Owners Corporations – Self Managed or Professional Management?

There is no legal requirement for an Owners Corporation (OC) in Victoria to engage the services of a professional strata management company and as a result, many smaller OC’s choose to be self-managed, where all management is done directly by the owners or perhaps more accurately usually carried out by just one of the owners.

Whilst in most cases self-managed plans are managed well there are many that are not where basic obligations and compliance requirements have not been met.

Examples could be inadequate insurance (or in worse cases no insurance), levy payments not being made without adequate debt recovery processes, poor maintenance of common property, inadequate recording of meeting minutes etc.

At WestVic Strata we wonder why some owners choose to self-manage when there is an opportunity to engage a professional strata management company for a relatively small fee who will do all the stressful work for them?

So, what are the important basics?

Owners Corporation Committee

If you own a lot in an Owners Corporation that is 12 lots or under there is no requirement to form an OC Committee however if there are 13 lots or more the Act is clear that a committee must be elected, and you will then also need to elect a chairperson and secretary / treasurer.

So, under 12 lots without a committee looks relatively easy, although it is a time-consuming job, and the onus is usually on one or two owners to make all the decisions and assume all the responsibilities as defined in the Owners Corporation Act. Further, some of those decisions made, without the knowledge or input of all owners, can later be criticised by some lot owners.

13 lots and above brings a higher level of compliance as a committee MUST be formed and further the Act is quite specific on the way a committee is to function and report. Regardless of the size of the Owners Corporation it can be professionally managed for a surprisingly low cost.


Collection of levies from fellow lot owners may sound like a simple job, and when everyone pays on time it works well, however recalcitrant fellow lot owners, who don’t pay, can become a real problem for self-managed schemes.

Collection of levies from fellow lot owners may sound like a simple job, and when everyone pays on time it works well, however recalcitrant fellow lot owners, who don’t pay, can become a real problem for self-managed schemes.

At WestVic Strata we offer many levy payment schemes and can tailor a payment plan to suit the individual, however in the instances of non-payment we have a proven debt recovery system to make sure that all owners contribute fairly to the budget.

And surely having a professional manager chasing debt is a far better solution than having it carried out by a voluntary office bearer!

Maintenance of Common Property

There are many regulations to be aware of, for example fire safety, drainage, electrical safety, security, pool / spa monitoring, asbestos management – the list goes on and with a professional manager appointed to look after the management of the property you can have peace of mind.

Industry Knowledge

One of the big issues for self-managed plans is that there are many of regulations to be aware of. In most cases owners won’t have a good understanding of the legislation and some generic items such as Insurance and Fire Safety Compliance may have been arranged without knowing if they were legislatively correct, exposing the Owners Corporation to more risk.

At WestVic Strata we understand the legislation and can offer the necessary advice.

Record Keeping

Management of an Owners Corporation is not a ‘five-minute job’ and the payment of accounts, recording of minutes, setting of budgets etc can be time consuming.

At WestVic Strata we have the software, templates, and systems in place to manage your record keeping professionally, particularly helpful when a request is made for an Owners Corporation Certificate if you ever decide to sell your lot as in our experience poor records and compliance issues may also make it harder to sell a property or result in a lower price because of the uncertainty about the history and current circumstances in the Owners Corporation.

So, is it better to be self-managed or managed by a strata management company?

Perhaps it’s a question of how much is your time worth?

If you have time and knowledge to pull-off being self-managed, you can certainly enjoy some benefits such as reduced cost, more flexibility and faster decision-making process. But there are a lot of traps too and removing all this unnecessary stress for a small fee by being managed by an Owners Corporation industry specialist may certainly be worth it.

Why not contact us for a no obligation audit of your procedures – we will be more than happy to meet with you.

Rob Harris – phone 0418 977 783 or email admin@westvicstrata.com.au