How to choose a managing agent for your sectional title complex
From time to time it may be necessary to reconsider your complex managing agent due to poor service delivery, corruption or simply cost.
When you do so, it would be prudent to do a full due diligence before risking making
matters worse by changing your managing agent.
Simply phoning around and asking for quotes, and them making a decision based on price is a sure way to move from the frying pan into the fire.
Where does one begin?
Enquire among the existing owners in your complex – you will find many investors who have experiences – good and bad – in other complexes they own property in.
Ask owners to put forward possible candidates and their reason for recommending the managing agent.
Once you have a shortlist of managing agents, check them out on Hello Peter. When you do so, you would need to read between the lines to establish their reputation. You will need to note that you will always have disgruntled owners (Who wouldn’t want to ruin the reputation of the managing agent who is holding you accountable for levies owed? )
Once you have narrowed down your list a bit further it is time to approach the managing agents and ask them to put forward a proposal.
What are you looking for?
The primary virtue you are looking for in a managing agent is “how do they treat the owners while remaining professional and efficient”
Do they recognize that in every communication with owners, they are actually talking to the person who appointed them to look after their best interests?
Are they efficient, while remaining courteous and kind to every owner
Are they strict yet friendly to all tenants – every complex has bad tenants, but in my experience 99% of the occupant just want to live in peace and security with their neighbours.
Shortlist 2 or 3 managing agents that come recommended and approach them as follows
Introduce your complex
in a few lines (Number of trustees/A Building description ie mostly facebrick, 2 and 3 bedroom units over 3 floors, no lifts/ number of units/24 hour security with programmed remote access and 1 large swimming pool and clubhouse) – all factors that will aid the prospective managing agent in quoting correctly
Request a proposal
Request a proposal that includes the following
1) Their current valid Fidelity Fund Certificate issued by the Estate Agent’s Board
3) A motivation as to why they believe they are best suited to the task.
4) Request references (complex name, chairman and contact number of at least 3 complexes they manage.)
5) Ask them how they propose to manage the complex ( ie the experience and workload of the person/team they propose will manage your complex. )
6) Ask them to quote
7) Ask for minutes of the last 3 AGM’s they presided over.
8) Have they ever been found guilty of any wrongdoing by CSOS?
Before making your final decision
Arrange for an interview with all your trustees present.
Visit the agents office premises (You can tell how organised they are simply by visiting their offices)
Visit some complexes that they manage and look for the following–
Maintenance – how well are the buildings maintained?
Gardens – how well are the gardens maintained?
Security – how sharp are the security?
Note the levies of complex – are they within market expectation
Attitude – What is the managing agents attitude to owners. It is rare to find a managing agent that has the grace to deal with hundreds of owners in a manner that makes it clear who the client is…!
The property owner is the client and the managing agent provides a valuable service.
Make the choice
Once this due diligence work has been done the trustees can present a report to all owners who can then make a qualified decision by vote at a Special General meeting or an AGM to choose the new managing agent.