The many perceived complexities of managing a strata scheme can be simplified with open communication
IT'S NICE TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH
The name Prior Strata has been synonymous with managing Sydney's strata for over 40 years. Our experience has shown that the many perceived complexities of managing a strata scheme can be simplified with open communication, through a mix of technology, simply picking up the phone and good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. As a smaller company this is one of our key strengths. In fact, every resident has access to Andrew, the owner of Prior Strata and requests don't sit idle in multiple email inboxes before being actioned.
REDUCING THE BURDEN ON COMMITTEES
Our dedicated team provides real solutions backed by exemplary customer service that significantly reduces the time burden placed on committees, owners and residents so you can enjoy your home.
But it's also the simple things we do that sets us apart. Like your choice of contractor, meetings at a venue and time that suits you, providing full access to your documents - keeping you in control.
We provide tangible, proactive strategies to maintenance and strata living in general. These strategies are based on the principals of providing control and comfort to committees, owners and residents, open communication and not only having a deep understanding of your building's history but your plan for its future to protect its value and make it a desirable place to live.
We take the time to really get to know your building and its residents
BUILDING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Experience shows that having a strong sense of community where residents feel welcome delivers long-term benefits. A community that has mutual respect amongst residents with a sense of neighbourly responsibility attracts a higher standard of resident (tenants and owners) that care for one another, the building and its amenities.
When residents have a sense of pride in their home, wear-and-tear is reduced, running costs are lower, tenant turnover decreases and these outcomes enhance the long-term value of your home and your investment. - Simply put, it becomes a great place to live!
That's why we're here to assist and don’t ignore issues like noisy neighbours, poor parking, renovation works on a Sunday, or washing left hanging for a week at a time.
If there's an issue in your building, it's also our issue
PROACTIVE STRATA MANAGEMENT
Our proactiveness is often complemented. We know that just like repairs, resident concerns such as excessive noise need to be addressed before they become problematic and costly. We work closely with committees when matters arise, to seek resolution in a respectful, supportive manner and bring the building back to a state of harmony and happiness.
PARKING AND GARBAGE
Continued unfair use of visitor parking and inconsiderate waste disposal can have a big impact on community spirit. If it's an issue for your building and your current strata manager is ignoring your requests to assist, get in touch with Prior Strata to understand how we can help.
DAMAGE TO COMMON PROPERTY
Damage tends to happen due to simple carelessness or disregard for common property. A positive neighbourly relationship between residents and a pro-active Strata Committee and Strata Manager, like Prior Strata can improve the respect and care for a building.
We put strategies in place to decrease future damage and ensure wilful damage to common property is not the burden of the owners corporation. With this approach, you can reduce long-term cost and maintain the appeal of the building.
LAUNDRY FACILITIES AND WASHING
Shared laundry and washing facilities make good sense when space in your home is limited. When machines are serviced appropriately and cared for by residents, their overall cost to the owners corporation is reduced. We work with residents to ensure these shared facilities are maintained and kept clean with well documented instructions and by-laws. In addition, 'sharing' the shared facilities thoughtfully can have a very positive impact on the building: it may seem a small area, but this is an example of the minute detail we give focus to.
When we take on managing a new building, more often than you care to think, we learn of illegal renovations that have occurred. Generally, owners want to do the right thing. Many renovations without an approval occur because of a lack of understanding of what is required. Our communication and preparedness to educate and guide owners through the renovation process reduces this risk.
Unfortunately, there are occasions where a complete disregard for the required approvals occurs: often with the renovation completed to a low standard by unlicensed trades. Here too, we work closely with committees on behalf of all owners to ensure illegal renovations are documented to protect the building from any unnecessary cost of repairs, providing mediation and practical advice to all parties for resolution.
The topic of pet's in community and strata schemes is receiving more and more attention by residents, committee members and our legislators as living density increases. We've had fantastic outcomes working with committees through some very unique requirements that have resulted in a win-win outcome for all parties.
An effective repair and maintenance strategy keep the residents safe and in harmony
We take the time to get to know your building and its intricacies while working closely with the committee to ensure proactive measures are put in place to reduce long term running costs and mitigate risks before they become issues. We also foster open lines of communication between all parties - the committee, owners, tenants, letting agents, building manager and your service providers so things happen smoothly and effectively.
While we have a long list of preferred and trusted trades that you can rely on, we are happy to work with the contractors of your choosing and engage their services on your behalf, as we respect the long term relationship you have and their knowledge of your building.
As your Agent, we also ensure our relationship with your contractors is strong. How do we do this? Andrew takes the time meeting contractors to understand their service philosophy and build the relationship so that when you have an emergency, your repairs and your needs are prioritised.
