What is Property Block Management?
Block management is a crucial element to take account of when it comes to the upkeep and maintenance of residential property blocks. As a service that is needed by both the block owners and landlords as well as individual leaseholders within the development, having a properly managed block can be the difference between a high turnover of tenants and leaseholders and longer, established parties.
Effectively managing a block is specialised and requires skilled experts with the right knowledge to ensure all parties’ interests are taken care of and tenants are able to live in comfort and peace. There are many companies that offer block management services but it remains important to research and check reviews and opinions about each to make sure you choose the best block management provider for your needs and requirements.
Furthermore, this service is equally applicable to both small and larger blocks, with the needs and requirements simply being on different scales for each. Moreover, by having well managed and well looked after residential blocks, the likelihood for conflicts with residents, leaseholders and tenants is greatly reduced as effective block managers will be able to address and rectify any issues before they escalate.
What Does Block Management Entail?
Whilst there are a few similarities between block management and traditional property management, the challenges faced when looking after a block with potentially tens or even hundreds of residents as opposed to a property with a handful are very different. There are different legal implications, laws to be accounted for and services that need to be provided when the property in question is a block as opposed to a single housing unit or a house.
For example, it is very common in the case of residential blocks for the block and the freehold to be owned by one party [the freeholder] and individual flats owned by other parties [leaseholders]. The leaseholders will each pay service charges, also known as ‘ground rent’ to the freeholder, whilst tenants of the leaseholders will pay rent. It is however, the ultimate responsibility of the freeholder to ensure the block itself is properly managed and this is where a block management company come into the equation.
It is important therefore to also understand the differences between leaseholders and freeholders to know who is responsible and accountable for what.
The responsibilities of the nominated block management company will include:
Money and Service Charge Collections – Each leaseholder, who owns a specific flat or apartment in the block will be liable for service charge payments to the freeholder. This will be collected by the block management company who will then pass on these fees to the freeholder as part of the service they are paid to provide. Other payments and charges may need to be collected by the block manager too. For example, if any resident needs to pay for anything affecting the block, for example if they break a communal window, this will be collected and facilitated by the block manager.
Health, Safety and Security – Ensuring the block is safe from any hazards such as dangerous wiring, asbestos and other health hazards is part and parcel of what management of all blocks will include. Furthermore, the block management company should carry out regular site inspections to make sure nothing is amiss and nothing dangerous is present. For example, corridors that are full of rubbish or peoples’ possessions can pose a significant fire hazard by obstructing exits and safe passages. They will also be responsible for making sure the property is secure, with communal doors and main access points not vulnerable to intrusion and trespassers.
Maintenance and Repairs – It is inevitable that with numerous people all sharing the same corridors and communal areas that there will be a degree of wear and tear and that there will be things that from time to time will need fixing and replacing. Block managers will identify these issues and what needs doing and will allocate tradespeople, cleaners, gardeners and otherwise to take care of these things so that the residents and leaseholders need not worry.
Insurances and Legalities – In addition to the buildings insurance required, the management company will ensure that all relevant legislation and regulations are taken care of and abided by as they should be by tenants, leaseholders and landlords.