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Property Management Advice

Introduction – almost every block of flats that we are asked to provide insurance for will have at least one of the flats occupied by a tenant. In today’s modern world, flats often located in a block in a city are occupied by one person who then moves in with a partner leaving the flat available for letting. How this let is managed is vitally important to owners and managers of blocks of flats as a troublesome tenant could cause rise to a claim under the directors and officers insurance policy. Lets suppose that your are on the committee of your block and you agree to allow a resident to let their flat, why controls are in place to make sure the tenant is suitable. There are are regular occurrences of flats in blocks being rented to unsuitable tenants who then disrupt and upset the rest of the residents leading to some people deciding it is simply easier to sell up and move. If this is the case, you may find that the value of an individual flat drops as the resident becomes desperate to sell, if they are forced to accept a lower price then you may find yourself on the receiving end of a summons. One way to avoid this situation is to make sure that any tenanted portions of a block of flats are managed properly. Individuals that move out, can either ask one of the remaining residents to look after the flat or far better secure the services of a professional property management advice company.

Blocks of Flats-Letting Agents vs. Self Managed Rentals

– On the face of it, there doesn’t seem too much to renting your flat, even on a temporary basis, but this form of letting is no different from buying a property on a buy to let basis, you will still have to provide an assured short hold tenancy agreement and all the rules and regulations will have to be applied. You will have to make sure that your electrics are in good order, have the gas appliances checked and certified and make sure that all your furniture satisfies the relevant law. Many people let their flats furnished and do not realise that they may be leaving contents behind that does not comply with current legislation. You will also need to check with the insurers of the block of flats that the buildings insurance policy will not be compromised in the event that a claim is made by the tenant. You will also have to ensure that the correct liability insurance cover is provided as well.

Property Management Benefits – If you decide to use the services of a professional property management advice UK company, what will they do for their money, well the list of activities is quite long, You can expect to pay between 10 & 15% of the monthly rental income for their services. A managing agent should provide at least the following services.

  • They should visit the property at the beginning of appointment to discuss with you the tenant that you are looking for and perhaps more specifically the type of tenant you do not want. Make sure that you alert them to any specific rules in your lease such as no pets etc. At this stage you should also discuss the terms of maintenance and have a look at their tenancy agreement. In all probability they will use a fairly standard assured short hold tenancy agreement.
  • They will advertise your flat but what ever methods are at their disposal, local firms will have a shop front, they may also use local newspapers or the internet.
  • They will arrange viewings and interview prospective tenants and if required obtain references.
  • They will draft the tenancy agreement
  • They will carry out and inventory check and liaise with the utility companies with regard to the accounts.
  • They will collect a deposit from the tenant and make sure they comply with the new tenancy deposit laws.
  • They will hand over the keys, collect the rent and deal with any ongoing problems
  • They will carry out regular inspections to ensure the property is being kept in good conditions but paying attention to the tenants rights under the tenancy agreement ( the right of quite occupation)
  • They will sort out problems such as broken boilers, washing machines etc

Management of Entire Block of Flats – Having this services provided should ensure that if you have tenants in the property that all runs smoothly. Another option of course is to have a property managing agent look after the whole block and their work will then take in to the account the above, Before you go down this route, it is a good idea to check costing as don’t forget their fees will have to be paid for by all the tenants. If may be possible to obtain a breakdown of the property managing agents charges so as the flats that are using their services to looking after their rented flats or apartments are charged accordingly. If you do decide to use a property management company for your block of flats you may find that in the long run things run more smoothly, these companies are usually experts at sorting out problems and if you have a full time job, you certainly do not want to be spending your day sorting out the problems at your block for which you just happen to be an unpaid volunteer. Services supplied by property management companies do vary but these are some of the services you can expect.

  • Collection of Ground Rents
  • Preparation of budgets and costing and forecasts
  • Collection of service charges
  • Arranging and collecting the buildings insurance premium
  • Arrangement of flats management functions
  • The supervision of all building works at the block
  • The supervision of all maintenance at the block including window cleaning, gardening, general repairs
  • Overseeing inspections to meet with statutory requirements
  • Performing regular site visits
  • Liaising with all residents regarding all matters
  • Dealing with assignments and notices
  • Dealing with complaints
  • Calling and organising the annual general meeting
  • Preparation of the yearly accounts
  • Providing reports to the freeholders

Of course the services vary from company to company and it is a good idea to discuss the actual service you will; receive prior to taking on a property management company.

As mentioned above, if you are a director or officer of a block of flats ultimately it will be you that are responsible for decisions that relate to letting. Whilst individual flat owners may have the right to rent their premises, you will have to deal with the consequences if the tenant causes disruption to the other flat owners.

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