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Owners' Apathy and the challenges that spring from this phenomenon

 

One of the foremost challenges faced by community managers is owner apathy which leads to transactional management rather than community engagement

 
By Garry Murray, September 28, 2022 UAE Community Management
 

Owners' Apathy and the challenges that spring from this phenomenon
 

A concern amongst the Community Management industry is engagement. Usually, we have interaction with the occupant and a small number of owners who take a great interest in the operation and upkeep of the community they have purchased in, however there is a large portion of owners who do not engage or the only engagement is to pay service fees once or twice a year. 

This creates transactional management rather than community engagement and people management. The management company is usually only as good as the input and direction from the owners to create a co-operation in managing the community on behalf of the owners. 

Active owners, and occupants, are the key to a successful jointly owned property, and hence having a fully engaged community who works alongside the management and facility managers to operate their home and investments is key to harmonious living within community living.

However, allowing apathy to set in can cause major unrest and concerns to living and operating within your community. 

Apathetic Owners that don’t participate in community events or take time to engage with the committee and management companies to share constructive conversations and suggestions will lead to a disjointed community. This may eventually cause tension and possible mistrust within a community, either amongst the owners or with the management company itself - directing the attention from positively impacting the community to a focus on negativity. 

Allowing apathy to manifest within a community can lead to ignoring of community rules and requests, failure to pay service charges, failure to maintain and upkeep the unit and common areas with the community. All of these can lead to a degradation of the asset and lower returns on your investment either in value or rental returns with an increase renovation costs. 

In Dubai, where there is a lot of investment property with tenants it can cause a further concern if apathy is allowed to set in. Owners need to keep an active participation with their tenant and/or management agent to ensure that the occupant is following community rules, that service fees are being collected and paid (if using a management agent), that the property is kept in good repair. A timely reminder has been issued in the past few days in relation to registering all co-occupants within the Ejari and the increase in inspections on co-sharing and overcrowding concerns is highlighting a further need for connected owners, occupants and investors to engage in the living spaces to enhance the real estate market of the UAE. 

It isn’t uncommon for owners never to see the units they have purchased and have no interaction with the community, in these cases engagement with the managing agent is critical to ensure that the community is being maintained and financed correctly, failure to do so can cause major renovation costs to your unit, legal concerns with your tenant if they have been breaching regulations, and a loss in your investment. 

A well-run community, as with any operation, requires strategic planning and input with energetic and positive contributions. This needs collaborative work which will help achieve the end goal - which is a community that is well maintained, well financed and smooth operations that all parties are contributing to achieve. 

The author, Garry Murray, is director & President-elect of CORE Owners Association.

Community Management industry  Community engagement  tenant engagement  owner apathy  owner engagement  community rules  Ejari  co-habitant registration  real estate market  

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