A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog
I read an interesting article recently about self-managing community schemes in America. The author compared the decision of hiring a managing agent versus self-managing to driving an automatic versus a manual car… Sure the automatic is easier to drive, but the manual gives you more control and sometimes more control is exactly what you want!
According to the article, it’s a common misconception that self-management is only for smaller schemes. Large schemes in America, reportedly of up to 3000 units, have been successfully self-managing for years. The key to self-management for both small and large schemes is a dedicated group of trustees who are willing to invest the time and energy necessary to properly manage the scheme. In larger schemes, an in-house building manager also seems to be vital.
The duties of a self-managing board of trustees include, amongst other things:
It is no small feat to self-manage. The duties and tasks can be onerous and the role of a trustee is time-consuming and often thankless.
So why would a board of trustees decide to undertake the scheme’s management themselves?
A major motivating factor is the money saved through not paying managing agency fees and disbursements. A self-managing board gets a real feel for the actual costs associated with the scheme and how the building works, making budgeting efficient and accurate.
Having a tight rein on the purse strings also means the board has more control over which contractors it uses for maintenance and repairs. It chooses a contractor based on merit and quote and not because it is the management company’s preferred contractor.
Other benefits of self-management include a greater sense of community amongst owners. They are forced to interact more and therefore get to know each other. This makes for a more harmonious living environment as people are less likely to disrespect their neighbours if they know them. Also, the board of trustees tend to get a sense of satisfaction from contributing to the community and as such often really enjoy where they live.
If you consider going down this road knowledge is definitely power. At a minimum you’d need a working knowledge of the Sectional Titles Act and the rules applicable to your scheme.
I’m currently writing a book, The Sectional Title Self-Management Manual, which I hope will guide self-managing boards of trustees in effectively managing their schemes.
Would you consider self-management?