25th October 2019
How do I choose a block manager?
What do block management companies do?
If you own an apartment, you will be aware that you are paying service charges to a block management company who look after the maintenance, general upkeep and insurance of the building. You may not realise how easy it is to change your block management company if you are dissatisfied with their service.
Here we’ve broken down five top tips to help you find the perfect block management company for your block or building.
What services will the Block Managment company include
Ask ahead of time what services they provide, from the upkeep of communal areas to collecting service charges and chasing arrears, arranging insurance and other contracts.
Get your requirements and expectations out in the open early on.
Check out other properties and testimonials
You may be able to find out which other buildings or blocks are handled by the same company. A quick drive past can often tell you a lot about the quality of property management.
Look at the maintenance of grass and planted areas, the upkeep of the exterior of the building, and general cleanliness and repair.
You can also ask potential block management companies to provide case studies of similar sized buildings they are managing and the work they have carried out.
Look for Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) Members
The leasehold management sector is unregulated so anyone can set up as a managing agent and start trading. This has led to inconsistencies in service levels and has dented consumer confidence in managing agents. Managing agents who belong to ARMA have to comply with the highest possible bespoke standards. So by choosing an ARMA member you get higher standards, greater confidence and more openness.
Think about finances
Check they have a robust process for collecting service charges and chasing arrears. No block can be effectively managed if the leaseholders are not paying their service charges on time.
Ask them to provide you with an anticipated level of service charge, what they would charge for managing your block and compare it to your current charges.
Make sure they have client accounting procedures in place, are members the Ombudsman scheme, follow the RICS code of practice and have professional indemnity insurance.
Ask about inspections
Property managers will generally take responsibility for inspections. Talk about your expectations with them. Ask how inspections are carried out, and how often.
Are there any specific requirements for your particular block of flats or building? Make sure that they are discussed at an early stage.
Where property managers are responsible for a large building, effective reporting is paramount. What is their usual process?
If there are any specific details you need to know, this is the opportunity to discuss those with the property manager to make sure you have peace of mind in the long run.