Naturally the first meeting with any directors of a Residents Management Company has the element of a sales pitch, we want the business. However, as professionals we are keen to give the best professional advice, always, without condition.
Yesterday we were invited to meet directors of a large, a self managed apartment block of long-leasehold apartments in North Devon. Currently self-managing the block, the directors have given their time, unpaid, over several years, dealing with the management for the benefit of the wider development community. This is not untypical with their approach being sincere, tenacious and selfless, dealing with all aspects of the management as they feel correct, perhaps blending previous experience with some online research and a dose of common-sense.
Self managed apartment block
However, it soon became clear that the directors, whilst totally honourable in their efforts were far from on top of things (which they always thought they were), not aware of the legal responsibilities that they were personally exposed to (without insurance) and the company was not legally compliant, in respect of company law, various aspects of the comprehensive regulations and legislation specific to this property sector and all-important fire safety. Perhaps there might be other things too.
We know that they are meeting with other managing agents and we may or may not be successful in securing the instructions for the future. We did our best.
However, as I drove back to the office this wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. The 2½ hours spent with them was enjoyable and rewarding. It became increasingly evident to them as we chatted, where urgent improvements in the management are needed. They realised that they are out of their depth, despite having work diligently for several years. I was able to give them advice, guidance and pointers, highlighting risks and the priorities requiring immediate action. This meeting genuinely gave me peace of mind that irrespective of whether we are appointed as their future managing agents, that these directors are now better informed and can deal with real risks and issues immediately and that they do need professional advice. Time will tell. We are in business but we are professionals and this underpins our approach, to everything.
Rupert Hambly | Director