A building problem: B.C. has too many stratas, not enough managers

They work long hours, hold great responsibilities and don’t get paid a lot. With that in mind, the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. asks, is it any wonder the province has a shortage of strata building managers?

'We can easily use twice as many people in the industry as we have right now,' says head of condo association

B.C. is home to numerous condo buildings but the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. says it is home to not enough strata managers. (Christer Waara/CBC)

They work long hours, hold great responsibilities and don't get paid a lot.

With that in mind, the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. asks, is it any wonder the province has too few strata building managers?

"It's a huge shortage," said Tony Gioventu, the condo association's executive director. "It's much more serious than people realize. We can easily use twice as many people in the industry as we have right now."

The managers carry out many duties in strata buildings such as condo towers or townhouse complexes.

In addition to running the day-to-day operations and maintenance, they manage budgets, arrange insurance, pay bills and help solve building emergencies. 

With so few managers in B.C., that work is sometimes slow to be completed or not done at all, he said.

Work weeks can stretch between 60 to 80 hours, Gioventu said.

A quick scan of job listings online shows salary offerings of  between $30,000 to $70,000 per year.

Managers overloaded

The Real Estate Council of B.C., which licenses strata managers, said there were 1,322 licensed strata managers in the province as of June 30, 2017.

According to the Land Title and Survey Authority, there are 31,100 strata buildings in B.C. with 637,205 units between them. That works out to an average of 23 buildings per manager.

"There are a lot of managers out there that should be managing five to seven properties, might be managing 15 to 20," Gioventu said. "They don't have the time to do the basic essentials for their clients."

When those basic duties are neglected, he said, deadlines are missed, warranties expire, response times are slow and scheduled maintenance can be missed completely.

The Land Title and Survey Authority says there are 31,100 strata buildings in B.C. with 637,205 units between them. (David Horemans/CBC)

Education and recruitment must improve

Gioventu adds that the number of working managers may be lower than what the real estate council reports because some may have switched to property sales — which is more lucrative and involves shorter hours.

Gioventu said it pays to have better-treated and better-paid managers when it comes to real estate assets that can be worth up to $100 million.

"We need to compensate better, we need to look at this as professional careers."

He says efforts toward the education and recruitment of strata managers need to improve before the number of them increases.