The advantages and disadvantages of condominium administrators
Last March, I conducted a survey to assess the level of satisfaction with the services offered by condominium administrators.
I received 247 valid responses from apartment owners in buildings with more than three apartments, 60% from women and 40% from men. About 16% of respondents were 35 or younger, 63% were between 36 and 64, and the remaining 21% were over 65.
About 12% of respondents had some high school education, while about 33% had some post-secondary education. The remaining 55% of respondents said they are completing or have completed a tertiary level course.
Respondents came from various towns and villages in Malta and Gozo. A large proportion, amounting to 42%, came from the Sliema/St Julian area and neighboring localities, 19% from Marsascala, 7% from Gozo and the remaining 31% from other localities in the north, central and southern Malta, with a relatively high proportion in St Paul’s Bay and nearby localities. About 31% of the blocks were nine apartments or less, 61% between 10 and 20 apartments and 8% were more than 20 apartments.
In response to the type of administrator hired, 33% of respondents indicated that they had used the services of a resident of the same block that they administer, while 57% indicated that they had retained the services of a company offering condominium administrative services. .
Respondents were also asked how satisfied they were with the condominium administrator’s services. About 35% of those who responded to this question said they were dissatisfied with the administrator’s services, with one-third saying they were very dissatisfied. A clear majority of respondents (65%) said they were satisfied with the administrator’s services, with about two-thirds saying they were very satisfied.
The results of the survey therefore indicate that the opinions concerning the services of the condominium administrators are mixed, with the majority of respondents declaring themselves satisfied with the services of the administrators, although a significant proportion express the opposite opinion.
When these figures were analyzed in more detail, it was found that there was a much higher proportion of satisfaction (83%) in the case of those who hired a resident as a condominium administrator, compared to to those who have hired the company as a director (59%).
In other words, even in the case of company-recruited directors, the majority of respondents were satisfied with the services of the director, but in a much lower proportion than in the case of resident directors.
By analyzing the responses in more detail, it appeared that as the size of the building increased in terms of the number of apartments, the proportion of dissatisfied respondents also increased. One reason for this may have been that the proportion of resident directors, relative to directors hired from outside companies, decreased as block size increased.
There was a much higher proportion of satisfaction (83%) for those who hired a resident as a condo administrator, compared to those who hired the business as an administrator (59%)
The final section of the survey, which invited respondents to provide additional comments, revealed various issues associated with the administrator role as well as various benefits of having an administrator.
Overall, the main complaints from those who were dissatisfied with the administrator’s role were that some administrators do not provide good enough service, overcharge for their services, do not always comply with the provisions of the law and do not are not very reliable. One respondent even suggested the scheme was a scam.
When asked why they don’t change directors, some respondents said that the director is imposed on them by the developer (either directly or because the developer owns certain units, giving them voting power enough at the co-ownership meeting), or that they are not sure that another administrator would be better off.
The main advantages of the administrator, according to the respondents, are that they maintain order and cleanliness in the common areas and can also help resolve conflicts between co-owners.
Some respondents indicated that in their block of apartments, the owners rent the property for very short rentals (including Airbnb) and this often disrupts the organization of the common areas, making it difficult for the administrator.
The Competition Act was criticized by some respondents mainly because it has not proven to be good enough to compel administrators to provide acceptable services at a fair price and to force all condominiums to pay their dues. There seems to be very little that can be done about this other than taking legal action which most condo owners are not willing to do given the time, inconvenience and expense. incurred.
Moreover, although the law refers to arbitration in its various articles, it is still difficult for a co-ownership to oblige the administrators to improve their services, or to oblige an owner of an apartment (including the developer who often owns one or more apartments) to pay their dues.
The results of this survey should be interpreted with some caution. First, the sample of 247 respondents may not be representative. For example, most respondents had a tertiary education. Another bias could be that some respondents could have been administrators themselves and could have increased the vote in favour.
Although these shortcomings are recognized, the author believes that the main issues related to the role of the condominium administrator were captured by the survey, given the relatively high number of respondents compared to the number of apartment owners, the coverage of the different ages of the respondents and the spread of the towns and villages where the buildings are located.
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