It takes a lot to build a great community. You need committed residents, a dedicated strata council, and a clear understanding of each person's roles and responsibilities.
At its best, your strata council will offer a complete vision for proper stewardship of the property. However, its responsibilities go beyond that. In a practical, hands-on sense, the council is tasked with protecting the interests of the strata corporation, maintaining the common areas of the property, and enhancing the living experience for all Residents.
To make this happen, goals must be set, governing documents must be followed, and meetings must be conducted. Financial stability is key, as well as a sense of collegiality and cooperation.
Yet the underpinnings of your council will be the people who are part of it. Understanding their roles and responsibilities will help make your strata council more effective – and your community a more enjoyable place to live. A knowledgeable property management company can help you define these roles, and cultivate the qualities of great council members. To cover the basics, let’s start with the five essential people on your strata council:
The President’s responsibilities include important procedural roles, as well as essential leadership functions. For instance, the President appoints committees as dictated by the bylaws, and operates as an authority on the rules and documents governing your Strata. During meetings, the President typically maintains order, proposes questions, calls votes, announces outcomes and recognizes those who are about to speak on the floor. The President also calls the meeting to order, announces the agenda and ensures that everyone adheres to it. As you can see, this takes a unique personality: one who is conversant in the dynamics of effective meetings, as well as knowledgeable about many of the specifics of your community.
The Vice President shares many of the responsibilities as the President, and serves in the leadership capacity when the President is absent. This individual is tasked with helping to maintain order during parliamentary procedures, keeping the flow of business moving efficiently, and acting as a knowledgeable source when it comes to the rules of the property. Like the President, the Vice President can also assist with committees.
You can think of this person as the strata historian. The Secretary’s role is to record all of the actions of the council so they can be referenced later. This ensures clarity – imagine how often you’ve had a conversation with another party, only to find there were two different interpretations of the outcome after the fact. Now multiply that by every member of your strata corporation, and you understand how important good records are. The Secretary’s functions eliminate those “Oh, I thought you meant...” scenarios by keeping accurate minutes during meetings and acting as the custodian of all records. The Secretary may also approve the minutes of all meetings and other important community documents.
The effectiveness of your council is dictated largely by your budget. This makes the Treasurer’s role essential. He or she will be the keeper of financial records, ensuring they are both accurate and thorough. The Treasurer will apprise the council of the strata’s financial health through regular reports of income and expenses, and will also produce an annual financial report to all council members. Look to the Treasurer to submit financial records in the case of an audit, and to authorize any disbursement of funds.
As an outside party bound to your strata corporation by contract, it’s important that your strata manager comes from a reputable property management company. This will ensure your manager has the backing and experience to bring maximum effectiveness to the role. Though the specifics of his or her duties vary by contract, all managers typically execute the policies dictated by the council and administer all of the services, operations and programs of the strata corporation. Your strata manager should also be an important source of information and insight. In fact, many strata councils become more effective through training provided by an experienced manager.
As with many strata councils, the individuals appointed to their roles will bring strengths and talents all their own. It’s important to allow those strengths to come to the forefront – your council will benefit from it. Yet understanding the basics of each role will help make sure the essential functions are covered as well.
Still have questions? That’s understandable – no two councils are alike. For more information on how the right property management company can bring out the best for your council, contact FirstService Residential
, North America’s leading property management company.