An examination of the strata records is often truly enlightening. As an owner (or their representative) you can book time to view any or all of the strata records at the strata office. There is usually a nominal hourly cost for this service, as specified in the relevant act or regulations. Currently in NSW it is $30 and an additional $15 for each half-hour or part of half-hour after the first hour of inspection If you are an executive committee member the strata manager should not impose the fee as you are an appointed executive doing research as you see fit.
There will be a number of different files such as ‘Service Contracts’, ‘Financials’, ‘Correspondence’, ‘Current Issues File’, Invoices’, ‘Meetings’, Strata Roll’, ‘By-Laws’, ‘Proxies’. These will go back a year or so, if you want earlier archived documents you need to ask the strata manager to leave them out for you (but be prepared for a large number of boxes to be there when you arrive!). Don’t be afraid to ask your strata manager for the information if you can’t find it – especially their ‘current file’ which may sit on their desk and not in the records provided to you. All the correspondence between the executive committee, the strata manager and any service provider or lawyers should be available for viewing. If something is missing the Act allows you to request that it be produced within 10 days. You are entitled to write notes or copy anything and take this copy away.
Relevant NSW Legislation: Strata Schemes Management Act (1996)
104 Certain records to be retained for prescribed period
An owners corporation must cause the following to be retained for 5 years or such other period as may be prescribed by the regulations:
(a) the records, notices, orders, minutes of meetings and accounting records required to be kept under this Division,
(b) its financial statements,
(c) copies of correspondence received and sent by the owners corporation,
(d) notices of meetings of the owners corporation and its executive committee,
(e) proxies delivered to the owners corporation,
(f) voting papers relating to motions for resolutions by the owners corporation and to the election of office holders and the executive committee,
(g) records served on the owners corporation by the strata managing agent relating to the exercise of functions by the agent,
(h) such other documents as may be prescribed by the regulations.
Section 108: Inspection of records of owners corporation
Relevant NSW Legislation: The Strata Schemes Management Regulation (2010)
Schedule 1 Fees