Levies and Levy Increases

Why have my levies increased recently and where does the money go?

Summary

  • The business of determining how much money is collected for the next financial year is discussed and decided by owners at the AGM.
  • Strata Managers cannot decide to increase your levies - this is done by the owners at the Annual General Meeting. Our role is to issue the levy notice on behalf of the strata company. 
  • This must be in accordance with decisions made by owners at the AGM and approved by a formal vote. 
  • If you have received a quarterly levy notice which is higher than you were expecting, we would encourage you to refer to your minutes and its attached budget to learn more about the spending decisions made by your strata company.
  • At ESM Strata, all levies are paid via the DEFT payment service and funds are held in individual accounts in the name of the Strata Company. This account is managed by ESM Strata on behalf of the Council of the Strata Company and the Strata Company.  The levies raised fund the approved expenditure of your Strata Company.

 

More information

Various factors will determine how much the strata company needs to raise to run the complex for the next financial year. Increases in levies may be attributed to any number of reasons, but the most common explanations are: 

  • inflationary increases in the cost of utilities and services etc
  • once off capital works (such as roof works)
  • the establishment of a Reserve Fund
  • surplus funds (or lack of) carried forward to the new financial year
  • the establishment of working capital or cash flow requirements

The minutes of the AGM will give you the clearest picture as to why levies were increased. Please refer to these. If you still have queries, please contact your Strata Manager for further clarification.

If you are having difficulty making payments due to a recent increase in the levy installment, please contact your Strata Manager.

Your Strata Manager is only authorised to pay bills on behalf of the Strata Company upon direction from the Council of the Strata Company. Some Council of the Strata Company's like to approve every invoice outside of bills such as power, water and other contracted maintenance items.

All expenditure is documented and these accounts are made available to all owners as part of the notice and agenda pack sent out ahead of each AGM.

Example Case

James lived at a complex in Swanbourne. He was busy and worked away for much of the year and had never attended an AGM or read the minutes.

He paid his levies each quarter but never took the time to understand what his levies actually covered, beyond the insurance.

At an AGM, the owners decided that they wanted to establish a Reserve Fund to start putting money aside for proposed future maintenance works. The balconies were starting to show signs of concrete cancer and repairs would be costly.

James was first aware of the increase in levies when he received his next levy notice. He was shocked to learn of the increase and made enquiries with his Strata Manager. Once he understood how his levies were spent and the reason behind the commencement of the Reserve Fund, he was accepting of the situation.

James decided to make himself available to attend future AGM's and also put himself up for nomination to be on the Council of the Strata Company so he would have the chance to scrutinize quotations and provide input.