At Oakfield we understand that appointing a managing agent is a very hard decision, you need to know that you can work with closely with them and trust them to manage your most important asset, your home!
The role of a managing agent today is a complex one and requires a professional approach. To carry out the role requires knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, basic accounting and more. There are benefits of professional management which should be balanced against the fees which leaseholders will have to bear.
There are many benefits to using a managing agent which include;
• Professional managing agents will bring an organised approach to the planning and collection of the service charges and reserve funds, the timetables for redecoration and repairs and inspection and supervision of works.
• Their assessment of what must be done, and when, will be independent of private interests and preferences and based solely upon their duty to keep the premises in good repair.
• The process of collecting funds and the responsibility for taking steps to recover unpaid charges will be removed from the individual directors of the RMC.
• A managing agent should be geared up to handle the mundane and time-consuming administration and may handle it more efficiently through better facilities for storage and retrieval of records and documentation essential for accounting purposes.
• Issues and disputes can be dealt with impartially by an arm’s length agent to limit the animosity and division which could arise where personal issues become the business of neighbours and colleagues
• The agent distinguishes between the needs and duties of the company under the Companies Acts and the needs and duties of the company in its separate role as landlord under the leases and the relevant landlord and tenant legislation.
• Fidelity insurance cover to protect client funds is a significant advantage over self-regulation of funds by individual members
• Agents should hold professional indemnity cover as further protection against negligent acts or incompetence.
• Using an agent passes some of the responsibility for compliance with leases, laws and codes of practice to the agent. BUT the directors of an RMC are responsible for setting policy and monitoring the work of the agent
The lease advisory service recommends that when looking to instruct a managing agent you draw up a schedule of the service you want from a prospective agent, seek recommendations from other Lessee’s from your block and others, invite possible agents for an informal meeting initially and finally invite potential agents to formally tender for the contract. I would certainly agree with their recommendations and many of Oakfield’s block management instructions have come from recommendations and informal meetings to discuss the services we can offer.
If I can pass on only one piece of advice from this information it would be to use a regulated managing agent, whether that be an agent who is a member of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Oakfield are members of ARMA and a very proud of this status particularly since the new more rigorous requirements that need to be met to be a member since the launch of ARMA-Q at the start of 2015.
If you are looking at appointing a new managing agent or would just like to have an informal chat with myself regarding the services Oakfield can offer please feel free to contact me at any time on 01424 854814.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield Estate Agents