Yes we do. Covering all of London, however we’re at pains to add that you’re free to use your own if you like
Yes, you will have the opportunity to email or speak with their existing clients.
Yes, in fact we almost insist upon it.
Yes. We outsource this but use a sector specialist and market leader. In the event of an emergency you or your tenants will always be able to get hold of someone who’ll provide a rapid, efficient service
This is a problem common to our industry. Having spoken to numerous job applicants over the years the biggest reason for staff attrition is ‘overloading’: Block Managers are given more and more properties to manage and eventually aren’t able to perform properly. Decent staff perform badly, become frustrated, melt down and leave. We avoid this pitfall by giving our team manageable portfolios. We try our best provide a pleasant working environment to work and have a company share scheme for senior team members. Without providing too much sensitive information; we pay our team members properly, hire the best we can find, and offer them proper support.
Yes, we are able to provide regular financial reports to all Directors. In the main these are sent out half yearly or quarterly. For blocks of more than 20 units we can also provide a monthly cash sheet of expenditure.
Our fees vary depending on the size of block and the management resource you require. To give some guidance our standard rate is £250 per unit, however this can go up depending on what needs doing. We also charge a sign-on fee of £250 on all new buildings to cover upfront legal expenses
We hope our 6-month warranty, our zero-notice contracts and the option of emailing or speaking with current clients will provide enough surety for you to make a confident decision about coming on board. We’re not suggesting we’re perfect, and occasionally mistakes do happen – however what sets us apart is that on the odd occasion when something slips, its quickly escalated to a Director who’ll set it right
At the time of writing, 23
It’s a real mixed bag, from 8 unit house conversions to a 170 unit modern estate. Including very old grade 2 listed properties and (legitimately) cutting edge ‘smart homes’, purpose built blocks, converted hospitals, schools and numerous pub conversions. We even have a property with a communal swimming pool.
At the time of writing we manage about 150 blocks and just over 2100 units
All unplanned expenditure will come out of the ‘general repairs’ fund (or could be subject to an insurance claim). This is managed by the block managers insofar as nothing will be authorized if it takes the predicted cash flow above the level it should be at. Directors at our blocks normally set a threshold over which they want to be informed; most blocks this level is around £200 – £250. The ‘general repairs’ fund is normally based on previous expenditure so we are normally pretty accurate with this regard. However, we always recommend having a ‘cash buffer’ in the service charge account to keep cash flows at a safe level.
We are registered with the Information Commissioner and we make sure the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are complied with. On a practical level all staff are trained on handling personal data and to recognize requests from data subjects
Since 2008 (7 years)
In the last 12 months we have had one person depart on maternity leave who may or may not come back to work within 12 months. Apart from that we have had no one leave. Staff turnover is a huge problem in the industry and I sometimes visit potential clients who have been through half a dozen property managers in 18 months. We recognize this and don’t want to be one of those companies. Apart from being a very pleasant environment to work in, everyone takes pride in their jobs and we offer share options to employees after 12 months of service. For this reason we have a very low turnover rate
We provide a service warranty that guarantees the management fee fully refunded if you are not satisfied with our service (for whatever reason). We also do not lock people in to contracts and our clients can exit with zero notice. These clauses keep us on our toes and ensure that we do not rest on our laurels (so far no block has left us because of bad service; where we have lost blocks it has been because the Freehold has been sold to a third party with their own management).
1-3 months depending on the quality of handover information we receive. If there is an incumbent agent then we do as much preparation as possible during the notice period so when we officially start we are ready to go without interruption
Our process has up to 4 stages:
- Initially we will discuss it verbally and informally
- If this doesn’t reveal a solution we will formally log the complaint. If not received in writing we’ll request a written log. We will respond within 24 hours acknowledging receipt and providing information on the name, position and contact details of the person responsible for finding a resolution.
- We’ll then provide a formal response within 10 working days. This will include action thus far and will spell out next steps. If this does not provide an adequate solution then the matter will be referred to the appropriate Head of Department who will conduct a separate investigation and will respond with conclusions within a further 10 working days.
- If this does not provide adequate solution (or if the matter has passed 8 weeks without a solution) then the matter will be referred for mediation.
The same way we would deal with non-payment of service charge. We first try and resolve matters verbally although we still send out letters as if things don’t work out or the breachee reneges on their promise then we haven’t wasted time in imposing legal recourse.
We have a rigorous credit control process. Leaseholders have 30 days to respond following the service charge demand. If they fail to pay it or set-up a payment plan then in the first instance we will try and make contact with them. If we fail to reach them or get a response then the process is as follows:
Reminder letter 1: Issues once the charge has become due
Reminder letter 2: Sent fourteen days after letter 1 (if no response)
Reminder letter 3: Sent seven days after letter 2 giving a further 7 days to pay
If payment or payment plan is not forthcoming the file will be sent to our legal partners for further action. At this stage a fee of £95 + VAT is levied to cover the cost of processing legal paperwork. If the matter proceeds to court a further charge of £185 + VAT will be added to the amount outstanding. All costs are added to the individual leaseholder’s debt and does not come out of the block account.
All unplanned expenditure will come out of the ‘general repairs’ fund (or could be subject to an insurance claim). The block managers manage this insofar as nothing will be authorized if it takes the predicted cash flow above the level it should be at. Directors at our blocks normally set a threshold over which they want to be informed; at most blocks this level is around £250 – £300. The ‘general repairs’ fund is normally based on previous expenditure so we can be fairly accurate with our estimates. However, we always recommend having a ‘cash buffer’ in the service charge account to keep cash flows at a safe level.
Reserve funds are kept in a separate account from the main service charge fund.
Our systems allow us to closely monitor actual expenditure verses the budget and a monthly reconciliation; the block managers will also apply their own due diligence and common sense.
We are registered with the Information Commissioner and we make sure the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are complied with. On a practical level all staff are trained on handling personal data and to recognize requests from data subjects.
We are very keen on embracing new technologies to help and assist us and make possible regular and clear client reporting. We use a system called Qube for our back-office software and the Maintenance Management Module (which our block managers are regularly trained on). We can log all jobs so if a client calls in we can update them on the progress of job completion. We can record schedules of planned jobs and the logging of calls for reactive jobs.
Yes of course
Yes we can guarantee that – we have no affiliations for contracted services
We charge 10% of the contract value to administer major works. If a third party surveyor is involved we charge 2.5% – 5%
All our contractors have to provide references and show us an example of recent work. They also have to prove the necessary insurances and qualifications for their particular field.
We offer assurance that we do not take any commissions from contractor/maintenance work nor are we tied to using any contractors. We actively seek recommended contractors close to our blocks as they provide best value and are accountable for the work they do. Our yearly management fee of £250 + VAT per unit is our only income stream. We have zero-notice contracts so if we cannot demonstrate fair value and a good service then our clients are free to leave us at any time without notice. We also offer a 6 month guarantee on all new instructions – if you are not happy with our service within the first 6 months we will refund the management fee. Customer service is very important to us and our growth as a company relies very heavily on references from existing clients. So far, no one has left us so we must be doing something right (But if we are not, we want to be told!)
At the time of writing we manage just under 150 buildings totaling around 2000 units