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Flat Chat

Finding a Good Strata Manager

Strata managers are an essential cog in the running of apartment buildings, especially large ones. But when things go wrong, they can often appear to be little more than a necessary evil.

QUESTION: We are unhappy with our current strata managers and need to sign up a new one quickly as relations are deteriorating rapidly and their contract is about to run out. What's the easiest way to get a good Strata Manager and avoid making the same mistakes again.
CK, St Leonards

ANSWER: This is a common question and we've addressed various aspects previously. But the simplest way is to log on to the Institute of Strata Titles Managers ( click on the "Find a Strata Manager" button, punch in your post code and you'll get a list of strata managers who are based in or cover your area. There are strata managers who aren't part of the ISTM but you probably don't want to even know them.

Then you should match the size of the strata management companies with the size of your building. If you are a small building, you might be better off with a small local company operating out of an estate agents, for instance. If you are a large building, then you may want one of the bigger firms.

Then call at least three of them up and tell them you want to meet the actual manager who will be dealing with your building. And you want two references (with phone numbers) from buildings that have been managed by that specific person.

Then compile a short list and get your EC to interview them, being clear about what you expect them to do for you. If there is a clause their contract that gives them permission to sell your business to another company at some future date, insist on having it removed. If they want to sell your contract to another firm they can ask you when the situation arises.

And make sure they're prepared to arrange the best insurances for you - not the one that gives them the best "commission", or kickbacks, as these payments are often known. If they refuse to budge on either issue, tell them you'll take your business elsewhere.

First published SMH September 2006