It’s a common tradition around this time of year to reflect on the last 12 months and set new goals for the year ahead. Most New Year’s resolutions come down to exercising more or giving up a bad habit, but if you’re an apartment owner living in a strata scheme, we want you to start thinking about setting resolutions to improve your community living experience.
If you don’t know where to start, here are a few tips to help you set your strata goals for 2024.
Take Care of Any Unfinished Business
Before you start thinking of new ways to improve your building and the living experience of owners and residents, it’s important to take stock of any matters that may be lingering from the previous year. Once you have all your ducks in a row, you’ll be in a much better position to budget and plan for the year head.
If there are any unpaid strata levies from the previous quarter, chasing down these payments will help to improve the building’s cash flow. If there are any overdue invoices from contractors, make sure they are paid so that you aren’t starting the year with your account in the red. If any common property still needs to be fixed, get a quote for the repair so that the work can be quickly approved.
Get an Updated Building Valuation
The new year is a good time to consider getting an up-to-date building valuation. With property prices continuing to rise, along with inflation and the cost of construction, buildings that aren’t regularly valued are likely to become underinsured.
At very least, your property should be insured for full replacement or reinstatement value, but it’s a good idea to make sure that you are also covered for the cost of removing debris, high-risk events, such as flooding or earthquakes, and any legal costs or professional fees you may also incur. An accurate building valuation will allow you to review your insurance policy to make sure you have the right level of cover.
Conduct a Safety Audit of Common Areas
While there are strict rules in place for strata buildings to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and workers using common areas, conducting a general safety audit is a good way to help manage other risks in your building.
Marking potential trip hazards and improving lighting in poorly lit outdoor areas can help to prevent falls and other injuries. Adding a speed limit sign on a shared driveway can improve pedestrian safety. Installing motion sensor lights and external entry lights to the door of your parking garage can help to prevent collisions between drivers entering and exiting the building and with the door itself.
We recently had the privilege of attending a First Annual General Meetings (FAGM) with one of our clients in Macquarie Park, and one of the key takeaways from the event was just how important adding additional safety measures was to owners. The committee opted to allocate almost 15% of their annual budget to improving security around the property, which also included a physical after-hours presence. It is clear that safety is a top priority for owners and conducting a general safety audit can help you understand how and where residents are most at risk.
Think of Ways to Reduce Costs
Apartment owners now all too well the burden of rising contributions to their shared communities. During 2023, we saw strata levies increase by an average of 15-20%, in addition to soaring living costs and general inflation, which only added to the mounting financial pressure on owners. A great way to make 2024 your year is to think of ways to ease that burden and reduce costs while still maintaining the quality and upkeep of your building.
Consider switching to more energy-efficient appliances and lighting to reduce electricity consumption or explore the possibility of installing solar panels. Upgrade to water-efficient fixtures and aim fix leaks as soon as possible to minimise water wastage. Review your energy and waste management costs and try to negotiate more favorable payment terms or service agreements with providers.
Ask an Expert
If you’re still unsure where to start, you can always reach out to an experienced Strata Manager. In addition to answering questions regarding things like the erection of new signs on common property or what repairs fall under the Owners Committee’s responsibility, they’ll also be able to recommend new ways you can improve your strata living.
For 40 years, the team here at Strata Choice has been committed to building thriving communities. Throughout this time, we have successfully managed a wide range of properties, from three-storey walk-ups to some of the complex, mixed-use towers on Sydney’s iconic skyline. We know what makes an apartment building a community, and we are ready to help you set and achieve your strata goals for the coming year.
Make 2024 the year you improve your strata living experience. Talk to the team at Strata Choice today.