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We are often asked this question, not only at the start of a working relationship with clients and leaseholders, but years into it. In truth it varies between agents. It is largely determined by the contract between the agent and client (be that freeholders or resident association companies), client instructions and the agreed basic fee. It also differs between our Full Management and Hybrid Bookkeeping services, but in this blog we will concentrate on the Full Management role.

The role is complex requiring professionalism, diligence, training, along with a working knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health & safety regulations, bookkeeping and much more. There are added benefits to using a professional managing agent like AB - Client Money Protection, Professional Indemnity insurance cover and the benefit of our redress scheme memberships in case things go wrong. AB is RICS regulated and all the property managers are IRPM qualified, and Kevin Guthrie is a RICS Associate. But not all agents are equal! Unfortunately, not all agents are members of a regulatory body (AB are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). AB also offer something a little extra - out of office hours assistance for our fully managed portfolio and Build to Rent management.

If we take a rather generalist overview of estate & block management we can break the role down into Financial, Residents, Repairs & Maintenance, Lease Matters & Client Support. Some services are part of our basic annual fee, and some are beyond the typical day to day management role and are classed as additional fee services** (which we always agree in advance where practical!).

Financial

  • Preparation of an annual budget for service charge purposes
  • Regular billing and collection of service charges, including management fees
  • Provision of a periodic budget report of income, expenditure, and cash flow
  • Preparation of draft accounts to be examined and certified by chartered accountants (we prepare the pack to send to the accountants who prepare the accounts)
  • Preparation of a reserve fund plan relating to cyclical maintenance – planned maintenance assessments become hugely helpful here
  • Settle invoices for expenditure, services, premiums, maintenance, salaries, and other such running costs from the funds held
  • Service charge arrears management

Residents

  • Prepare welcome packs for new residents
  • Attend to routine enquiries from lessees and residents
  • Respond to solicitors’ and lessees’ enquiries regarding sales and licences**
  • Attend general meetings of residents**
  • Administrate insurance claims where we arrange the cover and within our remit (read our “what insurance work does your property manager do” blog)
  • Give impartial assistance where issues or disputes arise

Repair and maintenance management

  • Deal with minor day to day repairs and maintenance to the buildings, plant, fixtures & fittings, and communal areas. We are soon to launch our new Maintenance Ticketing Service for leaseholders to use when reporting issues which will automate and streamline this process.
  • Visit the premises to visually check its condition (we usually agree the number of visits per year when onboarding new Clients)
  • Arrange contracts for plant and machinery e.g. lifts, sewage pumps etc
  • Arrange planned maintenance programmes with timetables for redecoration and repairs – we work with surveyors who produce these specialised plans**
  • Advise on and oversee major works and the statutory Section 20 process i.e. when any 1 unit’s contribution to the works will be £250 or more the Section 20 process is required**
  • Prepare job descriptions for employees and specifications for contractors, and supervise any employees and regular contractors such as cleaners, gardeners, caretakers**
  • Arranging for the preparation of schedules of dilapidation or condition for individual dwellings**

Lease Matters

  • Ensure the reasonable compliance with the terms of leases and policy agreed with the Board
  • Advice on and arrange lease reviews at the onboarding stage, or during management when issues or queries arise over clause interpretation, responsibilities, and liabilities**
  • When necessary, and authorised by the client, instruct solicitors in relation to breaches**
  • Represent the client at County Court, arbitration, and Tribunals**
  • Consider leaseholders’/tenants’ applications for alterations**
  • Advise on and deal with assignments of leases, subletting & change of use**
  • Provide information to facilitate sales of leasehold interests in individual dwellings**

Board Support

  • Oversee the onboarding of new clients, including any handover with a previous agent
  • Advise on block insurance, Directors & Offices insurance (for formalised companies) and any other appropriate cover – read our “what insurance work does your property manager do” blog)
  • Assist with an appropriate management policy
  • Regularly report on financial, maintenance, significant lessee issues, progress, and legal matters when appropriate – many AB clients now use our Director Dashboard within the Resident Property Management platform which provides a lot of useful information at the click of a mouse
  • Information Commission Office registration for GDPR data protection purposes**
  • Document / record keeping  
  • Act as Company Secretary** (not all managing agents can offer this service)
  • Risk management, fire safety, and health and safety assessment & compliance
  • Advise the Board on residential landlord and tenant procedures including statute and practice where appropriate
  • Advise on rating, planning, improvement, other grants, and valuations**
  • Arrange replacement / reinstatement cost assessments** (read our blog on the importance of having an up to date reinstatement value)

This is not a comprehensive nor exhaustive list, but a general snapshot of the complex nature of the management agent’s role. Our Property Managers are available to answer any queries…the most important part of our role is communication!