Frequently Asked Questions
At Pro-Active Strata Management, our hands-on approach to strata management ensures the entire strata process for your property is made easy. Here are some frequently asked questions our strata managers often get asked, which might be able to answer any queries you may have.
Can the Council of Owners change the strata manager?
Under Section 44 of the Act, the functions of the strata company are carried out by the Council of Owners, therefore they can appoint a new strata manager. It is possible, however, that your current strata manager has a binding contract in place and there may also be additional by-laws in place that restricts this authority, therefore we advise you check your current contracts and by-laws.
What steps are involved in changing to Pro-Active Strata Management?
Once the Council of Owners have selected the type of service they would like, the process is relatively simple. The outgoing management company is advised and a handover date is set. Pro-Active Strata Management will then collect your strata company’s books, records, keys, remotes and plans from your previous manager and integrate them into our internal filing system. The financial records are loaded into our system. Owners are allocated login details to our website and all property managers and vendors are advised of the change. During this time, your strata manager will work with the Council of Owners to address any outstanding maintenance and management issues.
Why should we use a strata manager?
In Western Australia, the management of strata companies is regulated by the Strata Title Act 1985.
The Act sets out the regulatory requirements that must be met by strata companies. It is a very lengthy and complex Act. Ensuring a strata company complies with the Act usually requires the support of a professional strata manager who has a good working knowledge of the legislative requirements.
A strata company also requires ongoing financial management, as well as regular and occasional emergency maintenance. Without a strata manager, these duties are left with the Council of Owners. The council often finds it difficult to take on the responsibility of managing an entire strata complex.
What is the role of the strata manager?
The professional strata manager will ensure your strata company complies with the relevant provisions of the legislation. They will protect the value of your property and help maintain a harmonious environment among occupiers.
A strata manager’s responsibilities include:
• Managing the strata company’s finances.
• Preparing and maintaining the accounts.
• Arranging insurance.
• Maintaining the strata company’s records in accordance with the Act.
• Coordinating maintenance and repairs.
• Attending and recording meetings held by the strata company and the council.
How are individual levy amounts decided?
Unless there is a by-law to the contrary, the levies can only be raised in accordance with Unit Entitlement. Unit Entitlement is set by a Licensed Valuer and shows the relative proportion of each owner’s share in the scheme.
Who decides how much my levies will be?
The owners determine what the levy amounts will be at a general meeting, and this is usually based on the strata company budget. This budget is decided and based on what the owners estimate the running costs of the strata company will be for the coming financial year.
Why have my levies gone up?
The owners at a general meeting have determined that the current levy contributions were inadequate and have consequently agreed to increase the levy amounts. Reasons why owners would agree to increase the levy contribution include rising electricity costs and insurance premiums. It’s important to note that as owners, there is a responsibility to repair and maintain the common property at all times, therefore funds are required to be available for this purpose.
Why do we need a Reserve Fund?
A Reserve Fund is put in place so that the strata company can provide for an accumulation of money for the medium to long-term major costs which are not of a routine nature. Examples of these costs include replacing roofs, repairing car parks and repainting the exterior of the complex.
How do I pay my strata levies?
Using the DEFT Payment System, you can pay by BPAY using the biller code and DEFT reference number listed on your levy notice. You can also pay with cheque, credit card, or in person at the Post Office (with cash, cheque or Eftpos). Please refer to the bottom of your levy notice for further details and instructions regarding levy payment options. We also ask that you ensure you pay your levies on time, as interest will incur.
Can our strata manager decide what is discussed at general meetings?
Strata managers cannot decide what gets discussed at general meetings, as this is a responsibility of the Council of Owners. There are several items that must be considered, including the budget, election of councillors and levy contributions. Any items that owners have raised with their council throughout the year are often also discussed at these meetings.
What can be voted on at a general meeting?
Only issues that are on the agenda can be voted on at a general meeting. This does not mean that there cannot be general discussion on items of strata interest, however, such discussions are always with the approval of the chairperson.
Why does my spouse have to sign a Proxy Form when we attend the annual general meeting?
Co-proprietors of a single strata lot are only entitled to one vote between them at the annual general meeting. Both co-proprietors may speak at the meeting but only the one nominated as the proxy can vote.
Someone is playing loud music at 3am, what can I do?
