3.8.3 Interviews / recommendations | Owners Corporation Network

3.8.3 Interviews / recommendations

Ask to interview both the specific strata manager who will be in charge of your owners corporation and the manager/owner of the company. Ideally have two committee members at the interview, or even ask the managers to attend a strata meeting for the interview. Have some set questions to ask and a specific situation or two and ask how they would handle it. Minute the interview and basic answers and then complete a comparison table.

To assess the suitability of a strata manager, you can ask a few selected questions from this list that seem relevant or interesting:

  • Are you a Strata Community Association member? Why or why not?
  • Is the strata manager licensed and certified?
  • Ask to go into the strata office and view their record system and archive access or ask about their electronic filing system
  • Ask for multiple references from each.
  • Ask if they follow a code of ethics.
  • How do you maintain your strengths? How are you addressing your weaknesses?
  • How many strata plans and other schemes of community title do you manage? How many residences?
  • What is the optimum number of schemes/residences, if any, that you consider a strata manager company should manage? Why? What structure and mechanisms do you have in place to maintain and improve the level of service you provide to customers?
  • How do you ensure existing customers are not affected by new business?
  • Do you plan to stop growing once you reach the optimum number of schemes/residences?
  • How many schemes/residences has your company gained and lost over the last 12 months, 3 years, 10 years?
  • What is your ratio of strata managers to plan/residences?
  • Please provide some examples of how your company's expertise has managed to save customers money.
  • How do you ensure customer satisfaction is maintained?
  • What statistics do you maintain on customer satisfaction? Can we have access to them?
  • What performance guarantees can you provide?
  • Does your company operate a formal employee performance evaluation scheme?
  • If so, please provide representative text used in the employee evaluation process relating to the goals for (external) customer satisfaction and the metrics used to evaluate them from relevant positions.
  • If not, please describe how you evaluate staff performance in relation to customer satisfaction.
  • What processes do you have in place to resolve conflicts between the interests of the company and interests of your customers?
  • Does the employee who will be responsible for our building a) hold a strata management license b) belong to the Strata Community Association?
  • What qualifications does your organisation require from an employee in this position?
  • What amount of cover is held under the professional indemnity policy?
  • How do you select contractors?
  • Do you require and check that contractors hold insurance cover?
  • How do you monitor contractors?
  • What in-house expertise do you have to assess whether quotes from contractors are appropriate and reasonable?
  • How have you proceeded when you have found work by contractors to be overpriced and substandard?
  • Please provide some examples as to how your company has saved an owners corporation from being exploited.
  • How would you proceed in the following situations
  • A resident rings you to report that water is leaking from their ceiling. They later report that their light will not work and their ceiling is damaged. Some time later you find the cause of the water leak was tenant in a unit above forgot to turn the tap off when running a bath and the water over flowed and leaked into the unit below.
  • An owner complains that his car is scraping on the roadway as he enters and exits the driveway. He wants the driveway altered to fix his problem and requests that you seek quotes. In the meantime you find out the ‘someone’ has placed a plank of wood in the gutter which seems to solve the problem.
  • Please provide some examples of how you have prevented an owners corporation being charged for work they are not responsible for or how you have later recovered funds from the responsible party?
  • Do they have the right experience to manage the building?
  • Are they well-resourced to meet service expectations?
  • Are they willing to provide referees?
  • Did they communicate effectively with us on our enquiry?
  • Can they show copies of their licence and proof of indemnity insurance?
  • Do they undertake ongoing training?
  • Does the proposed manager have any personal support staff to help manage his/her portfolio?
  • Do members of the proposed manager’s support team (including accounting and records management staff) hold a Certificate of Registration or a Licence from the NSW Office of Fair Trading?
  • Does the proposed manager have other properties of similar size, with similar asset and geographic characteristics in his/her portfolio?
  • Does the proposed company have a newsletter that is distributed to all owners on a regular basis?
  • Do all committee members receive a regular newsletter covering matters of relevance to the committee role?
  • Does the company have a dedicated compliance section?
  • Can levy payments be made direct to your trust account by mail, internet, telephone, Bpay, DEFT, or at any post office (including credit card for internet and phone payments)?
  • Can your owners access annual general minutes and other information on-line, free of charge?
  • Can the company demonstrate a track record of happy clients over time?

