Overview of Services
At Real Strata we can tailor our service to meet the needs of all schemes. We understand that not all schemes are the same and each have their own unique set of needs.
Below is a list of the core services that we provide for all our schemes. This is a base list of the services we provide, but are not necessarily limited to. If there is a service that your building requires, however is not listed below, do not hesitate to contact our office and make enquiries. There is a good chance that we have provided the service or at least guided an Owners Corporation in the right direction regarding that particular service.
Repairs & Maintenance
Building works in excess of $20,000 in NSW require an extensive written contracts. Contracts outline the full extent of work being provided and the cost of that work.
They also outline many other matters such as statutory warranties, variation processes & costs, payment terms and much more.
Further information regarding contracts can be found on the Office of Fair Trading website, simply click on the link below:
We are able to review & enter into simple contracts for Owner Corporations, however where there are times where a legal expert should review the contracts.
An example where this would be recommended is when entering into a contract for major defect remedial works.
Communication is a key component to successfully managing any scheme. At Real Strata we treat all correspondence with the same level of importance.
We provide several means of corresponding with our office being normal post, email or fax. All correspondence is prioritised based on its level of urgency, with emergency repairs & issues taking priority.
Normally we will respond to all correspondence within 48 – 72 hours, however during peak times this may go out to a maximum of 5 business days. Our policy is that we will respond to your correspondence within 5 business days.
We maintain a correspondence folder for all schemes we manage where we will keep a copy of any correspondence that comes in or goes out of our office.
There are legislative requirements for the maintaining of a schemes records. Following is a list of the records that we maintain for any scheme:
Strata Roll – Contains all owners details
Common Seal – Official Corporation seal for use on legal documents
Minute Book – Used to store all important documents for the scheme such as Annual, extraordinary & executive committee agendas & minutes.
Correspondence – Where all incoming & outgoing correspondence is stored.
Accounts – Used to store all accounting data for the scheme.
Insurance – Holds insurance documents such policies, claims history & valuations.
Section 109 & 118 – Where all change of details & 109 certificates are stored.
Compliance – Holds fire certification, Work Health & Safety, and asbestos registers.
Minutes & Agendas – Where all past Annual, Extraordinary & Executive Committee agendas & minutes are stored. Includes proxy forms provided for each respective meeting.
Taxation – For storage of BAS & Income tax return documents are stored.
All records are maintained in accordance with the respective legislation in place.
Agendas & Minutes
Each scheme is required by law to hold an Annual General Meeting not earlier than 1 month before nor later than one month after the anniversary date of the first annual general meeting.
For most schemes the meeting will be held within 1 month of the financial year closing for the scheme. If the meeting is not held within this time frame a set of financial statements must be provided showing the to date figures up the day that the agenda was sent out.
At Real Strata we ensure that the meeting is held within the month after the financial year close.
From time to time an Extraordinary General Meeting may be called to resolve any pressing matters that require a decision of the Owners Corporation.
The Executive Committee of your scheme may also call & hold Executive Committee Meetings as required to make decisions on behalf of the Owners Corporation.
For all Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings an agenda must be issued to all owners. For Executive Committee Meetings an agenda can be placed on the notice board at the building if there is one installed.
After a meeting is held a set of minutes outlining the resolutions made should be issued to all owners. Once again for Executive Committee meetings a copy of the minutes can be placed on the notice board at the building if there is one installed.
Each year we compile a budget for each scheme we manage and provide the proposed budget with the agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
The budget is based on the financial year just past income & expenditure for the Administrative Fund, with projected increases in each of the budgeted items based on our experience.
These figures are projected figures put forward as a guide for owners to follow when deciding what to budget for the coming year.
The Sinking Fund budget is based on a Sinking Fund Forecast that all schemes are required to have by law, and as such we as Strata Managers are required to follow & advise owners as per the recommendations made by the professionals that compiled the Sinking Fund Forecast.
The ultimate say on what levies are budgeted for the following year is made as a majority vote by the Owners that attend the Annual General Meeting and vote on the budget.
As Strata Managers we always accept the decision made by a majority of Owners at the Annual General meeting as to what levies each quarter for your scheme.
Each scheme we manage will have their own trust account that all levy funds & key deposits will be made into. Payments to contractors, service providers and key refunds will also be made out of that trust account.
By having one trust account per scheme it removes any confusion with your accounts and helps us manage your accounts more effectively.
Under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 & Community Land Management Act 1989 there is no legal obligation for a managing agents to issue levy notices, however most agents understand that it is impractical to expect owners to know what levies they have to pay & when to pay them.
You have 30 days grace from the due date to pay your levy without penalty. If you do not pay within the 30 day grace period, interest will start to accumulate at a rate of 10% per annum calculated daily until payment is made.
Interest on unpaid levies is provisioned under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 & Community Land Management Act 1989, therefore it is a charge imposed under state legislation.
Levies are paid quarterly in advance. We will print & issue your levy notice at minimum two weeks in advance. Levies will be issues as per your preferred means of service. This can be by way of Australia Post in the mail, or by email.
It is important that you update your mailing or email address whenever you move or change your address.
THIS MUST BE DONE IN WRITING TO OUR OFFICE. We are unable to take a change of details over the phone, the legislation makes it clear that this must be done in writing.
The same applies for owner investors who change managing real estate agents, ensure your agent advises our office in writing about where the levies & correspondence are to be issued.
We see many owners get caught out by forgetting to change their address details with their strata managers and end up incurring late payment or levy arrear fees as a result.
