What is Residential Block Management?

As Residential Block Management Specialists, here is our easy to follow guide on the basics of what we do.
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Based on 47 reviews

Residential block management, sometimes called estate management, refers to the process of managing a group of residential properties - in the majority of cases this is a block of flats or apartment building where there are shared facilities.

This includes the day-to-day operations of the development such as regular inspections, safety checks, repairs, maintenance, landscaping etc. In addition, there are some duties that go beyond normal 'housekeeping' tasks like arranging insurance, handling correspondence and liaising with local authorities, dealing with enquiries from owners and residents, ensuring compliance with legislation, maintaining the common areas of the development and dealing with emergency issues that may arise.

A managing agent is usually appointed to take over the role of running the entire building, including collecting service charges and ground rent, dealing with expenses, paying invoices for works that have been carried out and accounting for leaseholders’ money. If a leaseholder wants to carry out alterations to their property, then the managing agent will also deal with their application and ensure that all necessary permissions are obtained.

Overview Of Current UK Landscape

The property management industry is currently unregulated. ARMA, the Association of Residential Managing Agents, is the only body in England and Wales to focus exclusively on matters relating to the management of residential leasehold property and sets the standard for those in property management. Any managing agent that is not voluntarily signed up to an industry body such as ARMA should raise a large red flag for anyone looking for a managing agent for their building.

ARMA’s founding principal aim is to improve standards for lessees, freeholders and resident management companies, setting and maintaining consistent standards of practice amongst members in an otherwise unregulated market. Although ARMA membership is not mandatory, Grace Miller & Co. are proud to be members and you can find our accreditation certificate on the Customer Protections page of our website. 

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As ARMA members, we adhere to the ARMA Consumer Charter & Standards, a bespoke set of professional standards aimed at consumer protection and best practice in all areas of residential leasehold management. ARMA has over 300 member companies (as of July 2022) and the total number of residential managing agent firms in England and Wales is estimated to be 870.

Right To Manage

Right to Manage (RTM) is a legal way for leaseholders to take over day to day control of their building from their landlord. Currently, around 20 per cent of UK homes are managed by someone other than the landlord.

The UK's Commonhold and Leasehold reform act provides a right for leaseholders to change the manager of their building to a different provider. To do so, they need to set up a special company to manage the property.

A common pathway to hiring a block management company is that residents decide to self-manage via the Right To Manage legislation - only to discover the management of their building is time consuming, stressful and requires time and specialist knowledge.  This is where appointing a good managing agent pays dividends.

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Key Services In Block Management

The role of a managing agent is a complex one and requires a professional approach. To carry out the role requires knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, accounting and more.

Managing agents provide a range of services including arranging maintenance, cleaning, gardening and landscaping. They are sometimes referred to as 'shared space' providers because they maintain common areas such as gardens, common parts, courtyards and car parks.

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Professional managing agents will bring an organised approach to the planning and collection of service charges and reserve funds, the timetables for repairs and redecoration and supervision of major works.

A managing agent will assume responsibility for maintaining all areas of shared space. This includes repairing damaged equipment, replacing faulty items, clearing up litter and rubbish, taking away waste and recycling it correctly and keeping pathways clear and safe.  When necessary, they will arrange for broken lifts to be fixed, replace fences, repair walls, arrange redecoration works and make other repairs. They will do this all while ensuring that the area looks good and complies with health and safety requirements.

Site Visits

A site visit is one of the most important aspects of what a managing agent does. This involves inspecting the buildings to check exterior walls, gutters, downpipes, drainage, bin areas, bike storage and car parks. 

They will check that the internal areas and windows are being properly cleaned, doors are closing properly, there are no obstructions to escape routes, current signage and other information is displayed correctly and fire doors, smoke vents, dry risers and fire alarms are being tested correctly. They will ensure the mailboxes and main front door is working correctly and the building is well-maintained and secure.

Health & Safety Compliance

The health and safety regulations that apply to buildings are many and varied and it can be difficult to know where to start. However, there are some common issues that affect most residential buildings such as fire safety, building maintenance, health and safety, and even the use of chemicals.

A good managing agent will arrange inspections and make sure that everything is up to scratch. In addition, they will manage repairs and maintenance, ensuring that residents don’t suffer and aren’t inconvenienced because of problems that could easily be fixed. They will also take care of things like security, access control systems, emergency lighting and heating/cooling.

Accounts and Support Services

While managing agents are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a block, they will also offer a range of additional services beyond those mentioned above. These include financial management where they account for the money they hold on behalf each development, ensuring that all service charges are collected and sub-contractors are paid.

In addition, they might help organise meetings or act as mediators in disputes between parties.

What to look for in a Managing Agent

Every building, development, landlord and leaseholder is unique and there is no one size fits all approach to block management.  For this reason, Grace Miller & Co offer their clients a bespoke, pro-active service tailored to meet their own particular requirements. There are some key elements that you should look out for if you are looking for a new managing agent.

What to expect from a professional block management agent:

  • Knowledgeable & professional in their dealings with relevant parties - from property owners to third party contractors to accountants and solicitors
  • A complete understanding of the structure and meaning of leases
  • In depth knowledge of all relevant Landlord & Tenant and Health & Safety legislation
  • Without using buzzwords and jargon, they should be able to help you easily understand your rights and obligations
  • Members of ARMA or RICS
  • Have strong online reviews and be able to provide testimonials from current block management customers - willing to let you speak to a current customers independently
  • Have suitable professional indemnity insurance
  • Adhere to all relevant standards and codes of practice
  • Have an independent complaints procedure and provide access to an independent redress scheme of which it is a member
  • Transparency: Can answer all your questions without deflection or distraction
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Residential Block Management Services.

We pride ourselves on offering a prompt, friendly, pro-active block management service, tailored to suit each Client's own particular requirements. Here is an example of a typical block management offering:
  • Arranging general day-to-day maintenance and repairs
  • Supervising on-site staff and maintenance contractors
  • Dealing with residents enquiries
  • Supervision of major works and long-term planned maintenance
  • Advising on, arranging and renewing insurances
  • Administering insurance claims
  • Regular attendance on site
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Advising Clients on their obligations and helping them to comply with health and safety legislation
  • Taking action for recovery of service charge arrears
  • Negotiating, renewing and maintaining specialist maintenance contracts
  • Maintaining up-to-date records of leaseholders, tenants and property details
  • Liaising with leaseholders and solicitors in connection with the assignment of properties

Let’s Talk About Block Management

If you would like more information about how Grace Miller & Co. can provide an efficient and professional block management service for your development, contact us now.