As an owner in a strata titled property you have certain rights and responsibilities such as acting reasonably and with a community spirit, ensuring that you and others respect the by-laws for your strata company at all times.
This includes things such as:
1. Parking correctly
2. Appearance of your lot
3. Peaceful enjoyment
4. Behaviour of owners, occupiers, tenants and visitors
5. Garbage storage & disposal
6. Keeping of animals
7. Consideration of other people and their property
And these responsibilities continue when tenanting out your property.
As an owner you are responsible for your tenants and their guests behaviour at all times, by tenanting out your property this does not mean that you may appoint and remove yourself from this responsibility.
It is important that you select your property manager based upon what services they will deliver to you and your tenant.
Effectively your property manager is the conduit between you and your tenants, poorly informed or managed tenants inevitably breach the by laws for the strata at some stage and this can result in breach notices being issued to you direct as you are unavoidably responsible for the behaviour of your tenants and their guests.
Due to the nuisance caused by tenants not abiding by the by laws, we are seeing some strata companies adopt additional by laws. These see owners being charged for administrative and other costs relating to issuing of breach notice(s). This has seen a reduction in poor behaviour at these schemes, however if poor behaviour continues the strata company may issue a notice to an owner to terminate the tenancy agreement based upon persistent and willful breaching of the by laws of the scheme.
Some points to consider and understand prior to appointing your property manager:
1. Enquire as to their beliefs on how the strata company works; i.e. who is the strata company, what responsibilities do owners have, what responsibilities tenants have. Unfortunately some property managers think that the strata company is the appointed manager and not all owners collectively, resulting in a, us and them mindset and financial demands on the strata company for the benefit of tenants not owners.
2. Period of employment with the agency, attrition of staff causes loss of information and loss of control over the property.
3. Rigorous screening of tenants, your property is a major investment, ensure that your tenants are screened accordingly, improper screening sees unruly behaviour, loss to the strata company, diminished property values, loss of rent, damage to your investment which may not be recoverable through insurance etc. See that all tenants are thoroughly screened by your agent to ensure that they understand what is required living in a strata scheme/community; – noise, nuisance, pets, parking, maintaining gardens, rubbish management.
4. See that the Tenancy agreement includes:
a. A current copy of the strata plan (highlighting common areas) by laws and or management statements and other community living house rules.
b. Specific guidelines on maintenance required such as gardening, bin management, parking, visitors bays and the maintenance you expect them to do. These should be clearly set out within the tenancy agreement,
5. To avoid complaints from fellow owners, breach notices or diminished property values, ensure that your property manager regularly monitors the condition of your unit and garden on a regular basis, and sees that your tenants are aware that they must abide by the by laws at all times.
REMEMBER living in a strata property is more than living in close proximity to others; it is living in a community, a live community. These communities allow people to live in close proximity to one another, and as such the right in doing so allows peaceful and private enjoyment for all occupiers.
Tenanting out your property does not remove you from your responsibilities or fiduciary duties of being an owner in a strata scheme and as an owner. You are responsible for the actions of your property manager, tenant and their guest(s). In doing so this is key to seeing that you and other owners investment is protected at all times, and a greater community spirit and sense of belonging is achieved.
© Liz Florence, Abode Strata.