Strata Fees, Accounts, Payment, Budget and More!



Paying your strata fees

Love it or hate it, we trust you’ll agree, that the management of your collective finances is pivotal to the successful operation of your body corporate. Whether you’re an owner-occupier or a strata property investor, a well-maintained, well-run building, not only creates a great place to stay, live and enjoy coming home to, it ultimately, protects your investment!

A key function of your body corporate is to repair and maintain the common property that all owners collectively own and share use of. This may include areas such as gardens, foyers and hallways through to communal libraries, gymnasiums and pools, as well as ensuring adequate lighting in these common areas, maintenance of equipment and even upkeep of plant and machinery needed to service buildings in the instance of central hot water systems, heating, ventilation and cooling. Exactly what is needed is unique to each body corporate. That’s why your contribution to decision making in your body corporate is so beneficial.

Your ACE Body Corporate Manager is here to support you through the process of calculating strata levies and paying your strata fees, and guidance on your obligations. Read on to find out what you need to know about a body corporate’s financial journey.

Payments to your Body Corporate:

ACE Body Corporate Management uses Macquarie Bank DEFT payment services for all its bodies corporate under management. If you have an enquiry about your strata fee notice, please contact your strata manager directly. Their contact details will be at the top of the fee notice. Otherwise, enter the strata property address into our Find a Manager search function.

How to Pay Strata Fees:

By Post:

  • Mail the slip on the Fee Notice with your cheque to:
    DEFT Payment Systems, GPO Box 2174, MELBOURNE VIC 3001

By Phone:

  • Please call 1300 301 090 to make your payment of strata fees using a Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Diners Card

BPay:

  • Call your bank, credit union or building society to make this payment from your cheque or savings account.
  • Please click on the picture below to pay your account online.
  • Macquarie Bank DEFT Payment System

 

Body Corporate Accounts and Budget

For your confidence, each body corporate managed by ACE Body Corporate Management has an individual bank account established in its own name. It’s under the delegation of the body corporate members, that the strata manager remains sole signatory to the account.

As part of its account management obligations, your Strata Manager raises strata fees, issues fee notices and supports the debt recovery process. They also make payments out of the body corporate funds and provide financial statements to keep you, and all members of your Body Corporate informed.

It is important however that you are aware, that it is you, as lot owners collectively that set the annual strata fees and that you recognise the importance of remaining an active part of the decision making processes.

There are three main types of strata fees: administrative fund levies, capital works fund levies and special levies. The main component of the budget is generally the insurance premium, which may cover such things as buildings, common area facilities and shared services, as well as public liability cover office bearers liability. Other body corporate expenses include your caretaking, grounds and building maintenance, strata management fees as well as utility bills for common areas (watering of the gardens, lighting), repairs, preventative maintenance through to routine maintenance of essential services, lifts, pools etc. These are often referred to as “Administrative fund levies”.

Your body corporate will vary to the extent of funds that accumulate in your account. Many operate on a small margin over the normal annual operating costs while others plan and wisely choose to accumulate funds over time so that they’re prepared for major capital works as they arise, for example painting, replacement of gutters, fences and roofs. If your body corporate is without sufficient funds, at the time a major un-budgeted expense is to be incurred, it may raise once-off special levies to collect fees to pay for the necessary work.

It is the collective decision of lot owners, which sets the strata fees at each annual general meeting, as well as the frequency of payments towards the annual budget (eg annually, six monthly, quarterly). The annual general meeting is held close to the beginning of each financial year of the body corporate, so be sure to diarise the date as soon as known to make sure you can attend, participate and contribute to decisions. The budget to be set should include- the total amount required to maintain and manage your strata scheme, its services and facilities, as well as accommodate potential expenses to address timely concerns of the members. Once set, the agreed annual budget dictates the amount of body corporate funds to be accumulated that year, and in turn is calculated into the strata fees payable by each member. The amount contributed by each member is based on a table included in the plan, which reflects a % basis respectively of each lot in comparison to the plan as a whole. This table includes reference to "lot liability".

Other meetings may be held if required by members to address additional and unprojected needs of a body corporate, as they arise.
Example budget for a small body corporate with minimal common property to maintain
Administrative Fund
10 Centre Road, Centreville. (8 units)

ProposedLast Year's BudgetLast Year's Actual
AGM$30.00$30.00$25.00
Administration Expenses$165.00$165.00$165.00
Electricity$400.00$320.00$400.00
General Maintenance for common areas$1,068.00 $1,068.00$1,000.00
Gutter Cleaning$726.00$726.00$726.00
Insurance$1,630.00 $1,630.00 $1,630.00
Lawns & Garden$1,300.00$1,200.00$1,200.00
Light Maintenance$200.00$120.00$150.00
Strata Management Fees$1,650.00$1,650.00$1,650.00
Safety Audit$250.00$250.00$250.00
TOTAL ADMIN FUND$7,419.00$7,159.00$7,196.00

Sinking Fund or Maintenance Plans::

Sinking funds, (or “Maintenance plans” , “reserve funds” or “Capital works fund”) are a form of budgeting for major expenditures, projects or covering unexpected expenses. The sinking fund can be used towards painting, purchasing and installing new equipment, roof replacement, general refurbishments and major repairs to common areas. The aim of the fund is to cover long term maintenance of the property to ensure that it remains in a state of good order. Funds are raised in advance in anticipation of future expenditures, thereby reducing financial surprises and hardship.

Maintenance plans are important to proactively help plan for major forecasted expenditures. When issues are being dealt with in a timely manner, the forecasting and funding reduces further complications of reactive funding. One example would be a building painting project that is postponed for consideration and then further postponed as strata levies are raised. By the time the project starts, severe paint deterioration may have caused wood rotting which further increases the scope of works required, this then increases the cost of the project, and threatens property values and sales. There are certain benefits to implementing a sinking fund for your body corporate.

GST:

For income tax purposes, an owners corporation or body corporate is treated as a “public company” and must submit a return for any $1.00 of taxable income, for example any interest received on investments. A body corporate must register for GST if its turnover is greater than $75,000, however the threshold for registration increases if the body corporate’s turnover is less than $150,000 and there is no intent for it to distribute income back to its members. At such a time it loses its non-profit status.

You can find out more about your body corporate’s financial status and your strata fees by speaking directly to your appointed ACE Body Corporate Manager or contact us to obtain a quote and discuss how you and your body corporate can benefit under ACE management.