We can be uncompromising when dealing with developers as we are not compromised
Unlike some strata managers, we don't offer 'developer services' and are therefore truly independent in dealings with the developer on your behalf. We've worked with owners bullied by the developer and unsupported by the original strata manager, allowing construction defects to be paid using the owner's Capital Works Fund, not by the developer as they should be.
Providing a planned approach, we work hard for owners to ensure they are not unnecessarily out of pocket. We collaborate with independent advisors to ensure owners are protected and the building is finished to the standard it was originally intended. If this scenario sounds familiar, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.
We're here to take the burden away and provide peace of mind
Our fee philosophy is one of fairness and transparency: for all owners equally. We structure our service agreement to meet your needs, making it easy for you to understand so there are no surprises. It will cover the tasks we agree to carry out, but these go beyond the day-to-day, as strata management is not just about reacting to requests, organising works and paying the bills. We have a proactive approach to maintenance and community issues to deliver you long-term benefits and manage costs, with strategies to provide savings and less pressure on your quarterly levies!
It's not like changing banks, we're here to make it easy
The switch to Prior Strata is easy, our comprehensive ‘Uncomplicated Strata Switch’ plan ensures a fast and seamless process. Upon appointment, we ease the previous burden on committees, implementing a plan with set milestones to complete any outstanding long-term issues as well as reviewing your file and reporting on any anomalies. You'd be surprised what we find!
Before we even receive the building's file from the outgoing strata manager, we aim to:
- Communicate with all owners, tenants and letting agents and provide all appropriate Prior Strata contact details.
- Call and introduce Prior Strata to YOUR key contractors.
- Inspect the building and log any outstanding and new issues.
- Implement an agreed plan to complete any outstanding issues/tasks and get your building back to normal.
- Where applicable, schedule site meetings with your onsite building manager.
- Schedule any necessary meetings with either the Strata Committee or owners at a date and place that suits you.
We manage the building in a manner that suits you, for you
- You have access to Andrew, the owner of Prior Strata.
We more than 'do', we use our experience to advise and guide.
- Our stewardship is based on assisting owners make decisions that adds value to your property.
- We solve problems effectively in a manner that suits you, so you can get back to enjoying your home.
- Like you, we want you to have the lowest levies possible over the life of your ownership. That's why we plan ahead, implementing cost management and preventative maintenance solutions today.
- We come to you, not the other way around.
- Meetings out of hours, and yes, even Saturdays!
Our base fee includes many of the 'extras' others charge.
- Monthly financial reports providing complete transparency over your funds.
- Online access to your files.
- Maintain important registers, including a register of major assets and warranties: did you know shower repairs can come with 20-year warranties? We ensure the warranty register is kept for 20 years, not just the legislated 7 years for strata records!
- Implementing and administering a by-law framework that works.
Essentially, Prior Strata works with committees and owners to ensure your building is serviced to the highest standard in a way that suits you.
Simplifying every piece of the puzzle ensures a clear approach
If there is an issue within your building a logical go-to is NSW strata legislation, but rather than providing guidance it can often seem complicated and bureaucratic and in some cases more illogical than the building's internal politics!
We simplify. At Prior Strata, we take the time to listen and understand the issues of all stakeholders - committee members owners, residents, letting agents and where relevant, your contractors and neighbours. They're all part of the strata jigsaw and have important voices that shape your community.
By taking the time to understand each piece, we are able to present these views in a straightforward, impartial and pragmatic manner, applying relevant legislation in a way that is easy to understand.
Boring to others, essential foundations to us
Systems and processes may be a yawn for some, but for Prior Strata these are essential building blocks. We work on getting all the details right from the outset. From helping the committee improve their communication processes to ensuring you get the right services in place (contractors, preventative maintenance contracts and insurances) that improve your standard of living.
If you have defects, as nearly all buildings do to varying degrees, finding the right expert is paramount, just like an expert witness in a court case, experts that are impartial with your interest central to their concern. Prior Strata will work with owners to engage the appropriate impartial experts as well as implementing and communicating the defect rectification process to all. For example, with legislated deadlines for lodgement of claims with developers, our focussed and well-planned approach will ensure timelines are met and the developers defect bond is not released until all defects have been satisfactorily repaired.
A simple call to us today could make a big difference to your building.
Maybe you just need a little help or advice from time to time?
Are you a self-managed committee that doesn't have the capacity or experience to work through a one-off project? This is where we can help!
We meet great self-managed communities all the time that are effective, communicative and maintain their building to a very high standard. But sometimes, unique situations arise where the legislation appears either unclear or silent. Other times, it’s a major project or improvement program. Prior Strata provides an advice service to efficiently and effectively steer committees, that will save you time and reduce any risk of non-compliance.
Running your strata scheme can sometimes feel overwhelming even to the most organised, with constant resident requests and an ever-changing legislative framework. If other committee members are unable or unwilling to assist, it can also feel very isolated.
