Strata management explained: A simple guide

Strata management explained:
A simple guide

Strata management doesn’t need to be difficult to navigate.
Whether you’re new to strata or looking for guidance, find everything you need to know in our guide.


What is strata management?

Strata title management involves shared ownership of common property, which also means shared responsibility for the management and upkeep of that property.

Property owners and strata committees have a duty of care to carry out a variety of functions related to their strata property, including maintaining common property areas, collecting levies and fees, holding regular owners corporation meetings including an AGM once a year, maintaining adequate building insurance and keeping proper records and documentation.

So, while appointing a professional strata manager isn’t compulsory in Australia, it can be a good idea if your strata committee, body corporate or owners corporation don’t have the time, resources or expertise to do a good job. If a strata property isn’t properly managed, it can have a range of negative repercussions.

Tick icon Enhance property value

If a strata property is being run down or mismanaged, it may deter new owners from buying or may reduce the property’s market value

Tick icon Maintain health and safety

If common property isn’t maintained and repaired as required, potential accidents and injuries could result in the strata owners being fined or sued

Tick icon Legal compliance

Failure by the owners to maintain insurance, keep adequate records or hold AGMs could open the owners corporation to penalties for non-compliance

Tick icon Harmonious community living

Not drafting and enforcing effective by-laws or building rules could lead to unhappy neighbours and lower community living standards, also affecting the property’s value

Good property management is vital for maintaining and growing the value of a shared investment such as a strata title property. That’s why most owners and strata committees appoint a manager of some kind to oversee the day-to-day operations and ensure that everyone is abiding by the rules.

Here we take a more detailed look at what a strata manager does and how that differs from the role of a building or property manager. We also look at the various aspects of strata living and how the best strata managers can treat them, not as problems, but as opportunities to add value to the property.

What does a strata manager do?

A broad definition of a strata manager’s role is assisting with the day to day running of a strata property and ensuring that its legislative responsibilities are being fulfilled.
A more detailed description of how this would be achieved might include:

Maintaining compliance

Keeping required records such as the strata roll, registered plans, by-laws, correspondence and reports

Maintenance co-ordination

Managing matters related to common property areas, including scheduling maintenance and repairs

Issuing of levies

Collecting strata levies and fees from residents and arranging for the collection of unpaid and outstanding debts

Financial management icon

Financial management

Taking care of financials such as the payment of invoices and the compilation and distribution of financial statements and budgets

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Common property insurance

Obtaining insurance quotes for the property and managing insurance claims as they arise

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Meeting management

Coordinating and managing owners committee meetings and AGMs

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By-law adherence

Dealing with any breaches of by-laws and ensuring that strata rules are being adhered to

Communication icon


Liaising with residents and mediating in any concerns or disputes that arise.

Building managers and property managers can also be employed in a strata community, some people mistakenly confuse their roles with that of a strata manager.

The difference between a strata manager vs building manager

Strata manager vs building manager

Unlike a strata manager, a building manager is more of a caretaker appointed by the developer or strata committee.

And while they do perform many of the duties of a strata manager, they are not licensed to carry out some of them such as enforcing strata by-laws.


A building manager’s role typically includes duties such as:

  • Issuing work orders and paying invoices for common property repairs
  • Preparing a building condition report
  • Creating and managing the maintenance schedule and plan
  • Sending verified invoices to the strata committee and/or manager for payment
  • Being an on-site contact for owners, tenants and contractors
  • Assisting the strata committee with upholding the by-laws
  • Organising and coordinating repairs and maintenance (common property)
  • Project coordination and supervising the contractor’s agreed services on-site
  • Registering common property access devices such as keys, swipes, and remotes
  • Preparing notices and communications, and posting to the building noticeboard

The difference between a strata manager vs property manager

The main difference between a strata manager and a property manager is that a property manager is a middleman employed by an owner to manage the residential tenancy of their strata property. A strata manager, on the other hand, is employed by the strata committee or owners corporation to manage their entire strata title property.

A property manager’s role typically includes duties such as:

  • Marketing the property and finding suitable tenants
  • Managing the leasing contract between the landlord and tenant
  • Collecting rent and conducting regular property inspections
  • Ensuring the property remains compliant and has adequate fire and safety measures
  • Liaising with the tenant and owner when maintenance or repairs are required
  • Managing bond evaluations and evictions.

Because strata management involves a variety of complex and time-consuming duties, most strata owners or body corporates these days are opting for an outsourced solution.

They realise it’s more prudent to appoint a professional strata manager than to risk non-compliance or loss of property value by trying to manage their strata in-house or expecting their building manager to take on the role.

Managing strata living

So now let’s look at some of the main aspects of strata living that a manager needs to be involved in and how good strata management can turn them from potential problems into opportunities to boost value.

What are strata levies and fees?

When you buy into a strata property, your shared ownership of common areas and amenities goes hand in hand with shared responsibility for their maintenance and upkeep.

