2022 has seen its fair share of economic turmoil, with record inflation occurring within Australia on a level unseen since 1990, reaching 6.1 per cent as of Q2 2022.
This has been demonstrating an influence on the prices of many common goods, services, and materials, in conjunction with continued supply chain issues stemming from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Strata communities, and with them, the strata industry, have not been immune to the effects of the economic headwinds and an especially harsh winter in 2022.
This has been reflected in higher-than-average prices for building supplies and materials, energy and fuel, and insurance premiums, among other goods and services, which are in turn, passed on through strata levies.
In spite of these difficulties, the value of strata levies to strata communities in terms of the all-encompassing range of services provided for the effective upkeep and maintenance of the common property for a building or complex endures.
Without them, strata communities would be caught short in terms of their obligation to ensure their buildings and complexes comply with relevant legislation and regulations.
Where do my strata levies go every year?
Strata levies go towards maintenance and repairs of items within and outside a property that are not the responsibility of individual lot owners.
Specifically, that includes the upkeep and protection of common facilities and areas such as gardens, foyers, gymnasiums and swimming pools through the employment of cleaners, gardeners, plumbers, electricians, and window cleaners, for instance.
Critical to the growth and enjoyment of strata living is ensuring that all of the spaces and features unique to a property are up to the standards expected of those residing within a property, key to liveability and therefore, greater happiness and harmony within a strata community.
Strata levies also play a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of a property, paying for the regular inspection and reporting of Essential Safety Measures (ESMs), such as fire and smoke alarms, fire doors and exits, stairs, water pumps and pipes, and electrical substations.
Strata insurance is perhaps the most important factor affecting levies and contributions by individual lot owners, as a mandatory expense set out under legislation across every Australian state and territory. In order to cover contingencies for damage to a building and/or the common property, personal injury and liability, and dependent on the jurisdiction, employee and/or volunteer cover.
How can I keep my strata levies lower in tough economic times?
Some steps can be taken to mitigate the costs of strata levies for individual lot owners during the current economic difficulties presented in 2022.
Regular review of the financial statements of the strata community can help to identify where savings may be created from and know precisely where every dollar spent goes.
Savings may also be identified through engaging the strata community committee and/or manager and requesting a review of ongoing contracts for maintenance, cleaning, security, gardening, or other services, and requesting quotes from alternate suppliers and service providers.
In this current period of higher cost of living pressures, being thrifty is important for a lot of us to adapt and continue to live well; this does not necessarily end at the individual household, or in the grocery line.
For the 1 in 5 Australians living in strata, higher costs of living extend to consideration of the day-to-day operation of the strata community governing the buildings and complexes where we live.
Lowering levies where possible through taking these steps needs to not come at the cost of lowering our standards of what to expect in terms of the safety, security, maintenance, and liveability of a property.
SCA affiliated strata managers, suppliers and service providers meet high professional standards, reflected in the work they undertake every day, offering unparalleled quality.
This article was contributed by Strata Community Association