If you have read some of the content on this site, whether you have tried to resolve a challenge to you as a lot owner or your owners corporation, you may end up asking yourself these questions and more. Where are we going? Have we learn’t anything? Is there a PLAN?
From my 20 years of experience in Facility and Owners Corporation Management following a Policing career, I believe I have a unique view of the challenges, which must also show fairness and be balanced. Mind you being a former Major Fraud Squad Detective assists (some say might taint) in my analysis.
Firstly the different actors in play within the ‘OC Space’ are there for varied reasons, be they as an owner, investor, service provider, regulator, developer or builder. Add into this the human predisposition for ‘self interest’.
In effect a new lifestyle of owning in an OC (formerly Body Corporate) has created a requirement for all the systems to cope with it. Intended or unintended. The unintended have kept me busy for 20 years!
My personal experience when dealing and communicating with most service providers to Owners Corporations is that they all see opportunity, growth, diversification and profit from engaging with Owners Corporations. By example;
- Banks have or are aligning themselves with various OC Management Software programs and financial products. Most of what were once standalone software packages for oc managers have now been snapped up by a Bank. The theory here is that if a software package becomes the package of choice by oc managers the doors will open to marketing or combining other services (by example, that $1m Long Term Maintenance Fund Investment with the same Bank). A bit like using Microsoft Office, as everybody uses it (or most everybody), the idea being that the product becomes indispensable. This also extends out to when your OC Manager sells your OC Management Agreement as part of their portfolio and the new OC Manager change is seamless as you all use the same program and on many occasions the same banks payment systems. You become easier to sell.
- Insurance Companies and Brokers are active in increasing market share and products to Owners Corporations. A captive OC market required to have OC Insurance and continually plan for ‘Risk’ minimization.
- I have seen Owners Corporation, Facility Management and Cleaning businesses that have been born out of the exponential increase in apartment complexes and demand for the gambit of services. Some of these businesses look at each other and see opportunity in attempting to provide all these services. You could read that as ‘lets get a slice of that action also’.
- Solicitors have certainly identified the sector as lucrative and most now offer services specializing in this field. A reflection on our human nature to disagree and that now soaring number of disagreeing people belonging to an OC which increases the amount of litigation coming from the OC source. Feels more like an explosion than a gentle lift in demand.
- The regulators from my personal view have never caught up, they are trying but if anything, like policing don’t have the budget or resources in truth.
Every business out there dealing with an OC knows and is comforted by the notion that if they provide a service or goods to you as an OC they will get paid (taking any fraudulent matter or incompetence aside). Owners Corporations are required to be stable entities and pay their bills and lots are secured by Title. Your Property 101 should tell you that this is why a Bank lends to you on a Title, as they can get their money back if they have to. Hence such things as an Owners Corporation Management Agreement with your OC is in effect as good as a financially trade-able instrument. That Real Estate thinking re security.
The OC remains a complex beast, let alone the recent challenges of Defects, Fire Proof Cladding and now COVID-19 in an OC environment (see the COVID 19 page at top menu). 2021 should be an interesting year!