In NSW there are 1.1million people living in either Strata managed buildings or community living. A strata scheme is a building, or collection of buildings, where the property that each individual owns is called a ‘lot’ (for example, an apartment, villa or townhouse) and all the owners share ownership of and responsibility for the ‘common property’, such as external walls, foyers and driveways.
While there are many benefits of owning a Strata property, it’s essential to understand your obligations and gain insight into just how the specific strata management of your proposed property is being run.
Vicky Sherry, Principal of Strata Nirvana in Newcastle says her business was born out of a need to help a growing number of homeowners who feel prey to the cost and headache of a poorly run Strata.
“I was overwhelmed by the number of people I heard tell me how they didn’t know what was happening with their Strata, or tenants who are unhappy with poorly maintained Strata buildings or battles with neighbours.”
Vicky is an experienced licensed strata manager and Justice of the Peace. She holds a Diploma in Strata Management and is former licensee in charge. Nirvana Strata produce pre-purchase reports for prospective buyers and more increasingly real estate agents, that delve into the health of the Strata.
“It’s not always about the financials, although that’s a big part. It’s about the harmony of the Strata, how well things are being run and how satisfied all members of the Strata or their tenants are.,” she begins.
Vicky says that while reports are comprehensive and can span hundreds of pages, there are some key things that signal a well run Strata.
“Adequate funds are crucial, are they managing and is the budget enough to ensure the building is properly maintained. are there any legal battles or disputes among neighbours and is the fire safety statement up to date,”
Much of Vicky’s work is undertaken with self managed Strata arrangements, which account for 45 per cent of all Strata buildings in NSW.
“There’s a good proportion of self managed Stratas that might include long term or elderly residents. Often these arrangement are quite casual in nature but if a owner passes away for example and the unit is then bought by a young couple, the agreements don’t stand up and the Strata faces compliance issues,” explains Vicky.
“It pays to make sure you understand what is happening with your Strata.”