About Pacific Strata
Pacific Strata Services & Realty Pty Ltd is your trusted name for strata management services in Woy Woy and Central Coast surrounding area.
Our experience in strata management extends back to 1990; experience which is reflected in the superior level of strata management services we provide. These services incorporate, but are not limited to the following:
Administration: Record keeping, community relations, meetings, insurance and by-law enforcement
Building Management: Repairs and maintenance, administration, cleaning and gardening
Financial Management: Budgeting, levies, receipts and payments, book-keeping reporting
There’s no doubt that strata management is complex, underpinned by the intricate Strata Titles Act. Fortunately, our staff are fully proficient in all facets of strata management, and possess the leadership and communication skills necessary to successfully manage your property.
Professionals at all times, we are licensed real estate agents; a rarity in the strata management landscape. In addition, we price competitively, are covered by professional indemnity insurance and streamline all actions and activities through our specialised strata accounting software.
It’s time to take control of your strata management requirements, with Pacific Strata Services & Realty Pty Ltd
Principal of Pacific Strata Services & Realty Pty Ltd.
Betty (Elizabeth) has been in the Property Industry for over 20 years and is the Senior Licensed Strata Managing Agent and Licensed Real Estate Agent.
What is a Management Agreement?
The Management Agreement is a contractual document between the strata manager and the Owners Corporation. It is signed under a common seal by both parties. The roles and functions of the strata managing agent are detailed in the document, The Owners Corporation may delegate to the managing agent:
All of its functions
All of its functions, except those specified in the document.
A copy of the Management Agreement is handed to the Executive Committee with the Strata Managing Agent keeping the original.
Owners Corporations should familiarise themselved with the roles and functions delegated to the strata managing agent.
The Management Agreement is set by the institute of Strata Title Management Pty Ltd and is designed to benefit both the Strata Managing Agent and the Owners Corporation.
The initial term of our Managing Agency Agreement is for 12 Months.
A copy of the Managing Agency Agreement can be fowarded to the Owners Corporation if required. Please note that all fees and charges are negotiable by both parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have our own lawnmower/handyman, etc. Can we continue to use them after you take over the Management?
Yes, you can continue to use your previous maintenance tradespeople, providing that they hold Public Liability Insurance and have a current ABN.
Do we need to change our Insurance?
You must stay with your current Insurance Policy Holder. Under the Strata Scheme Management Act an Owners Corporation must take out Building Insurance, Public Liability (minimum $10M) and Personal Accident for Voluntary Workers. We Will amend the policy for you if you do not carry the above. If you have not had an Insurance Valuation in the previous 5 years we will organise one on the Owners Corporations behalf.
What is the process of getting work done at the property?
Emergency and urgent repairs will be handled immediately.
When are meetings held and how often?
The Annual general Meeting is held once a year, one month either side of the anniversary of the first meeting held. Extra meeting may be called during the year as required. Please note that our Strata Management department is open Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm and we cannot always guarentee meetings on Saturdays or after hours, however we will try our best to match your needs.
We don't want a Sinking Fund. Can't we just pay a Special Levy when work is required?
Under the Strata Schemes Management Act Section 69 states an Owners Corporation must establish a Sinking Fund. This Sinking Fund is for the costs of future expenditure, such as common property painting and gutter renewal.
However, an owners corporation for a strata scheme comprising 2 lots need not establish a sinking fund if the owners corporation so determines by unanimous resolution, the buildings comprised in one of those lots are physically detached from the buildings comprised in the other lot, and no building or part of a building in the strata scheme is situated outside those lots.
I would like an animal to live at my unit. What do I have to do?
This will depend on the By Laws that have been registered for your strata scheme. In most cases, you will need to apply to the Owners Corporation in writing asking for permission.
I'd like to get some alterations or additions to my unit. What do i need to do?
You will need to apply in writing to the Owners Corporation asking permission for your alteration or addition, for example, getting solar panels attached to the roof, erecting a pergola or shade cloth, Foxtel dish, etc. If permission is granted, you will need to agree to certain conditions before the work can commence to ensure that you take full responsibility for the alteration or addition and that the Owners Corporation is not liable for any further maintenance on the alteration or addition.
Meetings, Levies & Capitol Works
Meetings of the owners corporation
The owners corporation must meet at least once each year at its Annual General Meeting. Additional general meetings can be held when necessary to decide on the general running of the strata scheme and any issues which arise. A lot owner, or owners, who hold jointly at least a quarter of the unit entitlements, may request a meeting to be held at any time. For more information, read the Meetings of the owners corporation page.
Meetings of the strata committee
Strata committee meetings can be held as often as the members like during the financial year. The Secretary can convene a strata committee meeting at any time. Alternately, one third of the strata committee members may ask the secretary, or any other committee member, to call a strata committee meeting. For more information, read the Meetings of the strata committee page.
