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FAQs

Our team at i.fresh strata are here to make the process of strata management and strata title management easy and stress-free. Below are some frequently asked questions that often get put to our strata managers, which might be able to answer any questions you have about strata management.


Can the Council of Owners change the strata manager?

Under Section 44 of the Act, all of the functions of the strata company are carried out by the Council of Owners. This means that they have the ability to appoint a new strata manager. However, it’s possible that your current strata manager has a binding contract in place, and there may also be additional by-laws that exist which restricts this authority. Therefore, we advise you check your current contracts and by-laws.

What are the steps involved in changing to i.fresh strata?

Once the Council of Owners have selected the type of service they’d like, the process is relatively simple. The outgoing management company is advised, and a handover date is set. From there, our team at i.fresh strata will collect your strata company's books, records, keys, remotes and plans from your previous manager, and we’ll then integrate them into our internal filing system. The financial records are loaded into our system and copies of your strata plan, by-laws, minutes and insurance certificates are published on our website.

We’ll arrange for owners to be allocated login details to our website, and all property managers and vendors are advised of the change. During this time, your strata manager will work with the Council of Owners to address any outstanding maintenance and management issues there may be.

How are individual levy amounts decided?

Unless there is a by-law to the contrary, the levies can only be raised in accordance with Unit Entitlement. Unit Entitlement is set by a Licensed Valuer. The Unit Entitlement shows the relative proportion of each owner's share in the scheme.

Who decides how much my levies will be?

The owners determine what the levy amounts will be at an Annual General Meeting. This Annual General Meeting is usually based on the strata company budget. From here, the budget is decided based on what the owners estimate the running costs of the strata company will be for the upcoming financial year.

Why have my levies gone up?

The owners at an Annual General Meeting have determined that the current levy contributions were inadequate. This means they have consequently agreed to increase the levy amounts. Some of the reasons why owners would agree to increase the levy contribution include factors such as an increase in electricity costs and insurance premiums. It is important to note that as owners, there’s a responsibility to repair and maintain the common property at all times, meaning that funds are required to be available for this.

Can our strata manager decide what is discussed at Annual General Meetings?

Your strata manager can’t decide what is discussed at the Annual General Meeting, as this is a responsibility of the Council of Owners. In an Annual General Meeting, there are several items that must be considered, including things like the budget, election of councilors and levy contributions. Items that owners have raised with their council throughout the year are often also discussed at these meetings.

What can be voted on at an Annual General meeting?

Items that are on the agenda can be voted on at an Annual General Meeting. This does not mean that there cannot be general discussion on items of strata interest, but such discussions are always with the approval of the chairperson.

Someone is playing loud music at 3am, so what can I do?

If you feel comfortable enough, you can try approaching your neighbours in the first instance. If this is not an option for you, we have found that the most effective way to handle this problem is to call the police. From here, it’s important to then contact your strata manager the next working day and report the incident.

Someone is parked in my car bay, what can I do?

Your car bay is likely to be your property and not common property, so it is an owner responsibility. For this reason, it can be difficult for your strata manager to provide assistance, which is why we suggest often a note left on the vehicle can resolve the problem. However, if the problem reoccurs, you can contact the local authority and/or the police. Your strata manager will, however, try and assist where they can.

Where can I learn more about understanding strata titles?

We recommend you visit www.stratatitlesperth.com.au. This resource is an easy read and is a must for all owners of strata titled property, or for potential purchasers of strata titled property.

What is strata title?

A strata titled lot can be defined as ‘a defined portion of a building, group of buildings or land for which a separate Certificate of Title is issued’. Strata title allows for individual ownership of part of a property called a ‘lot’, combined with shared ownership in the remainder called ‘common property’, including the likes of driveways, foyers, gardens and lifts.

How can you tell what you own and what is common property?

If you are unclear about which parts you own, refer to you Strata Plan. All lots and part lots are defined by black lines on the Strata Plan. The common property areas are those not contained within the black lines. There is often little consistency in terms of boundary definition, resulting in each plan being different. All owners and property managers should familiarise themselves with their individual Strata Plan to avoid unnecessary costs for repairs that maybe attributable to the strata company.

