Who is Responsible for Maintenance in Strata Buildings?

21 January 2019

It can be a daunting task understanding roles and responsibilities in strata building maintenance. Does the load solely fall on the owners? Or should it be under the developers? What roles do strata managers and tenants play? Ah, how confusing it can all get. With legal standards, industry codes, and guidelines becoming overwhelming to skim through, it is understandable how most of us end up confused as to who is responsible for what. But worry not, we are about to help by breaking everything down as much as we can here.

So – who does what?

Given the costs involved, the emotions involved and the potential hazards, most if not all governments enact laws that provide a framework-governing the interrelationship of different parties in Strata Management. Parties could include developers, property managers, mortgagees, tenants, Owners and so on.

Developers and owners have important and critical responsibilities as the key stakeholders initiating projects. As a group or individual, they are principally tasked to undertake Strata Property Management until such time as the responsibility is passed on to another willing and responsible party.

Logically, as the owners, they are required to provide all documentation to relevant authorities to secure all requisite approvals governing the development of strata. Maintenance of strata rolls and other records with information ranging from lot numbers, common property and strata scheme, sources of information for strata roll, to statutory and regulatory approvals is also a mandatory responsibility of this group.

For effectiveness and success in their tasks, they also manage finances for the development, administrative tasks like keeping updated records for the scheme, strata property maintenance records as well as taking out insurance against destruction by fire, lightning or any other occurrences on the development. They are also responsible for and can be asked about who is responsible for various aspects of the building – from common walls to plumbing, and even garden maintenance.

Property Managers

Licensed property managers undertake some delegated functions of developers, generally specified in a legal agreement and subject to conditions or limitations specified therein. Most notably, property managers undertake the management of the property, control property use by persons other than owners or occupiers, and repair of the property. Similar to an Owners Corporation they can be reached to determine who is ultimately responsible for various and differing aspects of the building.

They are also responsible for levying and collecting strata management fees levied for the management and maintenance of the property. Within the strata firm, it is likely you will be managed by a property management specialist who will run the day-to-day supervision through the Strata Building Management.

Tenants Responsibilities

Setting aside the responsibilities detailed within your contract with the owner of the space they are letting, tenants also have obligations under Law. Specifically, they also have important responsibilities and obligations in maintenance. Particularly, they must not do anything to wilfully damage the property, nor can they prevent any authorised third-party passage or provision of amenities during occupancy. They should also not alter the structure without written notice or approval under the provisions of the law or covenant.

Although free to enjoy, occupiers are also tasked with maintaining moral decency and decorum to prevent nuisance and hazards in common properties.