The point’s been made loud and clear before today: there’s an urgent need for change in strata management practice and it’s not because the government has finally set the commencement date for new strata laws in NSW. It’s because of the automatic replies I got to my email announcing that my new strata management agreement was ready for sale.
First came, ‘Thanks for your email, we’ll be back to you within 3 – 4 days.’ Next I got, ‘We try to answer our emails within 24 hours but some strata managers get up to 150 emails a day so that’s just not always possible’.
I’m not having a go at strata managers. I’ve walked in your shoes. Indeed, on one level I applaud the honesty of these statements, but let’s be clear – this is no way to build a business today. I’d go so far as to say the reason clients aren’t leaving these firms in droves is simply that they don’t know how and they suspect they will get this everywhere they go. They might be right about that.
There’s nothing new about any of this. Managers and their advisors have been wrestling with this problem for at least a decade. What’s new is that on Friday we learnt that there’s just 20 weeks left until new laws start that will massively compound this problem. There are 39 new provisions about strata management alone to be digested.
Coincidently, on the same day we also learnt the market leader for strata management in the country has signed a 10-year deal to ditch their in-house software for the only true cloud-based strata software company in the market. I’ve used that software and it’s good. The client portal is particularly good, and guess what? It reduces email and telephone traffic because it’s a really easy to use portal where people can get what they want, when they want it, and share information.
And there’s more. As it happens the new strata laws put an end to ‘rollover’ contracts by 31 May 2017; strata management agreements for new building can’t go longer than 1 year and the disputes tribunal has the power to terminate and rewrite strata management agreements.
Let’s join the dots then… strata managers are over worked already, there’s once-in-a-generation reform coming, the market leader is changing to software with a superior client interface, and law reform will lead to provider churn like never before.
Times are truly changing.