ResidentPortal offers a solution to updating sectional title owner databases
One of the most important functions in managing a sectional title complex or Home Owners Association (HOA) is the collection of levies; however, without an up-to-date owner-information database, this can be seriously undermined.
Omar Kinnear, founder of ResidentPortal, a communication and information platform for residents in community schemes, points out that in terms of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STMA) Regulations, under Administrative Management: Governance documents and records (Part 6, section 27 (2b)), bodies corporate must prepare and update lists of trustees, members and tenants. The regulation also specifies what information is to be kept up to date.
“While HOA’s aren’t governed by the STSMA, management of the HOA also implies that directors must ensure that their estate’s levy collection is properly controlled – which can’t happen without every owner’s up-to-date information,” says Kinnear.
“What we see time and again, however, is that the owner database generally only exists in the form of a spreadsheet managed either by the body corporate or the estate or complex managing agents and is only updated when owners notify the person responsible for maintaining the spreadsheet of any changes to their details,” he notes.
“Section 13 (1)(f) of the Act, introduced in 2016, does compel owners to notify the body corporate of any change of ownership or occupancy. However, as many a complex will testify, this often does not happen so when attempts are made to contact owners, the information is no longer valid.”
ResidentPortal offers a solution to this mission-critical function that can be used by both managing agents and bodies corporate, whereby complexes and estates that use ResidentPortal’s communication platform can also outsource owner-information to the company for housing and maintaining on its highly secure server.
Because users log in to the portal with their email address, access is directly linked to their contact information. “Currently, owners are regularly reminded by us to update their information, a function which will soon be automated,” says Kinnear. “Similarly, tenants are asked if they are still residing in the estate and are given the option to remove their details. In this way, the database can be kept up to date, without the need for input from estate management.”
The system eliminates the potential for human error inherent in manual systems, he says. “No more wondering who has the latest spreadsheet, or who is currently heading up the complex’s portfolio. Trustees and directors will be able to extract the correct owner information directly from the system any time they need it.”
Managing agents are also able to extract and export up-to-date owner information into their own systems. They can integrate their statements with the owner database for emailing to residents, no matter what platform they are using – a first in South Africa, according to Kinnear.
Kinnear’s experience as one of the original developers of the SARS eFiling system means that the information will be kept in accordance with the strictest access to information protocols as well as the requirements of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, which stipulates who can access information and how long it can be kept. It also assists community schemes to comply with the regulations of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act, which acts as a watchdog to ensure that their scheme is managed in an efficient and sustainable manner.
ResidentPortal enables every member of the body corporate or HOA, including owners and trustees or directors, to access the information they need to ensure that the estate is being run properly. This includes not only nice-to-know features such as the ability to book facilities, notice of events and news, but also governance documentation including management and conduct rules, which both owners and trustees are compelled to know in terms of the STSMA and Regulations. The system also precludes access to restricted information.
“With the added ability to keep their owner databases up to date, ResidentPortal offers schemes a highly functional, legislatively compliant information and communication portal that not only improves communication within the scheme, but also assists them to be run with maximum efficiency,” concludes Kinnear.
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