If you’re a member of a body corporate, or manage a sectional title property, you’ve no doubt been roped into a back and forth discussion that rivals a Wimbledon volley – usually about something that’s not really that important. Body corporate rules are great in theory; enforcing them can be another matter entirely.

If your body corporate rules aren’t being adhered to, the value of the property is at stake (not to mention your sanity).

Many properties that consist of several sectional title units are managed by a body corporate, without the help of a managing agent. The thinking behind this is largely that a small property doesn’t require as much management as sprawling golf estates or towering blocks of flats. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. We’ve seen countless instances where small blocks of flats or offices fall into disrepair – either due to the fact that no one has taken ownership of the task, or because the body corporate members don’t have the time to oversee the task.

Body corporate members are usually trustrees – people who own property, and therefore have a vested interest in their investment. Because they’re in this position voluntarily, they’re unable to drop everything at a second’s notice and attend to an emergency. Unfortunately, if the body corporate isn’t working closely with a managing agent, tending to a burst geyser or broken intercom system in the middle of the night is something that you’ll have to deal with.

Seeing to it that all residents obey the body corporate rules comes with myriad responsibilities.  

Besides having to ‘police’ the block, you’ll have to constantly micro-manage various tenants who – most of the time – couldn’t be bothered. Adding to this stress is the fact that as a member of a body corporate, you run the risk of being held financially responsible for any property-related matters. It’s important that our homes are safe, stress-free havens (or, more realistically, that they’re as close to this as possible.) If you’re struggling to get all residents to abide by the body corporate rules however, you’re unlikely to be able to relax once you set foot in the door.

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Making use of a managing agent will ensure that the building is professionally and efficiently managed.

Managing agents are multitasking, experts overseers who are employed to ensure that – among other things – the body corporate’s rules are being followed to the letter. They’ll make sure that all aspects of the property are attended to. This includes the payment and management of ground staff and workmen.

Since most managing agents are in charge of several properties, they’re also well versed with conflict management.

Instead of arguing over whether the front wall should be painted white or cream, the managing agent will chair a special meeting between the body corporate and the residents of the property. Having a third part facilitate these often heated discussions ensures that a consensus is reached – think of a managing agent as the ‘Switzerland’ of the world – a neutral party who won’t play favourites. In addition, a managing agent will take and compile minutes – creating an important paper trail of all matters discuss. If a disagreement arises about the matter after the meeting, all body corporate members and tenants will have access to a written record.

Getting all residents to follow the body corporate rules requires a chief whip.

If you’ve placed a managing agent in the role – your life will be a whole lot easier. If the need for a special levy arises – for an emergency repair that’s not been budgeted for – they’ll be able to notify tenants. They’ll also deal with the collecting of these, which means that you won’t have to have that awkward conversation for the very people you share a living space with. Besides being the driving force of a body corporates agenda, a managing agent will be able to make experienced calls on budgetary allocations, as well as find reputable contractors. They’ll oversee everything down to the last detail – provided the body corporate members are actively involved too.

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If you’re a managing agent, or a member of a body corporate or homeowners association, contact us today to find out why property managers all over South Africa entrust us with their cleaning and pest control needs.

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Image Credit: Aussie Painters Direct