Sectional title and luxurious estate living appeals to many as it provides safe living without the hassle of ongoing upkeep and maintenance that a free-standing house can bring. But estate living is living the dream, only if the fundamentals are in place. The barking dog…untidy gardens and lawns…the 24-hour party people…the speedsters and the car park hog are realities. Unfortunately, these things are as much a part of sectional title and communal residential living, as is peace-of-mind security and a lock-up-and-go lifestyle.

“The demand for secure yet uncomplicated housing is growing by the day,” says CEO of Landsdowne Property Group Jonathan Kohler. “Large developers such as Summercon and Balwin have revolutionised the way people are living. The management of estates, big or small, can no longer be left in the hands of volunteer amateurs. Estate management is a highly complex, intricate professional business requiring expertise from every discipline encountered in the management of big companies.”

From organising a secure access control system, checking on guards, to the re-painting of buildings, the issues are copious. If not handled timeously, they can prove disastrous. Equally however, there are a host of lesser items which eat up time, waste energy and human resources – from refuse collection to the issuing of gate remotes.

“But whether major or minor – the universal truth is that Estate scheme executives who are often volunteers, do not have the time nor the expertise to competently handle every issue, conflict, demand or requirement,” adds Kohler. “The estate manager has to be a brilliant administrator, an obdurate policeman and the perfect PR person with huge people interface skills.”

Scheme executives face daily challenges and need to find practical solutions to some very real financial and recurring industry related problems such as:

The fear of service costs escalating out of control leading to increases in levies. Not fully understanding the ramifications of all the new legislation. Difficult situations faced as a result of tenant occupiers not conforming to conduct rules. Having less than interested owners not following systems and procedures – often threatening the stability and peace of the community at large. The consequence of not having stable, proficient, objective management by qualified, experienced professionals with good business acumen, an aptitude for the job, insight and people related skills.

However, having a qualified estate manager or estate management company in place means the provision of hands-on management to the respective board of scheme executives and the maintenance of, and compliance with, preset standards, management and conduct rules, together with a new set of strictly regulated requirements, procedures and protocols.

Kohler adds that an Estate Management service can also provide assistance with the financial management of the complex, by providing budgetary guidance, cost control and competitive quotations for service provision. “Ensuring the highest level of service from service providers, contractors and or vendors. Promotion of a harmonious, healthy and happy communal spirit.”

“Of all the challenges that face the body corporate, home owner associations and residents of communal complexes, today, that of striking a practical harmonious balance between the application of necessary rules, regulations and protocols – and the maintenance of a happy, contented, neighbourly environment – is the greatest,” Kohler concludes.