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owners association?

faraday (213 posts) • 0

We have an apartment in KM and theres a wuye. I always thought the wuye was an owners association but seems like their only responsibility is watering the flowers and some cleaning.

So I'm trying to find out, to no avail so far, if theres usually anything like an owners association in apartment buildings in china/km. Like, for example, a group that can discuss renovations to shared utilities and facilities.
Any knowledge on this topic, anyone?

AlPage48 (1353 posts) • +2

It might depend on the community.

My wife is involved with something like an owners association in our community.

I'm not since all the communication is in Chinese, which I don't understand.
You might want to ask your neighbours or the community office.

fabey (62 posts) • 0

业主群 for your particular compound may be found on WeChat social circles.

You would have more chances of finding owners association on WeChat if residential communities are larger and newer. Recent buyers have more to gripe about en masse after rushed deliveries by developers (to avoid accruing penalties from breach of contract).

Such relatively younger owners are keen to search each other out for strength in numbers.

One caveat is the most vocal "leaders" of the pack, or those with legal background, would be sought out by the opposition for pacification in private.

The grim reality of these owner associations is that personal benefits would be sought by the few over the good of the collective when given the opportunity to choose. It's not always a zero sum game in the Mainland when bilateral negotiations are concerned for multiple parties.

Start a virtual owners association on WeChat as 群主 if you can't find an existing one. Participants gradually increase in numbers as online group discussions of how your developer or property management suck. Eventually the WeChat community of 12 angry owners may morph into actual physical encounters. Nothing like sharing common goals and a common enemy to unite total strangers.

For older residential compounds, regulars who are often seen exercising in the public spaces may have formed clusters of their own cliques to address matters with the property management pertaining to resolving their specific needs. Accost them at your own discretion.

Property management fees may include 维修金 (renovation fund) which property management allegedly uses to fix things like elevators, or repair the cosmetics of common areas. If their books aren't transparent, 物业 may skimp regular servicing to pocket more profit.

That's when you and your fellow compatriots threaten them with #12345 national hotline complaints, or with the local 经开区, if initial protests failed to reap results. The developer of your community may still operate your property management in-house, or under a separate business entity if not outsourced/contract out. Know thy enemy.

Owners association are feared by property management, so naturally they won't navigate you to a congregation of owners to protest against them.

tigertigerathome (164 posts) • 0

From experience I can say that things can and do get nasty, for two main reasons. One, you are threatening someone's money. Two, face, you are calling someone out for not doing their job. @faber mentions "sought out by the opposition for pacification in private."

As a foreigner you are a soft target, and any accusations (true or false) could be levelled at you, just out of vexation. Let someone else take that heat. Yes ask around, and maybe encourage someone else to take a lead, but then step back. If anyone asks why you are not taking a lead, just say that you are a foreigner and not allowed to (this may or may not be a true fact).
I do know that there is a legal vehicle for setting up owners associations and regulations that govern this. I am not sure if this is the same as a Street Committee (the grass roots level of the CCP in urban areas), but there is a mechanism for setting up a local street committee. If your street does not have one, these branches of the CCP can be found at local or district levels, and they can advise. Even if your 'street' does have one, your local area can form their own, it takes very few people. I know that any eligible group is allowed to form one, and it is encouraged by CCP policy. In either of these cases (owners assoc. or street ctte.) I think foreigners would not be eligible.

lemon lover (986 posts) • 0

You have to differentiate between the owners association or residence committee and the management company. The latter is responsible for maintenance, cleaning, garbage handling, public spaces, gardening and security etc. These are commercial companies that are financed by the maintenance fee the residents have to pay. Like so many things there are the good, the bad and the ugly and everything in between.
The original project developer will have hired such a company and if you are lucky you have a good one. These companies are responsible to the residence committee. And as long as there is no Residence Committee they basically can do whatever they like. A residence committee is a legal body and quite a bit more that a WeChat group. Election of the residence committee goes under rules and regulations of the local Street Committee. Organising an official Residence Committee is not easy. It took us years to do so and our maintenance company that went from good too bad to ugly did everything in its power and way beyond that to stop this from happening. In the end the Major Office had to be involved to stop their obstruction and intimidation.
We are now in the ugly phase; the present maintenance company started collecting maintenance fees for next year while their contract runs out at the end of this month. There are signs of asset stripping and maintenance work hardly takes place at the moment.
All good staff left about three years ago when they were replaced because their work was given to a third part contractor who pays staff well below minimum wage.
Another way they made money was to rent out our public space as car parking and cars are now everywhere and parked in violation with the fire regulations which is something the maintenance company is itself responsible for.