•  Part Lots: Part lots are all the parts that make up the whole lot i.e. store rooms, balconies, car bays, carports etc.
•  Common Property: Common property is all the land and building that does not belong to the individual lot. It is jointly owned by all owners and the strata company is responsible for its management.

What is a strata company?

A strata company is created upon the registration of a Strata Plan at Landgate.  A strata company is also known as a strata scheme and is made up of all owners (registered proprietors) of the lots comprising the Strata Plan.

What are the duties of a strata company?

Some of the principle duties of strata companies are to;

•  Enforce the by-laws
•  Control and manage the common property for the benefit of all proprietors
•  Properly maintain and where necessary, renew and replace common property, including the fittings and fixtures used in connection with the common property

What is the role of a strata manager?

The role of the strata manager is to work cooperatively with the Council of Owners to successfully manage, maintain and administer all aspects of the common property. Strata managers also work to foster an appropriate community environment for all owners.

A strata manager cannot be delegated matters or make decisions on behalf of the strata company. For example, a strata manager can only engage contractors or spend trust funds once instructed by the Council of Owners.

A strata manager is generally appointed for a fixed term such as one or two years under a contract that is also known as Management Agreement. Under these agreements, the strata company can delegate to its strata manager duties, which are specified in the contract. Generally the strata manager is responsible for the administrative functions of the strata company such as;

•  Receiving and distributing correspondence
•  Issuing levy notices
•  Arranging contractors for the repair and maintenance of common property
•  Paying invoices
•  Holding and maintaining the strata company’s books and records
•  Arranging insurances
•  Liaising with council members
•  Attending meetings

From time-to-time, strata managers may be instructed to carry out additional tasks such as;

•  Coordinating major repairs
•  Liaising with builders regarding defects
•  Liaising with lawyers
•  Attending Council of Owner meetings

To undertake these additional tasks, additional fees usually apply.

What is the difference between a strata manager and property manager?

The differences are quite significant. A strata manager is appointed by the strata company via the Council of Owners to manage the company and handle the administration of common property for the strata scheme. Strata managers work for all the owners as a collective and support the Council of Owners with the administration of the strata company.

Property managers, on the other hand, work for individual owners and organise tenants and leases, collect the rent, arrange maintenance for the inside of the lot for the apartment/townhouse and more.

What is the role of Council of Owners in a strata scheme?

The Council of Owners is elected at the Annual General Meeting of the strata scheme by all registered proprietors for the purposes of representing all owners. Any owner can be a council member.

The Council of Owners acts for and on behalf of the strata company, and is charged to carry out the maintenance and management tasks of the strata company in accordance with the Strata Titles Act. The by-laws in place for the strata scheme are subject to any restriction imposed or direction given at an Annual General Meeting of the strata company.

Members of the Council of Owners do not acquire any privileges by virtue of their election to the Council, or if they become official office bearers. They are required to carry out their duties without favour for the benefit of all owners.

Who is responsible for maintaining common property?

The strata company is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of common property. This includes repair work and replacing and renewing common property when needed. In order to pay for maintenance of common property, the strata company must raise funds from all individual lot owners through regular payment of levies. The strata company is obliged to establish a fund for administrative expenses which is sufficient for the control and management of the common property. For more information regarding this, please visit  Landgate

What are the responsibilities of owners and residents?

Owners and residents living in a strata scheme are members of a community. To get the best out of strata living, they need to;

•  Cooperate with their fellow residents and be considerate of their neighbours. This will help to minimise disputes and conflicts.
•  Follow their strata scheme’s by-laws (set of rules), which cover many aspects of strata living.

What are by-laws?

By-laws are essentially a set of rules and generally referred to as behaviour or obligations of all persons who lawfully live in a strata community. In Western Australia, there are Statutory By-laws also known as Standard By-Laws. The Standard By-Laws are known as Schedule 1 & Schedule 2. All Standard By-Laws together with any registered by-laws are legally enforceable.

If you are unsure which by-laws apply to your building, you should ask your strata manager for a complete and up-to-date copy of the by-laws, including any management statements.

What does the strata insurance cover?

Strata insurance generally covers common or shared property as defined on the title of the property. This might include common area lifts, pools, car parks, gardens, wiring, balconies, ceilings and floors. Strata insurance must provide liability cover in the event people are injured on common property. Always check what is covered under your strata policy.

