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News Release

Bangkok

Compliance with house rules will help prevent conflicts among owners

Property managers must uphold the justice whilst being diplomatic


​Many of the issues that upset residents which commonly occur within residential condominiums or estates could easily be avoided if there are sensible house rules in place which gives a guideline for owners to follow. It is equally important that these house rules are enforced and all issues must be handled professionally by the property manager.


Compliance with house rules is the key
Among the most common issues or complaints from residents in a condominium building or a housing estate result from some other residents’ incompliance with the house rules. Following are the most classic issues:
  • lou​d noises from neighboring units (TV/radio, chat, party, kids)
  • pets in pet-restricted building
  • parking in someone else’s parking space
  • noisy repair/fit out works on weekend
  • disposal of garbage bags outside the garbage room
To ensure a harmonious living, owners always have to ensure that the property manager and estate has a set of well-drafted rules. If the rules are respected by the owners, then many of the issues above would be mitigated and be avoided.

The property manager must ensure that all residents are compliant and should always refer to these house rules whenever they send regular internal communications such as newsletters to residents or owners. Experience shows that once an owner steps outside of the guidelines, others tend to follow. It is also a must that any new owner or resident reads the house rules and signs that they understand them.

Owners must have respect for their neighbors 
There are also many cases whereby residents do not break the house rules but still create conflicts with their neighbors in some other ways, such as: 
  • watering plants at a balcony and spilling water to units on lower floors
  • smoking in own units but the smoke gets in other units

Living in any situation, owners must have respect for their neighbors. Now the question is “So if something untoward does occur, what should the manager do?” 

When there are conflicts among owners, an intervention from the property manager is needed in most cases. 

Easy but it is not a skill set that everyone has. The property manager must go and discuss directly with the offending resident or owner to see if there is a simple misunderstanding or if the owner has blatantly ignored the house rules. Once the property management team totally understands the facts of the matter, they can then rectify the issue. 

The property manager also needs to remain unbiased throughout the entire process and should let all parties know they are dealing with the issue at hand by communicating to the owner that has caused the issue and the owners who have made the complaint.
The worst thing a manager can ever do is to stay silent and disappear into the shadows hoping that the owner who made complaint would give up or the issue would just simply go away. 

There is no perfect property manager
While most issues usually occur due to the owners themselves, some may actually occur from the management team. Everyone can make errors of judgments at work. But it is important to ensure these do not happen on a regular basis and if they occur, the property manager owns up and resolves the issue as quickly as possible.

For example, owners may receive bills for utilities that do not make sense and may be quite high. When receiving such a query, the property manager should check if the bill is correct. If there is a mistake due to careless accounting or administration, an investigation into the case to identify the cause of mistake is required to ensure it will not happen again. If the bill is correct, then the property manager must send a technician to inspect the utilities line or meter and fix the technical issue, if any.

Metering of utilities is very important to owners and managers alike. It is advisable to place meters in all areas so it can be clearly seen how much owners need to contribute and how much the common area fund needs to contribute.  

Technicians must be trained to read the meters correctly. If they write the wrong figure down, an accountant may just calculate the total without challenging the reading. One way to minimize human error is to install digital meters which can be downloaded to a computer and a bill can be produced. Many systems exist to help operations and managers as well as owners must work together to identify the ones that may help their situations.

There are good property managers 
Good managers are those who apply best practice management programs to all their administration, accounting and engineering services. If this is done, the property should operate efficiently.
Management teams should all have relevant experience and educational knowledge as this also will also help the operations.
Managers must be professional and always communicate in a clear and timely manner if an owner or resident has any questions or issues that need to be resolved.

Solving common issues is everyone’s responsibility
Some issues do arise which can only be resolved at a general meeting. As these are hugely important, the property manager must ensure that all necessary information is given to owners clearly in order that a decision can be made. Owners must attend these meetings as they have a stake in the smooth running of their property. Without owners’ supports, the manager’s jobs can become a real problem, which will eventually become the owners’ as well.

Author: Dexter Norville, Director of Property and Asset Management