Body Corporate Management or Strata Management is a specialist area of real-estate management that deals with the day-to-day running and management of real-estate properties that are co-owned by multiple individuals or entities. Such properties are typically made up of multiple units such as apartments, offices, warehouses and many others. There are also common facilities and areas that are shared by the owners of the properties. Body corporate or strata management services have for many years been associated with the administration of common ownership properties in Australia. This is quickly changing as more countries and emerging markets like India, Dubai, and the Philippines adopt this system as well.
The successful management of common ownership properties requires that a body corporate or strata title be created to provide a system for ownership as well as guidelines on how the property is used by its multiple owners. Many jurisdictions already have provisions in their laws for jointly owned properties. Property owners in these types of arrangements are awarded automatic membership into community schemes or owners associations. These member groups are tasked with the responsibility of managing and maintaining the common areas in the properties such as corridors, lobbies and stairs, as well as common facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. The groups are also tasked with the responsibility of running the financial and administrative aspects of the property.
Body corporate services are enlisted by owners’ associations and property executive committees to administer, maintain, manage and control respective properties and also promote a conducive living or working environment for inhabitants of these properties. Some of the key services offered by body corporate institutions and agents include:
1. Repair and Maintenance
Repair and Maintenance of common areas and facilities is one of the main responsibilities of a body corporate agent. They basically maintain and fix anything that is not in any particular owner’s unit or lot but is part of the larger property. Common areas should be clearly demarcated to avoid issues revolving around damage and liability. Other related services in this category include minor and major renovations to common roads, landscaping, gates and fences.
2. Financial Management
A strata manager is responsible for keeping and maintaining the jointly owned property financial records. The financial management aspect of this includes keeping records on expenses, utilities, property insurance and others. General accounting is part of this package as well. Monthly and annual budgeting of all expenses the property has to pay are also part of this service.
3. Earnings and Arrears Collection
Where the common ownership properties have rental units, the body corporate agent can be enlisted to collect rental earnings and arrears from tenants who live or work in the property. This service is more or less the same as that offered by a conventional real-estate agent, except for the multiple owners’ aspect.
4. Arranging General and Executive Committee Meetings
Owners and users of jointly owned properties regularly meet to deliberate on numerous issues. These meetings can be arranged by the agents and all members facilitated to attend. The meetings can either be general meetings that include all parties that are affiliated to a particular property or executive committee meetings that only include key stakeholders.