The owners corporation can decide how meetings are to be held and the method of voting. This includes enabling voting and/or meeting participation through technology such as email, teleconference, video conference calls and the use of voting websites. Pre-meeting electronic votingis another option that owners corporations can choose to allow.
An owners corporation may, by resolution, adopt any of the following means of voting on a matter to be determined by the corporation:
● voting by means of teleconference, videoconferencing, email or other electronic means while participating in a meeting from a remote location,
● voting by means of email or other electronic means before the meeting at which the matter (not being an election) is to be determined by the corporation or committee (pre-meeting electronic voting).
Levies are a fee or 'contribution' paid by all lot owners in a scheme to cover the projected costs and expenses of the scheme. All levies must be worked out in proportion to the unit entitlements of each lot.
Levies are calculated at the annual general meeting (AGM) by the owners corporation. To set the levies, a budget must be given showing the existing financial situation and an estimate of payments to be made and received. The calculation for the capital works fund levy should reflect, or include, the amount calculated in the 10-year capital works plan.
The budget must be:
● distributed with the notice of the AGM, or
● tabled at the meeting before voting on the levy motion.
The motion to set the levies must show the amount for each fund and be approved by a majority vote.
Generally, the contribution can be paid by instalments, and the laws allow for the payment amount and due date to be varied.
Calculating capital fund levies
To determine the capital fund levy for each lot owner, the total estimated cost of capital works is divided by the total number of unit entitlements, and then multiplied by each lot owner's unit entitlements.
As an example, if an owners corporation calculates that it needs $200,000 over 10 years, then it would need to levy (raise) $20,000 each year. To meet the $20,000 per year, contributions would need to be levied according to the unit entitlement of each lot. If there were 20 lots in the scheme and each had the same unit entitlement, each owner would be required to contribute $1,000 per year to the capital works fund (note - these calculations are of a general nature only).
Owners corporations can vote to introduce a 'special levy', which can sometimes be a large amount. Special levies can be sought where there are insufficient funds to cover large capital works or unforeseen works, for example, to carry out major repairs to the common property. Special levies are calculated according to the lot entitlement of each lot owner.
Interest and discounts on levies
An unpaid levy attracts interest at the rate of 10% simple interest a year if not paid within one month of the due date. The owners corporation cannot increase or decrease the interest, but it can make a special resolution to charge no interest. Unpaid levies, including interest, can be recovered by the owners corporation as a debt in court.
An owners corporation may make a special resolution to give a 10% discount where a levy is paid before the day it is due. Payment made on the day it is due does not attract the discount.
The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (the Act) allows for the varying of payments and the amount of the levy. The owners corporation can decide the timing that levies are collected from lot owners, for example, yearly, half‑yearly, quarterly or monthly. For many strata residents, paying smaller amounts on a more frequent basis may be preferred to paying larger amounts on an annual basis.
The financial implications of the different ways of raising funds should be carefully considered by each owners corporation.
Reimbursement of levies
An owners corporation can decide, by unanimous resolution only, to distribute any money in its capital works fund to lot owners, if the owners corporation considers that the money is not required for the purposes of the fund.
Levies and capital works funds March 2017 Contributions made by owners to the capital works fund are not refundable when an owner later moves out of the strata scheme, even if the money has not yet been spent on the item that the levies were intended to fund.
Payment plans for unpaid levies
The Act permits the owners corporation to require the payment of overdue levies by lot owners. It can, if it wishes, enter into payment plan with a non-paying lot owner so they can make periodic payments of their overdue levies. If amounts remain unpaid, the owners corporation can take recovery action by applying to the Local Court. The owners corporation may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) instead of the Local Court only if it is seeking other orders from the Tribunal as well.
All strata schemes must establish an administrative fund and a capital works fund to administer the finances of the strata scheme. This includes managing any interest earned from investing the moneys of these two funds.
The administrative fund is used to manage the day-today expenses of running the scheme, including maintaining the common property, providing for insurance, and other recurrent expenses, such as electricity, water, carpet cleaning, lawn mowing services and the like.
Capital works fund
The capital works fund (previously called a 'sinking fund') is to ensure there is enough money to pay for capital expenses when the job needs doing.
This can include funds to pay for the following works:
● painting or repainting the common property
● acquiring, renewing or replacing personal property for the scheme
● renewing or replacing fixtures and fittings that are part of the common property, and
● to replace or repair the common property. The capital works fund is required by law to have a 10 year plan in place (see The 10 year capital fund plan, below).
Funds for specific purposes
The Act provides that an owners corporation may enter into an agreement to provide amenities or services to particular lots. These lots are responsible for payment for amenities and services so provided.
