Levies – like them or loathe them if you live in a Strata Titled Property unfortunately “in most cases” you have to pay them.
In the second of our informational videos we hope to demistify “Strata Levies”.
As 2017 draws to a close I thought I might share a cross section of some of the positive feedback that our Team received throughout the year.
For those working in the Strata industry and in fact for anyone who provides consumer based services I am sure you would appreciate that receiving positive feedback is like that “magic” golf shot that motivates you to “come back for more”.
Before you read on, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, suppliers and partners who have supported us throughout 2017 and a very special thank-you to all of those who took time out of their valuable schedules to provide us with such positive feedback.
From the team at ESM we hope you have a safe and happy festive season and we look forward to working with all of you in 2018.
Please note, for privacy reasons I have removed the actual names of the person who provided the compliment and any direct reference to their property or business.
Just wanted to touch base and thank you personally for your extraordinary help and support , despite the many difficulties that have been put in front of you in regard to our Strata Complex.
I feel quite fortunate to be able to work with a Strata Manager who shows “real ” human qualities and absolutely no pretentious traits.
In all my dealings with you, you have always been polite, very efficient and always attended to any emails promptly. It obviously comes from your management, so well done!
Thank you very much for your excellent attention to detail and despite it being quite a handful at times you have been there to support the owners of our Strata Complex.
You are actually like “peas in a pod” and your assistance has been invaluable to me during recent times.
I know it is your job but you really do it so well.
I genuinely look forward to working with you on Council and getting our Strata Complex back on track.
I am a real estate agent of 20 years, I work in both sales and property management so my experience with a variety of Strata Managers is broad. I wanted to let you know that I have been so delighted to deal with your company in the sale of a unit in West Perth. The process from sign approval to information retrieval has been second to none. This in turn has made my job so much easier and has made what is usually a laborious and drawn out experience into a pleasant one.
The website is great and next time anyone asks me who I recommend in Strata management it will be you and your team!
I would like to provide some feedback to you on a member of your team. I recently needed some guidance on my Investment property that ESM manages.
Rhea is the Strata manager for our complex so it was her I was dealing with.
I cannot give Rhea enough praise for the manner in which she dealt with my request, she was nothing but obliging, helpful, supportive and cheerful every time we spoke on the phone.
My request was handled so efficiently I could not believe it especially after the last 5 years of the property being managed by another company. To say I am delighted we changed is an understatement and I would be grateful if you could pass on my thanks to Rhea.
Customer service should be at the top of your game and Rhea has that nailed!!
You are very lucky to have her and in this day and age people of her calibre should be acknowledged for all their hard work – she is a GEM!!
Owner – 19 Lot Scheme Canning Vale
Supplier/Owner rang and asked some questions regarding invoicing, GST and using new suppliers and said Peta from Accounts Payable was very helpful.
Rhea is a very knowledgeable, diligent and helpful Strata Manager who obviously presented our case well to her General Manager and I look forward to continuing working with her in the future for the benefit of our Strata.
Tie her to her desk and to never let her go – well done Eve.
I just wanted to express my thanks for what you are doing and what you have done for our little Tuart Hill complex, particularly after our recent AGM. You seem very in touch with what’s going on, both in our strata and in terms of all things strata-related and you are exactly what I’d hoped we would find in a manager when we came to ESM.
Thanks again and I look forward to seeing some of the works progressing in the coming months!!
Thanks David , ESM can be applauded for training their Staff – have noticed you are Level 2 now…… your excellent skills were reflected in the way you chaired the AGM – many thanks for that and we are looking for a long business relationship with ESM.
May I ask you, to pass our appreciation on to your Manager please.
Thank you Jake for the shortest ever AGM our Strata Company has ever had.
Please convey my thanks to your team especially Theresa Nolan who surely must be in line for Manager of the year.
Thanks very much. Exclusive Strata Management has provided excellent service to us as landlords since 2006 and we will be happy to strongly recommend your company to others looking forward.
