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What to look for in a property manager

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29 Jan 2013

Property managers are people who ensure that your building gets a coat of paint every five years or that the leak in your roof (post winter downpours) gets repaired before the next winter comes around.

Ensure your agent is listed with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) and NAMA (National Association of Managing Agents).  If your agent is not accredited with the EAAB, they are not allowed to trade and collect levies, etc. on behalf of clients such as bodies corporate.  

Ever attended a trustee meeting? If you’re the owner of a sectional title apartment, you would have come across these species -  they are supposed to guide you on the laws regarding sectional title buildings (like how to get your noisy neighbour to turn off his thumping music at 2am) and get the best quotes from an overwhelming variety of service providers to assist with whatever is broken or any other maintenance that needs to get done.

The trustees have the relatively easy job to vote on issues;  the property manager’s job is to do everything else.

In order to make sure your property manager is up to standard, we have asked one of Cape Town’s top property managers, Leigh Maingard, MD of Diamond Property Management, to assist us in drawing up a checklist of the main responsibilities of any property manager worth their salt:

1. Ensure your agent is listed with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) and NAMA (National Association of Managing Agents).  If your agent is not accredited with the EAAB, they are not allowed to trade and collect levies, etc. on behalf of clients such as bodies corporate.  

2. Ensure your agent has valid Indemnity and Fidelity insurance in place. This covers the agency against any fraudulent activities by their employees and it protects the body corporate against any fraudulent activities by their managing agent.

3. Location is always important. Is your property agent located close enough to be able to sort out any crisis without delay?

4. Always ask for references from previous or existing clients. If there have been any serious problems with this property management company in the past, you need to know this upfront.

5. Experience is key. It takes a long time for someone in this position to gain the experience and gather the knowledge required to handle any situation quickly and efficiently.

6. Knowledge of the sectional title Act is what separates the ‘men’ from the ‘boys’.

7. Size of the property management company is important - too large and your building will not get the personal attention you require. Too small and you will either be dealing with a mom-and-pop shop or a business not really geared to handle worst case scenarios due to small staff compliment. 

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