much easier.