Sections 53 - 59 of the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) refers to, in considerable detail, the insurance requirements as they apply to strata schemes.

What are levies?

The strata levy is the amount that a lot owner needs to pay each quarter towards payment of strata insurance premiums and for maintenance, repairs or renewal of the common property of the strata scheme. Quarterly levies will vary from scheme to scheme dependent on the amount of common property facilities.

Why should we use a strata manager?

In Western Australia, the management of strata companies is regulated by the Strata Title Act 1985. The Act sets out the regulatory requirements that must be met by strata companies. It is a very lengthy and complex Act. Ensuring a strata company complies with the Act usually requires the support of a professional strata manager who has a good working knowledge of the legislative requirements.

A strata company also requires ongoing financial management, as well as regular and occasional emergency maintenance. Without a strata manager, these duties are left with the Council of Owners. The Council often finds it difficult to take on the responsibility of managing an entire strata complex.

What is the role of the strata manager?

A professional strata manager will ensure your strata company complies with the relevant provisions of the legislation. They will help to protect the value of your property and maintain a harmonious environment within the strata community.

A strata manager’s responsibilities include:

•  Managing the strata company’s finances.
•  Preparing budgets.
•  Preparing and maintaining the accounts.
•  Arranging insurance.
•  Maintaining the strata company’s records in accordance with the Act.
•  Coordinating maintenance and repairs.
•  Preparing and issuing notice of meetings and agendas.
•  Attending and recording meetings held by the strata company and the council.

Why do we need a reserve fund?

A reserve fund is created so that the strata company can save funds in a separate account for the provision of medium to long-term major costs which are not of a routine nature. Examples of these costs include replacing roofs, repairing car parks and repainting the exterior of the complex. The recent reforms to the Strata Titles Act 1985 include a statutory obligation being placed on all strata companies, making reserve fund accounts compulsory.

How do I pay my strata levies?

Levies can be paid by a variety of methods via the DEFT payment system.  These methods include BPay, over the phone (Phonepay), over the internet (DEFT Online), via cheque or in person at the post office.

Why does my spouse have to sign a Proxy Form when we attend the Annual General Meeting?

This is a legislative requirement. Where there are co-proprietors of a single strata lot, only one of the co-proprietors is entitled to vote. The voting co-proprietor needs to be appointed by the other co-proprietor in writing, via a proxy form. Both co-proprietors may speak at the meeting but only the co-proprietor nominated on the proxy can vote.

Can I install an air-conditioning unit onto the outside wall of my unit?

It depends on the by-laws of the strata company. Some strata companies will have specific by-laws outlining the process you need to follow before installing an air-conditioning unit to your lot. It is important to remember that often the air-conditioning unit or condenser needs to be housed on common property. This means you need to ensure approval is obtained from the strata company, via the strata manager, before proceeding. Details of the proposal must be submitted in writing to the strata manager noting the make and model of the unit and its proposed location.

Can a For Sale sign be erected?

Under the Strata Titles legislation, the visual amenity of the strata scheme cannot be compromised. However, in some instances, For Sale and For Lease signs can be approved conditionally on certain criteria being met. The strata company by-laws will determine if such approval is permitted and if so, on what grounds. It is always best to check the strata company by-laws and if you are unsure, speak with your strata manager.

Any request should specify the owner and lot details and should also accompany a photo/image of the proposed sign. The request should also include the location it is proposed to be erected, the timeframe the sign is proposed to remain and who would be responsible for the removal and disposal of the sign.

Can we keep a pet in our unit?

In strata, the term “pet” is inclusive of all animals, whether your animal is a dog, cat, fish, lizard or you own an ant farm. The by-laws of the strata company will determine if you are allowed to keep a pet. Some strata companies have strict rules (specifically on dogs), and some even have special by-laws which may stipulate things such as the breed and size of the animal.

Animals are not prohibited under the Strata Titles Act but if any pet causes a nuisance or disturbs other residents, then the Council of Owners can request that the pet be removed from the property. Noting by-laws are legally enforceable, we strong suggest you check the by-laws of your strata scheme beforehand.

How many kinds of strata schemes are there?

There are two types of strata schemes available under the Strata Titles Act 1985; (Built) strata schemes and survey-strata schemes.

