Annual tasks for strata councils
Annual strata council tasks checklist
Keep a list of strata council tasks handy with our annual tasks for strata councils checklist.
With so many responsibilities that fall to the strata council, it can be difficult to sort out where you should even start. Let’s breakdown the crucial tasks your strata council needs to perform.
Get to know your job
First things first, regardless of if this is your first time on the council, you’re a seasoned council veteran, or you’re a member at large that has recently taken on a new role, it’s important to understand your role and the responsibilities that go along with it. But it’s more than just knowing what your role is, you need to understand the responsibilities of each of your fellow members as well in order to best work together. You should also familiarize yourself with how your property manager supports your strata council as they will be an important piece to successfully running your community.
To be an effective strata council, it’s more than just understanding your role. Take the time to familiarize (or refamiliarize) yourself with your corporation’s bylaws, financial reports, and depreciation report. Your bylaws will dictate how you run your council and community so it’s extremely important you understand the intricacies of the document.
To help new council members get acquainted with strata business while providing a refresher to experienced members, enroll in council member training if it’s offered by your property management company.
Establish communication best practices
A strata council can quickly become ineffective if council members can’t communicate with each other. But to be successful it’s more than just being able to communicate with each other. Residents can quickly lose trust with their strata council if they aren’t hearing from them on a regular basis or being kept updated on important decisions being made for the community.
This is why as a new council you need to quickly establish best practices for communication within your council and within your community. To keep your strata council on track, set guidelines that ensure your council is following legal requirements and keeping residents well informed.
What worked in the past for communicating with your community members may not work as well today. Evaluate the various communication channels available to you and determine which will work best. Remember you don’t have to stick with one channel, you can use a variety to ensure communications reach everyone in the community.
Check the numbers
Inheriting the financial responsibilities from the previous strata council can be overwhelming. Having a financial review performed by an independent certified public accountant can go a long way in helping you understand the current financial position of your strata corporation.
Once you understand the financial health of your corporation you can review the budget. Are there areas where you can cut costs and increase investment returns? Does your property management company have strong relationships with vendors and buying power that you can take advantage of to get the most for your money?
This is also a good time to perform an insurance audit. Review your insurance policies with your broker or agent and make sure your corporation has the right kind of coverage and the right amount. Insurance premiums have gone up so it’s important to make sure your corporation is adequately covered.
Acquaint yourself with your corporation’s depreciation report
A depreciation report identifies predictable capital improvement projects within your strata corporation and recommends a plan for funding those projects over a number of years. As you can imagine, this is an important piece to ensuring your community does not fall into disrepair. Review your current report to see if it’s still relevant. If it seems outdated, get the report updated. This is something we recommend our councils do every three to five years.
Create (or review) your 5-year plan
Armed with the recommendations for your depreciation report, you can now create or review the existing 5-year plan. Having a proper plan in place will keep your community on track to meet its long-term goals and complete capital improvements. The plan should be reviewed each year to make any necessary adjustments.
Evaluate strata rules
There can be a misconception about rules where once they are set, they are set in stone. That’s not the case. Rules that made sense for the community 10 years ago, may no longer be applicable so it’s important to evaluate the current rules in place. You might find that it’s time to update or create new policies and if you do that, ensure the new rules are clearly communicated to the community.
When reviewing existing rules be sure to take enforcement into account and if it’s being applied fairly. If a rule is not going to be properly enforced, having that rule will quickly be seen as irrelevant by residents.
Assess your committee needs
Strata committees can go a long way in assisting council with special projects or tasks. If your strata council has existing committees, review them to ensure they are still useful and are aligned with the council’s goals. If there are upcoming tasks or projects you think a committee could help make your job easier, establish one. Committees are a great way to bring a real sense of community to the residents as they can join a committee and help make a real difference in the strata corporation.
Ensure proper elections
It may seem inconsequential when first starting off, but we all know how quickly a year can go. Become familiar with proper election procedures and rules well in advance of the next election. Look to your governing documents and local laws for guidance.
Plan and host your Annual General Meeting
Before you know it, it will be time to host your Annual General Meeting (AGM). That’s why you want to create a timeline for developing the agenda, sending out notices and preparing the meeting space well in advance. When it comes time for the AGM, follow the election rules and stick to the agenda.
Lean on your property management team for support
Becoming a member of your strata council can feel overwhelming at times. You are tasked with helping make important decisions that affect your entire community, and you want to make sure you are making the right decisions that won’t create conflict with the residents.
It’s important to remember you don’t have to do this alone. Your property manager is a valuable resource that can guide and advise you through important council tasks and decisions. Take advantage of their years of experience and keep on top of your crucial tasks in order to ensure you have a positive experience during your time serving on your strata council.