Like many people working from home over the last few months, I’ve been hot desking with a couple of primary school children. In between my struggles to help with grade four maths, the kids see my day to day work as a strata manager, leading to the inevitable question of “Daddy, what’s your job?”
The easy answer is that I’m a strata manager – I help people run their buildings, but after months of overhearing me make phone calls about the number of pets allowed in a townhouse complex and urgent multi-million dollar repairs for cladding removal, it’s fair to say the kids are none the wiser. I’m just hoping their teachers don’t ask them to write an essay about what their parents do.
Strata owners can be forgiven for thinking much of the same thing. Ask your manager what it is they do for your plan and they might struggle to come up with an answer that satisfies. Not because the manager doesn’t know the answer, but because the short answer can sound a bit glib and the long answer can be very long indeed.
The short answer is that managing agents assist owners corporations with the administration of their buildings as per the terms of their agency agreement. Satisfied? Probably not, but that leads to the longer answer and from here the response can go in many directions.
The starting point is that the managing agent conducts the agreed services as per the contract. These may differ from company to company, but generally include items such as managing the accounts of the plan, preparing and distributing meeting notices and maintaining the records of the plan.
Contracts have a lot of small print and legalese so it’s understandable when people gloss over the details, but when a plan engages an agent, the work defined in these terms is what it pays for in its fixed fees.
Mangers, though, do a lot more than those general functions and this is covered by catch all clauses in the contract that expand the job out from its narrower administrative function into one where, within the space of a couple of emails, a manager might move between approving the repair of a leaky tap to helping sign a maintenance contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The extent of this work usually depends on what each individual strata plan asks the manager to do. Some plans need a lot of help maintaining their by-laws, some need a lot of maintenance. Some plans want to lower costs, some want to raise money. Some plans just need a manager to follow directions while others need a manager to mediate between committee members. The work gets tailored up or down depending on what the plan needs and asks for. In other words, the manager does what’s required to make the plan run smoothly. And it’s why I’ve changed my answer to the “What do you do?” question to “Well, we’re here to help”.
To find out how your Tower Body Corporate Manager can help you, give them a call and ask.