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COVID-next: What Can Strata Communities Learn and Take Forward

Everyone is searching for something to take out of this turbulent year. Life lessons, new workout regimes, you name it. It’s a time where 1 month dishes up a whole host of learnings and we think strata communities can too take something out of 2020. Here’s a guide on the best practice protocols we’ve learned this year, that should be a part of your plans in years to come.

First, why is it important to think about COVID-19 moving forward?

1. Every indication is the virus will still be active in 2021

2. Strata communities are obligated to provide a safe environment for residents

3. Owners Corporation will place a premium on communities who can protect their health at a high level

What’s new, will soon become common place

With social distancing and economic uncertainty abounds, we’ve seen these changes shake up community living;

  • Electronic voting
  • Data security and signing documents electronically
  • How to reimburse money used from other funds
  • If you had to pick a theme for the legislative changes above, it would boil down to flexibility. The flexibility of managing strata communities and strata community finances.

    If we assume that the health and economic impacts of this crisis will stick around for at least another year, it places the onus on your strata community to stay adaptable and flexible while we move forward.

    Getting the health advice right

    When it comes to health advice, the Federal and State/Territory Governments must take the lead, but strata communities play a critical role in the adherence to and understanding of this advice.

    Strata Community schemes in Australia have a legal responsibility to make sure the property is maintained in a safe condition and have a duty of care to all who come and go from the property, so it’s in your Strata community’s best interests to be a conduit for advice coming from lawmakers.

    Committee members must, therefore, make decisions in line with the restrictions that apply to their state and communicate these with Owners Corporation and residents.

    Checklist: health & advice

  • Stay up-to-date with information about social distancing and gathering sizes and make decisions for common property usage accordingly.
  • Provide a safe, accessible way for annual general meetings to proceed. With remote meetings now common place for many industries, there’s little excuse for strata communities to not embrace this new method of communication. These meetings are the perfect forum in which to give owners corporation up to date advice so they must stay in the calendar
  • Maintain increased cleaning and hygiene schedules around the property.
  • Communicating, clearly and in a timely manner

    Remaining proactive and providing clear and timely communication with your Strata Community members will be key for managing COVID-19 while also returning to a sense of normal. To assist committees in delivering their duty of care, the following checklist items will help keep all parties on top of all the relevant information.

    Checklist: communication

  • Communicate any COVID-19 decisions and restrictions to all Strata community members in a way that caters to the individual needs of your stakeholders. It may help to check the technological capability of your Strata community members before deciding on a new method of disseminating health advice & new rules
  • Keep common property areas well signposted to reinforce and inform about restrictions. This includes lifts, entertainment areas, lobby areas, in-door entertainment areas and recreational rooms
  • In common property areas that are deemed higher risk, such as pools, use signage as posters to communicate restrictions and hygiene practices with owners
  • Confirm which common property facilities are allowed to be open in your state.
  • Processes

    Best practice is of course underpinned by good processes.

    Seeking further advice?

    The above information is general in nature and strata legislation differs in each state and territory of Strata community Australia.

    If you wish to discuss any strata community matters further with an Ace Body Corporate manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace manager for a chat.

    Note: We are not in the position to provide health advice and we encourage you to keep up-to-date with guidance provided by the Australian Government on their website regarding Strata community, visit here.

    Ace Body Corporate Management
    Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients, however we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.