Provincial advisory body told that property management firms need oversight as disputes escalate Guangdong authorities should regulate property management firms and set up an allied owners' commission to avoid disputes that have occasionally turned violent, a delegate to the provincial People's Political Consultative Conference said. Wang Zhechu said the owner of a property at Panyu district's Huanan New City was beaten so badly last week for protesting against the management company's decision to disband its shuttle bus service that he required surgery. In another case in Shenzhen last year, a flat owner from Hong Kong claimed she was beaten by security guards after she complained about illegal structures in her residential compound. 'The problem is serious and we must deal with it before it gets worse,' Mr Wang said. In a proposal submitted to the advisory body - which opened its annual session yesterday - Mr Wang noted more than 2.6 million Guangdong people were living in 3,617 residential communities and buildings overseen by property management companies. However, only 429 owners' committees representing 12.8 per cent of the population had been set up. Mr Wang said management companies were usually established by developers, while residents' committees had no legal status. Decisions on issues such as management fees are usually taken unilaterally by the management companies, with owners having no say. Many cases involve the embezzlement of management fees by property managers, while other disputes arise from owners not paying management dues. No government departments are telling property management companies how they should operate, although the property management companies' association comes under the purview of the bureaus of land resources and housing management. Mr Wang said the government had a duty to co-ordinate property management and residents' committees. 'More residents' committees should be set up and registered with an allied residents' committee association to give them direction as to how to co-ordinate with property management,' he said. Such an association, which in turn needed to be registered with the Civil Affairs Bureau, would be a first in the country and require a stringent approval process. 'To build a harmonious society, every interest group should have a channel to voice their views,' he said. Agnes Law Koon-chui, dean of Sun Yat-sen University's Department of Social Work, blamed the problems on the use of outmoded community committees to manage a new, diversified society. 'An allied owners' committee association is needed, but it is one of many associations that could tackle the problem,' she said.