You can always contact the professional associations such as the Strata Community Association and ask them about your proposed manager. They will generally know things such as how long they have been in the industry and what experience they have. 

What Members Say

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Robert, Darlinghurst

"I am very pleased with my membership of OCN, the discussions through sharing emails is very valuable in increasing my knowledge of strata living, the laws and EC responsibilities. I think I am better armed to tread the minefield of the managing agent responsibilities and the necessary action of the EC to monitor the contradictory interests of the agent."

Jim, Wollstonecraft

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Ingrid, Neutral Bay

"I must say that I have enjoyed and found consolation in the discussions that have been part of the email chain (forum). I did attend one general meeting and found that it was informative and the people "running the show" were knowledgeable and dedicated to the tasks that had taken on. In short, well done. You and the committee have and continue to support the Strata Community in a very professional manner."

Greg, Parramatta

"Nothing is easy in Strata World and we have been in building defects “mode” for some years – hopefully almost at an end but that process has been most demanding and difficult but again – greatly helped by the experience and wise counsel of other members of OCN."

Pat, St Leonards

"Keep up the good work, as many (if not most) strata schemes need your help, advice and representation at all levels of government."

Jann and John, St Ives

"I belong to OCN because of its professionalism.  I have found the meetings I have been to extremely well presented, to the point, and of course very topical and informative. Speakers on the whole certainly know their topic.  My role of Secretary last year was certainly assisted with the coverage regarding TPG & other subjects. Member newsletters are also of benefit as the topics are specific to strata matters."

Graham, East Balmain

I have enjoyed attending the quarterly OCN meetings and the exchange of emails between other Executive Committee Members and think OCN is playing an increasingly important role as a voice for strata dwellers and representing us at Government level. I wish the organisation continuing success in the future."

Pauline, Kings Cross

"The [forum] response to my question was amazing and really useful.  The OCN community is wonderful so thanks."

Jenny, Killara

"I would like to thank you all for the important effort that you are all putting in to look after apartment owners and tenants. It is so valuable and you are heroes. I would not have been able to deal with my duties as a strata chairman without your advice and assistance." 

Angela, Mascot

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Bill, Surry Hills

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Sue, Neutral Bay

"Thanks to all at OCN for your continuing efforts to keep us up to date with current strata information and advice...it has been very helpful to us"

Kate, Coogee

"When my wife & I first encountered a problematic Executive Committee I heard that OCN was a great help (from a Strata manager whom I knew) so we both joined and have gratefully used the on-line information sources. We continued to happily rely on OCN’s assistance when we progressed to Committee status & later as Chair & Secretary of our Committee. I still use OCN in my current role as Treasurer."

Peter, Chiswick

"Thanks to OCN for being such a rich resource of trustworthy information about strata matters."

Peter, Chiswick

"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for the very informative & interesting event today. The OCN team did an outstanding job in the organisation of this event & I enjoyed it thoroughly. The quality of speakers, the flow of conversation & interaction from the attendees - first class …& of course, the amazing Jimmy T - always a delight."

Sue, Epping

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Lois, Wollongong

"I am sure my appreciation of your good works is echoed by many in the Stratasphere. Keep up the good work."

John, Elizabeth Bay

"Once again, being able to discuss such things through this forum, helps clear the mind, puts things into perspective and helps one to understand their rights and to form a strategy if needs be. As a simple EC member trying to do what is in the best interests of lot owners, I truly value OCN and am grateful."

Pamela, Point Lookout

"The OCN is probably one of the best, most informed and most informative groups I have been involved with."

Alan, Maryville