Property Watch: Battle of the properties

PHUKET: I was a big fan of the ideas behind Planet of the Apes and the subsequent movies, even the remakes. “Don’t touch the filthy humans!” had a good ring to it and penetrated straight through our general human – though often misplaced – feeling of superiority.

In Phuket, I have witnessed a battle between warring factions of owners within property projects, which could only be worthy of a scene from Battle of the Planet of the Apes, and some of the characters involved could even qualify for leading roles on the side of the less well-behaved gorillas, as opposed to the more intelligent and strategic orangutans – although even the orangutans are not able to resolve issues long term.

When it comes to managing property, the day-to-day life of a property management team is not an easy one. I have friends and acquaintances who oversee such companies, and their tasks are often thankless, peppered with insults and aggressiveness, unreasonable demands and expectations, and childish, or ape-like behavior.

I am writing about this because I passionately believe that the way residents behave, and the way management companies deal with the management of estates, can change a place where people want to live into a place where people don’t.

To ensure that an estate is well managed, a number of issues need to be dealt with in order for common property within the estate to be effectively utilized for the good of all residents.

Important issues include ensuring that there is some kind of resident leadership, committee or representative body; effective communication between residents, as well as between residents and the estate’s management or owners; and careful management of issues to ensure compromise, flexibility and a forward-thinking approach.

Some of the best-run estates I have seen and personally enjoyed in Phuket are those with a hotel-managed element to them at the high-end hotel standards scale; or with an international property management company at the helm, supported by proper resources, such as an on-site manager; engineers; technicians and housekeeping. That is not to say that less expensively managed properties cannot follow the same principles.

If you are thinking about buying a property in Phuket, do some background research first to find out what kind of management the estate is under and what its residents are like. For incumbents, it’s important to be diplomatic. Don’t expect management staff to fix a burst water pipe in two minutes, or become upset if a hapless new management recruit starts drilling in a corridor at 10pm. Rather than becoming angry with that person, go through the correct channels to try and prevent it from happening again. Most importantly, do all you can to avoid litigation.

This all sounds like common sense, right? However, as many in the management business will know, diplomacy is often in short supply when it comes to complaining residents.

Next time you think about writing a nasty email to your property management company after you have sunk five glasses of rose wine, think again. Go to bed, get up and admire your view; and think about the less fortunate. After that, maybe then you can pick up the phone and arrange a face-to-face meeting with your estate’s management instead.

— Desmond Hughes

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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