Strata managers (also known as Body Corporate, Owners Corporation, or Community managers), building managers (also known as the caretaker or facilities manager), and property managers work co-operatively to ensure your strata or body corporate community operates smoothly and efficiently.
The titles may sound similar, but these managers have different roles and areas of responsibility related to the scheme buildings, common property, and private property.
If you are new to strata living or have had limited contact with managers, the differences may not be clear.
Our guide will help you understand how each manager operates, and their roles and responsibilities.
Understanding each of these roles is important. For example, raising issues with the wrong person can be a waste of your time, and can delay any action that needs to be taken.
Let us take a closer look.
The role of the strata manager
The strata manager is also be known as the owners corporation manager, body corporate manager, strata managing agent or community manager.
If you own an apartment (or lot), the strata manager will be your first port of call for strata matters.
This person or company is appointed by the owners corporation to act on behalf of all lot owners. They have a central role in ensuring the strata scheme runs efficiently and focus on issues related to common property. They are delegated the most responsibility and have the power to issue by-law breach notices, unlike building and property managers.
It is a common misconception that your strata manager has the power to make decisions on behalf of the owners. It should be noted that your strata manager works at the direction of the committee.
The strata manager carries out a range of financial, administrative and community duties that can include:
- Organising and preparing for annual general meetings, committee meetings and extraordinary meetings.
- Preparing and distributing meeting notices, minutes, and agendas.
- Maintaining the register (roll) of owners.
- Managing correspondence.
- Proving guidance and scheduling compliance checks in line with government legislation.
- Administering insurance issues, including accurate valuations, insurance cover, claims and payments.
- Coordinating maintenance of common areas, including building repairs, painting and pools as instructed by the committee (This may be undertaken by your building manager).
- Preparing budgets in line with committee direction and keeping financial records.
- Issuing levies notices to owners and collecting payments.
- Arranging the payment of invoices.
- Providing general guidance on by-laws (rules in Victoria) and assisting with by-law breach management, mediation, NCAT orders as instructed by the committee.
- Helping to resolve disputes.
- Undertaking communication and updates with the owners corporation about key issues such as meetings or repairs and maintenance schedules.
What the building manager is responsible for
This manager, also known as the caretaker or facilities manager, looks after the day-to-day management and maintenance of the common property areas of the buildings in the property. They ensure common property is well maintained and safe, for the benefit of owners and tenants.
They are usually the primary on-site contact for owners, tenants, and contractors. They tend to be available during business hours during the week plus reduced hours over the weekend (each building may vary).
The building manager’s range of responsibilities spans maintenance, security, cleaning, and concierge duties. This may include:
- Managing common property, including taking out bins and recycling, maintaining lawns and gardens.
- Scheduling inspections and maintenance of common property.
- Doing repairs or supervising tradespeople carrying out repairs of common property.
- Keeping records of contractor compliance, certificates, license checks and expenditure.
- Managing general safety at the complex, including condition reports, fire safety standards, ensuring compliance with evacuation procedures in emergencies.
- Managing the asset register.
- Managing documentation, including work orders, invoices, monthly reports.
- Liaising with strata committee members, owners, and tenants.
- Attending committee meetings and presenting reports.
- Communicating about scheme notices.
- Managing and auditing security systems.
- Controlling key and access systems.
The Building Manager’s role may differ from building to building based on the responsibilities that your property’s committee have defined in the service contract.
What does a property manager do?
While the strata manager oversees matters related to common property on behalf of lot owners, the property manager is responsible for management and maintenance of the private property of a single lot.
Property managers often work for real estate companies. Landlords may choose to appoint this manager to deal with rental leases and act as the primary contact for tenants in everyday and emergency situations. If tenants have strata-related issues, the property manager will raise these with owners or the strata manager.
Key responsibilities include:
- Finding a suitable tenant for a vacant lot.
- Arranging bonds, moveouts and evictions.
- Collecting rent.
- Organising inspections.
- Arranging repairs and maintenance inside the apartment on behalf of the landlord.
- Liaising between tenants and landlords, or tenants and strata managers; tenants do not usually have direct contact with strata managers.
- Managing access devices such as keys.
Understanding the different duties of the strata manager, building manager and property manager can help you make the most of strata living, and avoid the mistake of taking insurance questions to the building manager!