There are many initiatives that strata companies can implement that reduce the amount that owners need to contribute to the strata pool each year. But before we dive into them, let’s have a look at an overview of what strata levies cover.
What are strata levies?
Strata levies are contributions that are paid by the owners of lots in a strata scheme to help fund the costs of maintaining and managing the common areas of the building and the property. These costs can include things like administrative fees, insurance, repairs and maintenance, cleaning/gardening, and utilities for common areas such as hallways, elevators, and other shared facilities.
Strata levies are typically paid on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly, and are determined by the owner of the strata company (the governing body of the strata property) at each Annual General Meeting (AGM). The amount of the strata levies set, is usually based on the funding requirements for the Strata Company’s budget that is also set at the AGM. The levies are collected by the Strata Company and used to pay for the ongoing costs of running and maintaining the property.
Below is a sample breakdown of what strata levies cover for a building of 10 – 19 lots.
Amongst this, there may be opportunities for sustainability initiatives and changes to lower the amount payable for the entire strata complex.
How to reduce your levies through sustainability initiatives
- Lowering energy costs:
By investing in energy-efficient upgrades and renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or the use of LED lights, a Strata Company can significantly reduce its energy costs to common areas. This could include energy to common areas like lifts and lighting, heating for pools and other pool electricity requirements.
- Water conservation:
By installing low-flow shower-heads, faucets, and toilets to common areas, a Strata Company can significantly reduce its water bills. Collecting rainwater and using it for gardening can reduce utilities significantly for strata properties.
- Waterwise and self-maintained gardens:
Replacing plants with Waterwise plants can reduce the cost required for gardening and maintenance. Using native plants or slow growing plants keep the property looking nice with less gardening maintenance.
- Cost sharing with tenants:
Whilst owners pay for their own utilities in a strata building, creating an embedded network (combining all the utilities of the entire building, negotiating a better rate with utility company through purchasing power, and then dividing the electricity back up) will reduce levies by lowering the amount required to cover utility usage of common property areas such as pools, gyms, hallways, carparks, etc.
Remember that these changes can make a big difference not just to your levies but also to the environment and they should be considered with your fellow owners and council members.
Curious how strata levies are calculated? Click here.