Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS A STRATA / OWNERS CORPORATION MANAGER?
An individual, or company, engaged by the owners corporation, usually under some form of contract agreement, to assist with managing the affairs of the owners corporation. Normally, the manager will carry out most of the functions of the secretary and treasurer as well as providing a high level of advice on scheme issues and interpretations of the legislation.
2. WHAT IS THE OWNERS CORPORATION MANAGER’S FUNCTION?
The duties of the owners corporation manager are outlined in the agreement they have with your owners oorporation.
The duties are of an administrative, secreterial and financial nature and are typically are as follows:
- To prepare notices of general meetings including nomination forms, motion requisition forms, agenda, proxy form, voting papers and financial statements
- To prepare and attend the annual general meeting of the owners corporation
- To prepare minutes of all general meetings
- To issue levy contribution notices
- To issue reminder notice for those contributions in arrears, and if necessary, arrange debt collection proceedings
- To keep financial records and account transactions
- To pay invoices and accounts on authority of the owners corporation
- To prepare annual financial statements and budgets which are to be included in the annual general meeting
- To operate and maintain the bank account of the owners corporation
- To assist the body corporate in effecting insurances
- To assist with lodgement of insurance claims
- To maintain the roll and record notices and orders served on the owners corporation
- To prepare information certificates and to affix the common seal thereto and supervise inspections as required by legislation.
- To have custody and use of the common seal of the owners corporation as required and directed
- To answer and attend to communications as addressed to the owners corporation
- To instigate and distribute such letters as may be required to tenants or owners with respect to any infringement of the by-laws
3. HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR STRATA / OWNERS CORPORATION MANAGEMENT?
Your owners corporation managers are paid a fee agreed to by the owners corporation at the time of their engagement plus any increases due to CPI or otherwise agreed to by the owners corporation. This fee is incorporated into the overall budgets of the owners corporation and is clearly identified as an item in administrative expenditure.
Additional fees may be charged by the managers for carrying out duties listed as additional services on the agreement at the nominated hourly rate. As an example, these duties may include attendance upon an auditor or solicitor, attendance to tribunal, court and dispute applications, and arranging quotations or tradespersons for maintenance issues within the complex.
4. WHAT IS THE ‘COMMITTEE’?
The committee normally comprises owners in the building, however committee members can be those persons nominated by an owner.
Outside of any general meetings of your owners corporation, the committee acts for the owners corporation on various matters (i.e. building maintenance, budgets, consents/approvals, general meeting agendas). Once the committee is elected at the annual general meeting, the elected committee runs the owners corporation for the forthcoming year. They have considerable power under the act and they need to have this power and authority in order to make decisions in a timely and efficient manner.
5. HOW SHOULD MAINTENANCE ISSUES BE HANDLED?
In the first instance, all maintenance issues should be brought to the attention of the committee. In an emergency this may not always be possible and an owner may be forced to have emergency repairs effected - but such instances will be rare. The committee, not the owners corporation manager, is responsible for the spending, budget control, and building maintenance. The owners corporation manager is not an owner or investor in your building, and has no authority to spend monies without approval, with the exception of recurring accounts such as community electricity, gardening, pool maintenance. The committee should know about and authorise all irregular/extraordinary building maintenance expenditure.
6. WHO DECIDES HOW MUCH OUR LEVIES ARE GOING TO BE?
All owners within an owners corporation have the chance to consider and vote on the proposed annual budget. The approved annual budget determines the levies payable by each owner. The annual budget and subsequent levies for the administration fund and sinking fund are determined each year at the annual general meeting. The levy amounts are calculated on the annual expenses of the owners corporation and include any projected price increases on services or contracts. Your owners corporation manager will assist by working with the committee and putting forward proposed budgets for consideration. The annual budget is approved by a majority resolution of owners at the annual general meeting.
7. WHAT RULES GOVERN HOW AN OWNERS CORPORATION IS SUPPOSED TO OPERATE?
The NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 is the legislation governing how an owners corporation is to function. In Queensland, the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 is the legislation governing how a body corporate is to function. A body corporate and owners corporation are the same thing, just under different names according to their respective state legislation.