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Property owners realized that investing in property and renting it out or taking ownership is not the end-all and be-all of property transactions. They realized that, for a property to retain and even increase in value, it must be cared for like any precious possession. Owners lose tenants or lose value if they become lackadaisical in their approach to their investment.
Mohamed Ahmed Yahya of Wasl Properties tells us more about the intricacies of property management.
Persistent and serious issues in property management in the UAE
A lack of transparency from property managers when dealing with property owners and a lack of knowledge among property owners with regard to the role and duties of property managers – these are the most common problems – awareness discrepancies around the rights and responsibilities of either party. Each one has a role to play in managing and maintaining a property, and this needs to be clear on the outset.
One other significant issue is the lack of understanding among property owners regarding the benefits of using property management companies or owners association management companies to look after their properties. Doing so can save owners money in the long run, spare them the trouble of dealing with issues that they have no time for or experience in, and will work to safeguard their investment.
Managing hospitality establishments and residential property
There are similarities in managing both sectors. However, client expectations are quite different between the two. The level of service and urgency when managing hospitality sector properties is relatively high as client stay is normally short. A single service interruption would have a huge impact on a guest. This is unlike residential or annual lease areas where the same types of interruptions are not perceived as being so severe. In the hospitality sector, the hotel operator manages all operations and makes decisions on behalf of the owner. It is mostly an asset management arrangement. In normal residential property, the owner or the owner’s representative manages all the issues on the ground. It is worth mentioning that having a hospitality establishment managing a residential development in freehold projects gives a noticeable difference in quality to the development. This is due to their extremely high standards in maintenance response, as well as the level of soft services provided (such as security, cleaning, lifeguards, etc.). This, however, comes with a very high bill at the end of the year reflected in a homeowner’s service charge. An OA management company would be able to provide a host of similar services generally offered at a more reasonable cost.
Projects impacting property management
Mega master-planned developments have had a huge impact. The nature of these projects means that it is very difficult for any management company rather than the developer or a government company to manage them. The sensitivity and complexity of these developments means that government agencies usually end up holding the contract to manage them.
Changes needed to move forward in this segment
Trust is a big issue. A large percentage of homeowners don’t trust their property managers because of bad personal experiences, horror stories from friends, or just a nagging feeling that they will be taken advantage of. The more doubt homeowners have about the management company, the higher involvement they will have in managing the development themselves. This means additional work for both the property manager and homeowners. Knowledge is the key for homeowners to trust their property manager, as this will guide them through what should and shouldn’t be done and whose responsibility something is.
Transparency also helps immeasurably. By sharing all pertinent financial and technical information about a development, a property manager can reduce the number of enquiries and increase the level of trust simply by showing that they have nothing to hide.
Scope of property management services
• Property management entails managing operating expenses and budgeting; providing occupancy reports, rent research, etc.
• Vetting of would-be tenants and tenant selection are part of property management, aside from addressing tenant issues and needs
• The physical management of the building, its parts, external and shared areas; recommending repairs and cosmetic improvements as needed
• Meticulous filing and accounting of all pertinent documents and records, and a lot more
Source: Lovely Claire CD, Special to Freehold
The writer is a freelancer