If you’re one of the 2 million people who currently own leasehold property, then chances are you’re also paying a management company to make sure it stays in good condition. I have come across leaseholders who were paying their management company every year to maintain their block of flats but the management company weren’t keeping its side of the bargain.
There are thousands of leaseholders across the UK, that feel they are currently stuck paying a management company for services they are just not getting and it seems there’s nothing they can do about it.
Property management procedures can be complex, and are subject to ever changing statutory provisions which can leave many leaseholders and residents struggling to keep up with the latest legislation. Therefore, some leaseholders are simply not aware of the extent of protection and benefits currently available to them through current regulation and the various codes of practice in use. This is where a managing agent regulated by the RICS can help. A successfully managed block will ensure that the property’s capital value is maintained and the block of flats are managed legally and economically, with income and expenditure entrusted in secure, professional hands.
The Code of Practice
The RICS Service Charges Code sets out what is regarded as best practice for management in the private residential leasehold sector as well as featuring any legislative requirements that managers need to comply with. The help of any practicing property management agents should therefore meet the standards set out in this code.
But unfortunately not all Managing Agents operate to these standards. Surveyors Regulated by RICS are regularly inspected to ensure they are following the Code of Practice. This can help ensure that standards are maintained by these regulated firms. Many leaseholders and freeholders are unaware of the RICS regulations and the benefits and protection that can bring them.
There are several advantages using an RICS member, they are required to:
- Give clear, impartial and expert advice
- Act in the customer’s interest
- They are regulated and have strict codes of conduct to protect you, including Professional Indemnity Insurance
- RICS members must belong to a Client Money Protection Scheme
- You are further protected by a complaints service
By appointing an RICS member you will have assurance that the quality of service they provide is of highest quality as they follow the government approved Service Charge Management Code of practice, which sets out best practice with regards to block management. Under this Code the managing agent is obliged to fulfil a number of duties which range from dealing with contractors and maintenance on the property to preparing agreements and dealing with service charge payments.
As the block management profession is unregulated there is a need to implement professional standards. Many leaseholders are feeling trapped with their current managing contracts. If you are considering appointing a new managing agent it is advisable to speak to a number of agents and check out the professional body the managing agent belongs to whilst ensuring the service can be tailored to you and your block of flats. This will in make sure you get the best service possible.