Why we don’t manage residential stratas
Residential strata management often involves long hours, low fees, and high drama. Strata property managers bear the brunt of it, and their job has a high turnover and burnout rate.
Our company manages all types of real estate but with ONE exception and that is Residential Strata.
We receive several phone calls every month asking us to submit proposals on Residential Strata properties and we pass them up every time. I am often asked why…after all, it’s money in your pocket right?
There are 5 Basic Reasons why I will not manage residential strata
- First Off – Strata Property is fundamentally different from other types of property. A residential strata unit is usually someone’s home and therefore there is much more emotion attached to problems when they occur. An owner of investment real estate typically approaches problems from a more objective perspective – not necessarily detached but usually with a lot less emotion.
- The meetings occur at night – often at a late time such as 7pm. Property managers like to go home at a decent hour as well and typically the Council has gone home and had supper and are ready to show up at the meeting at 7pm. The property manager works all day until 7pm and then goes to the strata meeting for another 2-3 hours. Depending on the portfolio a manager is given, a typical property manager can be at meetings 2-3 times per week until 10pm. Then they are required to work the following day. This is a recipe for burn-out and I don’t think it is very sustainable. Strata companies often complain about the turnover of property managers and this is one of the reasons why.
- On any given Strata Council you will always have one member who is difficult to deal with. There will be that one member who is the “know it all” or has the over inflated ego. Quite often it is someone who has something to prove to the world and the poor property manager gets the brunt of it. This is often another reason for turnover and burnout.
- For the amount of work involved and education required – the fees paid are low. Often times strata corporations think that they are paying too much but when you factor in the accounting required, site visits, property maintenance, the fees are more than reasonable.
- Lastly – Strata Councils often perceive property managers as order takers or servants. There appears to be limited respect. Property managers are required to go through licensing requirements and many have taken higher education in Urban Land Economic or other related degrees. Most property managers have the ability to be a Council’s trusted advisor but the Council does not treat them this way. If that is the case on your Council then you are under utilizing or miss-using your property manager.
I suggest that if you have a good property manager for your strata – you should respect them and treat them well.
As I have said – we have made the decision to NOT manage Residential Strata. For Commercial Strata who are willing to work with their manager in a consultative way that embodies mutual respect and understanding, we are more than happy to have a conversation.
I think there needs to be a fundamental shift in the industry including the pricing model and the way property managers are perceived. Until that time I believe that there will continue to be high turnover of property managers as they seek to manage other types of property.
During my travels, I’ve noticed that professional property management isn’t something you find worldwide – much depends on local building, and health and safety regulations…
Tenants sometimes suggest that they perform maintenance tasks to keep costs down. It may sound like a good idea, but there are risks involved.
If you’d like to see what a client-focused property management company can do for you,
please contact our office at 604 873 8591.