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Call for essential services clarity in strata management

Australia’s peak body for strata title properties has called on the Federal Health Department to clearly define the role of essential services in strata as its close-knit communities deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Strata Community Association (SCA) is the industry body for Body Corporate and Community Title Management (also referred to as Strata Management, Strata Title or Owners Corporation Management) in Australia and New Zealand.

SCA’s National branch has lodged a submission with the Federal Health Department asking for clarification of “essential services” in the strata ecosystem.

With more than two million Australians living in strata communities, the pandemic has made high-density living harder with rising demand on services such as cleaning and maintenance.

While the economy in is hibernation, SCA National President Andrew Chambers said strata managers cannot hibernate.

“High density living has become more complex with Coronavirus,” Mr Chambers said.

“Strata communities and their managers are facing an unprecedented challenge and we must have a co-ordinated effort to navigate through it.

“Strata management is not just an essential service – it’s a critical one and will remain so even after this crisis as the economy and communities rebuild.

“We want the Federal Health Department to give us clarification of essential services to take into consideration the critical functions of body corporate schemes.”

With more people living at such close quarters, chances are high that strata buildings will have someone already in self-quarantine or tested positive for COVID-19 living in their complex. 

Mr Chambers said this requires increased management and servicing to avoid overwhelming essential services.

“Strata managers are under more pressure than ever and we have increased pressure just like every other business right now,” Mr Chambers said.

“Without strata managers, there is no one to manage any problems that might arise.

“A strata manager can act as a gatekeeper for other service providers. Building Managers, Strata Community Managers and Committees will need to support each other so that the triangle of management can support the lot owners who in turn will need the support of the triangle of management now more so than ever before.

“The scheme must remain open to occupiers and service providers such as a caretaking service provider and those whom they supervise. This is essential and the reason why we must have that clarification from the Federal Health Department,” Mr Chambers said.

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