Since the beginning of human civilisation, property ownership has always offered safety and security. Whether the dwelling was as humble as a mud hut or something larger inhabited by the wealthy, a place to live was essential to survival. It provided storage for possessions, a safe place to sleep and eat, away from predators and somewhere to raise a family.
While our dwellings have become much more complex and sophisticated over the centuries, the attitude of owners about their property has not changed. These days, they also want the property to increase in value over time, and this requires ongoing attention and action to protect it.
Group Living Allows for Cost Sharing of Essential Expenses
In group living situations, such as those managed by WA Strata Management, the responsibility for the cost of this protection is shared by all owners. When we manage a strata scheme we ensure that essentials such as insurance, security and maintenance have been budgeted for, but for those people living in a complex where the Council is self-managing, owners should check if this is happening to protect their investment.
Insurance a Priority to Protect Owners’ Investments
State legislation sets out the requirements for insuring a multi-occupier scheme. The strata company (or body corporate) must take out building insurance for all buildings on the land to their replacement value, and also public liability insurance for the common areas (unless there is a valid exemption). They must also take out any other applicable insurance, such as workers compensation, as required by law. Contents insurance is the responsibility of the individual lot owners.
Security Another Essential
Security is another area where the body corporate has a responsibility to lot owners. The provision of security barriers, fences, entrance and exit gates, secure vehicle accommodation, alarm systems and such is expected in a multi-unit complex. These provide additional protection and could include fire safetyequipment as required by law.
Regular Building Maintenance a Must
Every building requires regular maintenance if it is to remain in peak condition, and this is also a body corporate responsibility. Maintenance includes any fixtures and fittings attached to the common property. When funds are not set aside for maintenance, facilities like pools, outdoor areas, lawns and gardens soon become dirty and untidy. Structural issues like leaking roofs need attention immediately if the integrity of the building is to be protected.
A multi-owner building is no different from a freehold home and any steps that an owner would take to protect a free-standing property should be taken for a unit or apartment. The complexities associated with managing multi-owner properties, including the financial responsibilities of handling large amounts of owner contributions, are best left to professional management companies such as ours.