The maintenance and upkeep of common areas in a Strata Property is covered by strata levies.
Strata levies are set and agreed upon by the Strata Company owners at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) following an initial suggestion by your Strata Manager and/or the Council of the Strata Company. It is up to the Strata Manager or Council, to assess likely outgoings and expenses for the upcoming financial year, and to prepare a schedule of costs (the budget) and suggest an appropriate levy contribution for the owners.
The decision to increase the levies must be approved by a majority vote. It is important to note that your Strata Manager can not decide to increase your Strata levies, and any decisions to approve or increase Strata levies will be documented in the meeting minutes of the AGM.
A number of factors will determine whether the Strata Levies should be increased and by how much, including:
- Inflation: The cost of utilities and services can drive up the Strata levies on your property. Your Strata Company must account for inflationary increases in the cost of water, gas, and electricity when setting the Strata Levies of your property.
- Increased cost of building materials, or shortage of qualified trades: Market factors may create a shortage of materials or a shortage of trades based on a number of factors. Usually they are most affected by the economy, or environmentl disasters. Both of these factors can greatly affect the supply and cost of building materials, which in turn may greatly affect the costs of maintenance and repairs. Additionally, a shortage of qualified trades, will also increase the expected hourly rate that many of them will charge, resulting in an increase in expenditure.
- Insurance and building management: Strata levies are also used to cover building’s insurance and any administraiton, accounting and compliance fees related to the overall management of your building and property.
The amount payable by each lot owner is determined by the unit entitlement of your lot, which is set out on your property’s Strata Plan. Some lots may attract a higher Strata Levy than others, so you may end up paying more or less than your neighbours. There are many factors that decide how the Units of Entitlement are determined. Generally speaking, the larger or higher, your lot is in comparison to other lots in the complex, the more unit entitlement it has, and so higher Strata levies will be payable.