Block management in London

Jennings and Barrett - Block management in London

Whilst all leases differ, London developments are often larger and more complex. This may mean leases with multiple budgets and schedules for service charge contributions, mixed developments of residential and commercial properties, and buildings with shared heating systems and fire safety plant. A managing agent with excellent in-house processes and systems will have the expertise to arrange local, London-based maintenance contractors and effectively manage the required maintenance plans and records. Moreover, as concierge and leisure facilities are frequent features of London developments, an experienced managing agent will be able to build a good relationship with the on-site team to ensure that they can provide the best possible support.

Comprehensive support for your property

Our team have the expertise to provide the professional advice and support that you require. In other parts of the UK, Directors tend to live in their building whereas, in London, Directors can be located throughout the globe. This more diverse board of Directors can bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their management of residential leasehold. Arranging meetings can be challenging due to the multiple time zones involved, but we can make this easier with the range of virtual meeting tools that are now available. Jennings and Barrett has had some memorable meetings as a result, including one where Directors joined from Oxford, Germany, France, and a boat in the Mediterranean!

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Speak to block management professionals

Call 0203 598 9665, email enquiries@jenningsandbarrett.co.uk, or complete our contact form to discuss your needs with a member of our team. We have the expertise to manage blocks throughout London and the surrounding areas.

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London buildings crowd together, abut, overhang, and sometimes even intertwine. The proximity of these other urban buildings has an impact on the management of London estates. This is often seen in maintenance works, as boundary roads may need to be closed for access, making the entire process more complex. Jennings and Barrett are used to managing these sorts of challenges. For example, we navigated the technical and bureaucratic challenges involved in a major works programme at one of our blocks where scaffolding had to be erected into the River Thames. We have also accommodated unique requirements, such as producing a fire evacuation plan for a neighbouring office where the staff evacuated through the communal space of the block that we managed.

What makes us the right choice for block management?

London flat living creates distinct communities like the converted wharfs and warehouses of Shad Thames and Butlers Wharf. These beautiful heritage buildings often have listed building status and any works carried out must be completed with care by specialists who know how to carry out repairs to heritage buildings. Jennings and Barrett has experience to understand and navigate these challenges, delivering the right result for the Directors we work with.

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Our approach in action

We took over management of this block of 28 units in prime central London in June 2021. The Residents’ Management Company shared some car parking facilities with nearby commercial units. The previous managing agent had failed to locate the owners or demand payment, and £25,000 was owed.

There were also issues with overpayment for electricity and the long-standing failure to carry out repairs. Jennings and Barrett engaged the Directors and local solicitors to locate those who owed the RMC money and serve the appropriate notices. This was successful, recouping the money that was owed and improving the relationship with these other parties who shared the facilities.

Over a number of months, Jennings and Barrett were able to resolve issues at the block, foster relationships with the Directors, concierge, and caretaking staff, and gain an understanding of the building’s unique requirements. With a block manager acting as the single point of contact for Directors, the process has been streamlined and any required actions can now be carried out promptly.

How do you ensure that the needs and concerns of leaseholders are addressed in a timely and satisfactory manner, particularly in relation to maintenance and repairs?

Leaseholders have multiple avenues to report maintenance issues promptly and conveniently. They can use the user-friendly online portal or opt for the swift communication offered by email. During office hours, a simple phone call to our office will also suffice. With a network of over 600 reputable contractors, we have the ability to handpick the most suitable professionals to address the repair needs efficiently, even in the absence of a client-nominated contractor.

How do you ensure that leaseholders can access information and raise concerns?

With our user-friendly online portal, leaseholders enjoy seamless access to their service charge account, allowing them to swiftly raise queries, submit repair requests, and access essential documents like insurance information.

How often do you conduct inspections of the block, and how are issues identified and addressed?

As seasoned professionals in the field of property management, we understand the unique nature of every property under our care. We acknowledge that the necessity for on-site attendance varies depending on specific circumstances. Our primary objective is to meet and exceed client expectations by diligently ensuring that the appropriate level of service is delivered.

