The Commission of Strata Corporations (CSC) will host a workshop seeking to address the chronic failure of the management of strata properties, also referred to as strata corporations, to file their annual returns. This filing is mandated by the Registration (Strata Titles) (Amendment) Act, 2009.
The legislation requires strata corporations to file with the Commission, within one hundred and twenty (120) days after the end of the current (financial) year, audited financial statements or, subject to the approval of the Commission, a copy of the accounts prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This must be signed by the Chairman of the Corporation and at least one other member of the executive committee. The statement of accounts must relate to the entire financial period just ended.
Also to be submitted is a report of its activities during the financial year including: meetings held by the Corporation; the appointment of the executive committee; the passing of resolutions adopting a budget; and a copy of the certificate of insurance for the current year. This filing must also be accompanied by the prescribed fee of $1,000.
Ainsworth Norton, Manager of the CSC Inspectorate, explained the reason for this Workshop. “The rate of compliance for strata corporations filing their annual returns averages approximately 12% of the number of corporations due to file returns in a given year since April 2011.”
According to Mr. Norton, this can be attributed to inadequate knowledge regarding the simplicity of the process for filing. “This lack of knowledge is as a result of the ‘newness’ of the prevailing legislation coupled with cultural apathy towards the efficient running of strata corporations.”
The workshop will highlight the general accounting principles to be employed in managing the strata corporation. It will also highlight the statutory responsibility to file the returns as well as give detailed explanations on completing and submitting the required Forms.
Sandra Watson, CEO of the Commission of Strata Corporations in explaining the rationale behind the filing of these returns, noted that “annual returns provide information that will allow the Commission to make the necessary recommendations or apply the appropriate sanctions to corporations in an effort to facilitate their effective operation and safeguard the interest of stakeholders.”
The Commission of Strata Corporations, which was established under the Registration (Strata Titles) (Amendment) Act, 2009, shares a Board and Administrative offices with the Real Estate Board. It is mandated to monitor, regulate and supervise strata corporations in Jamaica, in addition to maintaining a register of such corporations and facilitate the resolution of disputes between a corporation and a proprietor.
A strata property is a building or collection of buildings where individuals each own the inner sections of the unit (a strata lot) but where there is also common property or shared areas with shared ownership (eg external walls, windows, roof, driveways). A monthly maintenance fee is therefore usually required for the management and administration of common areas.
The workshop will be held on Friday August 19 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Commission’s offices at 24 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10. Participants must however register by August 15 by calling 926-9748-9 to confirm attendance.