What is a managing agent and why do we need one?
Why do we need to Manage our Block of Flats?
Managing a block of flats is like managing a business. It requires specific skills and knowledge as well as commitment to the job. As a leaseholder, you should take a keen interest in how your building is being managed and who it is being managed by.
A poorly managed property can have an impact on the long-term enjoyment of your home and potentially its future value. It's normally the landlord who is responsible for the overall management of the building. This could be an individual person, a company or a local authority. It could even be the leaseholders themselves if a residents' management company (RMC) is in place.
The Managing Agent manages the company administration, financial planning and maintenance of the common areas of the building. Some landlords may choose to manage the building themselves but it's more common for them to appoint a professional managing agent to manage and maintain the property on their behalf.
Why do we need a Managing Agent?
Managing a block of flats requires a professional approach and the time to do it. Today's managing agents need to have a good knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, basic accounting and a range of other skills.
Managing agents take instructions from the landlord or Right to Manage Company, not the individual leaseholders. But a good managing agent will always be aware of the requirements and wishes of the flat owners. From keeping the lift working to doing the accounting; maintaining the garden to decorating the hallway the managing agent plays an important part in your life as a leaseholder and the smooth running of your building.
Whoever appoints the managing agent, as a leaseholder you pay for their services through your service charges. So its in your interests to have a professional and experienced agent who does the job well.
What you should be able to expect from your Managing Agent
A good managing agent will be:
Have a full understanding of the structure and meaning of leases
Have thorough knowledge of relevant Landlord and Tenant legislation
Help you understand your rights and obligations
Committed to best practice
Committed to good customer service
Comply with relevant standards and codes of practice
Operate an independent complaints procedure
Be subject to external scrutiny
Able to provide full accounting facilities for budgeting, service charge and year-end accounting and give you access to them
Able to support you and your fellow leaseholders in ensuring that service charge money is spent wisely
Open about connections with other service providers and about commissions.