by Trish Riley
03rd September, 2018
Management rights and the role of the onsite manager
Operating successfully for more than 40 years, management rights or onsite management provides an effective way for the diversity of long-stay and short-stay strata or community title properties to operate.
Commonly there are three parts of the business; the onsite manager owns the business as well as a unit in the building, and as a result the manager is a member of the body corporate (owners corporation). Onsite managers also have a contractual agreement with the body corporate to maintain the property for an agreed remuneration rate for an agreed time in accordance with relevant state-based legislation. In addition to the property management role, the onsite manager generally also has authorisation from the body corporate to operate an onsite letting business on behalf of those lot owners who choose to use his/her services for items such as commission, cleaning, advertising and other services provided.
As a licensed letting agent, the onsite manager operates a trust account for all deposits and tariffs paid and must satisfy the requirements of the Property Occupations Act/Agents Financial Administration Act of 2014 or its state equivalent. The onsite manager then makes a disbursement from the trust account to each letting owner each month providing a report with details of all income and expenses from the unit.
An intrinsic yet undocumented part of the onsite manager’s role is that of communication, across all stakeholders. The onsite manager needs to anticipate the lot owner and guests wishes rather than just responding to them and many managers have implemented a monthly newsletter or text message service to update owners and tenants about important dates, events or simply to remind them that they are available to help should the need arise.
As the largest investor in the property, the two key responsibilities for the onsite manager is the marketing and presentation of the facility. Marketing activities include advertising and social media – local, regional and even international – and liaison with online travel agents, inbound operators, website booking services and telemarketers. Managers must ensure that these activities are adequately funded by the marketing fund budget and address target markets suited to the building, and as repeat guests are vital, and an invaluable source of reliable income, onsite managers are incentivised to provide a friendly and helpful service of the highest standard to encourage guests to return to the building.
The more arduous activity – and one that directly impacts on the ability to market the facility in which they are also an investor, is the presentation and maintenance of the property. This 24-hour, 7-day per week commitment involves maintaining lawns and gardens, swimming pool facilities and barbeques as well as the general cleaning and repair of areas such as foyers, stairwells, garbage bins and windows and doors in common areas.
In all aspects, onsite managers must satisfy the requirements of the Workplace Health & Safety Act and the relevant state equivalent to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act.
The onsite manager or well-trained representative of the manager is always at the complex to welcome guests and ensure that they settle into their accommodation with the confidence, and as onsite managers are usually the first to be aware of any urgent repairs, disruption, damage or security concerns they are ideally placed to take action efficiently for the benefit of lot owners and guests.
Lot owners in buildings managed by onsite managers have confidence in knowing that their investments are being monitored by a person living onsite, as well as a fellow lot owner who shares an interest in the long-term success of the building.
As many investors are unaware of the complexities of the strata and community title legislation there is significant benefit in entrusting their property to an onsite manager, knowing that they will be kept updated and aware of legislative issues, industry activities and practices related to their properties, their living conditions and their investments.