Managing a large block of flats can be challenging. Specific skills and knowledge, as well as a commitment to the job, are required. The building needs to be inspected regularly, maintained and redecorated in accordance with the lease. It is usually the responsibility of the freeholder to manage the maintenance and repair of the building, but the leaseholders could own the freehold or have the right to manage. Here are some of our top tips for managing a large block of flats:
Different people like to communicate in different ways; some like to email, some like to pick up the phone or some may prefer a text message. It is important to ensure everyone knows what is happening with their home, so communications should be focused and inclusive. You may find it useful to use a variety of communication methods depending on the nature of the message; a regular ‘newsletter’ can provide residents with detailed information, whereas emails and text messages may be more useful for urgent matters.
In a large block of flats, you may find that tenants take up a large proportion of the residents. Although they may not be paying the service charge, they do contribute indirectly to the block’s costs through their rent. If your tenants believe their ideas will be listened to, they are far more likely to be engaged with your block management plans.
Bigger blocks mean more things that can go wrong, so it is important to have a clear strategy and a roster of reliable contractors that can offer round-the-clock support. If you have lifts, it may be worthwhile investing in smart lift technology.
Good block management is all about people. Your site team may consist of caretakers, concierges, gardeners, and cleaners. By having clearly defined roles, it ensures they can receive support in areas such as uniforms, training, holiday pay, sickness cover and so forth.
As with communication, people also like to manage their finances in different ways. Having various ways to pay service charge fees provides owners with the flexibility to manage their finances in a way that suits them. Some may prefer to set up a Direct Debit, some may want to pay via BACS, and some may find paying via an online payment facility to be the easiest way.