Interesting article in today's Victoria Times Colonist that deals with strata titled properties and their management. The article can be found here.
I'll assume you had a quick read, but if you haven't, the crux of the article is that property management companies are ill equipped to deal with stratas as they are offshoots of real estate sales companies and should become companies that revolve around engineering and legal expertise. The author contends that strata council members have to chase down contractors, talk to lawyers and consult with engineers to keep their buildings operating, and that should be the strata management companies role.
I have to pretty much disagree with all of the author’s points.
Strata management companies, in my experience, developed as stand alone entities with an expertise in management and the strata property act, not from sales firms. They exist to do the things that he complains the strata council in his building is doing. Perhaps he needs to revisit his management contract or perhaps there is a problem in communication between the management company and the strata.
To create the sort of company he is talking about you would need to be comprised of lawyers and engineers. Stratas already think that their management fees are too high! What do you think they would be if your strata manager was a lawyer? Strata management companies have lawyers and engineers that they can consult with on an as needed basis. Strata management companies do that as part of the management of the strata. They should, under the direction of the council, be coordinating trades and services as the strata needs them.
I know several strata managers, and a large part of their role is to provide advice and guidance to strata councils regarding the governance of their corporations. A major frustration is that council members often don't listen and often believe they know better than their managers. Managers can only be proactive to a point, at the end of the day they must follow their council's directions.
The author is proposing to take the responsibility of the operation of a strata out of the owner’s hands and subject it to more government supervision. That sounds to me like a wonderfully efficient way to create yet another layer of bureaucracy in our province.
Does the strata property act need to be updated to force owners to be more responsible, absolutely! Is the solution to turn that responsibility over to lawyers and engineers and the government? Absolutely not!