Google+ Property Problems when Managers Muck-Up - RealVoice

Location, closeness to amenities and security of property are huge contributing factors on the value of real estate. Residential investors in secure estates or sectional title schemes cannot change the location of their immovable property, nor want to spend millions to set up surrounding amenities, nor can they control the crime in their area. So, how can buyers and future investors prevent loss in value of their property? An important question, especially to residential investors who aim to make a profit from their property through renting or resale.

 

Condemned by both Bird and Man by Mike Bitzenhofer

Condemned by both Bird and Man by Mike Bitzenhofer

This is where the skills of a well-trained and educated property management agency is the answer, because sometimes negligent managing agents can lead to the depreciation of your property value.

A property manager, according to Property Portfolio Administrator for Opportunity Property Management, Anielia Lötter, works for a managing agent company and should have in-depth knowledge of finances, administration and law related to real estate management. Property managers work with Body Corporates and Homeowners Associations on the day to day management of complexes and estates which can include upkeep of the property, managing communication between all parties concerned, ensuring that rules are adhered to, covering all administrative and financial duties (like collecting levies and insuring buildings), and whatever else is in accordance with statutory requirements and the ‘Boards’ wishes.

By law, owners in schemes have no choice when it comes to contracting a property management agency. This is where the Board of Trustees/Directors and the Body Corporate/Homeowners Association comes in. Trustees and Directors are elected by property owners at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). If no managing agent is assigned to the property scheme, then the court appoints an administrator to take managerial control of the Body Corporate/Homeowners Association. Specialised Property Managers are better than court appointed administrators, as they are contracted and trained to take absolute care of the property.

Property Managers, who should be registered with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board), should be known for taking care of your investment as if it were their own. Attentive property management companies should make sure that their competency in managing a complex aids in increasing the value of your property over time and not the other way around.

Alas, tenants often feel strain from careless property management. A lack of basic management fundamentals are usually what leads to tenant complaints and apathetic property managers are a big problem. Even small flaws, brought about through lack of communication between all parties, can cause an estate or buildings image and value to diminish if not taken care of.

 

A Value-Risking Problem:

 

Take ask.metafilter.com online forum user and San Diego citizen, Slow Graffiti, for example. He posted an enquiry titled, How to deal with Property Management Company?:

“How can I deal with the property management company that is stalling on getting a major repair completed, when I don’t have the contract with them? The big problem is that I’m the tenant, not the owner, so they legally have no obligation to me, even though I’m the one who is affected by their incompetence.”

 

A Reasonable Solution:

 

This is what another user, Ilsa, commented as the best advice to Slow Graffiti:

“Document, document, document. Do everything in writing. (This applies for owners as well.) Not only does this leave a paper trail, it prevents you from saying things in the heat of the moment that are not beneficial. Be firm but calm. You seem to have a good relationship with the property manager, and you don’t want to mess that up; establish that this is not personal, you appreciate what she has done to date, but that you need the repairs finished now.”

Remember, however, that Property Laws are different in other countries. Speak to your Legal Advisor to know how you and your investments are protected from negligent management agencies.

It should be noted that there are entire chains of command within property management companies. Tenants and owners should remember that property managers first need to be made aware of a problem, then come up with a solution, which may in some cases then have to be approved by the Body Corporate or Homeowners Association Board (usually after a scheduled meeting), which then must be put into effect by another paperwork process of hiring contractors, repairmen, builders, cleaners, gardeners, and so on.

Unhappy tenants can be value depreciating factor for any property. Honest communication and extra effort are the foundations to solve any property problem, all trained property managers should know that.

An important note, however, is that neither owners nor tenants should ever withhold rent, levies, taxes, or fees of any kind. Remember your contract and talk to your legal advisor for the proper action to take without titling yourself as the ‘rebel non-payer’. Refusal to pay fees will give you a bad reputation and bad credit should you continue to work with the management company or should you wish to invest in other projects that do credit checks.

Remain informed by visiting the Opportunity Property Management website regularly, especially concerning topics related to Sectional Title administration and Homeowners Association management in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng.

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