Vito Giorgio never imagined when he purchased a weekend holiday home in a Queensland strata complex that he would soon become the voice of an entire community.
Initially encouraged to stand for the body corporate because he believed he could make a difference to the benefit all 180 lot owners in his scheme, Vito’s tenure has so far spanned across three different roles.
He began as an ordinary member before taking on the role of chairman in 2000 for five years, then accepting an invitation in 2013 as secretary, a position he retains to this day.
It’s now been nearly two decades since Vito first joined the committee and during that time he says he has experienced the very best and the very worst of good strata management.
Repeated dissatisfaction with one external management company left a sour taste in his mouth and led to Vito recommending his committee cut its losses and find assistance elsewhere.
He says his current provider, Ernst Body Corporate Management, and its community manager Tyson Pratt, has lifted the bar so significantly that it would now be difficult to accept anything less.
In fact, such was Tyson’s exceptional level of service it compelled Vito to step out of his comfort zone and write a letter of recommendation citing Tyson’s “excellent advice, brilliant service and prompt actioning of requests”.
As demonstrated by the way Tyson does business, Vito says the best strata managers have an excellent grasp of the Act and work with the relevant committees to present all options when issues arise.
As well as the ability to lead meetings and mediate conflicts, they are also approachable, professional in their approach, offer sound people management and able to update interested parties on any relevant developments, he says.
On the other side of the coin are poor strata managers whose biggest and therefore most dangerous fault can usually be traced to an inability to communicate effectively.
“Strata managers need to better explain the interpretation and the intention of the Act and consequently, the limitations that are imposed on committees,” he says.
Having been exposed to both sides of the coin, Vito says it’s important that when committee members are unhappy with the level of service they are being offered by their management group, they work hard at ensuring they express their concerns.
Walking away fails to solve any problems and working at the relationship can sometimes produce unexpected results, he says.
“A written letter of dissatisfaction often only gives the writer satisfaction. Discussions should be on a one-on-one basis to discuss and agree to improve procedures or performance.
“A strata manager who respects the concerns of the representatives of the body corporate and the committee, and address those concerns, now that would be a strata manager to keep. When you find that manager, you’ll know it straight away and you’ll want to hang onto them.”
To find out more about the characteristics of a good strata manager, or to find out your rights and obligations as a strata owner, contact peak industry body Strata Community Association.