If the industry seems too demanding, spare a thought for those juggling property management with strata management.
Mike Pollard, general manager of VJ Ray, says his company has been offering property and strata management for decades, but he would not recommend other agencies try to do the same.
“The only way I would recommend it is if you are going to merge two companies, because trying to build something up from nothing is really difficult,” he told RPM.
“It wasn’t as hard in the old days because the wages were so much lower, so you could afford to put someone on and learn it slowly. But now, you’ve got to pay so much money to hire a strata manager and trying to know what he has to do is really difficult if you have no background in it.”
According to Mr Pollard, there are few cross-over advantages of strata and property management, as the legislation is vastly different and strata managers have to cater to the needs of numerous owners rather than individual landlords.
“Strata is really a political animal compared to property management. A lot of people think it’s managing properties, which it is, but it’s actually more about managing people,” he said.
“You’ve got to be able to understand how to run a meeting group and account for how a group of different people might think, whereas property managers understand that landlords pretty much want the same thing for their property.”
Another key difference is the hours in which strata managers operate, especially since they have to work around the schedules of various owners and investors.
“You’ve got try and figure out how to deal with the pensioners who don’t want to come out at night time and the working couples who can’t come out any other time,” Mr Pollard said.
“One of the new rules coming into NSW means they’ll be able to do meetings electronically, so that may help, but the problem is that some people don’t know how the internet works, so we’ve still got that problem.”
Mr Pollard said the new changes coming into strata management in NSW were decided by government because they’re politically acceptable, but practically unmanageable.
“Government don’t take enough feedback from the strata industry. They take it from certain lobby groups, but never seem to listen to us, so we end up with good intentions, but terribly unworkable stuff.”
[Related: Strata management schemes to be modernised]