Is service charge collection a nightmare?

Most urban residences now have to deal with the concept of shared security, cleaning services and regular maintenance of facilities like swimming pools and gyms.

Right from Nairobi’s Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Runda, Kiambu, Kitengela to Mombasa, Nakuru or any major town the narrative is constant. Structurally, apartments, townhouses or even single-dwelling units in suburbs like Runda, Karen or Rongai in Nairobi; Nyaliin Mombasa; Thome on Thika road; Buru Buru- and the likes fall in the same boat.

Generation change

Key to note, a couple of years ago; housing units were individually owned and therefore occupants made private arrangements with the famous “Mbwa Kali” sign that used to be displayed on entrants of the majority of suburbs of Nairobi. There’s a noticeable shift. Nowadays, safety issues and the concept of individual ownership in apartments and gated communities has forced residents to live in communities sharing the now famous service charge otherwise known as security fees.

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Sadly, the collection of service charges has been a “nightmare” in most courts. The troubling question is; how do you deal with this widespread problem? Can’t it be dealt with?

Here are 5 tips we hope will help alleviate this nightmare

  1. Establish a clear management structure. This can effectively be done at your court with officials whose tenure should be rotational to allow for the full participation of all residents substantiated with periodic court meetings.
  2. Provide occupants with accurate budgets with details of ALL anticipated costs including regular upkeep of the premises.
  3. Provide regular statements of accounts to be shared consistently to all residents to show the financial status of the court including debtors and creditors list. This particular measure is very very critical because most occupants of good will pay up once they see that resources are being well utilized and all skeptics can be won over through these accounts.
  4. Institute court rules in consultation with all residents to alleviate common minor misunderstandings and eventually lay a modus operandi. These rules should include deterrent measures to be taken for chronic defaulters such as the denial of services or water disconnection.
  5. Ensure the premise is well maintained by providing for development funds in the budget mentioned in No 2 to act as a motivator for monthly contributions; coupled with sound management operations either from a real estate firm or its equivalent.

Well, this list is not exhaustive. Nonetheless, it highlights key items that need to be dealt with in order to have the service charge nightmare kept in check. We confidently wish to make it known that we have practiced these and other measures to successfully eradicate this nightmare in many other courts in the course of our property consulting.

You may want to learn more about this and other professional real estate needs. Call us on (+254) 205201502 and (+254) 716 304410. Write to us at info@canaanproperties.org

Article by: Lawrence Mosa

MD – Canaan Properties Ltd

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