Once an Annual Maintenance Plan (Strata Strategies #9) has been developed for the Strata Property, the next step is to take all the Common Property Systems that the plan identifies, and review them from the perspective of their present condition and life expectancy.
Every system will eventually wear out and require replacement or major refurbishment and upgrading. A review of their condition allows the Strata Council to generate a list of future projects and a sense of the necessary priorities and funding requirements for each one.
As with any other property owner, a Strata Corporation has the option to defer (or ignore) the property’s future major maintenance needs. In doing so, the Owners also give up a significant opportunity to plan for the funding of these projects over an extended period, and spread out the financial impacts to individual owners.
Knowing that the roof must be replaced, would you, as the owner of a strata unit, prefer to pay an emergency, Special Assessment of $3000 because its failure is imminent, or contribute $25 per month over a period of 10 years because the Long Term Maintenance Plan has identified the roof’s useful operating life and cost of replacement?
Some owners believe that, because they probably won’t be living in their unit in 10 years, they shouldn’t have to pay anything. We counter that with the position that they are currently enjoying the “use” of the system and contributing to its deterioration. They are, therefore, responsible for the system’s eventual replacement.
Put simply, it’s called “user pays”, and we might add that the owner is only contributing to the fund for as long as they own their unit.
As we have noted, although they are similar in many respects, each Strata Plan is different and will have its own special list of systems to be included in a Long Term Maintenance Plan. The one thing common to all is the need for such a Plan no matter what the property’s age.
It’s never too soon to start the Plan. It’s never too late, either.
John Grubb is a Property Maintenance Consultant serving Strata Corporations and building owners on Vancouver Island.
To the next article: Strata Strategies #11 – Home or Investment?