The Strata Police - Fact or Fiction?
Living in a strata-titled property comes with the right to have a say in the running of your community. As an owner, you become eligible to be part of the strata council. The strata council members ensure the safety, convenience, and cohesion of strata members.
Strata By-laws and Rules
All strata schemes have designed a set of by-laws that all owners, occupiers, and visitors must adhere to. The by-laws usually relate to pets, smoking, organisation of parking, and noise emission. The by-laws help maintain a healthy strata community and harmonious living.
The Strata Police
Strata police refer to strata council members charged with enforcing the by-laws. This strata council or strata committee refers to these members as strata police. The strata council may hire a strata manager to help them perform their duties. Strata councils have the legal right to enforce strata by-laws, with certain limitations.
Appointment of Strata Council Members
The owners appoint the strata council members in annual general meetings. The council members usually serve for a year. At the end of their term, the owners elect new council members or reappoint the current officeholders.
Enforcement of By-laws
The enforcement of the by-laws rests with the strata council. However, these members do not have the same powers as the police. They can write by-law violations and make rules, but they can't enforce them fully. The enforcement must follow set regulations. When the council receives a complaint, they issue a warning or offer guidance before taking further action.
A strata council can levy a fine for a contravention of a by-law or rule. The strata corporation's by-laws usually outline the most and least of penalties. The strata council can also remedy a breach of a by-law itself and then charge the costs incurred. Restricting access for those who breach by-laws relating to recreational facilities and common areas is done if the breach relates to the recreational or common areas.
Role of the Strata Police
The strata council's role is to operate according to the law and by-laws, ensure smooth operations, and manage the strata corporation. The strata council members set the direction of the strata scheme, manage its finances, and collect money on behalf of the project. They also carry out minor repairs and serve landowners with signed and sealed copies of the annual budget and levy notices.
The job of a strata council member is usually a thankless one. They, however, play a unique role in a strata scheme, though unappreciated by owners and sometimes misunderstood.
Effect of Covid-19
The Corona pandemic brought about increased expectations and responsibility on the strata council members. The government placed significant expectations and commitments on the council members to ensure compliance with various health protocols. However, compliance with health regulations requires the participation of all strata members, without which, the strata councils will be overwhelmed.
Responsibility of All Strata Members
All strata members must cooperate with strata managers or councils to operate efficiently. Strata owners, tenants, and visitors must keep each other in check and support the strata managers and committees.