Why There Are So Many Body Corporate Management Companies In Melbourne
Did you know that there are over 800(!!) owners corporation management companies in Victoria?
Of the 800 companies, it’s inevitable that there will be some great companies and some…less great companies out there. We’ll be the first ones to admit that the overall standard of the industry can be greatly improved.
Do a survey (and we’ve done this!) of people about what they think of when they hear ‘body corporate manager’ and they’ll say:
- Never hear from them
- Always take my money
- Don’t do anything
- Avoid at all costs
There are many, many reasons why people have this perception, and we’re preparing a mammoth article outlining these reasons. In the meantime, let’s look to see why there are so many companies in the first place.
‘It’s easy to become a body corporate manager’
As per the Owners Corporations Act 2006, in order to be a strata manager you must meet the following requirements:
- Have a professional indemnity insurance policy for $2,000,000; and
- Be registered by the Business Licensing Authority.
That’s it. There’s no additional training or qualifications required to become an owners corporation manager.
‘It’s an easy job to be a body corporate manager’
Some believe that all a body corporate manager does is forward emails from an owner to a contractor. Some believe that all a manager does is read out some technical legislative jargon at a meeting and set the fees based on last year’s expenses. Some believe that a manager’s job is just to say no to any requests that come through.
It’s no surprise then that, alongside the low thresholds to become a registered manager, many think this is a way to make ‘easy money’.
However, a manager’s role is so much more.
When deciding on a budget to propose, your body corporate manager will consider the following:
- The timing of the large expense items (such as insurance)
- Whether the regular and ongoing expenses are likely to increase, and by how much (insurance is a significant factor to consider, our article addresses the increasing costs of insurance and the reasons why)
- Any repairs or improvements discussed in previous years that will be completed soon, and the potential cost of these works
- Whether there is a buffer to cover any unexpected expenses throughout the year
In essence, your strata manager will do a cashflow analysis on your owners corporation’s finances before proposing a budget.
Also, throughout the year, it’s your manager’s job to resolve any issues that arise. This may sound simple enough, and sometimes it is. But sometimes, there are problems that come up that don’t have an easy solution, and sometimes problems don’t really have a solution.
Examples can range from owners who don’t want to implement any solutions to resolve issues of residents parking on the common driveway, to committee members who have very different interests and priorities.
‘It’s easy to get clients’
We see this most often in newer developments. The property developer is the original owner of the townhouse estate, and they decide who the body corporate manager for an estate will be.
Naturally, the industry gravitated to ‘if you know a developer, you have clients’. This is the reason why there are a lot of ancillary companies who have branched into owners corporation management, including accountants, real estate agents, and even developers themselves!
Is it a bad thing that there are so many companies?
At the end of the day, being surrounded by other strata companies should be a good thing. Having competitors means that companies need to be always improving their services and their offering to clients. It also helps ensure that prices aren’t being inflated for owners. Managers should be on notice: provide a proactive service and experience otherwise owners will change to someone who will. Competition is always good, and means that the clients will win at the end of the day.
The challenge for owners is to identify the star performers out of those 800 companies.