NEWSLETTER    ISSUE 3   NOVEMBER 2010

As  we  approach  the  end  of  the  year  and  we  start  to  wish  each  other  peace  and  prosperity  for  the  year ahead,  it  is  an  appropriate  time  to  review  what  owners  can  do  to help  enjoy  peace  and  prosperity  in their schemes.

Harmony  in  schemes,  or  the  lack  thereof,  is  something  that  people  will  often  look  at  when  considering the  purchase  of  a  strata  title  property.    It  is  more  likely  people  will look  to  buy  into  a  scheme  that  is harmonious, and not choose it just because it overlooks a park or is in a quiet street etc! 

What can you do to improve how harmonious your scheme is?

A scheme  will  more  likely  be  successful  if  the  Executive  Committee  and  managing  agent  have  a  good shared  understanding  of  the  various  objectives  of  the  Owners  as  a group.    It  is  easier  to  manage  a scheme when everyone is focused on the same issues.

It  helps  if  all  owners  attend  their  Annual  General  Meeting  (AGM),  where  the  Owners  determine  what  the levies  will  be  for  the  year  ahead  (assuming  there  are  no  surprises  –  like  a  fire  order).    It  is  at  this  time you  should  review  what  work  will  be  needed  maintain  the  property  in  the  short  and  medium  term.    How well  do  you  want  your building  to  be  maintained?    The  timing  of  funds  controls  when  work  can  be  done.  The structure of the two funds determined at the  AGM per the legislation is as follows:

  • administration fund budgets cover the known and expected day to day expenses the scheme   has, such as cleaning, lift and garden maintenance, fire equipment inspections, small repairs,   insurances, the strata manager fees and so on.   The majority of the levies paid go towards   these costs as they are constantly recurring.
  • sinking fund budgets, are for longer term costs such as replacement of downpipes, re-wiring   the common areas, internal and external painting, new  roof and so on.  Hence, while these   items of expense are huge  when they fall  due, you generally have several years to save   up between each replacement  item and so the sinking fund portion of your levy is smaller,   compared to that of the administration fund.

Remember  that  raising  a  certain  amount  for  a  project  via  the  annual  budget,  will    come  in  each  quarter and  so  will  take  a  full  year  to  see  all  the  required  funds  build  up in  the  scheme’s  account.  So  before attending  the  AGM  consider  what  input  you  wish  to  have  at  the  meeting  regarding  maintaining  the property  in  the  manner  you  want  to see  it  in  12  months  to  2  years  time,  so  it  can  be  budgeted  for  and achieved in that time.

Another  consideration  is  that  greater  harmony  will  be  achieved  where  each  apartment  is  maintained  at  a similar standard.  Rental levels will be more consistent and the tenants will have similar expectations.  

You  also  need  to  consider  the  social  aspects  of  the  scheme.    Individual  owners  will  have  different expectations  in  this  area,  as  happens  in  most  communities.    The challenge  is  to  encourage  each  owner to  explain  their  view  and  listen  to  and  try  to  understand  others’  objectives.    The  more  the  owners  have in common, the easier it is to manage the scheme’s affairs and there will be far fewer disputes.

We  hope  that  this  information  assists  you  in  understanding  what  you  can  do  to  help  achieve  your objectives and those of your fellow owners, so that you may live harmoniously together in 2011

Security over the break

Some  handy  hints  to  improve  the  odds  that  your  property  will  be  secure  over  the  holiday  break.  Thieves look for opportunities while people are away.

  • Lock up effects like bikes, surfboards etc, ie don’t leave them on the common property or   where    they are highly visible.
  • Never buzz in strangers to the building, even if they seem trustworthy.
  • Never leave balcony doors unlocked, even in the warmer weather.
  • Ensure fire exit doors close after use - these provide  easy access to people to get into a   building.
  • Mark your property with your drivers license, so if stolen, the owner can be easily identified if   the item is recovered by the police.
  • Change your home message service to say you can’t come to the phone right now.  Do not   say you are away.

Christmas/New  Year arrangements

We will close at 3pm on 22 December and reopen 9am on 10 January 2011.

Our  emergency  service  operators  will  be  working  during  this  time,  24/7  to  attend  to  URGENT  repairs, ie  if  the  problem  is  not  rectified  within  a  few  hours  there  will  be damage/injury  to  person  or property, so call them on 0417 251 311  at any time.

They  do  not  have  access  to  your  files,  our  computer  system  to  look  up  levies  etc,  nor  the  authority  to arrange  ordinary  repairs  eg  cleaning  gutters,  rectifying  a  TV antenna. They  can  only  arrange  urgent repairs, with our usual contractors.

Should you have any queries regarding this service please call before 22 December.

Looking forward to 2011

We  trust  that  both  the  newsletters  and  talks  which  we  introduced  as  new  services  in  2010  has  been beneficial  to  you  and  your  scheme  and  we  look  forward  to  servicing  you  in  this  manner  in  2011.      If  you wish to suggest a subject for a newsletter, please email karina@prostrata.com.au