Strata managers’ lurks and perks to be disclosed

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If knowledge is power, then strata committees in their dealings with their strata managers are about to get powerful, or at least empowered.

New strata laws for NSW, beginning 30 November 2016, force strata managers to give more information to strata committees and owners than ever before about their work as managers, but there are just three things that count:

  1. The strata manager must notify the strata committee three months before the end of their agreement. This will stop the infamous ‘roll over’ where strata managers continue their service without anyone really noticing the agreed term has expired. Unsatisfied committees will shop around.
  2. The estimated amount or value of the strata manager’s insurance commission must be disclosed at each general meeting. In large buildings the insurance commission can equal the management fee and many owners will not know this. Owners will get that this keeps overall management costs down but they won’t like being surprised by the amount.
  3. Gifts and training services must be disclosed annually.

Let’s be clear, gifts and training disclosure is not targeting the odd bottle of scotch or tickets to the football. What the government’s trying to flush out are large cash payments, some of which add up to $20,000 or more, from banks, software companies and lawyers to strata managers for their ‘annual conference’ or the year’s ‘staff training program’ in return for directing owners corporation business their way. Pharmaceutical companies had to stop this with doctors decades ago and the game’s up for strata managers and their most generous providers.

Armed with this new knowledge it will be interesting to see what owners do. One prediction I’m prepared to make – strata managers will have to get better at articulating their total value proposition.

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