The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2015-01-12T02:53:27Z Storm Season in Strata: Why it pays to be prepared 2015-01-12T02:53:27Z storm-season-in-strata-why-it-pays-to-be-prepared This storm season, it's more important than ever to make sure that you are well prepared. The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that Queensland and New South Wales will be hit with numerous rounds of storms with the potential for very damaging results. With a background in Body Corporate Management, Rebecca Kennedy, the Senior Tender Analyst for Strata Match, has seen the impact that a storm has had in the past on Strata Owners and stresses the significance of being prepared for any worst-case scenarios. To make sure that you are ready to tackle this storm season, she offers the following tips: - Make sure all gutters are cleaned, roofs have current damage and that any current damage is repaired. - Ensure that your body corporate's current insurance policy is up to date. - Double check what is included and excluded in your policy and that the unit block is adequately covered for storm damage. If there are areas you believe should be improved or extra cover added make a list and be sure to bring it up with your Committee members. - Secure all loose fittings on common property, such as umbrellas, plants, lounge chairs and tables. - Check your own personal insurance policy for what you are covered for should storm damage occur. Remember: your own personal belongings are not covered by your body corporate's insurance. - Make sure that signs detailing evacuation plans are placed around the complex and that every tenant and owner is aware of the procedures. - Always make sure that the trees are maintained and trimmed. This reduces the risk of debris flying around during a storm It is recommended that you have an Emergency kit, which could contain the following: - Sand bags incase of any flash flooding. - Heavy-duty black garbage bags and masking tape for bordering up any broken or damaged windows to prevent further damage to your property inside. - Torch and radio. - A list of radio stations which announce emergency information as well as a list of emergency numbers and hotlines. - A "go bag" should you have to leave in a hurry. This could contain items such as your most important documents (passports, birth certificates etc.) as well as some clothes. Included in this should be a contingency plan of where you are going to go should you have to evacuate your house. After the storm, it is crucial that you stay away from any fallen power lines and flooded roads and do a check of your property, complex and common areas for any damage. The committee should be notified of any damage found for further action.    Strata- Who do you trust? 2014-11-24T01:38:39Z strata-who-do-you-trust Sydney, NSW – September 18, 2014 - The recent sentencing of Rachael Kwawegen, co-founder of The Strata Agency, for stealing more than $1 million from Apartment and Business Owners, highlights the importance for unit owners to pay close attention to what their Strata Manager is doing. Owners put all their trust and confidence in their Strata Manager to be honest and distribute true financial statements and budgets for their building, but what happens if they take advantage of that trust? How do you choose the right Strata Manager and safe guard your biggest investment? Over the past year, Strata Match, the leading Australian Body Corporate Advisory Service, have been seeing an increase in the amount of complaints from Unit Owners and Committee Members in regards to their dissatisfaction over their current Strata Manager. Cameron Davis, CEO of Strata Match and Strata Industry Veteran, explains “this is why we are so committed to ensuring that our service for finding a new Strata Manager is as transparent as possible and that the Owners are made aware of all the qualities of each Strata Manager that we present to them for their decision”. Mr. Davis has listed the following tips to help you ensure that your Building will be properly managed: - When appointing a new Strata Manager, make sure to always conduct reference checks making sure to focus on their written financial control procedures in the interview. An absence of a written procedure can be an indication that they are not serious about financial control. - In order to remain vigilant on how your finances are being spent and stay up to date on the decisions being made, it is important for you to become an active Committee Member and attend meetings. - It is also a good idea to hire an independent auditor yearly to make sure that everything is in good working order. This is something that should be discussed every year at the Annual General Meeting. Strata Managers are appointed by the Body Corporate or Owners Corporation to manage the day-to-day operation of the building- from organising meetings and minutes to collecting levies, arranging repairs and maintenance and preserving the sinking fund. Since it’s your money and your biggest investment, you should always aim to be as informed as possible on how it is being managed     Is the BCCM Act (1997) making it hard for Body Corporate Committees to protect themselves during schoolies week? 2014-11-24T01:22:01Z is-the-bccm-act-1997-making-it-hard-for-body-corporate-committees-to-protect-themselves-during-schoolies-week Gold Coast, QLD – November 21st 2014- With the annual schoolies ‘festival’ on over the next week, there has been an influx of phone calls to Strata Match, Australia’s leading Body Corporate Advisory Service, from concerned Body Corporates asking about the ability of a body corporate committee to restrict any activities, such as partying, using amenities and of course accessing balconies. The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 s180 (3) is clear on the position of by-laws and restricting said activities. Simply put, if a lot may be used for residential purposes, the by-laws cannot limit and confine the type of residential use. So, for example, imposing a minimum stay to prevent schoolies from actually renting the unit is unlawful. Preventing them from playing music, at a reasonable decibel during approved noise hours, within their unit whilst allowing other guests to do so is also unlawful.  The Act also prevents the body corporate from taking action, such as locking balcony doors, to restrict or prevent access to areas within a lot. They do however have control, through the by-laws, of the use of common property such as the amenities.  This can range from; - Time restraints for using the amenities. - Whether or not glass, music and alcohol is allowed. - Damaging common property The main point that the Body Corporate Committees need to keep in mind is that they cannot go and change by-laws specifically during the schoolies period nor can they implement house rules that only apply to schoolies for only the month of November. As stated by Fair Trading, all guests should be treated the same way. Any rule or condition that you impose should apply to all guests and should be compulsory for the whole year. The same goes with bond. You cannot charge a higher bond to any schoolies renting out the apartment, despite the possibility of an increased risk in damage, without applying it to all tenants at your property. The Strata Industry welcomes a champion to the fold 2013-10-14T23:39:01Z the-strata-industry-welcomes-a-champion-to-the-fold The strata industry is one that is extremely complex, which can be daunting for committees who are undertaking this volunteer role.   Knowing who to turn to for help and advice can be difficult because of the different agendas at play.  Over the last 12 months, over 25,000 clients have used the Strata Match service - an independent, transparent and free service which helps committees who are unhappy with their incumbent strata manager find a new one who is better suited to the individual needs of their strata property. Strata Match’s service model is similar to that of the Mortgage Choice or iSelect models, in which Strata Match work with committees to find out what they want from their strata manager and then invite the most suitable strata providers to tender for the business (selected from a panel of quality and licenced managers). However, it is not merely a comparison service, it includes a free transition service. The Strata Match service helps committees transition from their old manager to new manager, ensuring that the process is conducted smoothly and professionally. Strata Match make what can be a confusing and drawn out process easy, by working with committees to set clear specifications for the service they are looking for and then asking the strata provider to submit a tender/quote based on these specifications.  Strata Match then conduct an analysis of the information and select the top tenders to present to the committee in an easy-to-understand summary.   The feedback from the many committees who have utilised this service has been overwhelmingly positive.  Many are amazed at how stress-free and easy Strata Match make their transition to their new strata manager – they even attend the General Meeting to make sure everything goes smoothly. Strata Match operate across the eastern seaboard of Australia with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane. If you would like to learn more about this free service, contact Strata Match on www.stratamatch.com.au or 1300 WE MATCH (93 6282).