I am way overdue with reporting on this last Lunch but better late than never. Michael had contacted me with a view of seeing what he can do to improve some of the problems he is encountering in his community.
We agree to meet before lunch so he can show me around the community. Los Altos de Marbella. I know the area and we have a few communities in the vecinity that use our platform (Urbytus.com) for managing the communication and task managements in their communities. Los Altos de Marbella is all the way at the top of the mountain, if you take the exit from Marbella Costa del Sol Hospital. It is set a scenic and quiet area with spectacular views of the coast all the way to Malaga and Africa. The community is comprised of several phases, a communal swimming pool, gardens and community office. A beautifully kept up community with gardenning and community staff.
After a full tour of the urbanization, he suggests that there is a local Italian restaurant (La Scala) that he would like to try out. As it happens the restuarant has been on my list as well but I had not had to chance to go there as yet. An easy decision to accept. La Scala is an upmarket restaurant on the beachside of Urbanization Elviria. It has a very calm and tranquil settings that makes for a perfect romantic lunch or dinner, except that this time I was with a client.
Michael tells me that he has been living on the Costa del Sol for many years and 25 years of that in Los Altos de Marbella. Initially he was coming and staying in Altos de Marbella in his friend’s apartment and later on after retirement and settling in Costa del Sol he ended up buying the place. I think most of us know what happens next; If you are retired and you purchase a property and you care about it, you end up joining the committee and this was exactly what happened to Michael.
After serving for numerous years and caring for the community he had decided to reduce his work load and pass on the responsibilities. However not long after he had handed over the reins Covid19 hit and like many other communities, the community has been going without anAannual General Meeting (AGM) for sometime. The absence of AGMs for many owners has brough many to question the lack of communication and transparency. This is a situation that I am witnessing with many communities that have had to skip one or even two AGMs. The result is nothing less that a lack of trust in accounts amongst owners and the lack of disclosure of information exasperates this issue by many folds. Furthermore in many communities AGM dates and certain criterias are fixed in the statues. In Los Altos de Marbella, the AGM date is fixed and by law to over ride or change this requires 100% approval of all the owners. While in emergency times such as Covid a decree was issued that allowed postponing and holding meetings online, this is no longer the case, however it seems that many communities are continuing without respect to such terms on the community statues.
As we are deep into the conversation of the community problems our lunch arrives and it looks so delicious that we agree to stop talking community and enjoy lunch and talk about life and the more pleasing parts of living on the Costa del Sol. I am not a vegetarian and I must admit that I enjoyed my steak and will happily go back. In fact we both enjoyed the food and the place so much that it was 17:30 when I had to ask permission to end the meeting as I had to attend another online meeting at 18:00.
The questions that remain for both of us are, what happens when the new incoming committee don’t adhere to the Community Statues. What happens when the president or the administrator ignore these requirements. What are the legal consequences and what can owners do in order to rectify things. The same goes for accounts. What happens when cash is involved and hand written receipts become questionable. We live in times where almost cash is no longer required. Everything can be paid by bank transfer or credit cards. Why do some communities still pay certain invoices in cash where tracing becomes questionable and accounts are not verifiable.
At last all the above questions remain to be answered. I have helped many communities over the years change administrators and or even the residing committee members. The Urbytus platform was built with a mindset of creating transparency. A place where all bank movements and expenses paid can be reviewed by all stake holders. Transparency and communication is the key and I often find that those communities that avoid often have something to hide underneath all the accounts.
Is your community sufferring from lack of communication or transparency? Are you the president or Administrator and you want to improve these aspects in your community. Give us a call or send us an email. We have helped over 800 communities over the past 12 years and we are still going strong.