There is no definitive answer as to how to undertake your search but here are a few pointers. The essence is do your research, ensure you understand what is being offered (and not) and that the agent understands long-leasehold block management. Many don’t. It’s a specialist area, so you need a specialist agent.
Transparency. Agree Your Fee
It is essential that the directors and all leaseholders understand the managing fee to be charged.
The RICS Code of Practice and ARMA stipulate that any RMC should only look at agents charging in line with the set fee per unit.
Block Management Services
The cheapest block management agent isn’t always the best value, so look at the amount and compare the service. Ensure that what is promised can be delivered. Understand the charges, understand the service.
What are the Costs of the Additional Services?
There will be a standard service, which will be itemised in your contract. Clearly things arise which aren’t standard and these too will need to be dealt with professionally. This is a fair approach, just check the charges for these additional services.
- Major Works triggering Section 20 Consultation, overseeing and managing the prescribed process and delivering the project
- There may be breaches lease covenants. This extended service is essential, requiring expertise and experience.
- Dealing with any tribunal cases for the management company
- Other services. It is essential to know that you have a professional to turn to.
Blocks of flats and apartments are complex buildings often with a significant number of leaseholders in residence. Things happen. Often at the most inconvenient time, with no regard to normal office hours.
How does your managing agent handle things in such circumstances, the answer is as varied as the number of agents. This can make a huge difference and relates to the comment above when considering the cost of service. Annalise what the service is!
If you have to call out of hours in the evening or at weekends it may well be an emergency. Is the number you call manned or just a voicemail? If the latter, what do you do in that emergency? With us you will speak to a person and our in-house maintenance team can provide a responsible and cost-effective service. This is really reassuring for all leaseholders.
Individual leaseholders may need support or separate services
Know the costs and know the service is delivered. These costs payable by the individual leaseholders, as and when required.
- Providing potential buyers with LPE1 Leasehold property enquiries forms.
- Issuing Notices of Transfer
- Dealing with a Deed of Covenant
- Issuing Share/Member Certificates
- Provision of any additional keys, fobs and permits
- The costs of any arrears recovery
Are the agents Block Management experts?
The management of long-leasehold flats and apartments is a highly regulated sector, distinct from all other residential and commercial management. Ensure that your managing agent has the relevant experience and expertise. This is essential and cannot be overstated. This expertise is required because mistakes and omissions can prove expensive with serious impact. Not all residential and commercial managing agents will understand flat and apartment block management. Ask the question, Ensure that you are fully reassured.
Do they manage similar apartment blocks?
It is good to get an insight of the managing agents and the type of work they do. It is likely that their portfolio will be varied. This experience is healthy and reassuring.
Membership of professional bodies ensure professionalism and standards. We are Chartered Surveyors (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors | RICS), ARMA (The Association of Residential Management Agents) and ARLA Propertymark (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
Peninsula Management are always happy to discuss your company’s management requirements and we can walk you through our services. This is the final key is the fit. Find the right agent for your block, who operates in the way you want; it’s a key long relationship. Call 01271 386 306