Here is a list of frequently asked questions. Smithwick also supply Information Guides which provide further detail upon request.
What is the Legislation relating to Strata and who are the Governing Bodies?
Strata title legislation in Western Australia is administered under the Strata Titles Act 1985 and Strata Titles General Regulations 1996.
Presently in Western Australia there is no governing body that oversees the administration of the Strata Titles Act. Unlike Real Estate Agents, Strata Management businesses are not licensed and are not controlled by the Real Estate Board. However disputes and administrative problems can be referred to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for determination.
Copies of the Strata Legislation and links to the SAT website are provided in the useful references documents section and the useful links page.
INSURANCE: Do I have to insure the contents of my unit when there is already strata insurance?
Yes. The strata Insurance covers the building and/or common area contents but not household contents. This is the responsibility of the individual owners and they are free to make whatever arrangements they wish.
On instructions from the Council of Owners, Smithwick arranges for insurance cover for the strata. The Strata Insurance covers the repair or reinstatement of the building and/or common area contents as a result of accidental loss or damage.
Claims on Strata Insurance are processed by senior staff in the Smithwick Office and claims management professionals . They are experienced in the administration of insurance claims and work to maintain a good professional relationship with the insurance companies to expedite the claims. The most common types of claims are storm damage, water damage, glass damage and vandalism of common property.
COUNCIL OF OWNERS: Can I join the Council of Owners in my strata?
Where there are between 1 and 3 proprietors the Council of Owners consists of all proprietors and where there are more than 3 proprietors the Council consists of not less than 3 and not more than 7 members. Members of the Council of Owners are usually elected at each Annual General Meeting.
What Levy Payment Facilities are available?
Smithwick Strata Services operate their banking with Macquarie Bank Limited. Levy payment can be made easily through the DEFT® payment system. A full range of payment options will be detailed on the bottom of every levy notice. Alternatively, these options are also listed below:
- By Direct Debit Pay over the internet by DEPT Online from your pre-registered bank account at www.deft.com.au. You are required to register your details prior to taking advantage of this payment option. Registration is quick and easy and can be done online via the DEPT website.
- By Phone Pay by DEFT Phonepay from your pre-registered bank account. Call 1300 301 090 or International +612 8232 7395. Register your bank account at www.deft.com.au to use this option.
- By Credit Card Credit Card payments can be made through DEFT Online or DEFT Phonepay. Log onto www.deft.com.au or call 1300 301 090 and follow the instructions. A surcharge will be applicable if you use this option.
- By Mail Pay by mailing your levy payment slip along with your cheque to: DEFT Payment Systems, GPO Box 4690, Sydney NSW 2001.Cheques are simply made out to: Smithwick Strata Services Trust Account.
- By BPAY® Contact your participating financial institution to make a BPAY® payment from your cheque or savings account. Enter the biller code 96503 and your DEFT reference number.
- By POST billpay Pay in person by cash, cheque or EFTPOS at any Australia Post office.
RESERVE FUND: Why do we need a Reserve Fund?
A Reserve Fund is put in place so that the strata company can provide for an accumulating of money for the medium to long term major costs which are not of a routine nature. Examples of these costs include replacing roofs, repairing car parks and repainting the exterior of the complex.
PROXY FORMS: Why does my spouse have to sign a proxy form when we attend the annual general meeting?
Co-proprietors of a single strata lot are only entitled to 1 vote between them at the annual general meeting. Both co-proprietors may speak at the meeting but only the one nominated as the proxy can vote.
SELLING A PROPERTY: For Sale Signs
Under the Strata Titles legislation, the visual amenity of the Strata cannot be compromised, however, an application can be made to the Council of Owners to review and grant permission to erect a temporary for sale sign.
The request should be made to Smithwick Strata Services in the first instance via email: email@example.com. The request should specify the owner and lot details, and should accompany a photo / image of the proposed sign, the location it is proposed to be erected, the timeframe the sign is proposed to remain, and who would be responsible for the removal and disposal of the sign.
If the sign is on the verge, approval form local government is required.
PETS: Can we keep a PET in our unit?
In Strata, the term Pet is inclusive of all animals, whether it is a Dog, Cat, Fish, Lizard, Ant Farm.
To be able to keep a pet in your unit depends on the individual strata complex. Some have strict rules (specifically on dogs), and some even special By-laws which may stipulate they cannot have pets, or that they do allow pets of certain sizes.
Animals are not prohibited under the Strata Titles Act but if a dog disturbs the owners of a strata, then the council of owners can give a legally binding notice for the removal of the animal.
INFORMATION GUIDES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
- Reducing Water Usage
- Information Requests (Minutes, Levy payments, Insurance Policy Details).
- Air Conditioner Installation Request
- Renovations and Structural Alterations Request
- Hard Flooring Request.
- Request for New Access Keys, Fobs, Swipe cards and Remotes.
- Pet Request
USEFUL REFERENCE DOCUMENTS
- Western Australia Strata Title Act 1985
- Western Australia Strata Title Regulations 1996
- A Guide to Strata Titles (Landgate Publication)
- Understanding Strata Titles. Second Edition. Book written by John Angus.