Prior Strata has helped self-managed committees implement the right solution. Our focus is as narrow or broad as you need, everything from levy setting and collections, meeting preparation or administration, by-law frameworks to document management and archiving. Importantly, we aim to assist with fulfilling your compliance requirements and protecting committee members against any personal liability.
We can review your systems, templates and general protocols and where necessary provide alternate options to set the building up for success.
Does it feel like the more times you request a call back, the less chance it will actually happen?
If you are experiencing the 'sound of silence' it could be your existing strata manager is out of their depth resolving some of your issues, or have been given too many buildings to manage. But how do you know which is the case and therefore how to go about resolving the matter?
As an independent advisor acting on your behalf, we know how to gain their attention for you and either get the building issues resolved, or help you find a strata manger that can and will step up.
LOCKED INTO A LONG-TERM CONTRACT
If your strata manager's performance has become untenable and you still have time left on your contract, there are early termination options we can help with. We've assisted buildings leave their strata manager while under contract, getting the building back on track and supported to the standard it needs to be.
What comes up doesn't always calm down
At no fault of the committee, issues can manifest and then very easily escalate. It may be parking, rubbish or parties, or a defect that has deteriorated quickly. These and many other causes can start to impact the community spirit, further exacerbated by unavailable committee members making you feel isolated or internal politics creating a strain or unfair bias, giving that feeling of being stuck in traffic. Courageous and decisive action may be required: this is where we can help.
Professional outside help is often what is needed. Prior Strata can help by bringing all parties together to resolve the situation or merely act as a support to guide you through the process. Whatever approach we take, we advise that you start documenting the issue and call our office for assistance.
Great self-managed communities sometimes need a hand
Managing the day-to-day is something self-managed communities do really well. But a major project can be complex and time consuming for a stretched committee just keeping up with the day-to-day. Good project management will not only save you time and stress, but can also save you money by finding the right contractors at the right price.
We have extensive experience with water penetration issues, concrete spalling, roof repairs, general plumbing as well as replacing or upgrading essential items that have reached the end of their useful life such as lifts, major electrical services, general plumbing and windows to name but a few.
We have a long list of preferred and trusted engineers and trades we work with, plus our depth and breadth of experience proactively managing projects for existing clients.
When common sense is absent or common courtesy is overlooked
We know from experience that well-structured by-laws can provide a framework for accountability that avoids additional maintenance and legal costs and helps maintain the harmony within a building.
But if your by-laws do not meet the specific needs of your building things can easily go awry. The Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 sets out a number of model by-laws that provide a framework for modern strata rules. They are a great start, but from time to time they may need adjusting or additions to keep pace with modern living. Is Airbnb covered in your by-laws? What other gaps are there?
Get in touch to understand the benefits of a having a sound, supportive up-to-date framework.
It's all about you
Prior Strata was established to provide Sydney's strata owners with a distinctive, boutique style management service. Over 40 years on this philosophy remains true, we purposely remain a smaller, family orientated business, so our customers continue to receive a high level of service and advice.
We serve the greater Sydney area, managing a variety of building sizes and styles. But our commitment to each is to deliver recommendations and advanced approaches to all facets of the building in a simple, easy to understand manner that adds value to homes, investments and the building community.
Prior Strata has always been customer first, working with you to reduce the time burden so many owners and committees experience. It may seem a simple example, but we actually prefer to hold meetings on site, it furthers our knowledge and understanding of your building and its residents, not to mention the common sense approach of 1 or 2 people travelling to you, not 4, 8 or 30+ owners travelling to another venue.
Our approach is to provide you with the facts to give peace of mind and confidence that Prior Strata is carrying out your instructions in full and on time, with your interest our priority. When guidance is needed, we provide practical solutions to problems that are well thought out and planned to mitigate excessive costs and disruption to residents. And if issues arise, we are just a phone call away.
How we help others build their community
We don't just give lip service to building a sense of community, beyond the advice and assistance we provide to buildings that is geared to this approach, we support others to ensure an impact is felt more broadly. Our support of the Owners Corporation Network, the not-for-profit that supports strata owners, is a top priority for this reason. StreetSmart, the not for profit that assists communities at a micro-level, where assistance is needed most, is an organisation whose work we value. See the projects the support from Prior Strata helps to fund.
When working with your community, we strive to deliver a high-quality and responsive service that puts customer’s priorities first. Our advice maintains compliance, is impartial, seeks fairness but also to protect its stakeholders, the building’s long-term value and promotes a community its residents are proud to call home.
Tired of meetings that drag on, or issues that never conclude?
8 TIPS FOR UNCOMPLICATED STRATA MEETINGS
Prior Strata has been managing Sydney's strata for over 40 years, which is why we know a thing or two about effective meetings.
We've compiled some useful tips that reflect what our business is all about – uncomplicated strata management and advice.
Complete the form below to download your free copy. Then get in touch and let us know how your next meeting goes or if you want to find out more.