The difference between strata manager vs property manager is significant.
Strata managers act on behalf of all apartment owners and focus only on issues related to property held in common. Property managers work for an apartment owner and focus exclusively on private property issues.
This article explores the responsibilities and roles of each position.
A strata manager manages an apartment block for all its owners. The manager acts in all owners' collective interest and manages everything, from financial administration and legal compliance to building maintenance.
If you live in an apartment block, you probably have a strata manager. If you don't, then this means that you–along with all other owners–bear all the burdens and perform all the duties and functions of a strata manager.
Strata managers perform functions that split into three broad classifications: finance, administration, and community.
Strata managers have a large say in financial matters. They coordinate payments to tradespeople and balance the books. They also issue and collect levies, which are monthly payments made each month by lot owners to maintain the communal property.
There are three types of levies: special, administrative fund, and sinking fund.
Administrative fund levies are for routine maintenance, sinking fund levies are for renovations and large repairs. In contrast, special levies pay for unexpected or unusual expenditures like roof replacements or damages inflicted by pests.
Strata levies can vary from one scheme to another, even between different apartments. Owners of larger lots and apartment owners who live in complexes that offer more amenities will be subject to higher levies.
Administration is one of the principal responsibilities of a strata manager. Administration includes managing correspondence and/or meetings between owners and potential buyers. It also involves ensuring legal compliance, which covers everything from insurance to lift and fire certification.
Strata managers ensure that correct valuations are made to insure the building for its full replacement cost. This is vital because owners would need to pay the difference out of their own pockets if the building were to be damaged and the insurance was insufficient. Ouch!
The administrative responsibilities of a strata manager also include building maintenance. The strata manager maintains all common areas, for example, pool cleaning, cleaning and painting communal walls, and maintenance of lifts.
The strata manager can also act as a psychologist (think 'unlicensed psychotherapist'), peacemaker, or just a general problem-solver. Strata managers often get called in when different owners disagree (sometimes quite aggressively) or when residents violate any of the strata schemes' bylaws.
Strata scheme bylaws are created and designed precisely to promote harmonious living. Such bylaws cover everything from noise restrictions to garbage disposal, common property renovations, and parking issues.
Legislation exists prohibiting strata schemes' enforcement of any bylaws that restrict short-term leasing, ban children or assistance animals, and are too oppressive or harsh. However, strata schemes otherwise have the power to set the standard of living they want for their owners. Ensuring their owners live up to these standards is a major function of a strata manager.
When dealing with intractable problems and mediation proves impossible, a strata manager may escalate concerns to a civil tribunal at the state level.
Property managers are people or companies that oversee and maintain a specific property. They are responsible for individual apartments managed singly rather than apartments owned by different people managed collectively.
Property managers act as mediators between tenant and landlord. They are responsible for getting tenants who are a good fit for the apartment, collecting rent, and arranging maintenance.
Property managers are responsible for everything inside the four walls of an apartment, strata managers are responsible for everything outside those four walls.
A property manager is someone you have probably dealt with if you have ever rented. These property managers work in real estate offices and are often your first point of contact in an emergency.
They must inspect the rental property regularly to ensure it is being maintained to do their job well. Although you don't need to hire a property manager if you are a landlord, many tenants find it helpful.
If you represent more than one owner in a building or apartment complex, you need a strata manager. If you represent only yourself or a single individual (even if the individual owns several properties in that building or apartment complex), you need a property manager.