What Makes A Great Property Manager?

As experienced Property Managers, managing residential blocks of flats in Leeds, Manchester, Doncaster, London, and all around the UK, we have taken a look into what makes a successful Property Manager and how our staff differentiates themselves from your typical agents:

A property manager’s job is a highly varied role encompassing multiple disciplines from accounting and insurance to project management and contract negotiation. With such a varied role it is more important than ever to ensure the right type of person is managing your building.

What does a Property Manager do?

Property management is a widely varied role with multiple tasks, which requires a very efficient and effective person to undertake these duties with the ability to communicate fluently with all parties.

  • Overseeing the day to day repairs and maintenance
  • Management of major repairs or re-decorations
  • Attending meetings for each client, typically quarterly
  • Liaising with all relevant parties such as Freeholders, Leaseholders, Contractors
  • Overseeing the financial health of the building including service charges, arrears, cash flow and budgeting
  • Management of onsite staff such as the concierge / porters
  • Manage all insurance related issues as well as overseeing the insurance policy
  • Implement and review a health and safety strategy for the building including fire safety

Property Management Software

As with any successful team, they require the tools to efficiently carry out their tasks and this starts with the property management software systems. IPM use the latest system from Qube which includes a client portal where leaseholders can access all the information they need for their accounts and development. This means that information that is input by our property managers can then be automatically uploaded onto our clients portal so they receive frequent updates and automatic information downloads.

Property Management Support

Property management tends to be a labour intensive role and as such, a client can require a supportive business resource to effectively carry out its tasks as detailed above. Our expert property managers will be the first point of contact for clients.

Expert Property Managers

At IPM we ensure that our property managers are qualified, skilled and professional, keeping each individual updated by attending the latest property management courses. As well as technical ability, property managers need to have the emotional capability to manage not only the property but also to nurture long lasting relationships, both professionally and personally as managing a persons home is a very personal process and one which many property management companies fail to grasp.

Overall, it is so important to understand that aside from the professional technicalities of property management, the relationship building aspect is essential to the long-term customer satisfaction, which we pride ourselves on.

We will ensure you get the best possible experience of living in your home whilst we manage the upkeep and maintenance of the building ensuring it remains a valuable asset. We will proactively resolve issues such as repairs and insurance claims, quickly, monitoring completion levels of contractors such as cleaners and gardeners, so we are able to statistically provide the most beneficial property management service in the property market.

Contact IPM today to be part of our exclusive portfolio and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our dedicated Property Managers.

What is a Service Charge and Why do you have it?

 

Anyone that owns a Leasehold flat will know that they are liable to pay a service charge but few people truly understand service charge definitions and what your service charges are used for, so let us explain:

When you buy a leasehold flat you sign a Lease. Within that Lease there are certain covenants or agreements that you are legally promising to uphold. One of those agreements is to contribute towards the running / maintenance costs for the building, known as the Service Charge.

Service Charge budgets should be agreed with your freeholder or IPM Managing Agent within 2 months of the buildings financial year end, so if your year end is December, your budget should be discussed and agreed in November at the latest.

What is the average service charge cost?

A study by the Competition and Markets Authority in 2014 estimated that the average level of service charge in the UK to be £1,100 per annum. However, within London it is estimated to be higher due to the levels of maintenance required. Levels do vary widely depending on the services and facilities at your building as well as the power of negotiation by your Expert IPM Property Manager.

How are the service charge costs are determined and calculated?

Typically, service charges are determined by the freeholder, your property manager or possibly by an independent surveyor, dependant on the terms of your Lease. Your IPM Property Manager will consult with the flat owners in order to maintain a productive relationship, leading to the micromanagement of spending through open communication. Each Lease will state what contribution the individual leaseholders must make. This will typically be based on an equal percentage split between the number of flats in the building or based on the actual square footage of the flat in question. Your IPM Property Manager should be able to help you find your contribution allocation within your Lease. It will also be noted on your service charge invoice.

How to challenge a service charge invoice

Should the budget be set without the leaseholders knowledge it can cause confusion and lead to the budget expense levels being challenged. Whilst this can usually be resolved with transparency and open discussion, Leaseholders do have the right to legally challenge a cost if they feel that their concerns have not been solved. In accordance with Section 27A (1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, an owner of a flat can make an application to the First Tier Tribunal to make an assessment whether the service charges are payable and the reasonableness of the amounts being charged.

Are you liable for service charge payments demanded before you have bought a flat?

Read this carefully as many people have been caught out be this error when purchasing a leasehold flat. During the conveyancing process, your solicitor will request an up to date service charge. This will determine any amounts outstanding or any invoices that will be forthcoming from the agent. This is your opportunity to negotiate with the seller to compensate for any amount outstanding.

It is important to note that if you have been made aware that service charges have been raised and currently haven’t been paid, as soon as you have signed the Lease, all responsibility for service charges, old and new, will be borne by you. You must ensure that you consider the financial status of the flat before signing onto the covenants.

How to find out what your service charges are being used for

Your Lease will typically include an obligation for your Freeholder to provide a summary of the Service Charge accounts for the previous year. These are required to be provided within 6 months of the buildings financial year end giving you a full breakdown of where the Service Charge income as a whole is being used. If you are still not satisfied and require further information, under Section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 you have the right to inspect invoices and receipts so you can find the answers you are looking for.

For more information about services charges or if you would like to know more about how we can manage your property portfolio, contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist on
01302 729 500.

What you should know about Landlord Building Insurance

Landlord building insurance is a type of building insurance that covers any damages to a properties structure, including walls, roofs and foundations.

With landlords building insurance for flats being typically the most expensive budgetary item each year, isn’t it important to know what this covers and why?

This blog will give an overview of what is generally covered in your policy.

What does my building insurance policy cover?

We must state that every building is different and you should always check what is covered and not covered under the terms of your policy. There are however typical ‘risks’ that a landlords building insurance policy will cover. Typically, these risks are:

  • Escape of Water (leaks)
  • Fire
  • Vandalism or malicious damage
  • Natural disasters (storms, earthquakes, floods)
  • Damage from vehicles or falling trees
  • Subsidence, ground heave or landslip

Almost as important when considering the risks covered are the risks that are NOT covered. These risks can cause confusion with questions such as ‘does building insurance cover damp’ only causing delays in resolving the matter. Typical risks not covered are:

  • Leaseholders contents (yes, this includes carpets)
  • Any gradual issue (i.e. a leak due to poor maintenance on the pipework or damp)
  • Pollution damage

You should always check your policy details to see what is covered in each instance as every policy can vary.

If you need to report a problem you can do this direct through our website or through the newly revamped tenant portal.

For news and updates about your development please go to the tenant portal where you will find all the latest news and information.