That money has to come from somewhere and strata levies and fees are how it is collected and pooled. Typically, the larger the strata property (and the more common areas), the higher your owners fees will be. The size of your lot in comparison with other lots in the strata property will also influence how much you pay each quarter.

Fees are collected by the strata manager and must be paid within 28 days to avoid penalty interest being charged. If fees continue to go unpaid over a period of time, the owners corporation would normally be forced to take costly legal action to recover the monies.

Unless they have good strata management in place. For example, PICA Group’s strata management services include a debt recovery service with a 14-day collection process that avoids legal battles and achieves higher than average recovery rates.

What is common property header image

What is common property?

A good portion of the fees collected from owners goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of common property. Common property is any part of the strata property that is not privately owned and can include the building structure, plant and equipment, gardens, paths, driveways, lifts, foyers and fences. It can also include shared amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts and barbeque areas.

According to federal strata legislation, a strata property with more than 100 lots is required to have a maintenance plan and funds for its common property and must hold regular inspections of its common property areas. But this is a good idea even for smaller strata properties and is one of the duties a strata manager needs to be across.

A maintenance plan should include a list of those items needing to be repaired or replaced when that will need to be done, how much that will cost and how long those items will last once it has been achieved.

Money then needs to be put aside for a capital works/sinking or maintenance fund to cover those future costs and a maintenance cycle should be created that involves regular inspections of common property areas.

The best strata management will address common property maintenance as a matter of course and PICA Group’s proactive practices are a good example. Our preventative maintenance processes ensure that any common property issues are identified and rectified long before they have the chance to become serious and expensive problems.

What are annual general meetings AGMs header image

What are annual general meetings (AGMs)?

As its name suggests, an Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a meeting held once a year by a strata committee or body corporate. Strata regulations require such a meeting to be held every year within 3 months of the end of the body corporate’s financial year and at least 21 days after notice is given to lot owners.

AGMs are important because they are when your body corporate decides matters such as annual budgets and owner contributions (fees you’ll pay) and elects the new committee for the coming year. They are also an opportunity for residents to communicate face-to-face and hopefully discuss and resolve any issues that have arisen during the year.

A strata manager should know the importance of the AGM and be the one who organises and runs it each year, not only to ensure the strata’s legal compliance, but also because of the opportunity it presents for enhancing community living.

Case in point; PICA Group’s best practice strata management includes communicating, arranging and coordinating a strata’s AGM every year and encouraging as many residents as possible to attend.

What are strata by laws or building rules header image

What are strata by-laws or building rules?

By-laws are rules designed to help govern a strata title and promote harmonious living. They define what owners, tenants and visitors can and cannot do on the property.

Typical examples might include a by-law or building rule prohibiting smoking on common property, restricting short term letting such as Airbnb, allowing or prohibiting the keeping of pets, designating where residents may and may not park and so on.

While legislation surrounding by-laws varies between states, a universal requirement is that if a by-law is drafted or amended, it must be registered with the relevant state body before it can be legally recognised.

Any strata owner can have a by-law drafted or amended, providing they seek and receive approval from the committee and providing it is approved for registration by the relevant state body. To be registered, it must be considered fair, non-discriminatory and consistent with current strata legislation.

Because a by-law is a legally binding regulation, it should always be worded extremely carefully, preferably by a specialist strata lawyer. This is why PICA Group’s best practice strata management includes access to a specialist legal team who are proficient in drafting, amending and registering by-laws.

Keeping and maintaining strata records header image

Keeping and maintaining strata records

A body corporate is required by law to keep a number of records relating to their strata title. These include;

  • Initial owner records – relating to the build and legal structure of the property (i.e. plans, subdivisions, easements, licenses, contracts, warranties etc)
  • Owners corporation records – documents such as owners details, by-laws, minutes of meetings, assets and liabilities, financial statements, income tax, insurance policies, maintenance plans, contracts, leases and licences.
  • Owners corporation register – containing information such as the strata manager’s details, lot entitlements, by-law amendments, contracts, insurance policies and licenses.
  • Owners corporation certificate – information such as lot fees, unpaid fees or special levies, planned repairs and maintenance, insurance cover, funds and liabilities, contracts, leases, licenses and any legal proceedings.

These records must be kept for specific lengths of time which vary depending on the particular legislation in each state or territory and all must be stored securely to protect the owners’ privacy.

As these records can be time consuming to collect, collate, store and issue, this is another task that should be undertaken by a strata manager. They should have the necessary systems and processes in place to keep these records safe and ready to hand if required. Best practice record keeping, such as that followed by PICA Group, ensures 100% accuracy, privacy, transparency and compliance with strata laws.


Stuck on the terminology used in strata management?

Check out our strata dictionary


Strata legislation can be complex and the terminology used can be confusing. And this isn’t helped by the fact that it changes according to the state or territory you live in.

New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria each have their own interpretations of strata terms and legislation and what applies in one state is not necessarily the case in another.

So to help make sense of it all, we’ve included a free online strata dictionary. It addresses the different terminologies used in all three states and provides a useful tool for owners and strata committees or body corporates wanting to fully understand and actively participate in strata matters.

