If you are the owner of a flat that is being leased, or alternatively an apartment block, you are likely to be aware of the many responsibilities that this entails. However, if you employ a block management company, they should help to safely take care of your building(s) in a professional manner on your behalf.
However, most tenants simply pay their service fee and do not necessarily know the further details as to what exactly a block manager is; who they may be, their responsibilities to your flat or apartment as well as the overall role of the block management company at large. Knowing this, allows tenants and lessees to hold their block management company to account and also understand what their annual service charges pay towards.
What are the Responsibilities of a Block Manager?
Otherwise known as a property manager, people in this role are responsible for the maintenance of the standards of residential blocks within their portfolio. Companies such as ABC Estates make sure that all block managers work in pairs or as part of wider teams. This makes sure that clients are always covered in the event that any degree of assistance is needed at any time, day or night.
Some of the typical responsibilities of a block manager will routinely include:
- Visiting buildings on file and carrying out site inspections of residential blocks in their portfolio; making sure that there are follow up visits with a site inspection report as necessary
- Managing in a professional manner any neighbourhood issues that arise at a flat or apartment block, such as noise complaints or other disputes, doing everything possible to ensure that matters are resolved
- Diagnosing potential problems on site whilst carrying out inspections, including any insurance risks existing
- Taking care of insurance of the overarching property
- Making sure that the site is compliant with health and safety regulations
- Helping to suggest the appropriate service charge budget
- Sorting out service charges for your building and collecting on your behalf
- Playing a key role in negotiations relating to long-term qualifying agreements, repairs that need to be undertaken on site, as well as contracts for leases
- Having a thorough understanding of leases; foreseeing potential issues that may arise in the future, A block manager also needs to make sure they keep up to date with legislative changes and major case law
- Making sure that only approved contractors who are instructed on blocks managed by the company are used
- Monitoring service delivery; ensuring that small repairs that need to be fixed on site, such as fixtures, fittings and site equipment are all dealt with promptly
- Ensuring proper security on site to improve the tenant experience. This is achieved by working with both the local crime prevention team in the locality as well as other residents
- Organising ongoing contracts for maintenance on sites, e.g. cleaning, window cleaning, gardening and facilities in a cost-effective manner
- Keeping detailed records relating to the block management on file
- Appointing the chartered accounts who can sort out the service charge accounts, whilst maintaining compliant accounting records, and reviewing them regularly, with changes implemented as and when they are required
The Responsibilities of a Block Management Company
Individual responsibilities and those of the block management company itself do overlap, making sure that both landlord and tenant law is obeyed, account duties fulfilled, building construction contracts arranged and health and safety regulations on site up-to date. If you do decide to employ a block management business to handle your properties, it is worth making sure that the are a member of the Associations of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA).
This is the leading trade association for managing agents in England and Wales, and members have to comply with high standards of leasehold management in order to remain compliant. This includes things like making sure that a block management company adheres to the recommend handover requirement set out, making sure contracts, insurance, property data etc is all dealt with and processed accurately and efficiently when a handover takes place.
Right to Manage Claims
Block management can also help you with Right To Manage (RTM) claims through the entire process. They can help if at least 75% of the building is residential (if there is a shop in the building, it won't be possible for it take up more than 25% of the entire floor area). It is also possible to manage the block separately, and at least half of leaseholders want to go through with an RTM claim before actually taking over the management.
After this has been arranged, a block management company can help you with the administrative duties that will need to be sorted, such as the handover process from a previous managing agent as well as arranging new insurance policies and a lot more.