In March 2018, an owner in an owners corporation in Malvern (Melbourne) contacted us. The building was fairly new (having been built in the last 4 years) and owners had been putting up with poor service and advice from their owners corporation management company.
Their exact words being: “we are pretty keen to change our Strata management company which is causing us much strife.”
The Concerns of the Owners Corporation
There were also maintenance and building issues that the strata manager wasn’t actioning or attending to:
- Downlights in the elevator only working intermittently;
- No quotes or actions on the request for regular window cleaning;
- The overdue task of clarifying the scope of works for the caretaker as there had been dis-agreements; and
- Concerns regarding building defects; namely relating to water ingress issues.
All in all, the owners corporation manager was uninvolved and disinterested.
After some initial discussions and meetings – it was clear every owner had had enough and were ready to look at changing strata management companies.
What the Owners Corporation Wanted
We take the view that understanding the issues and knowing what you want is a good place to start from.
When we sat down with the owners, at 6:30pm at one of the apartments, the owners already had list of requirements for any prospective strata management company. The requirements of the OC, in their words, were:
- A strata manager who is responsive, proactive, & organised (eg follows us up, gets actions done, keeps us informed in a timely manner)
- Suitable strata management experience (eg how many years managed owners corporations, and of our smaller size)
- With claims against builder/developer/building warranty (given water issue and even lift?)
- Reviewing things like service agreements/on top of when any expire etc – or even following up to make sure we have scopes of works that include costs /fees (eg maintenance man has apparently given a scope of work but not fee structure)
- Service level agreement re acknowledging contact, then turning around requests, handling/resolving issues or providing status updates on fixes
- System we have access to so we can see:
– all issues logged, status etc regardless of who raised it
– contracts the OC has with any suppliers
– insurance & other docs
– better financial reporting for whole OC and information so we can set a more accurate budget for the coming year and moving forward.
Changing to New Strata Management Company
After a tender process, lots of meetings, and 2-3 months later we presented the owners with 3 strata management companies to choose from. The owners corporation, after their processes, decided to appoint a strata management company.
The new strata manager was $1,227 more expensive than incumbent manager who wasn’t doing much and with whom they were not happy with.
Sometimes it’s hard to justify paying more something – especially when it comes to a professional service like strata management. However, for us it’s always about finding the solutions and being upfront with owners and Committees.
Every now and then, we have to have that conservation of paying more for a better service. And certainly not very owners corporation will want to do it or see the benefit in doing so.
On the occasion, for that $1,227 more per year, we are happy to report a very tangible outcome ~2 years down the track.
The Big Win for the Owners Corporation
We received an update from the management company that we helped the owners corporation to appoint. The General Manager advised us that the owners corporation is a nice building to manage and the owners have all been engaging.
He was also of the view the owners have been satisfied and happy with the work that they have been doing.
However the big substantial update we received was that the owners corporation manager applied to the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) and the owners corporation has since received $92,000 from the VMIA to help with addressing building defects.
Having a professional, proactive, and diligent strata management company is important for every building / owners corporation in Victoria. Due diligence and process when it comes to changing strata companies is instrumental – here is just 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 body corporate management companies. Get in touch on 1300 917 848 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owners Corporation in Melbourne Receives $92k from VMIA Thanks to OC Manager – Content Copyrighted 2020 by Strata Management Consultants