faraday (213 posts) • 0

well, with all this info I have to guess that we have a "management company" ie waters the flowers (and interesting to read what lemon wrote about the mgt company renting out illegal parking spots - id guess same happens us). And also would seem we do not have a residents committee at all, which is really wierd. So if the building needs a new roof, tough luck for the guy on the top floor? :)
In our case some water pipe was blocked on the street. all the apartments flooded one by one. meaning, first the guy on top had water flowing up out of his toilet. So he got some guy to clean the pipe (HIS pipe) for 150. Few hours later the next floor down got flooded, another 150. And so on every few hours until every apartment was flooded and derived of 150. Then somebody came and unclogged the pipe on the street. No serious damage, but wtf?

Root cause, cooking oil.

JanJal (1199 posts) • 0

In newer developments where there are still unsold apartments (even if just some), management companies (often associated with the developer such as Junfa) are more eager to at least maintain the value and attractiveness of the property. This means taking care of common spaces, playgrounds etc that may be on the property.

Families who one way or another have ended up owning multiple apartments in these developments and are renting or hoping to increase value of their extra ones, have same motivation.

Because these are usually high-rise buildings, if there are serious issues (like every floor flooding in the above post), you don't need many such cases to send both the developer and the management company the way of Evergrande.

If I were running such company, I would urge the residents to report any problems before they get worse. From what I have seen living only in these places, is that they can be quite cooperative. But the situation would be very different in older buildings.

lemon lover (986 posts) • 0

As JanJal mentioned the Maintenance Company is often the same or linked to the Project Developer. Doing a proper job as Maintenance Company gives thus more shine to the developer and heightens the value of the projects they are developing right now and still have to sell.

Our Project Developer however went bankrupt leaving a total mess behind.

That included the 10,000 RMB per sold unit which they collected for future maintenance on every sale (In itself a normal and lawful practise). These millions have gone. Only recently the law is changed that these funds have to be in an account not connected to the Project Developer but for us this came too late.

Our situation is not unique. Many Project Developers went under. Other Project Developers (Like Vanke) see maintenance as a grow market and are willing to take over maintenance work. Seven companies bid for our contract and five out of them look quite good.

One other thing Fabey mentioned. WeChat groups. Be aware that maintenance companies run WeChat groups as well. In our case they infiltrated the group of the owners committee and crippled it with spam.

fabey (62 posts) • 0

Infiltration for spying or comraderie sabotage is bound to happen in these WeChat groups when money is involved.

Screening process as group head (群主) endowing banning privileges is at one's disposal. Over time, the real owners will differentiate themselves from infiltrators. The branching out to a separate subgroup for private discussions with regulars who've earned their badges would naturally occur. The main Wechat group would intentionally be kept. Strategic ambiguity and misinformation would be released to previous discussion group to mislead prying eyes.

In the good, the bad, and the ugly analogy, Junfa and developers like Vanke are among "the good." Positioning themselves as the more responsible companies, they'd try to maintain positive after-sales koubei as one of selling points for long-term competitive advantage in the housing market. They may address plumbing and flooding within the residences' apartment, even as warranty period (房屋保修期) expires after the post-delivery window.

If newer phase development is ongoing, beyond the current unsold apartments, developers and their property management arms would capitulate more to owners' complaints. Inspections pending need to be passed, so developers in these situations may bend further to be in local governments' good graces. Making complaints to 经开区 have more bite in these circumstances.

As long as potential customers' beaten path to the 样品屋 show room is beautified, lesser developers focusing soely on near-term transactions wouldn't bother fixing internal problems unseen by unsuspecting buyers strolling into premises with cursory glances.

In older compounds where projects have been completed, summoning 市长热线 (mayor's office) in some cases wouldn't be enough to pressure the bad and the ugly ones to right their wrongs. Tough ordeal hunting down companies that went under.

Perhaps 诉讼 (litigation) would be an option if all else fails. Legal fees in Yunnan are much cheaper than those in Shanghai, but would increase incrementally per owner/client participation.

Rowdy demonstrations by owners are less favorable these days, though a last resort for older generations. Being a foreigner involved in these ruckus may spare you from a local police arrest if push comes to shove during an all out protest. Locals are treated more harshly than foreigners in the event authorities come to shut down the "social unrest." Testing this out is probably not recommended in these volatile times.

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