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Is an unlicensed strata manager still ok to do the work? EC thinks so
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15/03/2018 - 2:48 am
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I was Chairperson of our EC for a few years, now just a resident owner in a 30-unit building in Bondi. Our longstanding strata manager didn’t turn up at the AGM in December. His son and daughter-in-law ran the meeting (well over 3 hours!) and said they’ll be looking after us from now on. Neither has a Strata Managing Agent license. This is the basis of my worry.

The Chairperson and Secretary are very happy with this situation, especially with the young wife as they are getting phone calls returned and day-to-day matters sorted easier than previously. The other Committee members agree with whatever the Chair and Secretary say.

BUT the couple are obviously unfamiliar with strata processes and terminology, and treat non-Committee owners quite rudely. I don’t think they even know that they work for all of us, not just the Committee. They are both horrible to me because I kept calling them out over their mistakes at the AGM. So I won’t miss them if we change management.

Anyway, after double-checking my suspicions by phone with Fair Trading, I emailed the Committee pointing out the relevant sections of the 2 Acts, one that says a strata manager needs a specific license, and the other about needing a resolution at a general meeting in order to swap a strata manager, even if one of them were qualified. And sent a link to that database that shows all qualifications.

The Committee refuses to ring Fair Trading to check my concerns. Their email replies insist that as the licensee of the agency is a strata manager, then either of the young couple can act as our strata manager, being supervised by their employer, the licensee. They say our contract is with the real estate agency not with an individual within it.

How can that be so, when all the legislation talks about is ‘a person’ not a company?  (btw, The licensee of the agency has been licensed since 1941, so possibly isn’t in a position to take over our management)

The Secretary adds that the handover to the couple was valid, as it was announced to us at the AGM by the wife that they’ll be taking over her father-in-law’s remainder of the contract. Both of the couple berated me for daring to ask about their license, and say of course they are fully licensed. One is a real estate agent, the other has a certificate called ‘Certificate’. Anyway, neither has a strata managing agent certificate in Fair Trading’s database. Still, the husband signs formal notices as Strata Managing Agent!

I told the Committee I don’t want to take further action myself, and that they should check it out. I have terminal cancer and better things to worry about, like surfing.  But I’m concerned because there’s noone running things who knows anything about what’s the right thing to do. Already they (Committee and someone in the agency with a stamp)  sent a DA to Council to alter an outside wall without the knowledge of the rest of us owners (since withdrawn after a month-long fight with affected owners)

Sadly, other owners don’t want to change agency because this one is so cheap. We get what we pay for eh. But now, we don’t even get that!

If I dob in the couple to Fair Trading, I’ll be hated by everyone, not just a quarter of the owners. And we’ll be left high and dry with no management. If I don’t, I’ll have to keep vigilant to stop real problems arising, and perhaps won’t even find out what’s going on until the thumping from the first commercial rooftop party begins on common property right above my living room (don’t ask, but this has been tried before and will be tried again)

I’m quite worried about the implications of this situation. My family says I should turn a blind eye to it all, and enjoy each day that I have left etc. I can’t decide whether to send a 4th email to the EC. Their latest email says I must be mistaken and they are sorry I’m concerned. but I’m not, and they are not. I can’t even rally other owners because I have no access to their emails, and most of them don’t live here.

Can you give me your thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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19/03/2018 - 9:48 pm
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It’s true that only the principle of a strata management firm is required to have a licence but all the actual strata managers should have some sort of training.  That said, you can get a strata management certificate in less than a week.

I would let this go if I were you, unless you think they are harming the building or don’t have the requisite insurance coverage should something go wrong.

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22/03/2018 - 9:20 pm
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Jimmy its not only the principle that needs to have a licence, anyone acting as, or performing the duties of a strata managing agent must hold a licence. I would report this company to Fair Trading as it would be a breach of legislation. If your scheme is dysfunctional, you could even apply to NCAT for a compulsory managing agent. 

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23/03/2018 - 12:27 am
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Stevecro said
Jimmy its not only the principle that needs to have a licence, anyone acting as, or performing the duties of a strata managing agent must hold a licence. 

I’m really not 100% sure about this but I looked up THIS PAGE on the Fair Trading website and it seems to say that registered strata manager can carry out the functions of a strata manager provided they are employed by a strata manager who holds a licence.

I’m not saying you’re wrong but if you’re right, it’s bloody confusing.

Salespersons and registered managers 

… registered managers require a certificate of registration and must not act as or exercise any of the functions of a … registered manager unless the person does so as an employee of the holder of a licence under the Act.

The Act defines a registered manager as a registered strata manager, registered community manager or registered on-site residential property manager.

The Act defines a registered strata manager as a person (other than the holder of a strata managing agent’s licence) who, as an employee of a strata managing agent or a corporation that carries on the business of a strata managing agent:

a) exercises any of the functions of a strata managing agent or

b) engages in any other activity that is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

Similar definitions in the Act describe a registered community manager and a registered on-site residential property manager.

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