How to get the most from your Property Management company

GETTING THE BEST FROM YOUR PROPERTY MANAGING AGENT

It is critical to future management arrangements to establish at the outset the role and responsibilities of the property managing agent:

  • what responsibilities and authorities the agent will have;
  • how much service charge money they can spend without your authority;
  • response times and other timescales for action; and
  • the authorised lines of reporting and communication.

Both the individual leaseholders and the agent should be clear as to from whom instructions are to be received. An agent cannot work if expected to receive instructions from all lessees. The usual and most effective arrangement is for the agent to attend, and report to, meetings of the Board of the RMC. In between meetings the Board could nominate one of its directors to be the main point of contact. By treating the agent as a form of general manager, he or she will provide useful input to policy and take overall responsibility for day-to-day affairs. Meetings should be properly organised and the Board’s instructions to the agent clearly minuted. The Board should set clear lines of communication, understood and observed by both sides.

Remember that the agent cannot take instructions from the Board that would put him in breach of any landlord and tenant law, code of practice or other statutory guidance eg health and safety legislation.

The Board should also establish how the agent is to respond to questions from individual residents and his/her accountability to those individuals. The residents should be clearly informed by the Board of the identity of the agent, duties and limits of authority. Although the agent will be working for the residents as a whole, the employer is the Board, and the residents must be clear that the agent carries the authority and support of the Board in respect of all his/her actions. The agent should not be placed in any position of ambiguity in dealing with individual flat-owners and, of course, cannot take instructions from them.

IPM are members of the Institute of Residential Property Management, RICS, ARMA, the property ombudsman and other highly regarding business accreditations. If you’d like to find out more information about our property management service for your development or block of flats, please get in touch on 01302 729 500.

Benefits of Using a Property Management Agent

Using a Block Management Agent

This article provides basic guidance on why you should appoint a managing agent, where leaseholders are subject to the payment of a service charge. It is particularly relevant if you are a director of a resident management or right to manage company with a block of flats.

Flat-owners may acquire management responsibilities in different ways: through acquisition of the freehold of the building, through the statutory Right to Manage (RTM) or simply by delegation of the management responsibilities from the landlord. Whatever the route, the management is normally exercised through some form of resident management company (RMC). The RMC will assume responsibility for the management and repair of the building, and for compliance with the obligations of the lease and the wide range of relevant statutory requirements. It will have to assess how best to achieve this, usually by appointment of a professional block managing agent.

The role of a residential block managing agent today is a complex one and requires a highly professional approach. To carry out the role requires knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, Health and Safety regulations, basic accounting and more.

Professional managing agents bring an organised approach to the planning and collection of the service charges and reserve funds, the timetables for redecoration, repairs, inspection and supervision of works.

Their assessment of what must be done, and when, will be independent of private interests and preferences, and based solely upon their duty to keep the premises in good repair. The process of collecting funds and the responsibility for taking steps to recover unpaid charges will fall under the responsibility of the managing agent.

A managing agent handles all the mundane and time-consuming administration. If issues and disputes arise, these can be dealt with impartially by the managing agent who’s primary goal is to ensure they site is well maintained and stays in good condition.

Managing agents should hold professional indemnity insurance as a further protection against negligent acts or incompetence and have the responsibility for compliance with leases, laws and codes of practice.

For more information about the services covered by our team at Inspired Property Management or to discuss your potential site management requirements, please speak to one of our Property Management Experts who can advise you further.