Shared from the 8/30/2019 The Age Digital Edition eEdition

Matching expectations with outcomes

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Owners corporation committees make decisions that can affect every apartment resident.

Buildings have become complex entities. Managing them with

owners requires aptitude.

A big question facing owners corporation committees is how to choose the right strata manager.

David Lin describes himself as a body corporate broker. His firm, Strata

Consultants, works to match good companies with strata committees and owners corporations in Melbourne, and

guides committees through the process of

changing body corporate management

companies.

For Lin and his team, job satisfaction comes from achieving a better outcome for apartment owners and body corporate committees, he says.

Buildings in 2019 have evolved to become

complex entities. Management of these entities requires aptitude and knowledge

across a multitude of legislation and regulations.

However, becoming a registered owners

corporation manager in Victoria remains staggeringly simple - and can be achieved in a matter of days.

"We've had committee members and chairpersons call us late at night with

questions and concerns about how their building is running - or should be running,"

Lin says. "We go the extra mile to ensure things are done right and committees adhere to the strata legislation when it comes to answering how to change body corporate services."

With new buildings, owners and investors inherit a lot of ingrained contracts from the builder or developer; with older buildings management companies often exhibit an element of complacency.

Strata Consultants has been working since 2014 to get buildings across Melbourne running efficiently and economically.

Lin says owners on body corporate committees are expected to make decisions that will impact every resident. However, unlike the directors of major companies, committee members may not have the expertise or time to do so. This can leave committees susceptible to being taken

advantage of.

"It's your building at the end of the day, you're one of 40, 50,100 owners, but the

management company bosses you about,

tells you what to do and charges you what they like. There's a definite power imbalance," Lin says.

"We try to get it right, so [committees] are

not changing management companies every few years. It's about quality, in terms of the

companies we work with and quality in what

we do. It's about doing the right thing by our

clients."

Lin's tips for committees overseeing the management of their buildings include:

Ask for regular financial statements from the owners corporation manager - quarterly financial statements if your owners corporation collects and spends more than $30,000 a year.

Review and scrutinise the expenses - all the different line items and the quantum of

each of the expenses - on the profit and loss statement.

Review and evaluate the assets and liabilities of the owners corporation. Are there sufficient funds to meet upcoming payments?

Request a bank statement for every bank account the owners corporation has. This

includes account and term deposit statements for both administration and

maintenance funds, across all the owners

corporations.

Cross check the cash at bank balances on the balance sheets to the bank statements and term deposit statements.

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