Block management in Surrey

Jennings and Barrett - Block management in Surrey

Residential estates in Surrey are typically located in small towns and the suburbs. They are low rise properties set within gardens. Directors are usually owner occupiers and may have been serving as members of the board for a number of years. Keeping buildings maintained whilst managing the budget can be a key concern, especially as major works are likely to feature for older building stock.

Having a professional managing agent means that the service charge budget can be set to properly meet the cost of maintaining the buildings and grounds. Jennings and Barrett will always recommend that, where the lease allows, money is also collected for a “reserve fund” so that cyclical works like external decoration, or more major works like roof replacements, can be carried out when these are required.

Comprehensive support for your property

Residents’ Management Companies (RMCs) in Surrey will be expected to include provisions within their service charge for quality gardening contractors, as this can be a key feature of high standard developments. Estates in Surrey may establish a special gardening committee to look after their grounds and this can include forming working parties of residents to take on seasonal jobs like planting Spring bulbs or weeding. This has the benefit of building community spirit and reducing costs. Many of these events finish with a BBQ for all participants. When considering how you should show your gardens to their best, it is useful to have a managing agent like Jennings and Barrett. They will ensure that the RMC is complying with relevant health and safety legislation, the terms of the specific leases, and appropriate employment law. They can also recommend great gardening contractors and even help publicise events to all leaseholders.

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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 Surrey and the surrounding areas.

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As well as suburban and town environments, Surrey also includes places like Croydon, which has recently acquired city status. Developments here are more likely to be high rise – think of 3 Civic Plaza at nearly 160 metres high. They can also be converted properties or mixed developments that include commercial space. For the Directors of these properties there are considerable fire, health, and safety responsibilities to manage. As a professional managing agent, Jennings and Barrett will be able to ensure the RMC is complying with the Building Safety Act and can help to register relevant buildings with the Building Safety Regulator.

Leaseholders of city centre apartments are more likely to be landlords and, therefore, breach of lease issues can be a particular challenge. These may be caused by tenants who do not understand the lease terms or landlords who flout the rules regarding short term (Airbnb type) lets. Jennings and Barrett has been very successful in stopping these breaches and will ensure Directors get the right support, including notifications of when to take legal advice.

What makes us the right choice for block management?

Jennings and Barrett has experience in all aspects of block and estate management for developments located in Surrey, whether they are located within the leafy suburbs of Reigate or amidst the bustle of East Croydon. We have the experience to deal with complex estates and understand the challenges associated with looking after older developments.

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Our approach in action

The Directors of the Residents’ Management Company (RMC) responsible for this development of 46 units in South Croydon wanted a managing agent who was able to ensure they were meeting their lease obligations and engaged the board with the decision making.

As a new board, the Directors believed that they had been overlooked in the appointment of contractors. Wanting a more transparent and cooperative relationship with their agent, they had interviewed several local companies before appointing Jennings and Barrett. The handover with the outgoing agent was particularly fraught and demonstrates why any RMC board should confirm in writing how they may bring their management contract to an end.

As a well-resourced agent with excellent back office systems in place, Jennings and Barrett were able to take over in this crisis with no notice period, ensuring that leaseholders saw an immediate improvement in service. We then began resolving the longer-term frustrations of the Directors and all lessees. These were the result of poor budgeting, poor quality work by contractors, and a lack of general maintenance.

New specifications for gardening and cleaning were drawn up so that contracts could be competitively retendered and leaseholders in arrears were reminded of their obligations to pay service charges. The appointment of Jennings and Barrett meant that Directors were back in control of the development and had the support to see their instructions properly carried out.

What the client said

“It has been transformative for those living here”.

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

Have a question about the management of your property in Surrey? Give us a call on 0203 598 9665, or email enquiries@jenningsandbarrett.co.uk to speak to a member of our expert team.