If you are the owner or a stakeholder in a residential apartment block, but don’t enjoy the responsibilities that come with it, then the obvious route is to appoint a residential block manager. However, you need to make sure you get the right person in to take care of your asset.
Maunder Taylor operates residential block management services in Hertfordshire and North London. Here we provide some practical pointers in what to look for in a block manager, and why we make ideal partners for property owners and landlords, as well as tenants.
A Good Communicator and Mediator
Many issues can develop between landlords and tenants, including over rent payments or repairs to the property. Sometimes there may be issues between tenants that have nothing directly to do with the owner or landlord such as antisocial behaviour or playing loud music.
A good residential block manager will have to mediate between the two parties to come up with a fair and equitable solution, which is underpinned either by the law, regulatory compliance or both. With this in mind, it’s essential you keep channels of communication open at all times. This means not just phone numbers, but email addresses too. However, face-to-face communication is probably the most effective tool of all.
Particularly in the communal areas, block managers need to be aware of the need to keep everything clean and tidy. Waste needs to be taken away, so it’s important residents know when the collection dates are and where to put the rubbish. Communal areas such as kitchens need to be kept clean and clear of any obstructions; the same can be said for gardens and any other outdoor spaces.
While the block manager doesn’t necessarily need to do all this themselves, they must ensure that somebody does. One possible solution is to employ a caretaker or handyman for any on-the-spot difficulties such as minor repairs or electrical work.
…and Legal Knowledge in Particular
The law is constantly changing in respect of landlords and tenants. The Renters’ Reform Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, could have a profound effect on the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. There’s also a revised Code of Practice for Block Managers which is also in the process of being updated.
A good block manager will need to be up to date with all the current legislation and any new regulations that are in the pipeline. They can then warn all stakeholders well in advance and help them to avoid prosecutions, fines, and any reputational damage.
Putting Safety First
This is one of the most important areas for a good block manager, and covers a variety of issues. Fire safety means assessing and mitigating any fire risks, checking there are alarms, fire doors, safety routes and extinguishers in place. It also entails establishing No Smoking zones in communal areas, something that has been the law in the UK since 2007.
Electrical safety means complying with all the 1989 Electricity at Work regulations. This means they will repair any loose wiring, and conduct regular testing of all devices in communal areas (including lifts).
Asbestos is less of a problem than it was, but block managers need to be able to identify any areas where it exists and have a policy and ‘action plan’ for identifying it and removing it.
Being Financially Aware
For block managers, it’s not just a question of collecting the rent. There could also be the issues of service charges and ground rent. A block manager will have to ensure there is enough in the management account to budget for unexpected expenses as well as the usual day-to-day running costs. All this means keeping accurate records, knowing how to operate payroll (and having a good head for figures generally) are all prerequisites for a competent block manager.
Residential Block Management in Hertfordshire with Maunder Taylor
At Maunder Taylor offer residential property management services in Whetstone, Potters Bar, and many other locations in Hertfordshire and London. We have represented the interests of Right to Manage companies, investor landlords and freehold companies.
We adhere to the highest of standards, and are members of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (not all property management companies are) and individual staff members are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Residential Property Management.
As a result, we are well-versed in all the latest property legislation and can be relied on to represent the best interests of both landlords and tenants. We know that open communication and mediation is more preferable to an issue escalating into a costly and time-consuming legal dispute.
If you would like to know more, follow this link. You can contact Michael Maunder Taylor directly on 01707 871 703, or our block management department office on 01707 665 666.