Welcome to the first in a series of short blogs that will hopefully help you understand Strata Title
It’s a form of ownership that enables people to buy a “lot” within a “Strata Community”.
You own the lot as well as a share in the “common property”.
Strata Title properties can be:
And many others
If we look at a typical apartment complex in its simplest form you own the inside of your apartment and a share of the common property which can include:
And much more
Anything inside the boundary of your lot is yours to maintain and upkeep.
The common property on the other hand is maintained by the “Strata Company” which consists of you and all of the other owners in the Strata Community.
Well it isn’t really let me try to explain
When you buy a strata lot you will be required pay a fee to your Strata Company commonly called a “levy” which is generally issued each quarter.
These levies are to raise funds to pay for things like:
And other Strata Company expenses
The value of the levy has to be agreed by the majority of the owners at a general meeting and is calculated based on your unit of entitlement as a proportion of the total unit of entitlement for the Strata Company.
As a Strata Title owner you will also be required to abide by the Strata Company by-laws and Strata Company rules which are in place to ensure every owner and occupant experiences peaceful enjoyment of their lot and the common property.
If you want to have a say in how the Strata Company is managed you should always attend the general meetings and if inclined become a Council member as they are delegated the authority to carry out the functions of the Strata Company.
Need to know what constitutes your lot and what constitutes the common property?
You will need a copy of the Strata Plan and maybe some help from an expert.
If you do need some help why not call and talk to one of our friendly staff on 08 93621166
For those wanting to offer short-stay letting the emergence of online marketplace and hospitality service providers such as Airbnb and Stayz, whilst opening a new market for property investors and owners, has created chaos not only within the Strata Community but also throughout the greater WA property market.
The first obstacle to be overcome by any owner who may want to offer their property for short-stay letting is to determine if the local council allow short-stay.
Currently there are some local councils who actively support short-stay letting, some which require an application to be made by the owner and an approval to be granted by the local council prior to commencing short-stay and some local council’s that have completely banned the practice.
For owners of Strata Titled properties there may also be strata company by-laws that need to be considered prior to commencing short-stay letting.
Many Strata Titled properties throughout WA have introduced by-laws which encourage “residential” over “short-stay” occupancy.
Whilst these by-laws may not specifically state that owners are unable to engage in short-stay letting a recent case heard initially by the State Administrative Tribunal, later appealed to the Supreme Court and then to the Court of Appeal indicated that if the by-law states that a lot is to be used as a “residence” or by “residential tenants” then short-stay letting is not allowed.
The determination was made on the basis that the words “residence” and “resident” refer to an occupant who demonstrates the intention to reside at the lot for a substantial period or makes the lot a permanent place of abode.
So what if a Strata Company wants to allow short-stay letting?
For those Strata Companies that have by-laws in place that encourage “residential” over “short-stay occupancy the case referenced above may be further appealed to the High Court.
A Strata Plan is a registered document comprised of several pages of written descriptions, sketches and critical information about the lots.
The Strata scheme comes about when a parcel of land or a building on a property is legally divided into a number of separate lots(at least 2) which can include common property(in the case of a survey strata plan) laid out in a strata plan. Upon successful registration of a strata scheme each lot is issued with a separate title. Each lot can be made-up of more than one lot – in this case each part is called a part lot.
A Strata Plan consists of a location plan and a floor plan. The location plan shows the strata scheme with respect to the parcel of land and neighboring properties. The floor plan displays the boundaries of the buildings forming part of the strata plan for each of the individual lots and their respective boundaries within the strata plan. All other areas outside the boundaries of the lots as shown on the floor plan are defined as common property.
The first page of the strata plan includes the name of the scheme, the registered address of the scheme, the strata plan number in the top left hand corner, the date of the strata scheme when it was lodged for registration, the date it was examined, the date of registration,and confirmation that a management statement (by-laws) was/wasn’t put in place. Also included are the lot number of the strata plan and volume/folio from the certificate of title, local government details and a signed and dated approval from the chairman of the Western Australian Planning Commission.