How do you ensure that leaseholders are compliant with relevant laws and regulations, particularly those relating to health and safety?

Our expertise, honed through industry-leading training, enables us to offer targeted support based on your unique requirements. With a vigilant eye on all developments in your portfolio, we swiftly detect and take action on any issues that arise. Rigorous inspections are a routine part of our process, accompanied by the thorough sharing of health, safety, and fire risk assessments with Directors. This empowers informed decision-making and proactive measures to address any remedial work needs promptly.

How do you manage service charge budgets, and what measures do you take to keep costs under control while maintaining the quality of service provision?

The involvement of the Directors will guide the Property Manager in formulating the budget. We remain fully aware that the budget belongs to you, and our role revolves around advising you on the most effective ways to fulfil the financial responsibilities of the company. To effectively manage costs, we implement the following strategies:

  • Establishing the budget by considering the previous year’s expenses.
  • Offering accurate estimates for upcoming projects.
  • Consulting industry experts to account for potential increases in key expenditure areas.
  • Conducting regular market evaluations based on clear specifications.

How do you stay up-to-date with industry developments and best practices in residential property management? What training or professional development opportunities do you provide for your staff?

We recognise the importance of staying ahead in a rapidly evolving industry. To achieve this, we invest in regular industry training, in-house training, and mentoring opportunities as well as supporting studies for professional qualifications. By proactively staying informed about the latest advancements, our team remains well-prepared to adapt and implement necessary changes. Collaboration is key to our success, as we foster an environment where team members share best practices and learn from one another. We mandate a minimum of 20 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for each team member annually.

What is your approach to diversity and inclusion in your workforce and management practices, and how do you ensure that all residents are treated fairly and respectfully?

Our commitment to Equality, Inclusion, and Diversity is ingrained through a comprehensive policy that governs our operations. Our team undergoes specialised training to effectively recognise and cater to the requirements of vulnerable customers. Moreover, we foster a culture of constructive feedback among all staff members who engage directly with clients, leaseholders, and residents. This encourages an environment of continuous improvement as we strive to deliver superior services and exceed expectations.

What insurance coverage and liability policies do you have in place, and how do you ensure that all contractors and service providers you work with are properly insured and vetted?

We have implemented a robust insurance framework encompassing Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, Fidelity Insurance, and Client Money Protection policies. Our management software enables us to efficiently verify current insurance coverage is in place. These contractors have been thoroughly evaluated to prove their competence. Additionally, our team’s seamless internal communication channels facilitate the swift detection and resolution of any challenges that may arise.

What can be done if noise from a neighbour is causing a persistent disturbance?

We fully understand the frustration associated with living in such circumstances. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the necessary support to help resolve the issue. The rules regarding noise and their enforcement can be found in your lease agreement. We recommend initiating a respectful discussion with your neighbour as an initial step, as they may be unaware of the impact their actions are having. If this approach proves unsuccessful, we can reach out to the leaseholder and remind them of their obligations as stated in the lease. Please keep in mind that while Jennings and Barrett cannot directly address ‘flat to flat’ matters or monitor your neighbour’s behaviour within their own home, we are committed to assisting you. If the noise is deemed a statutory nuisance, your local authority may be able to provide further assistance.

What are the regulations regarding higher risk buildings?

In line with the implementation of the Building Safety Act 2023, the Higher Risk Buildings Regulations took effect in March 2023. These regulations require the registration of residential high-rise buildings on a designated register. High-rise buildings, defined as those with a height of at least 18 meters or at least 7 storeys, must comply with this registration requirement. Failure to register a high-rise building properly will constitute an offense, with accountability resting on the Principal Accountable Person (PAP). To ensure adherence, the newly formed Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the register and conducting compliance checks. The PAP must promptly inform the BSR of any relevant changes within a 28-day period.

Tell us your block management needs

To discuss your property management need, reach out to our dedicated team of experts. You can contact us by calling 0203 598 9665 or you can simply send an email to enquiries@jenningsandbarrett.co.uk. We’re here to provide prompt assistance and address any questions you may have.