As well as common definitions, the dictionary includes New South Wales strata terminology, Queensland body corporate terminology and Victoria owners corporation terminology.


How to change strata manager?

If this information that we’ve shared has given you cause to reconsider the service your current strata manager may or may not be providing, you’ll be pleased to know that changing strata managers is easier than you might think.

The first thing to do is to find a new strata management company that offers better service than you’re currently receiving.

When comparing strata managers, look at factors such as:

Tick icon Background check

Does the strata management company specialise or have experience in managing your type of strata property?

Tick icon Adequate resources

Do they have access to the range of resources needed to keep your strata property running smoothly (i.e. administration, record keeping, accounting, debt collection, access to contractors, etc)?

Tick icon Tailored approach

Does their business model allow for management services that can be tailored to suit your particular strata property, or do they adopt a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all approach?

Tick icon Love local strata

Are the people who will be looking after your strata property on a daily basis experienced, competent and committed?

Other factors to consider when choosing a new strata manager could include reputation (what are their customers saying about them?), location (are they a local strata provider that can respond quickly to your needs?) and value (are you only being charged for the strata services you need?).

Once you’ve made your decision, the process of switching is fairly straightforward. Simply introduce a motion to switch at your next AGM and if everyone is in favour (i.e. a majority vote), sign the contract with the new strata manager. The new manager will then take care of everything else, including notifying your old manager of the switch.


PICA Group difference

If you choose to switch to PICA Group strata management, you’ll be teaming up with Australia’s leading property service provider.

We deliver real value to our customers in the form of:

Tick icon Personalised strata management tailored to your situation

Tick icon Transparent costing with no hidden or unexpected fees

Tick icon Locally-based service with access to a nationwide network of expertise and resources

Tick icon Best practice techniques with a focus on sustainability and enhanced community living.

As your strata manager, we can take care of everything to ensure the smooth running of your property including:

Financial management icon

Financial management

We are experts in fee and levy collection, accounting and record-keeping

Preventative maintenance icon

Preventative maintenance

We can ensure buildings and common areas are properly maintained with proactive maintenance plans

Advisory services

We can provide the tools and expertise to help you reduce your property’s operating costs and increase its community liveability

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By-law drafting and amendments

Our legal team can ensure your by-laws are accurately drafted, up to date and compliant

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Building compliance

We offer full-service building audits to ensure you are compliant and meeting your legal duty of care.

PICA Group has been managing property since 1948 and today we offer a full range of services from strata and facilities management to debt recovery, legal and developer services. And we provide our customers with a range of tools and resources to help them enhance livability within their strata communities.

As your chosen property manager, we also offer a range of extra benefits that can save our customers both time and money. These include:

Community After Hours

Community After Hours – an emergency maintenance support service available 24 hours a day and manned by highly trained staff to help resolve urgent strata maintenance issues.

CommunityGreen – tools and resources to support sustainability and introduce efficiencies that can increase a building’s value and save its owners money.

Community Health and Safety

Community Health & Safety – fulfil your duty of care and protect yourself from liability with our 24/7 assistance and resources for reporting and managing hazards, injuries and incidents that occur on your common property.

CommunityHub logo

CommunityHub – an online platform that provides you with round the clock access to all of your property information, including administration, ongoing repair work, levy details, invoices, financial statements and more.


CommunitySelect – access to a database of more than 2,500 licensed, insured and verified contractors and service providers who are available for work in your building or strata title.


CommunitySure – A quality insurance provider in the market. Protect your common property with this comprehensive cover. Available exclusively via select brokers (BCB, BAC, Honan, and Whitbread) to properties managed by PICA Group and backed by QBE and CHU, one of Australia’s largest strata insurers.


CommunityUtilities – expert help in finding and securing the most competitive utility rates for your building or strata property, plus a range of other great expense reduction programs.

PICA Group Privilege stamp icon

PICA Group privilege – a range of competitive discounts and exclusive deals for PICA Group customers on a variety of products and services including by-law and building rule drafting and insurance cover.

As a PICA Group customer, we also give you access to a variety of great discounts and incentives made possible through our partnerships across related industries.

Our PICA Group Privilege offers include everything from discounted by-law drafting and insurance cover to a gift card towards the purchase of a defibrillator for your strata property.

Ready to speak to our strata management services team and get expert advice?

Hopefully, this has helped to outline what strata management entails and what a good strata manager can do for you and your property. And whether you’re;

  • New to strata and wanting to get it right the first time
  • Part of a strata committee or body corporate struggling to manage your property inhouse or
  • Unhappy with your current strata manager and looking to switch …

We can help you at PICA Group

As Australia’s leading strata management provider, we offer more than 70 years of combined experience, a nationwide network of expertise and resources and a strong passion for enhancing community living and adding value for our customers.

To speak with our team and find out how we can help you, simply fill in the form on this page and we’ll be in touch.

Get a FREE strata management quote

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