Five Fundamental Roles on Your Strata Council
To be successful, a strata community needs a dedicated Council of Directors who understand their roles and responsibilities and are committed to fair representation of the residents they have been elected to serve.
The volunteer Council of Directors must approach the operation of their strata corporation as a business. It is their responsibility to protect the investment and interests of all the owners. This includes maintaining the common property, managing the finances and creating policies that promote harmony between people living in a multi-family environment – perhaps for the first time.
To make this happen, the Council must meet regularly to set goals, interpret and administer the bylaws and make decisions on behalf of their community. Effective strata Councils are those whose members are respectful of each other and work together with a spirit of cooperation.
It is important for Council members to understand their roles and, while there can be several areas of responsibility for Councils such as parking control, architectural considerations and common area maintenance, there are five fundamental positions that every Council needs to fill.
President The Council President is responsible for the successful operation of the community. He or she sets the agenda, and chairs the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Council meetings, maintaining order and keeping the discussion on topic. The President is responsible for the daily execution of the corporation’s business and is the primary Council contact for the strata manager.
Vice President The Vice President takes over the duties of the President in the President’s absence and helps with projects where needed.
Secretary Minutes of a strata corporation are public documents. The secretary’s job is to accurately record the proceedings of Council meetings in minutes and distribute them to the Council for approval. Once they are approved, the management company makes them available to those who need them for real estate transactions, mortgages, insurance and legal purposes.
Treasurer The financial health of a strata corporation is important to all owners. No one wants to see the monthly contributions increase due to mismanagement of the funds. The treasurer is the Council member most involved with the preparation of the budget draft, which is reviewed, adjusted and approved by the Council. Then it is the treasurer who closely monitors the monthly financial reports, provided by the management company, and ensures the expenditures align with the budgeted amounts. Realistic budgets and fiscal management are imperative.
Strata Manager Contracting a reputable, experienced management company lightens the Council’s workload immensely. The strata manager is the Council’s link to the management company. He or she attends Council meetings and is a resource to the Council as they set policies, determine maintenance requirements and manage the common property in compliance with the bylaws. The strata manager implements the decisions of the Council, supported by an administrative team that includes an administrator, accountant and full-service office.
Of course, there may be other areas of Council responsibility depending upon the community, but these are the essential five positions on a typical strata Council. In addition to these, there may be a need to monitor parking or pets, prepare newsletters or supervise maintenance or landscaping contractors. Clear understanding of the roles will contribute to well-functioning leadership for the corporation.
Elected Council members will have a variety of skill sets and experience as volunteers. A partnership with a strong management company will provide the guidance and knowledge that will support the Council as they fulfill their duties.
For more information on how the right strata management company can bring out the best of your Council, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leading strata management company.