Smart communication tools: leveraging on existing platforms

How many apps do you currently have in your smartphone? Of those, how many do you use on a daily basis?

One of the main issues with software for management of residential communities is the difficulty to engage all community users.

As powerful as a solution may be, it is always a challenge to get everyone involved in learning and using the software.

According to the latest Urbytus survey among community managers, the main issue affecting them is the amount of emails and phone calls that they receive from residents.

Good software should avoid this problem. It should facilitate and filter communication with residents. But they need to use it first.

This is why a new trend in software development is becoming apparent now: integrations with apps and social networks where users spend most of their time.

Chatbots are an excellent example of this.

An automated chatbot can act as a concierge that handles requests by users without the need of interaction by a manager. If coupled with machine learning, it can be a powerful tool for customer service and handling of incidents.

Specifically in management of residential communities, Spanish software provider Comunitaria has done exactly that: a chatbot that integrates with software that is already used by residents. They call it Supervecina (super neighbour).

This is also part of the new upgrades currently being prepared for the Urbytus software.

Please contact us in case you wish to find out more about how chatbots and machine learning technology can assist you with the management of your residential community.

Does your residential community use software?

Letterboxes full of junk mail. Important notifications going missing. How do I tell my neighbour that his dog is digging holes in our gardens? Endless general meetings, but very little progress.

Does your residential community use software to tackle these problems?

There is no shortage of options available in the market. Free or premium; for professional administrators, but also for communities that wish to self-manage their affairs.

Residential communities: grassroots governance

It can be a lonely, unrewarded and difficult journey for the president of a residential community.

Plenty of after-hours work, disgruntled property owners, loads of paperwork, and recurring trips to the bank.

It is remarkable that with so many different types of residential communities in different parts of the world, all arrangements seem to rely on one owner to handle the community’s affairs: the community association president.

Community President Fees. Are They Legal?

A few days ago, a president in Alicante area asked posed the following question  “I am president of our Community.  For the past 20 years, the community president has been paid 480 euros a year to cover his expenses.  A new owner now states in a letter to the Administrators that this is a fiscal fraud and is illegal under Spanish law, even though the majority of owners voted in favour at the AGM.  This owner says further that he will go to the authorities and demand that the payments stop and all monies be returned.  Can you advise?

Before we delve into giving an answer I wanted to add my personal view on it.   Over the past few years at Urbytus while doing demos at AGMs and many other committee meetings, I have met and seen all sorts.  From community presidents who worked as gardeners, cleaners and administrators paying themselves large sums and presidents who practically worked the god given hours in exchange of nothing.

The most common two forms of payment tend to be either a reimbursement for direct expenses and also a waving of sum or all of the community fees.

Certainly if one was to add up all the hours a president may spend helping and dealing with issues, it would be lowest paid job in Spain. Those who do take the roll and dedicate their time to such a job, do not do it for the economical retribution rather in most cases it is with full good intention and interest of the community.  There is no way the community can get a better deal.

The legal answer to the question, provided by our colleague, David Searl, the author of “You & The Law in Spain” is as follow:

Spain’s Horizontal Law, which regulates Communities of Property Owners, says nothing at all about payments or assignations of money to cover a community President’s expenses.  The law neither requires nor prohibits such payments, so there is nothing illegal about them.  The important point is that the payments are voted each year at the AGM.  In a very few Communities, the original Statutes, the Charter of the Community, prohibit such payments, so it might be wise to check them, just in case. And it just occurs to me that your new member might be reading the law of Catalonia.  The Horizontal Law applies in Catalonia, but one article of the Catalan Civil Code prohibits payments to the community President.

The community president fee is also often questioned when the owners feel that they are not seeing anything in return.  My view has always been that no matter how clean and good you work, you need to also communicate this transparency.  Communication is simple. Urbytus provides you with a simple website, where you can log every work, job and conversation you have with the owners, gardners and the administrators. It won’t take you much more than you have already put in, but it does is the difference that you have been lacking:

  1. For a start, it is the easiest form of communication.
  2. The same file or document that you might type into a word file, you can enter directly into the web.
  3. It provides you with a full history of what you have done.
  4. It allows people to see the amount of work you have to deal with and how much of your time it really takes.
  5. It gives knowledge and access way and above your immediate memory and also helps you prepare the ground for the next president.

You surely, don’t need more reasons, try it for free today. Signup now for a trial version.

It is your turn to be President

Congratulations. It is your turn, your turn to be the President, your turn to run the show, … your turn to serve. To serve your neighbours and be of service to your community.  That’s what being a President is about. It is not about power and having it your way.

If there is one good thing about communities of properties in Spain or the law governing these properties, it is the law about how the role is open to everyone and that we all can