With 2700 decision makers (owners corporation committee members) representing thousands of unit owners, IUM gets a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequent …
+ Who is responsible?
Please download the NSW Government's comprehensive guide to who is responsible for each aspect of strata ownership and management.
This is an excellent resource on the subject.
+ The Strata Manager's Role
A strata manager is appointed to carry out certain duties and functions of the Owner's Corporation and the committee as agreed.
The effective running of your strata scheme and its ongoing enhancement, relies on the experience and skill of your strata management company to ensure owners are fully represented.
Your strata manager is charged with preparing and forwarding notices as required by state legislation.
- preparing notices of committee and general meetings;
- attending those meetings to assist with good governance and decision-making;
- levying owners and collecting those contributions;
- keeping the books,
- records and roll;
- preparing statements of account and budgets;
- paying accounts;
- effecting insurance and insurance claims;
- issuing work orders for repairs;
- managing major projects;
- organising by-laws
- and taking care of legal matters.
Within state legislation, the Owners' Corporation can restrict or expand the duties of the strata manager.
Make sure your contact details are up to date with IUM and your Owners Corporation, to ensure you receive all notifications for your strata scheme.
To protect, enhance and manage the collective property, the owners' corporation raises funds from all individual lot owners through the regular payment of levies.
The amount charged for levies is decided by the owners' corporation.
Levies are paid every three months.
+ Levy notices and late payments
It is your responsibility to pay levies whether you receive a notice or not. Unpaid levies mean you can't vote at meetings.
Please make sure your current address is on the strata roll.
Please see change of address form if required.
Your strata levy notice has all the pertinent details for paying on line or by cash at the nearest branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Interest of up to 10% can be charged for outstanding levies and this interest is paid to the Owners' Corporation and not to IUM.
If you are having difficulty paying levies on time, please contact us.
+ Special levies
You may be asked to pay special levies when there is not enough money in the Owners' Corporation account to fund work required at the end of the financial year, and if the account is in deficit; or if the Owners' Corporation does not want to use the money already in the account for a special purpose.
+ Common Property
Your individual lot forms part of a collective asset that involves all other owners, who own and share the common property.
Many a query and dispute occurs over what constitutes common property in a strata scheme, how it can be used and how well it is maintained.
It is in your financial interests to participate in the management of what makes up the Owner's Corporation's assets.
The Owner's Corporation administers this common property, while maintenance and upkeep of common property is usually contracted out to by caretaker or building manager. If an individual owner wants to alter any part of the common property, they will need to seek the permission of the Owners' Corporation.
To be clear about what is included in your individual lot and what forms common property, check your strata plan.
To obtain a copy of the registered strata plan of your scheme, contact the Land and Property Management Authority NSW (LPMA) at www.ipma.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 052 637.
+ Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs to common property is the responsibility of the Owners' Corporation. Owners are responsible for repairs within their individual lots.The standard of repairs and maintenance overall can only enhance the collective asset's value.
Why are repairs sometimes very slow?
IUM makes every attempt to have Owners' Corporation repairs carried out in the most timely manner. Independent trades people and repairers do this work on behalf of IUM and all work will be carried out as soon as they are available.
For a list of trades please search our Directory.
Familiarise yourself with the by-laws that apply to your strata scheme. Make sure you have a current copy. Essentially, they are the list of rules that are vital for the harmonious running of every strata scheme and they will vary from property to property.
Given the issues they cover, they can be the subject of many of the disputes that arise in communal living situations. But without them, it would be a case of anything goes.
The areas they cover include issues such as use of parking; garbage disposal; whether pets are allowed; security and safety; installation of goods such as pergolas, satellite dishes etc; noise and offensive behaviour and; even landscape and gardening guidelines.
All owners and tenants are required to adhere to the by-laws.
For further information regarding by-laws go to www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
+ Noise Complaints
A common issue in strata schemes involves the subjective subject of noise levels. The best approach is to try to resolve the problem yourself by talking to any offenders, if possible. If that doesn't work or, if you feel intimidated, you have two choices.
You can ask the owners corporation to issue them with a Notice to Comply With a By-Law and then seek to have a fine imposed if they keep breaching the rules. If this fails, then you can apply for mediation through www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and have a mediator assist with seeking a solution.
Where a breach of the public order is ongoing, or there are security or safety concerns, call your local police.
As with any property ownership, it is important to be clear on what your individual insurance and that carried by your strata scheme covers.
All individual lot owners should have contents insurance for personal items, plus fittings such as curtains, blinds, light fittings and internal fixtures.
If you are an investor who is renting a unit, then the responsibility is yours to ensure tenants are advised to take out contents insurance, or for the owner to explore the coverage provided by landlord's insurance.
You can order a Certificate of Currency from Independent Unit Management here to determine if a unit you intend to buy is insured.
The Owners' Corporation is responsible for insuring the main building, any outbuildings, public liability, workers' compensation and any coverage for voluntary workers.
Determine with your Owners' Corporation exactly what they have covered.
Further information is contained in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 at www.austlii.edu.au
+ Capital Works Funds
The main aim of a capital works fund allows Owners Corporations to build up sufficient financial reserves to ensure expensive capital expenditure is available when needed.
These funds cover items such as painting of the building, replacing fencing, external refurbishment or the replacement of common property, such as roofing, guttering or lift replacement. Contributions are levied on owners.
Enhancing, managing and protecting your collective asset means you have provisioned for adequate insurance that will cover unforeseen or major works.
Since February 2005, all new strata schemes have been required under state legislation to begin planning for capital works needs for the following 10 years. The 10 year planning requirement has gradually been extended to schemes older than 2005.
The amount of money in your scheme's capital works fund will affect its ability to carry out such works and IUM can provide a comprehensive and updated financial statement for your strata plan.
Further details on how capital works funds work can be found at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
+ Committees & Meetings
Members of the Owners' Corporation are elected at the annual general meeting.
It is by attending meetings or nominating to be on the Owners' Corporation at an annual general meeting that you can ensure having your say in how your collective asset is managed.
If you can't make a meeting, you can send a proxy by nominating a person - a neighbour, relative or friend, for example - you wish to have act on your behalf at a meeting.
Committee members usually take on the role in an unpaid capacity.
They are charged with keeping full and accurate records of meetings; carrying out any resolutions that are passed; preparing proposed budgets; issuing 184 certificates and making any books and records available to interested parties.