It is good practice to ensure that your Strata Manager has your correct phone number, mailing or email address as we will always endeavour to contact you before commencing any levy arrear action in order to minimise fees that may be incurred.
Levy Arrears Collection
We have a solid procedures in levy arrear collection and have a proven track record in recovering levies.
The Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 & Community Land Management Act 1989 allow for any fees & charges incurred by an Owners Corporation when recovering levies, to be passed onto the owner who is in arrears.
Fees & charges can become costly the longer the debt remains unpaid as it becomes necessary to engage solicitors or lawyers to submit court documents when submitting statement of claims for levy recovery.
Levy arrears recovery can be avoided by doing the following:
Ensure we have your correct details at all times.
Be aware of when your levies are due and contact our office if you have not received your levy notice. Unfortunately things do happen to mail from time to time that is beyond our control.
If you are going away for a long period of time contact our office and ask for a levy notice or use an old notice to pay the next quarters levy. Levies paid in advance will be credited to your account and used when the levy generation is done for the next quarter.
Contact our office in writing if you are experiencing problems with payment of your levies. We understand that everyone can go through hardship from time to time, however there are options such as entering into payment plans to pay off levies.
Our preference is to avoid commencing action to recover levies and this can easily be done by following the simple steps above.
BAS & Tax Returns
Being an Owners Corporation means that an income tax return needs to be submitted to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) annually. The income tax return needs to be submitted by a registered tax agent.
In order to minimise the costs of doing this for our Owners Corporations we compile as much information as we can in order to make it easier for the tax agent.
Schemes that generate in excess of $75,000 in income are required by law to be registered for GST. Once registered for GST it is a requirement to submit a Business Activity Statement on a quarterly basis by a registered tax agent.
Once again to keep the costs of the Owners Corporation down we compile as much information for the tax agent which means they spend less time on this task, resulting in reduced costs for the Owners Corporation.
Once assessed credits are refunded to the owners, or alternately tax is paid to the ATO if required and all amounts are registered in the statement of accounts for the Owners Corporation.
During the course of any financial year for a scheme we manage the accounts. All income & expenditure is tracked and recorded in Stratamax
At the end of the financial year a full set of financial statements is provided to all owners with the agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
The statements are comprised of:
Income & expenditure for the Administrative Fund.
Income & expenditure for the Sinking Fund.
Lot arrears analysis
The accounts are kept up to date on a daily basis using BCmax software.
When an Owners Corporation has excess funds sitting in their day to day account, it can be beneficial to place part of those funds into an investment account to earn a high level of interest.
These can either be on-call cash managed accounts where funds can be accessed by providing 24 hours’ notice or a term deposit where the funds must remain for the full term to receive full return on their investment.
We are able to manage investment accounts through our banking partner.
Insuring your property is a legal requirement under the legislations that bound an Owners Corporation. Ensuring you get the right cover at the best price can be done by shopping around.
We have several avenues available to Owner Corporations in order to provide quotes from different insurers. We can either deal directly with the insurers themselves or engage the convenience of an insurance broker who will do the leg work for you and get several comparative quotes.
Either way we are committed to getting the best deal for the schemes we manage.
Once we obtain quotes for the building insurance renewal, based on what decision was made at the Annual General Meeting, we will ensure that your schemes policy will be renewed on time every time.
We understand the risk of being uninsured and have developed systems that keep track of insurance renewals. This means that we have time to get valuations prepared if required and obtain quotes prior to renewal being due.
We also keep track of your finances and take any necessary action to ensure funds are available for the renewal.
Where required we will submit claims to the respective insurer for any expenditure undertaken as a result of a claimable loss.
We are well versed in each respective insurer’s policies to ensure that we understand what can & can’t be claimed under the policy.
We also understand the insurer’s procedures in respect of claims, and follow these in order to ensure speedy claim resolutions.
By law every 5 years every scheme must have a building valuation performed by a registered building valuer for insurance purposes.
Once resolved by the Owners Corporation to undertake a valuation, we have several companies that can perform this service.
Once the valuation has been obtained the Owners Corporation are required to follow the recommendations made in the valuation.
We are able to assist schemes with building defect issues. We have successfully managed defect claims in the past and are able to advise owners on how best to proceed with building defect issues.
Mediation & Tribunal Attendance
From time to time an Owners Corporation may be required to defend action being taken against them by an Owner. If required we are able to attend mediation at the Office of Fair Trading or hearings at the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal. Some matters may require legal representation, if required we will advise the Owners Corporation accordingly.
Legal & By-Law Advice
There may come a time where an Owners Corporation need to engage legal advice on a particular matter. This may be levy arrear recovery, by-law breaches or drafting of by-laws to be registered, or tribunal hearings in defence of various matters. We have used and can recommend several leading legal firms that specialise in Strata matters.
Cost Reduction Programs
Saving money is everyone’s aim these days and there are now industries that are dedicated to seeing where money can be saved. We have successfully implemented cost reduction programs in the past such as replacement of inefficient lighting with LED variants, negotiating better electricity supply contracts to save money and installation of water saving devices on plumbing fixtures. We are constantly reviewing various programs to determine their viability for our schemes.
Submission of Applications
Where required we are able to submit required applications on behalf of our schemes. The most common would be tree removal or trimming applications. There are however a myriad of others that we have had to submit on behalf of schemes in the past. In order to minimise delays we ensure that these applications are completed correctly.
We have in the past successfully negotiated favourable outcomes for schemes for services such as lift maintenance, grounds maintenance, building management and fire services maintenance.
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