More than 1.5 million people live in stratas in British Columbia. Homeowners and residents are drawn to stratas because they often cost less than single-family homes, and they offer perks like shared amenities and routine maintenance.
Unlike condos, stratas are governed by the detailed provincial Strata Property Act. That means each strata must follow a structured set of rules. Furthermore, a strata corporation must have its own bylaws. Stratas are entitled to make their own rules, provided they comply with the Strata Property Act, for owners to follow. The bylaws and rules affect the strata owners’ rights and responsibilities, and how the strata corporation operates.
If you are a strata property manager, you’ve got a lot to do. Not only do you need to care for the building and the homeowners who live in the strata development, you also need to adhere to all of the rules and bylaws, and you will be expected to enforce the rules as well.
You don’t have to manage a strata to understand how difficult the job can be, however, strata management software can make life a lot easier for strata managers (and strata owners, too). Some strata property managers may worry that this software will be too complicated, or take up too much of their time. But the reality is that well-designed software saves strata corporations money and time, and makes it easier for managers to get things done.
Communication, or more specifically, the inability to effectively communicate, is one of the biggest problems that strata property managers face. It’s difficult to reach dozens or even hundreds of busy residents regularly, and paper notices are becoming less and less effective.
Here’s where electronic announcements can be useful. Using our Announcements feature, strata managers can create announcements for any topic, event or issue, and attach files, including newsletters and photos, to the announcements. The information can be distributed using a combination of mass communication methods including email, text, voice, and digital bulletin board. Not everyone is online, which is why we’ve created multiple distribution options. Communication works best when you use the methods that your residents prefer.
Announcements can be sent to the entire community, or specific groups such as council members.
Managers can send new announcements from their phone using our mobile app. They can also schedule announcements for a future time and date. Best of all, they save money on costs associated with printing and mailing physical notices.
Discussion forums are another great way to enhance communication and a sense of community. They provide a space for residents to discuss issues, bring forth ideas, and share opinions. Public forums work well because everyone who knows where to find the forum can participate, but they are hard to moderate. A Discussion Forum feature keeps discussions focused and productive. Managers can create discussion forums for specific groups, and allow group members to talk about the things that matter most to them. Managers can make it so comments must be approved before they are posted to the forum. This helps ensure that the platform isn’t being used to talk poorly about the board, or blame neighbours for not cleaning up after their pets.
Discussion forums inspire residents to come together to discuss issues, processes, and concerns. Collectively, members can contribute to a variety of ideas and find solutions that can be used to better the strata corporation.
Stratas (and every other residential community for that matter) weren’t sure what to do about annual meetings when the pandemic hit. They could have delayed the meeting, but that would mean doing a lot of catch-up work later on. Or, they could have used an online platform and tried to host the meeting virtually.
Condo Control understood what a difficult issue this was for strata, and came up with a solution that would allow them to successfully push forward with their annual meetings. Our Virtual Meeting feature makes it easy to organize and execute a meeting. We will even moderate the meeting for you so that you can focus your attention on the most important aspects of the meeting. Everything is done through Condo Control, so no one has to learn how to use a new program to participate.
Council members or strata managers can customize questions, share meeting instructions and schedule reminders before the date of the meeting. This allows for a smoother and more organized voting process.
Record-keeping is a tedious, but essential task. Managing and filing paper service requests, strata corporation documents, updating resident information, etc., could be a full-time job in and of itself. Tracking requests and storing important files in a secure online location is much more efficient and effective.
Instead of combing through files and looking for safe places to store sensitive information, managers can perform a simple search to find the document or request they are looking for. Condo Control’s online software system is secure, safe and easy to navigate. When it comes to service requests or violation tracking, managers can open and close requests or notices, make updates or changes, share important information with the applicant or recipient, and even analyze trends and patterns using our Reports feature.
Furthermore, since documents are stored securely on the cloud, management never has to worry about losing important documents. Items can be retrieved from any device that connects to the internet. When you use strata management software, everything is exactly where it should be. That’s an invaluable advantage.
It’s easy to be greener
Stratas generally go through stacks of papers for budget mailouts, meeting minutes, maintenance announcements, and more. The pages add up quickly, and so do the costs. Strata management software enables owners, council members and property managers to do almost everything online, which means corporations go through a lot less paper. Not only does that reduce print costs, it also helps the environment.
The software is customizable
Strata management software caters to your community’s unique requirements and needs. One of the great things about this technology is that it is customizable. Management can make adjustments and set permissions to so many features on the backend of the system. They can change or improve the aesthetic aspects of the resident and admin dashboard so that the visuals are more on-brand with the corporation’s image. They can add fields to service request types, create terms and conditions for amenities, hide features they don’t want to use, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look at the Amenity Booking feature. Management can determine whether the feature should be turned on for owners and tenants, or if some amenities will be hidden or turned off. This is useful if some shared spaces need to be closed for cleaning, maintenance, or other reasons. They can also choose:
- What forms of payment will be accepted if there is a fee and/or deposit for amenity usage
- Which amenities will be listed on the website (if applicable)
- How long each amenity can be booked for
- How frequently it can be booked by a unit or owner
- How the landing page looks
By including amenity rules and regulations, and an online agreement, management makes it easier for owners booking the amenity to understand what is expected of them.
Change the settings once, and that’s it. They’ll be saved until you need to make another adjustment.
Give more control to owners
Strata management software lightens the workload for property managers, but it also gives owners the freedom to do more for themselves. For example, they can book the party room from their Condo Control account without ever having to leave their unit. Bookings and payments can be handled through the system.
Similarly, retrieving packages becomes less of a headache with strata management software. With the influx of deliveries, it can be hard for concierge to keep up. Items may not get documented properly, and owners must continue to check with staff to see of their package has arrived. Condo Control streamlines this entire process. Concierge simply scans each package using a smartphone. The app will recognize the recipient’s details, and sync with the unit file to quickly log the package. Recipients are notified automatically that their items have arrived. The software system helps to reduce chaos and confusion.
Owners can also find important or popular documents in the File Library, they can keep track of council meetings or community events by visiting the Events Calendar, pay monthly fees or one-time fines using the Online Payments feature, and they can create visitor parking permits on their own.
Owners have the tools they need to take care of tasks when it’s most convenient for them, and they don’t have to rely on management so often. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Strata managers are expected to do a lot, which is why it never hurts to have some help. Strata management software can streamline and simplify strata management, and reduce costs for strata corporations. Condo Control has designed strata management software that is user-friendly, versatile and affordable. It can be introduced to small, medium and large strata corporations, and can help everyone who lives and works in the building. Strata management software can drastically improve communication between you and your owners, but it can also help to foster a deeper sense of community.
Strata Communication and Management Software