strata council membersYou love life in your strata corporation, you enjoy the neighbours around you, and you have amenities and common areas you use. Why not ask yourself the question of: should I get involved with my strata council? 
Before you do, it is crucial to make sure that being part of a council is the right fit for you. Having this responsibility, you will take part in a decision-making body that impacts people in the most personal way - the way they live. Thus, as a council member, you must be willing to operate as the steward of your and your residents' most significant investments. 
While it is a job filled with responsibility, it comes with its rewards. Leading a council in a positive direction that helps you and your neighbours to enhance your quality of life is a great opportunity. However, as mentioned, there must be a good fit. How do you know if this is the right opportunity for you? Here we have listed five traits of the ideal strata council member. If you think they describe you, you may be ready to take the next step!

1. You effectively manage your time

Being part of your strata council membership can feel like having a second job at times. So, if you already have a time-consuming job, be sure you have enough time to dedicate to council meetings and council duties. Your role on the strata council will sometimes go beyond attending meetings. Suppose you are the president or vice president. In that case, you will spend time outside of the meetings setting agendas, conferring with residents, working with vendors, and liaising with your strata management company.

If you are the treasurer, you’ll have to commit to reviewing statements ensuring they’re accurate, approving payments and managing the annual budget. And if you’re selected to serve as secretary, you will be fulfilling essential record-keeping functions, such as taking meeting minutes and keeping track of the council's documents.

No matter what your role is, though, you’ll want to make sure you have the time to fulfill it to the best of your ability. Having the support of the right strata management company will help, too – these professionals will support you in your responsibilities and do some of the heavy liftings along with you.

2. You can put the community's interests before your own

In your role on the strata council, you need to be selfless. You put the needs of others before yours and are good at knowing what is right for others. If you fulfill this quality, then you might be excellent strata council material. Your council needs people who recognize the value of the common good over individual benefit. In doing so, you may find yourself in voting situations that may not be personally beneficial to you but is good for the strata corporation. An essential part of this role is keeping your personal goals and the strata corporation goals separate.

3. You like to read – and learn

strata council memberFor many people, sitting down with a massive book of bylaws, rules and regulations and reading each one is not their idea of a fun night. But as a strata council member, you will need to be knowledgeable of the rules. This doesn’t just mean knowing the basics and giving them a cursory read. You will need to dig further and comprehend the documents to present educated opinions during meetings and when making your bylaws.

Having a true understanding of rules, regulations, and what keeps your strata corporation running will help you make the best decisions possible for the wellbeing of the community. And if you are partnered with a professional strata management company, they can help you make sense of the documents and deepen your understanding.

4. You can make hard decisions

Can you fairly enforce fines even against owners you may have a good, friendly relationship with? Will you be able to defend a special levy to an angry neighbour? Can you deescalate the situation with an angry resident because you have closed the pool for maintenance?

While your strata manager is the main point of contact with whom residents can address these issues, council members may still face many of these situations. Nobody likes dealing with unhappy people, especially if it’s more than one person. Still, those who realize that doing what makes everyone happy and doing what’s right for a community are two separate things and can find fulfillment in strata council membership.

5. You are comfortable dealing with conflict

Part of your responsibility will involve navigating conflict and quite a bit of it. Your job can include approving and enforcing the bylaws and rules, choosing which aspects of the strata corporation to fund, hiring, and reviewing strata employees' performance evaluations, supporting the work done by contractors, and much more. As you can tell, any one of these scenarios has the potential for conflict.

The best strata management company will be your buffer in these cases, and they are experienced in leveraging conflict for positive outcomes. Overall, if you recognize the role of conflict in resolving an issue – and how it can be managed beneficially, you are ready to serve on your strata council.

Serving on your strata council can be a rewarding experience 

strata councilAs you can see, serving on your strata council is a great responsibility. Yet, it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do when it comes to strata living. It will instill a sense of pride, gratitude of friends and neighbours, and produce the feeling of being galvanized by a greater purpose. A good strata management company can help you navigate your role as a council member and support you in its essential activities and functions. This will save you time and frustration, and enable you, as a council member, to focus on the broader vision of bettering your strata as a whole.
For more information on what the right Strata management company can do for you, contact FirstService Residential, North America's leading property management company.

Wednesday January 11, 2023