Conflicts of Interest in Your Home
With fresh daily obstacles complaining clients, troublesome staff and aggravating superiors all applying accumulating daily pressures on our lives, when we get home the only thing on our minds is sitting down, watching TV, and relaxing.
For the vast majority of us, we don’t care about the short term management of the condominiums we live in. The security man is on his post albeit a different guy than yesterday, and the garbage is being cleared every day. Life is too short to worry about these mundane things.
However, this situation can change when you decide to move into a new property and put your existing property on the rental market. What do you do? The most obvious step for most people is, when paying your last month’s water bill in the condominium management office, to inform the building manager that you are placing your unit on the rental market. Politely the building manager takes down your details and informs you that if someone should come along enquiring about renting in the building, he will be sure to let you know.
The question that arises is should a management company be managing, or leasing? Having worked in the fields of both property management and residential leasing in Bangkok I know that the commission earned from renting just 1 condominium unit can equal the profits of managing the whole building for 1 month. It is for this reason that some property management companies have very strict policies on information disclosure.
The residential leasing market in Bangkok is heavily waited towards a combination of the website, corporate contracts, referrals and other media advertising. In short, a small percentage of people, especially in the higher price bracket, will take it upon themselves to wander the streets and enquire in person about the availability of condominium units for rent in a specific building. If you tell your building manager that your unit is now on the market and expect that someone will walk in and ask about it, think again.
The most likely scenario is that a real estate agent will enquire. They will enquire because they have an interested customer in hand (obtained though the website, corporate contracts, referrals and other media advertising as mentioned above). Let’s see how this would happen in the narrative.
Agent: “Hello, is that Fred the building manager of Sukumvit Grade ‘A’ condo. Hi, my name’s Mr. Agent with Mr. Agent real estate company and I have a client looking to rent a two bedroom unit in your building. I don’t suppose you know of any units available for rent?”
Your Building Manager: “You will need to talk to our sales department in the head office”.
This is a 10 foot brick wall which the agent will not attempt to climb. Hence, he/she will do their up most to recommend another condominium to their client.
Of course, some management companies do not follow this policy, even though their head office does have a residential leasing department. Others do. I would love to name names but this is not what this article is about.
Having been directly involved in managing condominiums in Bangkok it is my opinion that if you are being employed to manage the building, you are being paid to provide a service, and as such you should do your up most to service the co-owners of the building.
This technique of monopolizing buildings can be questioned from a moral standpoint, there is a conflict of interest, and it works against you, the co-owner. Ultimately, it is up to the committee of your condominium to set the procedures for your home. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to check into this.