Managing agents have important role to play

Managing agents have important role to play

MAIN IMAGE: Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates; Andrew Schaefer, MD of Trafalgar Property group

Staff Writer

Choosing a full-service property management company or Managing Agent to take care of a Sectional Title Scheme can be a tall order – there are many businesses out there that make big claims, but don’t always follow through. So how do you know who to choose when it comes to this vital aspect of your asset management?

According to Andrew Schaefer of Trafalgar a Managing Agent is appointed by either the Trustees or the Body Corporate to provide certain functions, mostly administrative and financial, as stipulated in terms of the management Agreement.

“The Trustees are elected at an AGM / SGM and are responsible for the day to day running of the complex and are typically assisted by the managing agent. The Managing Agent acts on instructions from the Trustees. In comparison, the Caretaker is an employee of the Body Corporate and acts on instructions from the Trustees often relayed by the managing agent. It is important that all roles work and communicate well together for best results.

“A Managing Agent of a complex is appointed when a management agreement is signed by two Trustees with the approval of a Trustee Resolution. The services are stipulated in the Management Agreement that is signed between the agent and the Body Corporate. An important function of the management agent is the billing, collection and debt collection of levies and the payment of expenses of the complex to make sure that services are consistently delivered. The agent circulates monthly financial reports to the Trustees on what monies were collected and what accounts were paid.  He also assists the owners and Trustees with advice regarding the Sectional Title legislation, payroll, tax returns, audit file preparation and arranging the AGM and trustee meetings.

Pearl Scheltema of Fitzanne Estates says it all starts with asking the right questions when you meet with the potential full-service property management company or Managing Agent. Here are five important questions to bear in mind during these meetings:

FFC?

Selecting a full-service property management company is a very important consideration for Bodies Corporate and Scheme Executives alike. To a certain extent, it is a subjective choice – you must get along with the people at the agency, after all. However, you also need to know that the company you trust to manage your property on your behalf is fully compliant and belongs to the correct regulatory bodies.

This includes the PPRA (Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority) which furnishes compliant property management agencies with a FFC which must be renewed annually. This document certifies that subject to the provision of Estate Agency Affairs Act (previously Estate Agents Act) 112 of 1976, the entity whose name appears on the certificate has complied with the provisions of section 16 of act 112 or 1976, and the regulations promulgated in terms of said section.

Always ask to see this certification and make sure that it is up to date.

Registered with NAMA?

You should also ask if a full-service property management company’s Managing Agents belong to NAMA (National Association of Managing Agents). Although this is not a compulsory association, if an agent is registered with NAMA there is an ethical code to which they are obliged to adhere, which is a great benefit for any client. This includes regular updates and training to stay at the top of their game.

References

Check the references of the full-service property management company. Ask for contact details of existing clients and give them a call. It’s always helpful to get the objective opinion of someone who is currently a client of a full-service property management company to learn how they do business, and whether it will be worth your while to sign up with their agency.

Financial statements

Ideally, you want to work with a Managing Agent that provides every owner with individual statements monthly, as well as giving Scheme Executives a Management Pack, which includes the total income and expenses of the Body Corporate for that particular month, sent along with supporting invoices. If the Body Corporate has a separate bank account where the maintenance fund is deposited each month, updated bank statements should also be shared monthly, so they are able to see how the account is growing, and how interest is accruing.

Functions to fulfil

Sectional Title Managing Agents are expected to fulfil a wide variety of administrative and management functions, as well as support Scheme Executives and Bodies Corporate in legal and financial matters. This includes everything from providing a legal address domicilium citandi et executandi for the Body Corporate to assisting Scheme Executives with advice on Sectional Title matters.

For instance, your Managing Agent should be able to assist Scheme Executives with labour-related matters pertaining to their employees, including disciplinary processes and the representation of Body Corporate in CCMA hearings, as well as the collection of levies in arrears by way of legal action.

Choosing a seasoned full-service property management company can make all the difference in the day-to-day running and profitability of a Sectional Title Scheme.

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search