Understanding and interpreting your strata plan can be very difficult, so please remember to contact your trained strata company manager at ESM for any assistance you require.
Unit entitlement is the relative proportion of each proprietor’s share of ownership in the whole of the strata or survey strata scheme. The unit entitlement determines three important rights and obligations of proprietors:
a) Voting rights of the proprietor
b) The proportion of the undivided share of the common property
c) And the proportion of the levy of contributions
Unit entitlement is determined by capital value in a strata scheme and by site value in a survey strata scheme. The units of entitlement are established by a licensed valuer whose valuation certificate is registered at Landgate with the strata plan.
As an owner you are obliged to contribute to levies, based on units of entitlement, for an administrative fund to adequately fund expenses such as insurance and maintenance of the common property.
Additionally, you may be required to pay another levy, based on units of entitlement, if the owners of the strata company decide to establish a reserve fund. The purpose of the reserve fund is to accumulate funds for future significant expenses such as a lift or roof replacement
At ESM, we assist many strata companies with disputes between residents commonly arising over issues including unauthorised parking of vehicles on common property or in another resident’s car bay, general maintenance issues, unauthorised pets which are causing a nuisance, loud noise complaints (including construction noise), and other issues. Some people tend to go into battle at the first sign of trouble rather than approaching the person or people concerned with the matter and putting forward their case. Some individuals are and will always remain difficult and treat other individuals in an unpleasant way. How they may act to get their point across and to be heard is beyond your control. However, at ESM we believe you can choose how you respond to them.
It is important to realise that the situation is in most circumstances not personal and that it is vital to have good communication with your neighbours. The best avenue to take is to sit down together at a mutual location and both sides discuss the matter calmly and come to an amicable solution that would suit you both. Try to reach a resolution before the problem escalates into something it should not.
Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 by-laws are in place to minimise these issues, and it is a requirement of each proprietor and resident to adhere to these by-laws. The elected Council of Owners of each strata company manage and enforce the by-laws. If you believe that a by-law is being breached, you should contact your Council of Owners to discuss the matter further. If necessary, the Council of Owners can send a letter to the party in breach, outlining the breach, seeking compliance with the relevant by-law(s). In most cases the party in breach is not aware that the by-law existed and that they were in breach of it. If they continue to breach the by-law then the Council of Owners can act to send a formal breach notice.
If the parties can still not come to an amicable solution or they simply refuse to comply or agree, the common courses of action would be to employ a third party representative to assist with mediation.
The default bylaw relating to the keeping of pets is contained in the Schedule 2 By-laws of the Strata Titles Act 1985 at Schedule 2, by-law 12(c)
12. Additional duties of proprietors, occupiers, etc.
A proprietor, occupier or other resident shall not —
(c) subject to section 42(15) of the Act, keep any animals on the lot that he owns, occupies or resides in or the common property after notice in that behalf given to him by the council.
NOTE: That sub-bylaw may have been amended or replaced in some schemes but there will usually be a by-law relating to the keeping of pets which the strata company is required to enforce.
The default by-law empowers the Council of Owners to give notice to a proprietor to not keep any animals on their lot, or the common property. Section 42(15) refers to the keeping of a dog used as a guide by a blind or partially blind person – this cannot be restricted.
The most usual interpretation is that if a pet is brought onto the property by an owner, occupier, or other resident, and this pet becomes a nuisance to any other resident at the complex, the Council of Owners has the authority to require the owner/custodian of the pet, to remove the pet.
Dogs and cats can be a common pet issue, due to the noise they make, or if allowed onto common property, damage or soiling of common areas.
Anyone wishing to have a pet within a strata titled property would be well advised to ask for approval to have a pet before bringing a pet onto the property. This approval, which will always be conditional, can be sought from the Council of Owners by way of the Strata Company Manager. Once approval has been granted the owner of the animal should ensure that the animal does not cause any inconvenience or nuisance to others and that it behaves in an appropriate manner.
Remember to always check the bylaws, and seek the approval of the Council of Owners through the Strata Manager when thinking of keeping a pet on strata titled property.