Sunday, 25 November 2012

Good property management, maintenance add value

Stratified developments becoming a way of life
As stratified developments become a way a life, good maintenance and management have become an issue.
 
EARLIER this year, a new set of property managers replaced the previous one in the condominium that Siti lives. Not having a current account, she paid her quarterly management fees in cash. She was told that the receipt would be put in her postbox. It never came and she soon discovered that the property management company had absconded with the money.

As stratified developments which include condominiums, service apartments and gated and guarded projects become a way of life, good maintenance and management have become an issue.

Good management and maintenance will improve the value of the asset. This applies to all segments of the property market, be it residential, commercial or industrial.

Hence, the third reading of the Strata Management Bill 2012 on Monday is crucial, says Assoc-Prof Ting Kien Hwa, head of Centre for Real Estate Research at Universiti Teknologi Mara.

“Currently, property management is part of a service provided by valuers, who are regulated by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents.

The work of valuers can be broadly divided into three areas property management, valuation work and real estate agency work.

This means that property management is a regulated profession and delinquents risk having their licence suspended.

For the last five to six years, managing stratified properties has become an issue, he says. As more of us live in gated and guarded developments, and high rise condominium and serviced apartments, property management is evolving to become a lucrative industry.

Ting says the Board of Valuers is in the process of creating a third register to accommodate property managers. Valuers and real estate agents are governed by two registers and the Board of Valuers are working on creating a third one for property managers.

Says Ting: “This is a similar situation as in the early 1980s when there were many illegal real estate agents. They were given a one-year period to register with the board.”

Ting says the duty and responsibilities of property managers go beyond just collecting money and managing a property. The word “managing” covers a whole gamut of expertise and responsibilities. These include insurance valuation, the appropriate rate of service charges to levy on owners, managing service providers like security guards and cleaners, gardeners and managing tenants and rental rates among other duties.

Depending on whether it is a residential or commercial property, some issues may overlap.

To claim that valuers want to monopolise the property management industry is incorrect, Ting says.

“Some parties say they want to liberalise' the profession. Just as engineers and architects are regulated by the Institute of Engineers and Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia respectively, so property managers are regulated by the Board of Valuers because property management is part of the work of valuers. This is the situation in the United States, Britain and Australia. Shall we then liberalise' the achitecture and engineering profession by allowing more people who are untrained to practise as architects and engineers because architects and engineers are monopolising' the industry?” Ting asks.

Ting says this argument to liberalise the profession and cut out the monopoly does not hold water at all.

He says there are currently 8,000 trained property managers in the country and every year, 450 more graduates enter the job market.

The local public universities provided courses in property management in the late 1960s because they knew there would be a need for this.

Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers president Ishak Ismail says: “The Government was visionary enough to foresee a time when stratified housing will become part of the Malaysian property landscape. The first condominium was Desa Kuda Lari in the KLCC area.

“Today about four million people live in stratified projects. About 80% of all the stratified projects are managed by joint management bodies and management committees. About 20% are outsourced and of this about 58% are managed by illegal property managers.”

Ishak said over and above the various issues that fall under property management, two sets of skills are needed the hard skills in managing the property and the soft skills in people management.

He says there is a need to put in the proper regulations to regulate property managers in order to improve the value of our property assets. There must be no conflict of interest because it involves public money, be it house owners or tenants of commercial properties, he says.

By THEAN LEE CHENG The Star

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3 comments:

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