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Maintenance starts with maintaining communication


06 May 2022

In 2018 Emma Glazebrook of MBCM Strata Specialists Seymour took over the Owners Corporation (OC) Management of a large estate in Yarrawonga, Victoria. The estate is targeted at premium retirement living. With over 500 properties currently under management, and a further 900 properties, including a hotel and golf course set to be completed in the next five years, it’s one of the largest of its kind in regional Victoria.
 
When Emma was appointed, her first step was to get right to the heart of the problem - she immediately visited the estate, undertaking a series of inspections and talks with residents. It became clear very quickly to Emma that standards had slipped with respect to maintenance. She found that, upon talking with residents, the previous OC Manager was Melbourne based and didn’t visit the estate in person, so they were not in touch with what was happening on the ground. As such, inaccurate rumours were circulating and the residents didn’t understand who was responsible for what and what their obligations were under the estate rules.
 
“I believe in OC Management, communication is the bottom line, otherwise people fill in the gaps themselves and misinformation is spread.” Emma’s strategies to overcome these communication issues were to adopt a transparent and hands-on approach. 

For this community, she needed a way to combat the rumours and misinformation. Firstly, she instigated a quarterly newsletter, to keep residents informed and to arrange community social events. Emma personally arranged local sponsors so this publication could be set up as a cost-neutral initiative.
 
From there, maintaining relationships with the residents comes down to understanding what is important to them. They don’t just want calls and emails answered in a timely manner – this is expected - they need to see their OC manager in person. Emma attends all 8 annual OC committee meetings and also stays in touch with the community by attending social gatherings. She makes sure to visit for estate inspections, on a regular basis, “during these inspections I get the valuable opportunity to greet and chat with residents, keeping my ear to the ground, so to speak.” This helps Emma to feel connected to the community so that she can not only keep the property maintained to the expected standards, but also anticipate future needs and challenges as the property expands.
 
“These are discerning residents who had bought into an exclusive, premium environment because they wanted to be part of a thriving over 55’s community. I assured them that their concerns were valid and it was important to get this estate back-on-track as quickly as possible.”  - Emma Glazebrook, MBCM Owners Corpoation Seymour