The new changes to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 has an interesting development. The strata committee must have now a ‘tenant representative’.

Most strata managers are shaking their heads at this concept, most owner corporations are annoyed because there will be a charge for convening and holding a tenant’s meeting and most strata committees are irritated as they don’t want a tenant to participate  as they don’t have a financial interest in the building.

There are positives and negatives around this new concept, but first I will outline the regulations. The section of the new Act to refer to is section 33(1) and (2) and clause 7, 11 and 21 of the new strata regulations. These lists the main points being; the building must have at least 50% of lots tenanted, the tenant’s meeting must occur at least 14 days prior to the annual meeting, notice must be given to all tenants and at the tenant’s meeting, a tenant representative is selected. Tenants are restricted from voting on certain financial matters and strata renewal proposals.

The big positive I see to having a tenant representative is when a whole building is only owner investors, the tenants can liaise with the committee and the strata manager and get basic to detailed repairs completed that may have been missed due to lack of visits to site. Over the years of being a manager, one of the most well-run buildings I had in my portfolio was an owner investor’s building. There was a caring tenant who reported every issue to me so the building such as which tenants dumped items in the bin area, water leaks, common lights being out, the cleaner not attending, etc. Without them the building would not have looked well kept.

The main negative point is when there is the complete opposite in a tenant like the one mentioned above, this could be just a tenant who wants to cause conflict and / or has a separate agenda, perhaps with an individual owner who lives on site. They can end up increasing the management fees and levies for the strata plan due to unrealistic expectations, wants and needs. A good example of this is a tenant who once told me the best suggestion for a certain building was to remove the front gardened area and building more garages right up to two owners front balconies so everyone could have a double instead of a single garage or the tenant who wanted the carpets cleaned monthly in a small building with mainly owner occupiers.

Either way these new regulations are here to stay, so managers and owners just need to get familiar with these new rules and changes.

Do you need a strata manager who is up to date with these strata legislative changes? Click here and head to Strata Revolution’s website. 

Michelle Russell – Managing Director

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