Do Real Estate Agents Make Good Owners Corporation Managers?
It is absolutely staggering to us to see the weekly growth in Consumer Affair Victoria’s list of registered owners corporation managers.
It seems to us that every week the owners corporation managers register in Victoria is being inflated with new entrants. Some are experienced owners corporation managers who have worked in the industry out to make it on their own. However, from the inside looking out, there’s certainly been a notable influx of real estate agents entering into strata management.
It’s happened before – then the Owners Corporation Act 2006 came into force – a lot of the real estate agents, accountants, bookkeepers, and others who had the mad rush in, quickly got out as the new Act imposed extra burdens and requirements. Now it seems to be a case of history repeating itself.
With certainty, there are companies that provide real estate services and owners corporation management services – and do it well. That is to say that they’re experienced, have the track record, have the systems and processes, and the staffing/resources dedicated to providing both services.
However there are also a lot of smaller real estate agencies (and one-man bands) that tend to view owners corporation management as another revenue stream – starting from this perspective can often lead to issues.
A Few Simple Signs of Potentially Not-So-Good Owners Corporation Managers
Owners corporation management is professional service that requires knowledge of strata legislation, building regulations, financial management, bookkeeping, and accounting. Does your owners corporation manager have all of these skillsets?
Here are some signs to look out for in assessing any new or prospective owners corporation management company / manager:
- Limited experience of working in the strata management industry
- Very short stints across various companies
- Use of “@hotmail.com” or “@gmail.com” as their work email
- Minimal effort into making their website look professional
- Use of stock images for staffing on their website
- The lack of a listed office address
- Not using dedicated strata management software to look after owners corporations
- Insufficient number of owners corporation management clients
- Lacking in a trusted network of experienced trades that have experience working on strata buildings (i.e. electricians, plumbers, cleaning companies, lift servicing contractors etc.)
- No in-house accounting or bookkeeping know-how
- Core focus is a business other than managing owners corporations
It is our view all Owners and Committees (in owners corporations) should always ask the hard-hitting questions before appointing or changing owners corporation managers.
What does not-so-good owners corporation management look like in the real world?
So it’s actually pretty easy – as it stands in Victoria – to become a registered owners corporation manager. And certainly there are a lot of not-so-good owners corporations managers in Melbourne.
So does a not-so-good owners corporation manager in Melbourne look like in action?:
From A to B – Changing Owners Corporation Management Companies
We help Committees to change owners corporation management companies.
The Owners in this owners corporation had already tried themselves to oust this particular management company. They were met with harassment and some pretty intense vitriol… The manager claimed that things weren’t done right, notices/minutes weren’t properly prepared, and there’s no way that he was letting them leave him…
The Owners called us and told of their situation. They asked if there was anything at all that could be done.
After a few conversations and helping them to review the documents and emails, it became clear that there was a path out.
The Updates from the Owners Corporation
In mid December 2020 before the Christmas break, we spoke to the owners to see how they were going with the new owners corporation management company.
The new owners corporation manager had already been in touch with owners. They had collected the books and records from the old OC manager (after some minor difficulties).
The new owners corporation manager had scheduled their next AGM for end of January 2021. The owners hadn’t had a chance to meet with the new owners corporation manager in person yet (largely due to COVID restrictions and hesitations) but from we gathered they couldn’t be happier.
Their exact words:
“Just happy that they’re no longer with [name omitted]”
Appointing or Changing Owners Corporation Managers in Melbourne?
Having a professional, proactive, and dedicated owners corporation management services company is immensely vital to the running of your building. When it comes to changing strata companies, Committees should undertake due diligence and research – here is one example of where things didn’t work out – Don’t Trust a One-man Band with Your Money (or Owners Corporation Management).
Strata Management Consultants specialises in working with Committees on how to change owners corporation management services companies. Get in touch on 1300 917 848 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org