What is a (built) strata plan?

A strata plan is created when a parcel of land is divided into lots (areas owned individually) and common property (areas owned jointly by all lot owners in the strata scheme). Common property is not easily identified on a strata plan. There can be any number of lots and each lot can comprise of more than one part (known as part lots). Strata lots are defined in terms of height and depth (the stratum of the lot). Strata plans delineate the buildings by unbroken lines on the plan. When developers choose the development pathway of built strata, a surveyor will prepare a strata plan based on the field survey of the proposed units to be constructed on the parcel.

What is a survey-strata plan?

A survey-strata plan is created when a parcel of land is divided into lots (areas owned individually) and common property (areas owned jointly by all lot owners in the strata scheme). There are no part lots on a survey-strata plan, and buildings are not shown on the plan. Distances and angles of each lot boundary are defined on the plan. Common property areas owned jointly by all lot owners may or may not exist in survey-strata schemes, and are defined as ‘common property lots’. Survey-strata lots may be limited in height and depth. When developers choose the development pathway of survey-strata, the surveyor prepares a survey-strata plan based on the field survey that was undertaken.

Do I have to insure the contents of my unit when there is already strata insurance?

Yes, you will be required to insure the contents of your unit if the strata insurance already exists. The strata company insurance covers the building and all common area contents, but not household contents. This is the responsibility of the individual owners. As a general rule, the strata insurance policy will respond to everything that is permanently attached to the building and common property. Owners and occupiers need to take out their own insurance for items that are “Non Fixed” such as carpets, light fittings, floating floors and personal belongings of any type. This includes things such as vehicles, store room contents, apartment furnishings and contents, personal belongings stored in vehicles, bicycles and more.

Who handles insurance claims?

Claims on strata insurance are processed by senior staff in the i.fresh strata management office in partnership with claims management professionals. They are experienced in the administration of insurance claims and work to maintain a good professional relationship with the insurance companies to expedite the claims. The most common types of claims are storm damage, water damage, glass damage and vandalism of common property.

Is my strata lot insured under the building insurance in a built strata?

Your strata lot is insured under the strata company’s building insurance for all strata plans (built strata). The insurance is renewed annually and in accordance with the instructions from the owners at an Annual General Meeting. Your lot is covered under the building insurance for any events such as storm damage, water leaks, fire, break ins etc. It’s important to note that the building insurance does not cover wear and tear or issues relating to poor workmanship or building defects.

Is my strata lot insured under the building insurance in a survey strata?

Buildings are generally not covered under the strata company insurance for a survey-strata, unless there is a by-law in place that puts this responsibility back onto the strata company (being all owners collectively). The strata company must insure the common property and have public liability of not less than $5,000,000. Owners need to take out their own insurance for property, including any personal contents. If there is a mortgage over the property, it is often a condition of the loan that the property is insured.

Can I rent my apartment out on Airbnb?

Airbnb is a hot topic in the strata industry, and the issues facing strata companies are not confined to Western Australia. It is a complex area and can vary depending on which suburb your property is located. In general, a building needs to be zoned or approved for short term stays. Buildings approved for short term stays have different requirements to those approved for residential or mixed use. Many strata companies have by-laws in place which restrict the use of apartments. Local governments can issue hefty fines on owners who do not obtain the necessary approvals before renting out their apartments on a short-term basis. If you are thinking of renting your apartment out on a short-term basis, please check with your strata manager beforehand to ensure you are not breaching any strata company or local authority by-laws.

Why are my levies so high?

The levies are based on the likely expenditure (budget) of the strata company.  If the property is old and maintenance has not been carried out on a regular basis, there is a strong likelihood that the levies will be high. If a strata company has failed to adequately put aside funds for large expenses, such as roof or lift replacement, painting, replacement of gutters etc., the funding of these expenses will be via high levies. As levies are determined by the majority of owners at an Annual General Meeting, it is strongly recommended that owners attend these meetings and become familiar with the ongoing maintenance requirements of the property. A well-managed strata company will have a healthy reserve fund account as well as money in the kitty to comfortably meet the day to day expenses of the property.



Do you have any further queries regarding strata management? If so, contact our team of experienced strata managers at i.fresh strata today on (08) 6500 0260.

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