Badly managed residential blocks can hit future values, Principle warns

Badly managed residential blocks will not only annoy leaseholders but can also damage future values, an expert has warned.

Joe Jobson is a director of Principle Estate Management, which was launched in Birmingham in April 2018 to provide a nationwide property management service.

He said that residential management companies (RMCs) needed to use trusted agents so they can step back from day-to day management while remaining confident that RMC directors’ decisions are implemented and that all ongoing maintenance issues are resolved.

Mr Jobson said: “Having confidence in your agent is crucial, because poorly managed properties will not only have an impact on the long-term enjoyment of people’s homes but will potentially hit future values.

“In virtually all circumstances, the directors of RMCs are unpaid volunteers who spend a considerable amount of time and effort maintaining and improving the property they reside in for the benefit of all occupiers.

“But managing a block of flats requires both a professional approach and the time to do it, which means RMCs need the right agent so they can confidently delegate actions that come from policy decisions.”

Mr Jobson explained that managing agents needed a good knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, accounting and a range of other skills.

He said: “A good managing agent should have a full understanding of the structure and meaning of leases, thorough knowledge of relevant legislation and be able to advise the directors of their rights and obligations.”

He said this knowledge should cover all necessary compliance documentation, such as a registered business addresses for RMCs, issuing share or membership certificates, and preparation of paperwork and minutes for board and AGM meetings.

Mr Jobson said a good agent should also regularly advise on any health and safety items, and should routinely review and action fire and general risk assessments – or else RMC directors could be held liable.

He explained that health and safety was a standing item on all of Principle’s RMC board meeting agendas, making sure any issues were regularly reported. He said other areas that good managing agents should cover included:

  • Making sure all RMC directors are acting with the necessary insurance in place, with cover reviewed annually.
  • Providing copies of the service budget to directors in advance of the new financial year.
  • Ensuring annual accounts are finalised, audited and signed off with directors’ approval within six months of the year end.

 

Mr Jobson added: “As chartered surveyors, Principle Estate Management is committed to best practice, good customer service and always complies with relevant standards and codes or practice.

“For example, at Principle we set KPIs to ensure property managers have accounts audited and signed off within four months of the year end, well ahead of schedule.

“We pride ourselves on offering an unparalleled level of customer service with exceptional communication to our customers.

“Principle is structured so we are able to manage each of our properties on a personal basis, tailored to the RMC’s individual requirements.

“We are always available to advise, and work closely with RMCs to ensure properties are managed to directors’ expectations, whilst being within the law and the lease.”