There’s plenty of information available to help leaseholders choose a managing agent, but it usually boils down to clear agreement on responsibilities, workloads, fee levels and lives on communication.

Increasingly, the choice of managing agent rests with leaseholders where a block is self-managed. This is typically through a Residents’ Management Company (RMC), where leaseholders jointly own the freehold, or through a Right to Manage (RTM) company where residents have taken control of management – and the choice of managing agents - from a third-party freeholder.

Keep leaseholders informed

No matter how much time and effort RMC and RTM directors put into getting the agreement with a managing agent right, it won’t work if the ultimate bill payers aren’t on board. Make sure all leaseholders are aware of what it is fair to expect of you, when they should communicate directly with you as the managing agent, and when they should do so through the RMC or RMT company.

Explain that the duties of the managing agents are based on contract, not legislation.

Do residents know why you are there?

A block doesn’t have to have a managing agent, but the workload of running the building and keeping tabs on all the legal obligations may be too much for volunteer directors of RMCs and RTMs.

Do your residents know that block management can be a complex one and calls for knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, basic accounting, and more?

What are managing agents expected to do?

A key role of professional managing agents is budget planning and collection of the service charges and reserve funds, including taking steps to recover unpaid charges.

This can be only the tip of the iceberg, but leaseholders may only ever have contact with managing agents when they receive a bill.

Let everyone know that you are keen to make their home a great place to live as well as a box-ticked compliant building.

Learn your leaseholders’ priorities

It might be that improving the garden or refreshing the common areas is a priority for the people who ultimately pay your fees. They may not give the lift’s essential LOLER inspections a second thought, but they’ll likely make their annoyance known if the doorbell entry system is faulty.

This is all information that the RMC/RTM should have and be able to pass back to you so works can at least be costed and a decision made. Nevertheless, be prepared to attend some, if not all, residents’ meetings. Don’t just be the face at the annual budget meeting – consider developing the relationship with regular face-to-face interaction.

You could draw up a checklist of the services you provide, using the government-funded Leasehold Advisory Service website’s own checklist as a guide. This list of what blocks should expect form managing agents can include:

  • Finance: budgets, accounts, service charge collection and areas management
  • Liaison with residents: dealing with enquiries day to day and when flats are bought and sold. Dealing with insurance claims
  • Repair and maintenance: long term planning and dealing with day-to-day matters
  • Lease compliance: ensuring that residents comply with the term of their lease and where necessary instructing solicitors and representing the freeholder in court and at tribunals
  • Staff management: covering employees and contractors
  • Board support: advising the Board on correct procedures company secretarial work, risk management (fire safety, health & safety, etc.)

Blocks of Flats Insurance from Gallagher

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The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.