Strata Plan strives to Inspire Amazing Life Spaces in all the Owners Corporations we manage. We believe that success in this pursuit is only truly possible when every stakeholder in what we call the “Owners Corporation Ecosystem” come together to collectively co-create. At one Owners Corporation in Essendon, it took the attention and care of a handful to turn inspiration into reality.
Renée Whitten understands the importance of collaboration and transparency when it comes to an Owners Corporation’s success better than most.
When Renée attended her first Annual General Meeting, the 20-lot Owners Corporation in Essendon had $20,000 worth of debt. Since becoming chairperson and working alongside her fellow owners and Strata Plan, the Owners Corporation now operates with a $10,000 surplus – an achievement that would not have been possible without a team effort.
“Everyone has to work together,” she said.
“I couldn’t do what I do as chairperson if I didn’t have help from other owners who live at the property, like Alex, or Strata Plan who help us turn our ideas into reality.”
Renée says attending Annual General Meetings is a great place to start for owners who might not be sure of how their Owners Corporation functions.
“You just have to get along for these meetings,” Renée said.
“I suppose it’s one of those things that does not seem very important, but that hour or two one time a year can make a massive difference to your property and your investment.”
When Renée attended her first Annual General Meeting in 2015, she wanted to make a difference.
Having purchased into the Owners Corporation only months prior, Renée was keen to understand how the property was run and how she could help.
“I’d never been involved in an Owners Corporation before, so when I purchased my lot, I wanted to get involved and make sure it was heading in the right direction,” Renée said.
“I was aware that the building had a deficit of something around $20,000 and there were a few issues. I guess I went to that first Annual General Meeting trying to understand how it had got to that point and what had to be done to get us back on track.”
The reality was grim.
A managing agent who happened to manage multiple lots on the property had procured multiple proxies from lot owners and consistently set budgets at unsustainable lows, meaning the Owners Corporation failed to raise what it needed to cover its expenses, despite Strata Plan’s recommendations and advice.
As the appointed Owners Corporation manager, Strata Plan needed lot owners to take an interest and for Strata Plan, Renée’s arrival was the breath of fresh air the Owners Corporation needed.
Without the active involvement of other owners, it was easy for the interests of one to outweigh the majority.
“It was clear that there was a keen interest to minimise costs, but by doing so the position of the building had been made that much worse,” Renée recalled.
“I went to the meeting having gone through the previous year’s budget and it was clear that it was not in line with expenditure, let alone with what we owed as an Owners Corporation, so I went through the whole thing, item by item, and presented that to Strata Plan – who were very receptive and facilitated our thoughts and ideas.
“Everyone from Strata Plan who has worked with us have always been very receptive to our ideas and proactive in making them happen.”
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