COVID-19. What you should know.
We understand that there is much uncertainty amongst our Owners and Residents on how best to deal with questions and situations that Strata and Community Title Properties may face as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.
Acknowledging that this situation is fluid and that advice is being provided and updated on an hourly or daily basis, we have put together our views to answer some of the questions that our Strata Managers have fielded in the days since the pandemic has been declared.
This advice is general in nature and we would recommend that should you have any concerns regarding the questions raised that you seek expert health and consultancy advice as deemed necessary.
What should I do if I have symptoms or suspect I have COVID-19?
If you have flu like symptoms or suspect that you may have COVID-19 you need to self isolate, seek medical advice and strictly follow that medical advice.
Do not attend the offices of Lake Group Strata, do not attend any meetings and remain at home.
What should I do if I have a confirmed case of COVID-19?
Strictly follow the medical advice given to you along with instructions you are given by the Health Department.
If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 you must also let your Strata Manager know. There is a duty of care to owners and residents of your building to be aware of this, along with any contractors attending the building.
What should we do if there is a suspected COVID-19 case at our property?
Firstly, the Strata Manager should be made aware. In the case where there is a suspicion of a case, that person should be seeking and following expert medical advice and we would expect that there would be a period of self isolation.
In a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is our understanding that the Department of Health will seek to understand their recent movements and a notification should be placed on the entry door to confirm that there is a positive COVID-19 case in the unit.
Upon becoming aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19, our office will write to all owners and residents. We will first attempt to make contact with the individual and confirm for privacy reasons whether or not consent is provided to list their name and unit number on the letter to owners and residents.
If consent is provided, owners and residents will be made aware and can take the necessary precautions. If consent is not provided, a letter that is more general in nature will be circulated to Owners and Residents and that they should follow the current Government advice regarding proximity to any persons they encounter at the building.
Who Can I Contact Regarding Further Information About Coronavirus?
If you have symptoms you should contact NSW Health on 1800 022 222.
If you are seeking general advice you may contact NSW Health on 1800 020 080.
Should we close any common facilities that may be areas of public/resident gathering i.e. Common area Gym’s, Pools, Common Rooms?
For indoor gatherings of less than 100 people, there is currently a 4m2 proximity restriction between persons. It is our recommendation that these areas should be closed until further Government or medical advice lifts the existing restriction on public gatherings. It is our view that these areas, being Common/Association Property are under the management and control of the Owners Corporation/Association and we would question how the necessary controls could be managed to ensure that the proximity guidelines are upheld and that the levels of cleaning and hygiene can be maintained at a satisfactory level.
What can we do to prevent the COVID-19 virus spread or contamination?
Where there is a cleaner engaged, we would recommend that your Committee meet with the cleaner and seek their guidance as to how best to combat the virus spread, whether that be additional cleaning, particularly of touchpoints such as handrails, door knobs etc and any additional actions that owners and residents could be taking.
The Committee may also want to post notifications in common areas regarding hygiene habits, proximities and garbage disposal that may contribute to mitigating the spread of contamination of COVID-19. Ask your Strata Manager who will be able to show you some examples or pamphlets and brochures that have been circulated by Health authorities.
Do we still have to pay our Strata Levies?
It is understandable that many people may be experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 and as a family owned business we understand the pressures that go along with maintaining employment and the health and wellbeing of friends and family members.
Levies do still need to be paid to ensure that your property continues to run smoothly. Your levies contribute towards many things including to maintain your building insurance, to pay trades to maintain the common areas, to keep electricity/gas/water on in common areas and to otherwise meet your obligations under the Strata legislation.
The expectation will be that levies continue to be paid on-time, however if you are experiencing hardship, please contact us to discuss your current position and we may be able to discuss alternatives such as payment plans or similar to ensure the building can continue to function.
We will be scaling back our debt recovery activities and we will seek advice from Strata Committees on how to proceed on a case by case basis before looking at external debt recovery steps. Our view at this stage would be to discourage any external debt recovery.
We want to foster a situation where owners feel comfortable to come forward and talk to us about their current circumstances so that we can work together to ensure that levies are still paid in a reasonable timeframe and hopefully to assist with minimizing the financial burden in the short term.
Is Lake Group Strata Open For Business?
Our East Maitland office will be temporarily closed to the public from Monday 30 March, 2020 until further notice. Our staff from our East Maitland office will be working from home or remotely and staff may be contacted by email or by phone. Phone calls to our East Maitland office will still be answered by our reception staff.
Our Charlestown office is open for business however the following measures are in place:
- Most of our staff including all Strata Managers are working from home or remotely until further notice.
- Visiting our office in person must be limited to only essential purposes (for example strata searches for sale of properties under management), however social distancing practice will be implemented for our employees.
- On-site meetings and visits by our staff will be temporarily restricted.
- All planned employee events are cancelled until further notice.
How Can I Contact My Strata Manager When They Are Working From Home Or Remotely?
All of our staff can access their work computers from home or remotely. If you need to contact your Strata Manager we encourage you to do so by email. If you do need to phone your Strata Manager you may contact our offices on 4942 3305. You will need to leave a message with our reception staff who will then send an email to your Strata Manager and your Strata Manager will return your call as soon as possible.
Will Our Meeting Be Held?
Meetings will still be held wherever possible.
However, face to face meetings for our employees are restricted to situations where it is essential and there is no other alternative. In those cases, strict social distancing measures must be adhered to including limitations on the number of people allowed in a meeting room.
We strongly encourage owners to attend meetings via telephone conferencing until further notice. Details of telephone conference meetings will be provided on your Notice of Meeting that you receive from our office or alternatively your Strata Manager will contact you regarding this.
If you have any questions regarding a specific meeting, please contact your Strata Manager (preferably by email) who will be able to assist with your specific questions.
Will Contractors Still Be Able To Attend My Property?
Each individual contractor will make their own decisions regarding whether or not they can continue to provide their service, taking into consideration Government policy and the health and safety of their employees and clients.
If Lake Group Strata becomes aware of a contractor who is unable to provide a service to your property we will notify the Strata Committee accordingly.
Please bear in mind that there may be some delay in some contractors providing non-essential services given the current situation.
What Will Happen In The Future?
The Coronavirus situation remains very much a rapidly moving target and further decisions and actions may need to be implemented in accordance with Government and Health Department advice and requirements.
Lake Group Strata will continue to provide services to our clients as best as we possibly can given the circumstances while at the same time ensuring the health and safety of our employees and clients.
We appreciate your patience and support during this challenging time and we will endeavor to keep you updated of any further changes.
To download a pdf version of our complete notice please click here