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Monday, 30 April 2012

Community Living

I lived in a small apartment complex (12 Apts in the block) for over 10 years. I enjoyed the company of fellow residents. It was nice to know that you are not alone in the building, can lock the door and go on vacation without fear of thief sneaking in. However the part-time management committee, collected the small monthly maintenance fee and paid for common expenses like electricity for common areas, security guard as well as for cleaning the common areas but never really maintained any accounts. This resulted in other resident questioning the integrity of the committee members. Since it was a small community, we were able to intervene and resolve the issue by formally electing another committee who ensured that integrity is not only maintained but also appear to be maintained.

These days, many of the complexes are large, from several hundreds to few thousand apartments in a single community. The monthly maintenance collected is no longer Rs 500/- per apartment but in the range of Rs 3/- per sq ft, amounting to Rs 3000/- for an average apartment of 1000 Sqft. For a complex of about 1000 apartments, this results in a monthly collection of Rs 30 Lakhs which is a large amount to manage which increases the responsibility on the committee. Hence proper accounting is required to maintain Dues collection and tracking expenses incurred. Some complexes have moved to using an accounting system. But there is lot more required than just that in such large complexes. While every resident knew the other 11 residents in the building in the small complex I lived, this is not the case in 1000 apartment complex spread over several acres of land. There is a need for the residents to speak their mind to the happenings, discuss issues online, vote on poll if needed. All these have become a necessity these days. The tool also need to retain documents online, keep track of warranties and AMCs of the hundreds of expensive machines in the common area. We need a tool that can ensure good communication among the residents owners, tenants and non resident owners, keep track of Dues, expenses, be able to track and remind expiry of Warranties, AMCs, maintenance schedules, provide an option to raise maintenance requests and also provide accounting functionality, all of these fully integrated to avoid entering the same data multiple times.

Fortunately there are some tools available now in the market. One such tool is Residents Inc. Please feel free to register for a free trial and evaluate to see if this is what you are looking for.


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