So, your strata council has decided to appoint a strata manager.
Now you need to source and select one. But how do you choose the right one for your strata company?
To start, when you put out the call for a strata manager, you will need a set of criteria for the person (and his or her proposal) to meet. Once received, you can evaluate all submissions against these criteria, enabling the council to make an objective assessment of which candidate is most likely to meet the strata company’s needs.
The following criteria are generally considered essential.
The applicant is a member of an industry body and, if applicable, accredited.
The proposal is clear and persuasive and for an initial contract period not exceeding two years.
The applicant uses a comprehensive and clear management agreement.
The applicant has professional indemnity insurance.
The applicant uses strata-specific specialist software.
The proposal includes detailed schedules of agreed and additional services, plus service and transactional fees.
The applicant uses electronic banking facilities and operates a trust account for all strata company funds.
The applicant has a list of fully insured, reliable and competitive contractors and service providers.
The applicant offers a communication guarantee and encourages council involvement.
The applicant discloses any commissions received.
The applicant has direct experience with this size and type of scheme.
In an interview or conversation, the applicant shows good working knowledge and understanding of:The Act
Duties and powers of strata companies, councils and owners
The composition of lots and common property
Application and enforcement of procedural and behavioural by-laws
Meeting protocol and procedures
Accrual accounting and budgeting principles
Financial reporting and frequency requirements
Record keeping, security and privacy
Desirable Qualities of a Strata Manager
There are also a number of qualities or qualifications many strata councils consider desirable in a strata managers. These may include:
The candidate comes recommended by another strata company, councillor or owner.
The management proposal has been tailored to this proposed or existing strata/survey-strata scheme.
The candidate has met with a councillor or visited the property, and enquired about any unique or unusual factors that affect the management process, as well as asking the reasons for seeking a new strata manager.
The candidate provides an owner awareness package/welcome pack and emergency contact details
The candidate shows good interpersonal skills.
The candidate has been in business for at least two years and has a reputation for honesty, fairness and professionalism, with a willingness to provide references.
The candidate provides facilities such as a website with owner login area, record storage facilities, or council meeting facilities.
Making the Choice
Make sure all councillors have copies of the submissions in advance of the meeting to assess the applications. It's common for two or more submissions to be equally strong, so it is a good idea to proceed to an interview stage with shortlisted candidates. Always remember that, while it is a management firm being appointed, it's an individual staff member of the firm who will actually provide the agreed services. Also remember to ask what the rate of staff attrition is at that company, as the person you're dealing with could potentially change before you know it - if the business has a high staff turnover.
If you choose to conduct interviews, the council should prepare a structured series of questions or subjects to cover. These questions will help you gather information about the capability and attitude of the candidate being interviewed and come to a happy consensus.
Abode Strata Management is a WA-based boutique strata management company providing residential and commercial strata management. Abode specialises in efficient, tailored solutions and sensitive management of people, for small residential right up to large mixed-use developments. Follow Abode on Linked In.