We are aware that you will have been inundated with emails regarding responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, are providing a brief update on the strata/community management of your scheme.
We also note that, occasionally, due to the number of calls we are receiving, some callers are having issues reaching us. If that is the case, please email email@example.com and we will call you back as soon as possible
Strata Levies – Relief from Payment
At this difficult time, we have been approached by owners asking for assistance with strata levies. As strata managers, there are things we can do and some we can’t. Firstly, and as much as we would like to, we have no discretion to waive, defer or discount levies that have been struck.
However, we can assist in the following ways:
1)For levies that are already due, we can agree to a payment plan with you – this might include deferring payment for a period. Interest at a statutory rate of 10%pa does apply (but see comment below)
2)For levies that have been determined by owners, but not yet issued, we are talking with strata committees to determine whether meetings of owners should be held to defer payment dates and/or vary the amounts due. You will be notified if this is the case.
3)For levies that have not yet been determined by owners at a general meeting, the owners at those upcoming meetings can determine the amounts and due dates of levies. We encourage owners to participate in the meetings.
4)While interest does apply under the Act (and we are not at liberty to waive it) we will put a motion on the agenda for upcoming meetings for owners to consider waiving interest that accrues for unpaid levies (note that the interest can be waived in full, only, not in part, if resolved by the owners.)
5)Where owners contact us to discuss their levies and agree to a payment plan, we will withhold any charges for late payment and (unless instructed otherwise) will defer commencement of legal action.
As you will appreciate, the levies are collected by the strata manager on behalf of owners. The funds are not retained by Beaumont Strata, in our own right, but rather are held in bank accounts for the benefit of owners and used to fund its expenses. As a matter of course in these difficult times, the strata manager is looking at options to reduce costs (which might include reduced services). There may also be opportunities to dip into some of the funds accumulated from prior years. This will be considered on a case by case basis.
The above is based on the law as of today. We are involved in lobbying efforts to seek government support to enable some more flexibility. If you do find yourself unable to pay levies, please do contact us to discuss at the earliest opportunity. Please bear in mind that we are here to help but can only do so within the confines of the law and our instructions from strata committees. Accordingly, we would ask for patience and respect when dealing with these sensitive issues.
•For the time being, we will be seeking to defer all meetings of owners and strata committees, unless critical/urgent. If the pandemic continues for an extended periodic, meetings will become more “urgent” and will have to be called.
•We offer alternate means of participation in meetings (e.g. conference call/electronic attendance) where meetings are scheduled. At a minimum, we will adhere to government regulations regarding the number of people that can be admitted to meetings.
•We have been in the process of rolling out an electronic method of voting and will expedite that as quickly as possible. These measures should allow for the orderly conduct of the owner’s corporation.
Strata Management Support
•Our managers remain available to support you with any needs you may have, including estate management (repairs and maintenance), levies, accounts, by-law enforcement or similar. To the extent possible, it is “business as usual”.
•Our managers are working outside the office. Our office remains open, but we would ask owners (and contractors) wishing to attend our office to make an appointment.
•We will ensure that contractors continue to be engaged and paid promptly. The owner’s corporation finances, levy collection and books and records are unaffected. You can access information via our web portal at www.beaumontstrata.com.au.
•We will be ensuring communication with committees in relation to extra measures that might be considered to deal with the pandemic (on a case by case basis).
•Strata inspectors can still conduct searches of the books and records; we will be able to provide timely status certificates, although we recommend reasonable notice be given to ensure that these are available in advance of settlements.
We would also note:
•All residents / businesses, contractors and visitors should practice both good hygiene (e.g. handwashing) and social distancing. In most cases, individuals are required to take personal responsibility for this, although some owners corporations are providing additional facilities and cleaning.
•All residents diagnosed with COVID-19 that are required to self-isolate should alert the owners corporation via the strata manager so other residents / businesses can be informed (confidentially) and take appropriate precautions, including extra cleaning.
•Restrictions may be placed on communal facilities (like gyms, pools and clubhouses), especially if a person returning a positive result to COVID-19 has visited the site. We would ask for all owners’ patience and understanding.
Thank you for your support to date. If any matters require our attentions, please contact the strata manager. We wish you continued good health at this trying time.