If you feel comfortable enough, you can try approaching your neighbours in the first instance. If this isn’t an option, we have found that the most effective way to handle this problem is to call the police. It’s important to then contact your strata manager the next working day to report the incident.
Someone is parked in my car bay, what can I do?
Your car bay is likely to be your property and not common property, therefore an owner responsibility. For this reason, it can be difficult for your strata manager to assist. Often, a note left on the vehicle can resolve the problem. If the problem reoccurs, you can contact the local authority and/or the police. Your strata manager will, however, try and assist where they can.
Can I install an air-conditioning unit onto the outside wall of my unit?
Details of the proposal must be submitted in writing to the Strata Manager as the owner’s consent must be obtained before commencing work.
For Sale Signs
Under the Strata Titles legislation, the visual amenity of the strata cannot be compromised. However, an application can be made to the Council of Owners to review and grant permission to erect a temporary for sale sign.
This request should be made to Pro-Active Strata Management in the first instance via email: email@example.com. The request should specify the owner and lot details, and should also accompany a photo/image of the proposed sign, the location it is proposed to be erected, the timeframe the sign is proposed to remain, and who would be responsible for the removal and disposal of the sign.
Can we keep a pet in our unit?
In strata, the term “Pet” is inclusive of all animals, whether your animal is a dog, cat, fish, lizard or you own an ant farm.
To be able to keep a pet in your unit depends on the individual strata complex. Some have strict rules (specifically on dogs), and some even have special by-laws which may stipulate they cannot have pets, or that they do allow pets of certain sizes.
Animals are not prohibited under the Strata Titles Act but if a dog disturbs the owners of a strata, then the Council of Owners can give a legally binding notice for the removal of the animal.
What are the types of strata schemes?
There are two types of strata schemes allowed under the Strata Titles Act 1985; (Built) Strata schemes and Survey-Strata schemes.
What is a (built) strata plan?
A strata plan is created when a property is divided into lots (areas owned individually) and any common property (areas owned jointly by all lot owners in the strata scheme). Common property is not labelled on a strata plan. There can be any number of lots and each lot can be composed of more than one part (called part lots), and each lot can have a different owner. Strata lots are limited in height and depth (the stratum of the lot). Strata plans show a building on at least one lot of the strata plan and stratum of the lots is always linked to buildings on the plan. When developers choose the development pathway of built strata, a surveyor will prepare a strata plan based on the field survey of the units after construction, fencing and paving is completed.
What is a survey-strata plan?
Survey-strata plans define the lots in a survey-strata scheme, which are the areas in the scheme owned individually. There are no part lots. Distances and angles of each lot boundary define each lot and no buildings are shown on survey-strata plans, even though buildings may exist onsite. Common property areas owned jointly by all lot owners may or may not exist in survey-strata schemes and are defined as ‘common property lots’. Survey-strata lots may be limited in height and depth but generally are not. When developers choose the development pathway of survey-strata, the surveyor prepares a survey-strata plan based on the field survey that was undertaken.
Do I have to insure the contents of my unit when there is already strata insurance?
You will need to insure the contents of your unit even though there is already strata insurance. The strata insurance covers the building and/or common area contents, but not household contents. This is the responsibility of the individual owners, and they are free to make whatever arrangements they wish or Pro-Active Strata Management can arrange a quote.
Claims on strata insurance are processed by senior staff in the Pro-Active Strata Management office and by claims management professionals. They are experienced in the administration of insurance claims, and work to maintain a good professional relationship with the insurance companies to expedite the claims. The most common types of claims are storm damage, water damage, glass damage and vandalism of common property.
Is my strata lot insured under the building insurance in a built strata?
Your strata lot is insured under the building insurance if you are in a built strata, because your Strata Managers will renew the building insurance on a yearly basis. Your lot is covered under the building insurance for any events such as storm damage, water leaks, fire, break ins etc. It’s important to note that the building insurance does not cover wear and tear, and you might need private contents insurance for carpet damage and non-fixed cupboards and benches.
Is my strata lot insured under the building insurance in a survey strata?
You will need to insure your lot even though there is already strata insurance for the common property. This is the responsibility of the individual owners, and they are free to make whatever arrangements they wish or Pro-Active Strata Management can arrange a quote.