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  • #12075
    Fromthenorth
    Flatchatter

    I live in an eight unit in Armadale, Melbourne

    The unit owners are currently looking at the strata levy to see if it is too high or too low ?  This depends on the administration levy (ongoing expenses) and maintenance levy (one off budgeted expenses). 

    What information is readily available that you can compare other body corporates’s levies and expenses.

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  • #30900
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    There is no general answer. The larger items may be:

    – a managing agent’s fee. You could ask several agents to provide a quote. 

    -a grounds maintenance contractor and/or cleaner. Again, you could check if their fee seems reasonable on an hourly basis for what they do. 

    -other routine maintenance. What did it actually cost for the last few years to do routine things like replace light globes or get gutters cleared. Do you usually need to get an electrician or plumber out a couple of times a year? If so, factor that in. 

    -building insurance. My observation is that this goes up gradually every year then every 5 years or so one of the strata insurers decides to substantially undercut the others and we get a windfall from changing insurer. Get quotes. 

    -sinking fund plan (or whatever other states call it). This is the long-term planning for things such as remaking sections of damaged path, resurfacing asphalt, having a contingency provision for a burst water main, infrequent  scheduled maintenance of machinery such as lifts or fans or whatever, repainting, replacing carpet when it gets worn. Start with a list of everything you have on the common property. You might find it is relatively simple and you can make some sensible estimates of the cost and frequency of repairs and replacements and a generous contingency margin. You might find it is complex or some major items are difficult to estimate with confidence. Then get advice. However you work out a schedule of costs over 10 or more years, then work out how much needs to go into an interest bearing account each year to cover it. 

    -utility bills. What have they been for the last year or two?

    -other minor bits and pieces. Do you print a newsletter?

    -Are there improvements that a general meeting might consider and approve? These could be a park bench for under a tree in the grounds through BBQ facilities to solar electric equipment to offset the OC’s electricity costs. 

    Anyway, just work out the various parts and the sum of those plus a bit of contingency is what your levies should be. 

    #30896
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    @BONNIE L said:
    In NSW I understand there is a mandatory amount for strata buildings to have in their capital works fund for future maintenance works. 

    I don’t think so.  There must be a fund and there must be a capital works plan and the scheme is supposed to follow it (but often doesn’t).  But there is no mandatory amount.

    #30891
    Cosmo
    Flatchatter

    Each strata is so unique.  In my opinion, the question shouldn’t be “are our levys too high or too low?” but “are our levys appropriate to maintain and keep the property in good condition?”

    In NSW each strata has to prepare and update a 10 year forward plan.  This is basically a cash flow analysis of levys vs expenditures.  This 10 year plan is the best thing I have seen to answer the question: are our levys appropriate to maintain and keep the property in good condition?

    #30889
    BONNIE L
    Flatchatter

    In my experience, it sometimes has depended on someone in the building taking responsibility for the secretary or treasurer role, and coming up with a figure that other owners as a whole may find appropriate for the amount of expenses.  that represents on a yearly basis.   That is, routine expenses, plus a capital works amount.  In NSW I understand there is a mandatory amount for strata buildings to have in their capital works fund for future maintenance works. You could check what happens in your state, perhaps with a simple phone call. 

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