This allows for more flexibility in strata schemes, where they can create funds for specific purposes where only some of the lot owners will derive a benefit. For example, some lot owners may want Pay TV services and they can now establish a fund for this purpose. Interested lot owners would pay costs into this fund and use the service without passing costs on to other lot owners who do not wish to use the service.
A fund established for a specific purpose must be with an authorised deposit taking institution, and the owners corporation must adhere to financial reporting requirements under the Act.
Exemptions for two-lot schemes
Owners in two‑lot strata schemes may be exempt from the requirement to have a capital works fund if the strata buildings are physically detached, no buildings are situated outside the lots within the scheme, and the owners corporation passes a unanimous vote that a capital works fund does not need to be set up.
Transfer of money between funds
The owners corporation can transfer money from one fund to the other, or make a payment from one fund that should have been paid from the other. But the owners corporation must make a levy to repay that fund within three months after the transfer of monies.
Buying into a Strata Scheme
Prospective purchasers of a strata lot should get information on the current state of both the administrative and capital works funds from the section 184 certificate and other searches done by their lawyer or conveyancer. This information gives a valuable insight into the scheme.
The 10 year capital fund plan
The owners corporation is required to prepare a plan of expected major expenditure to be met from the capital works fund. The plan is for a 10 year period commencing on the first AGM of the owners corporation, and must be reviewed at least every 5 years. Items of major expenditure could include, for example, to replace the roof on a building.
The amount required for the 10 year plan may vary between schemes, for instance, newer schemes may require relatively less money than the plans for older schemes with more repair work due. Each capital fund 10 year plan should reflect the individual needs of its scheme.
The 10 year plan must be approved by owners at an annual general meeting (AGM). Developing the plan Owners corporations can put the 10 year plan together themselves or engage independent experts to prepare the plan.
Extract NSW Fair Trading
Your strata questions answred
Q: Will some strata managing agent agreements end on 30 May 2017?
Yes. Some contracts will end on 30 May 2017 as a result of the new strata laws.
The new laws set a 3-year maximum for strata managing agent appointments. However, transitional provisions are in place to help strata schemes transition to the new 3-year maximum terms.
For pre-existing contracts which appoint strata managing agents for a term greater than 3 years, these appointments end 3 years after the date of appointment OR 6 months after commencement of the new laws (that is, by 30 May 2017), whichever is the later. This allows pre-existing contracts of more than 3 years to continue until 30 May 2017 to give owners corporations and strata managers time to prepare for the next appointment or reappointment of a strata managing agent.
For pre-existing contracts with a term of less than 3 years, if the contract is due to end before 30 May 2017, their appointment may also continue until this date to allow owners corporations and strata managers time to prepare for the next appointment or reappointment of a strata managing agent.
Q: Do owners need to review their strata scheme’s by-laws?
Yes, owners must review the by-laws of their strata scheme by 30 November 2017. Owners should consider which updates would best suit their lifestyles and can use the model by-laws as a guide. Any changes require a special resolution vote at a meeting of the owners corporation and must also be registered with the NSW Office of the Registrar General.
Q: Can a strata scheme ban pets if they are currently allowed?
A strata by-law cannot be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive, so a new by-law could not ban existing pets. However, a new by-law passed could ban any future pets from being allowed in the strata scheme. This would require at least 75% of the owners at a general meeting to agree to the updated by-law.
A strata scheme cannot ban assistance animals.
Q: Do owners need permission to phone in to a strata meeting?
An owners corporation does not need to formally approve an owner phoning in to a meeting. However voting methods, other than voting in person, must first be approved. This requires a majority vote of the owners at a general meeting.
Q: What if all owners want to sell their strata complex? Do they need to follow the collective sale and renewal process?
No. If 100% of the owners wish to sell, the owners corporation can apply directly to the Registrar General to end the strata scheme. Otherwise, before a proposal can be considered, you need to follow the steps and meet the requirements in the Collective sale and renewal process.
Q: Can tenants attend strata meetings?
Tenants can attend owners corporation meetings as an observer if they are on the strata roll. However, tenants may be excluded when certain matters are being discussed, such as financial matters.
Landlords (or their property manager) must provide the owners corporation with a tenancy notice that contains the tenants’ details within 14 days of the lease commencing. This allows the secretary to keep the strata roll up-to-date. It is an offence for a landlord to fail to lodge the tenancy notice with the owners corporation.
The new strata laws recognise the important part that tenants can play in a strata scheme. If tenants occupy at least half the lots in a strata scheme, they can nominate a tenant representative on the strata committee. The tenant representative is able to raise issues that concern tenants at the strata committee meetings. However, a tenant representative is not able to vote, and also cannot make up a quorum for the meeting.
The tenant representative is selected by eligible tenants (tenants on the strata roll) at a meeting of those tenants.
Extract from NSW Fair Trading