A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog
Apart from financial stability, perhaps the second most important element in ensuring the successful operation of a community scheme is communication – how well the trustees or directors, with the assistance of their managing agent, communicate with residents.
When everything in the scheme is as they expect it to be, owners and other residents are often not particularly interested in how much information they have about the scheme. They may not even bother to read scheme communications. But when they have a problem of some sort, very often they expect to be kept informed at a very high level and to have every question answered as a matter of urgency.
Some schemes address the issue of keeping owners and residents informed by circulating the minutes of their meetings, issuing regular newsletters and making sure that requests for information are handled in a predictable and reasonably efficient manner.
We must bear in mind that most trustees and directors are volunteers, and they cannot be expected to be available 24/7 to address owners and residents’ queries or assist them with the wide range of challenges that they may encounter in their homes and within the scheme. And the managing agent similarly is not available at all hours. So it is important that owners are told who they can contact when urgent situations arise – if, for example, the power or water supply stops, the electric driveway gate stops working or there is an obvious problem with the swimming pool.
Apart from emergency communications, there are a range of techniques that should be considered. These include:
Scheme websites can be a very useful addition to a scheme’s communication strategy. Owners and residents should not be forced to go online to communicate with the managing agent, trustees or directors, but where a scheme does have a dedicated website this can be used to facilitate online communication between the trustees and directors and between them and the managing agent, as well as that with owners.
Before you consider spending money on establishing a scheme website and undertaking the costs of maintaining it, I want to mention that Mystrata South Africa, in which Paddocks holds a share, is in the process of developing software that will offer every community scheme a FREE website.
These MyCommunity websites will allow different levels of access and functionality for managers, trustees/directors, ordinary owners and also tenants, so as to allow each one to get access to the documents they are entitled to see and to interact at an appropriate level.
What are your views on individual scheme websites? Share with us by commenting below…
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