The process of managing certain residential properties that are constructed in blocks, typically flats or apartments, is known as block property management. One of the following four parties will be in charge of the management function in England and Wales:
- Freehold or Landlord
- A residents management firm
- Property management company
- Managing agent identified in the lease
Organising any necessary upkeep and repairs on the properties is part of block property management, along with collecting service charge payments from the rental properties.
When a company is hired to maintain the common areas of residential properties, it is referred to as leasehold management, property management, estate management, or most popularly as “block management.”
In terms of administering these properties, this entails collecting service fees, ground rent, purchasing insurance, and doing communal upkeep.
Block property management companies are different to residential property managers for housing. Block management involves planning budgets and adhering to the law while making sure that the service charges implemented benefit both the freeholder and the leaseholder.
So – let’s take a look at how block property management works, and what you should expect to be included in your block management services.
What does a block property management company do?
Depending on the individual properties or developments, block property management details might vary, but commonly include:
- Internal cleaning service of common areas
- Exterior cleaning
- Landscaping and gardening
- Tree maintenance
- Emergency repairs, including those involving plumbing and electricity
- Facilities management includes car gates, lifts, and fire alarms.
- Repairs to roofs
- Painting and decorating both inside and outside
The placement of building insurance, checking that contracts for services like cleaning are in place and cost-effective, ongoing daily repairs and maintenance, and other similar services are examples of typical block management services.
A broad range of competence in disciplines like accounting, health and safety, law, insurance, and construction is required for block management businesses.
What is a service charge?
You will have agreed to pay a service charge (as well as possible ground rent) to the landlord in accordance with the conditions of the lease that you signed when acquiring the apartment. The lease will specify whether the service charge is paid annually, biannually, or quarterly.
The money from service charge payments is then used to cover the costs of the services outlined in the lease, such as cleaning, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and so on. The service charge is also used to cover the block management company’s management fee.
Service charges are paid annually (although the frequency may vary according on the lease terms), and the landlord or the block management business acting on their behalf holds the collective charges in a trust account.
A budget will be created at the beginning of the financial period, normally by the block management business, and each leaseholder will then receive an invoice for their share of that budget.
Without getting into the specifics of the billing conditions, it is important to note that all invoices must include a summary of the tenants’ rights and obligations; otherwise, payment will not be accepted.
Block property management services and the law
Any good property management company must be knowledgeable of the most recent leasehold property management laws because there can be serious repercussions for not abiding by these requirements.
For instance, failing to adhere to a set of health and safety requirements may result in legal action and, in the worst case scenario, a prison sentence.
Several distinct Acts of Parliament, including several laws that have been passed over the last 30 years or more, regulate block property management:
- Health and safety requirements – The manager of a residential complex is in charge of making sure that all tenants and visitors are healthy and safe.
- Leaseholders now have new rights thanks to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act of 2002, which was passed into law in 2007.
- These rights include: fire safety, ensuring that risk assessments are conducted and that required steps are taken to address any problems.
Additional legal requirements
In addition to being aware of and comprehending residential property legislation, landlords should be familiar with potential legal concerns pertaining to block management, such as leases and rental agreements.
Although it is not required by law, landlords are encouraged to follow industry norms of conduct if it is in their best interests and the interests of their tenants.
Both tenants and landlords can find objective information about managing a block of properties from the Leasehold Advisory Service.
The best way to handle your property management demands is to hire a specialised block property management business, as they will be in charge of all duties and responsibilities instead of you as the individual landlord. The neutrality of a property manager business also eliminates any potential communication problems between a landlord or property owners and a tenant.
It is their legal obligation to perform their tasks to the agreed-upon standard since they have accepted a contract to function as a property manager. This means that the property management will be held accountable if there are any issues with the property or money.
Who regulates property management firms?
Although there is currently no governmental authority that oversees the block management sector, there are self-regulatory organisations that offer leaseholders and rental property owners this protection.
The primary governing body for managing agents in the UK is the Association of Residential Managing Agents. In order to maintain the best standards in the administration of their buildings and clients, ARMA has specific requirements that agents must follow.
Of course, block management businesses are required to be members of regulatory agencies, including the Information Commissioner’s Office for data protection and the Property Ombudsman for recourse for service complaints.
Looking For an Expert Block Management Company?
These are only a few of the tasks and obligations of an excellent property management firm.
At Scanlans Property Management, we provide thorough block management services that encompass all of a property manager’s obligations. We have a group of skilled and informed employees that are always available to address any concerns or questions from tenants.
From Insurance & Claims to Repairs & Maintenance, Building Surveying Services, Site Visits and more, our property management services provide a comprehensive solution for all your block management needs.