04 Nov 2022

How Do Strata Communities Manage Shared Spaces?

Strata buildings have shared spaces for everyone to enjoy as part of their strata living experience. From lobbies and stairwells to communal bathrooms and gardens, these environments require the utmost care to keep everything in working order and looking great.

Keep reading to discover the types of management systems in place in strata buildings to maintain quality conditions for all residents.

 

What Are Strata Buildings?


A strata building is a building or piece of land that is divided into separate lots. It’s difficult to recognise a strata building from its architectural composition alone - the definition of a strata building is a legal one, as opposed to a structural one.

In a strata building, the strata lots are individually owned by investors or homeowners. The land, hallways, walls, and areas connecting these strata lots aren’t included in the strata lot. Instead, these zones are considered communal property, and it becomes the joint responsibility of all investors to manage, care for, and share these spaces. The strata owners and investors together are called the ‘strata corporation’.

 

How Are Strata Buildings Managed?


A strata building allows multiple buyers to become joint owners of individual units in a multifamily property. Because the buyer becomes a joint owner of the property, this makes them partially responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. For this reason, there are two main ways in which strata buildings are managed:

  • The strata manager - is responsible for maintaining the common areas, the roles, and the finances of the strata scheme. The strata manager usually handles these responsibilities with the help of joint owners in a committee.

  • The property manager - this person manages any tenants in the property, ensuring that they pay their rent on time and perform necessary upkeep on the property.

  • Internal booking systems and resident management - it’s not always down to individual managers. Sometimes, residents have control over the management of common spaces as they’re able to book common spaces at allotted times. Alternatively, residents may be responsible for caring for common spaces, ensuring they clean up after themselves by disposing of their own rubbish or cleaning common areas.


 

How Are Common Areas Managed And Shared In A Strata Building?


When buyers invest in a lot or unit in a strata building, they own the lot, not the walls or connecting corridors of the property. These areas, known as common areas, are jointly owned by all residents in the strata building.

It follows that the maintenance of these areas should be arranged and agreed upon by all owners of strata properties in the complex. These areas include hallways, doorways, and amenities like gyms, dining areas, and laundry rooms. There should be a committee of owners in the building that will discuss any changes, repairs, or updates that must be made to these areas.

So, if the residents need to fix a broken shared window, this would be discussed in a committee meeting, and agreed upon by a majority of the members. The cost of the repair would be shared between all members.

 

Do Common Spaces Require A Booking System?


Since the beginning of the pandemic, social distancing has become an essential health and safety consideration. For social distancing and improved accessibility, strata building occupants and strata managers can implement common area booking systems. Some strata managers implement booking software - providing tenants and owners with an online portal that allows them to reserve common areas for when they need them.

Alternatively, some strata buildings simply implement a shared space system in which all shared spaces become communal - and are accessible to tenants and owners at any time.

 

Top Tips to Improve Common Spaces


A few changes to the interior and exterior can boost the entire perception of the complex and transform a tired strata building into a place everybody wants to live.

Our top tips to spruce up the place include:

  • Maintaining elevators and stair areas that see a lot of people coming through

  • Ensuring paintwork is fresh and clean

  • Regular window cleaning

  • Carpet cleaning

  • Mechanical floor scrubbing

  • Bin washing to ensure no waste accumulates, potentially attracting pests

  • Maximising space by reducing clutter

  • Landscaping and seasonal garden maintenance


Summary


Strata buildings present an opportunity for investors to access valuable space while only taking on a portion of the maintenance burden. However, a diplomatic and democratic approach is necessary to ensure the strata corporation works effectively.

The management, sharing, and maintenance of communal areas should be a joint effort between all parties in the strata corporation. Contact us at Inside Outside Facility Services today to learn more about strata maintenance services and find out how we can improve your common spaces management today!