* Every time a housing society meeting is scheduled or the maintenance costs revised, Dilip Chachra is alerted by a mobile app called ApartmentADDA. This really helps because he’s invested in a flat in Vashi and lives in Colaba.
* In Chembur, residents of Sindhi Society can now access even 10-year-old documents with a single click. They outsourced their documentation to a start-up called Zipgrid, two years ago.
* Pratik Gems Housing Society in Navi Mumbai has transformed its visitor log into a digital interface accessible to every resident, via an app called Smart Gorkha
From security to record-keeping, new housing society management services are making things easier.
Some offer offline services only. Others operate through a website or customisable app, almost like Uber, for the CHS.
“From calculating a penalty to ensuring cashless transactions, the service we enlisted has helped us manage everything efficiently,” says Sachin Jha, treasurer at Ram Niwas CHS in Powai. “We no longer have to spend hours every week trying to sort through paperwork and dig up old records.”
Don’t kick yourself if you didn’t know these services were out there. Few housing societies in the city do.
Last week, in fact, event organiser Intellize Expo put together a first-of-its-kind Housing Society Management Show in Worli, precisely to spread the word.
“We did this because barely 20% of the 200 societies we surveyed across Mumbai knew that there were professional services to help them manage things,” says Intellize director Dilip Raghavan. “There are service providers and management services across 40 categories, from surveillance to sanitation. Some of them will take care of every detail, from plumbing issues to getting the fruit from your trees plucked and distributed.”
For your benefit
Society Run, launched last year, is a customisable mobile app that offers over 30 features exclusively for housing societies. “We have notice boards and polls to move decision-making online; we list vendors that residents can approach. We aim to automate the working of a housing society,” says founder Ashish Waykar.
Others, like the three-year-old Zipgrid focus on mainly digitisation, getting all your data and documents in one place, online, with secure backup.
Apartment ADDA, launched in 2014, helps you create a centralised database of flats, residents, vehicles, accounts, staff, CHS assets and vendors, on an app.
It also serves like a WhatsApp group for the housing society.
“Through the ADDA App, you can have discussions with neighbours, share photos, conduct or participate in polls, receive updates from the society office and form hobby groups,” says co-founder Venkat Kandaswam.
“Society income and expenses have become very transparent and easy to track because of the SocietyRun app,” says Hemant Buddhivant, 31, part of the managing committee of the Midori Tower CHS in Pune. “Because of the online poll, we need not waste time at the meetings. If an issue is small, it can be resolved online.”
Sindhi Society, Chembur, meanwhile, took more than two months to install its virtual documentation system. “The society is vast, with over 650 houses, so the process of collecting documentation and uploading it all was a bit of a hassle,” says Kumar Tahilramani, 35, a businessman and resident. “But it was worth it. We can now access any document with a click, from anywhere.”
The Marble Arch housing society in Andheri installed Smart Gorkha and eliminated the need for guards altogether. “With the system, we get information about any visitor in real time and worry less about the security of the building,” says Krutika Shah, 30, a homemaker.
Some CHS members attended last week’s event and left with the distinct feeling that they were missing out.
“We still follow the paper filing system for all our records, and we have stacks of housing society documents going back to its formation in 1948,” says Aditya Chandavarkar, a resident of Karnataka CHS in Matunga. “We find it difficult to access the ones we need and now we’re definitely thinking about digitisation.”