NSW lot owners are wondering about the level of service they should expect from their Strata Managers.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Our strata manager refuses to hold our AGM after office hours. Should this be an expected service or is he being inflexible?
- QUESTION: Can Strata companies charge owners who request Strata ByLaws to give to a tenant?
- QUESTION: Can the Strata Committee insist that the Strata Manager seeks approval before actioning any type of work on their behalf?
- ARTICLE: Commissions and Training Services | What does my Strata Manager have to disclose?
Question: Our strata manager refuses to hold our AGM after office hours. Should this be an expected service or is he being inflexible?
Our strata manager refuses to hold our AGM at 6.30 pm. He says his office closes at 6 pm and will not accommodate an owner who cannot attend until 6.30 pm because of work commitments. Is this reasonable or is he being inflexible?
Our argument is that he is providing the service for which we are paying $150,000 pa for 38 apartments and he should be flexible and chair meetings to accommodate the owners corporation and not at his convenience. We do not consider 6.30 pm to be unreasonable. Can he dictate the time or should he be more flexible?
Answer: We would agree that your strata manager is being inflexible.
We would agree that your strata manager is being inflexible – it is unreasonable to expect individual owners in owners corporation to take time off work on each occasion to participate in decisions of the owners corporation. It is common place in the industry that strata managers are required to convene meetings after hours to service the needs of its client.
Further, he should be reminded that you are the principal (as the Owners Corporation) and he is engaged and paid by him to be the agent for the scheme. He takes instructions from the strata committee/owners corporation and not vice versa.
This post appears in Strata News #401.
Question: Can Strata companies charge owners who request Strata ByLaws to give to a tenant?
Answer: No I don’t believe so, but it would depend on the terms of the agency agreement that the owners corporation has with the strata manager and the by-laws registered with the scheme.
This post appears in Strata News #401.
Question: Can the Strata Committee insist that the Strata Manager seeks approval before actioning any type of work on their behalf?
Can the Strata Committee insist that the Strata Manager seeks approval before actioning any type of work on their behalf?
SITUATION: Unit Owner had engaged a plumber to fix an internal water leakage in a rental unit. The leak returned & Strata didn’t liaise with the owner & sent another plumber to access the problem resulting in a charge to the Owners. The Strata Committee asked the lot owner to pay this bill.
Understandably the Owner is unhappy that they were not consulted as they could have sent the original plumber to fix the problem. This is a new Strata Manager & the Strata Committee instructed them at the first AGM to contact the Committee before arranging any repairs or inspections for their approval.
We an arrangement in place with the previous Strata Management Company because we had been overcharged for unnecessary work that had been carried out without our knowledge.
Answer: If the arrangement is not approved by the Owners Corporation, the Strata Manager may not contact the building as they are not legally required to.
Regarding the appointment of a strata manager, some buildings do ask that the Strata Manager contacts the Strata Committee or a member of the Strata Committee for approval for works before proceeding. This arrangement should be documented in the Strata Managers agency agreement which must be approved at a General meeting. If the arrangement is not approved by the Owners Corporation, the Strata Manager may not contact the building as they are not legally required to.
Regarding charging of an invoice to an owner, this is not generally something that is allowed unless there is a specific by-law for the scheme that allows for cost recovery. I’m not sure why the Strata Manager would pass on the cost of a work order to the owner in this instance. It seems to me that the Strata Manager must have actioned a lot owner repair which they shouldn’t have organised anyway.
The owner has 2 options:
- Pay the invoice to keep the peace. I would then pass the invoice onto the old plumber to pay as it was their original repair that caused the problem. If they original plumber doesn’t pay, you could follow this up with the Master Plumbers Association for decision (assuming that they are member of the Master Plumbers).
- Dispute the invoice with strata and state that it is unlawful to pass on an invoice to the lot owner without the lot owners approval. If this isn’t resolved after this dispute, you could lodge a complaint to NSW fair trading to have this resolved.
ARTICLE: Commissions and Training Services | What does my Strata Manager have to disclose?
Section 60 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) places a responsibility on strata managing agents of strata schemes to report the following matters at annual general meetings:
- The estimated amount or value of any such commissions or training services that the agent believes are likely to be provided to or paid for the agent in the following 12 months.
The disclosure of such information must be recorded in the meeting minutes.
‘Training services’ is defined within the Act to include a training course or service (including attendance at industry events such as conferences).
If strata managing agents do not fulfil such responsibilities then the owners corporation can apply to the Tribunal, to make an order that any commissions accepted by the agent are to be paid to the owners corporation. In addition, strata managing agents can receive a fine of up to $2,200 for failure to disclose such information.
Under s 57 of the Act it will be an offence for an agent to receive commissions or training services that are not of a kind permitted by the agent’s terms of appointment or approved by the owners corporation.
Additional disclosure requirements of strata managing agents include:
As soon as practicable after becoming aware that commissions or training services provided to or paid for the agent differ from any estimate, the strata managing agent must disclose the variation to the strata committee and provide an explanation.
Although, it should be noted that these requirements do not apply to training services or remuneration provided directly to a strata managing agent by their employer agency.
This post appears in Strata News #278.
Have a question about Strata Manager Communication or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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Please note: this is general information and does not constitute legal advice. If your scheme us undertaking strata renewal we recommend you obtain legal and financial advice specific to your circumstances.
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