As construction has boomed in Phnom Penh over the last few years, the bevy of flats, houses, villas, Boreys and condominiums being built on a near constant basis has more than met demand for new real estate space. But the maintenance of these buildings after construction has been lacklustre, and consumers are now airing their grievances.
In most countries, when developers complete a project, a management firm takes over and cleans the building, provides security and offers other amenities to potential residents. There are real estate firms in Cambodia that can sell, buy and rent properties, but very few provide maintenance services. Now that may be starting to change.
James Hodge, an associate director at CBRE, told Post Property that CBRE Cambodia has developed a highly capable team of property management professionals, able to develop and oversee a property’s operation from beginning to end and deliver services at an international standard.
“Our clients have benefitted greatly from our experience and detailed approach, in many circumstances our involvement and the maintenance of consistently high standards that we advocate has delivered above market average occupancy and in many cases significant cost savings. Without a structured plan it is difficult to properly roll out full property management services and the development of detailed standard operating procedures, building manuals and a management strategy are all considered as critical to the delivery of effective building operations,” he said.
CBRE Cambodia says it is proud to manage some of Cambodia’s leading real estate assets including Phnom Penh Tower, Maline Serviced Apartments, Embassy Residences and Maybank Tower. In the past, they have worked with the likes of Colonial Mansions (now Central Mansions) and have set up property management services for other real estate projects at the forefront of the market.
“We are in the process of setting up management for Keystone, a new office building on Norodom Boulevard due to be completed next year and one that we are excited to be managing thereafter,” said Hodge
“We employ experienced asset and property managers to develop a bespoke strategy for each premises that we are instructed to manage. This means that we consider each aspect of the property’s operations, from window cleaning and garbage removal to the development of a service charge budget and handling of the property management finances.”
Kim Heang, director of Khmer Real Estate, told Post Property that buying, selling, and renting real estate was a lot for one company to handle. Many companies, he said, lacked the knowledge, experience and reputation to handle the maintenance of a building.
The only property management companies worked with foreign companies, he added.
“After the market sells, buys and values the properties, property management is a service that would be valuable in this new market. They can earn a lot of money from this in Cambodia,” he said.
Kim Heang has a property management company called Property Innovation that manages the Royal One building.
“We are also studying many projects while looking after this building. But in the future, if we have the opportunity, we will do extra work as there are many jobs involved in this market,” he said. “As far as I know, there are not many property management companies that manage buildings. It is only a few companies which manage big buildings like the Vattanac Tower, Canadia Tower and some high skyscrapers.
“Because we lack human resources and local companies, foreign companies from abroad can invest in Cambodia. But Cambodia would need them within the next three years,” he added.
Modern condominiums and high-rise buildings have a range of amenities that need watching over, including elevators, fireplaces, exit doors, security and parking spaces, among others.
“We have never had any experience with managing buildings, homes, or condos. But we used to manage some office buildings and commercial buildings,” said Hoem Seiha, a research director at VTrust Appraisal.
In Cambodia, building developers are responsible for managing their buildings after completion.
If a building does not have a service managing the elevator, swimming pool, trash collection and other things, it will become an uncontrolled slum, he said.
Seiha added that foreign companies are looking into coming to Cambodia and are studying the market.
Many companies in neighboring countries with prior experience in Cambodia are interested in investing in the sector, he said.
“It is necessary to have management firms look after big buildings such as condominiums. Normal houses do not need this,” he said. “Moreover, every professional company must have a legal license to build confidence in the building as well as to the people who use it.”