First in South Africa - a New Association for Residential Communities

Private Property South Africa
Jane Wessels

It's been a long time coming, but finally the Association for Residential Communities (ARC) has been established - a professional organisation solely dedicated to improving the quality, profitability and effectiveness of residential estates in South Africa.

The ARC is the result of extensive research into Best Practise methods in Estates and Residential Communities around the world, including golf, leisure and residential estates run by a home owners' association (HOA), as well as sectional title complexes run by a body corporate. In South Africa, this is a R2,5 Billion Rand industry (total levy income) with assets under management of more than R48 Billion (Value of houses and common property).

Over 80% of the challenges and issues that estates and complexes deal with are common to everyone, however when dealing with issues or making decisions, HOA's and estate managers tend to reinvent the wheel, taking time and costing more money than is necessary. The ARC is setting out to to support effective leadership of estates by sharing best practice, providing resources and expertise to enhance lifestyles and securing investments for residents in these communities.

"Unfortunately trustees (all volunteers) serving on these boards are elected because of their leadership ability and personal commitment, not necessarily for their expertise in any of the estate disciplines such as security, landscaping and the like," says Dave Goddard, CEO of ARC. "So you may have an estate agent heading up the security portfolio and a lawyer in charge of landscaping! It's a huge challenge for these people who have to make key decisions in areas they are unfamiliar with."

"This is the role that ARC plays. It has a team of leading industry experts on board who represent all of the disciplines that estates deal with and who can assist members in making informed, sound decisions. It also has an extensive portfolio of resources, articles and tools that make the job of the trustee and manager so much easier and more effective," Goddard adds.

ARC has developed programmes and workshops that equip these volunteers, as well as the estate managers, to increase their knowledge and skills in all areas of management.

Trustees also have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to fulfil, and failure to do so can have significant personal and financial implications. They also have to meet the high expectations set by the residents who elected them. It's a sad fact that many AGM's end up as heated battles because trustees, due to lack of knowledge or expertise, fail to deliver.

With the ARC, however, everything changes…

To begin with, residential estates and communities that belong to the ARC are provided with an annual "Audit", covering every single aspect of maintenance, management and future planning as well as information, resources and education programs to help them do a better job. What's more, board members and managers will be privy to the latest news, trends, laws, and issues affecting community associations, HOA's and Body Corporates, and the homeowners who live in them.

The ARC will take the risk out of finding the right service providers such as plumbers, waterproofers, tree fellers and landscapers. It will also assist with negotiations and contracting. Its project management division undertakes the management and quality assurance of projects, and also specialises in the transition process from developer to HOA.

The ARC aims to improve the quality of the entire industry and has undertaken a national campaign called 'Rights and Responsibilities Charter', which offers communities the

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