ResidentPortal greatly enhances community scheme management, says consultant
Independent property management consultant, Credo Trom, says ResidentPortal, the feature-rich community scheme communication app, is greatly enhancing the service he offers to his clients.
ResidentPortal is an easy-to-deploy, web-based system that can be viewed on multiple devices– smart phone, tablet or computer, and can be administered by a trustee, director, estate manager or managing agent. Its simplicity belies the fact that it is extremely robust, having been created by one of the original developers of the SARS e-filing system.
Trom, who has been in the property management industry for seven years, moved into private consulting after he recognised the need for an intermediary between managing agents, on the one hand, and trustees, directors and scheme property owners and tenants, on the other.
“Portfolio managers deal with multiple schemes simultaneously and, without access to software that enables computerised logging and tracking of requests in each scheme, it is easy to fall behind with the myriad of functions they are expected to deal with,” he notes. “ResidentPortal provides the solution.”
In addition to having access to all estate documentation such as trustee/director meeting notices, minutes, resolutions and rules on the portal, residents are also able to log complaints, maintenance and other requests directly on to the system.
“Because ResidentPortal is the central repository for all resident requests, including maintenance issues, I have a continual bird’s eye view of what needs to be actioned,” he says. “A trail is created from reporting to resolution, which means that residents are never left hanging with no feedback, as is the case in too many complexes.”
Good communication key to well-run schemes
Trom says the closed nature of schemes, where behaviour of residents is governed by a common set of rules which include penalties for non-compliance, and where appointed officials are expected to administer every aspect of life within the scheme, makes them an inevitable breeding ground for problems. From noise, to pets, to boundary squabbles, speed enforcement and even behaviour of children, scheme executives are presumed to be able to manage all issues that arise.
“However, many trustees and directors are appointed with little or no knowledge of exactly what is expected by them in terms of the laws governing schemes, such as the Sectional Titles and Companies Acts, as well as the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) Act.
“I am able to guide trustees or directors in this regard and, because I administer the system, I deal directly with items logged on to it, myself. ResidentPortal enables me to not only see issues as they arise, but also to provide prompt feedback, which goes a long way to ensuring smooth running of the estate or complex.”
Chat group problems quickly resolved
Rapid response to issues that arise is also essential when it comes to management of chat groups, says Trom.
“It is completely reasonable for residents to be allowed to air their views and share their concerns with fellow residents,” he says. “However, chat groups on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram can often get out of hand, especially when there is no mechanism for problems to be routed to the correct source for resolution.
“ResidentPortal has a chat facility where residents share information with each other, but because I see all of the messages, I can deal with them appropriately when it is necessary for me to do so. The chats only have a limited time on the system before they are automatically closed, which means that negative and destructive chats do not go on for days, as is often the case with WhatsApp and Telegram groups.”
Property management companies can benefit
Trom concludes: “I have found ResidentPortal to be a major asset to the schemes that use it. They are definitely happier, more peaceful communities.
“I believe that as more property management companies become aware of the system, they will start using it. It’s a great tool to enable them to deal with issues before they become a time-consuming crisis.”
He adds that the data created around maintenance requests is particularly useful in enabling optimal management of budgets, including the 10-year maintenance plans required by the Sectional Titles Act.
ResidentPortal is currently also the only product of its kind in South Africa that includes a white label portal for managing agents, who can integrate their statements with the system for emailing to residents, no matter what platform they are using.
ResidentPortal is developed and managed by Sandton-based software consulting and development company, Business Xponent Solutions (BXS). The estate communication platform is one of the products emerging from 20 years of experience in the software industry of its founder, Omar Kinnear. One of the original developers of the SARS eFiling platform, Kinnear brings to ResidentPortal a wealth of knowledge of system performance and security.
Since 2016, around 100 complexes are using the Free Plan of ResidentPortal, and over 1000 residents, mostly in and around Gauteng, are benefiting from the way the full-featured Standard and Pro packages are simplifying their lives in their estates and complexes.
For more information, contact: Omar Kinnear, 078 798 3378