If you are changing strata managers in Sydney, at the meeting appointing the agent, it is a legal requirement under the NSW Property and Stock Agents Act 2002, that owners decide what roles, functions and authority the strata manager is given to act on their behalf. It must be abundantly clear. Thus the motion appointing them must be very detailed, as must be the agency agreement the owners will sign with the agent after the meeting.
It is common for a Sydney strata managing agent to be appointed as the Secretary, Chairman and Treasurer, and the Committee, so they can prepare and send agendas for various types of meetings, pay creditors, send levy notices etc. The scheme will need to also decide how much leeway they give the agent to spend funds on repairs. There should be a cap for day-to-day matters like repairing a light or window, that you allow the agent to do without reference back to the committee. It should not be so low that the Sydney strata manager cannot move without reference to the committee, otherwise it hamstrings getting things done in a timely manner and will frustrate owners.
Some Sydney strata managing agents will seek to be given the powers of the Owners Corporation as a whole. This is something to be seriously considered by owners – and should not just be automatically done because the strata manager noted it. Make sure you are clear what this means for your particular scheme and with that particular Sydney strata managing agent.
The committee and Sydney strata managing agent should work together as a smooth and effective machine, with the agent filling the gaps, that members will not be performing, such as sending levy notices, payment of invoices etc.
The committee needs to convey what roles they are willing to take on, and then be sure that if they are not performing it, then the Sydney strata manager will be.
There is a point however, at which neither the agent, nor the committee are allowed to make the decision. These are restricted by NSW legislation, for example, passing a bylaw, or raising a levy.
Likewise the owners corporation can, at the AGM -or other meetings of the owners- wish decide to restrict the powers of the committee, and/or the strata managing agent. In Sydney and NSW, this must be put to a vote of all owners.
Strata managing agents should be very transparent as to what they are doing on behalf of the committee throughout and have an agreement as to keeping the members abreast of what repairs, expenses, debt recovery, etc they are performing on the scheme’s behalf. There should be an understanding as to what point the committee want to have a meeting to discuss something face to face, or simply formalise with an on-line vote if it is simply a matter of formalising something which is beyond the authority of the Sydney strata managing agent to approve/arrange.
Finally, it is important that meetings are held when the authority of the agent, or committee is lacking, with proper notice to owners (not an email around). On this topic please see our newsletter 7 for further details. Whilst this references old legislation, the fundamentals still apply under the NSW 2016 Strata Scheme’s Management Act.