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August 30, 2012

What Is A Strata Manager’s Job Really Like?

What Is A Strata Manager’s Job Really Like?

It happens at almost every industry seminar or conference I attend. We sign in, find our seats and introduce ourselves to the professionals sitting around our table. Cards are exchanged and then the question is asked: “What kind of property do you manage?”

My answer, “Residential and Commercial Strata”, usually draws a gasp or awkward silence from the individual who asked the question.

What comes next is almost always “I don’t know how you do it…”

Strata managers come in all shapes and sizes. Many enter the profession only to seek a way out into another type of property management or another field altogether. After over seventeen years in the business, I can say with some certainty that this job is not for the faint of heart. As one can imagine it requires a high degree of knowledge and technical skill to succeed in this position but what many people do not realize is that a successful strata manger must be skilled with people. Not just clients, owners, tenants, trades but also with knowing themselves and being able to effectively navigate this tangled world of personalities, with all the stresses and pressure of managing the strata corporation’s affairs, without burning out.

Strata corporations are complex entities. The concept seems simple: a group of owners own units in a common asset, usually a building or land. If you think about it though, most people would have trouble managing an asset with a group they had actually chosen, let alone a group of strangers. Add to that, legislation and complex building science issues that sometimes go far beyond normal repair and maintenance.

The legislation is clear. It is the Strata Council’s job to administer the asset. It’s imperative that a Council function and act in the best interest of the Strata Corporation, regardless of who has been elected to it.

This job is as much about facilitating the formation of a working group of people as it is about managing the physical asset. Therefore, property managers must be skilled and understand the dynamics of group formation and ongoing functioning. Unfortunately, this aspect is missed by so many managers.

It’s a difficult job, but it’s an interesting job. Our managers embrace all aspects of it.

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