Rental properties take a lot of managing. It’s not just the buildings and finances. There are countless laws with which a landlord must comply even before the tenants move in. And if the property is a block, the complexity is multiplied manifold. Most landlords choose to appoint a managing agent, but where do you begin?
First of all, decide what you want your block managing agent to do.
Good managing agents can agree suitable rental figures for the block with you, take up references and vet tenants for suitability. But finding tenants is only the first step. Many landlords task the agent with managing the ongoing relationship with the tenants. The agent becomes their first point of contact, answers questions, liaises with the residents and tenants’ association, and deals with insurance claims.
Management agents can deal with both the day-to-day financials of wages, invoicing and rent collection as well as the periodic tasks of preparing budgets, drafting accounts and arranging insurance. It’s up to you how much you want to delegate.
3. Repairs and maintenance
Since agents have relationships with a wide range of repair and maintenance professionals, they deal with emergencies quickly and efficiently. They can also plan and implement longer term maintenance and repair programmes, ensuring a streamlined approach to maintaining the value of your block.
Managing agents keep up-to-date with the constantly changing legislation concerning rental properties, saving you the trouble of working out the implications of each new piece of legislation for your block. You can also agree a package whereby they take on the responsibility of ensuring that tenants comply with their leases, and of representing you should any county court, arbitration or tribunal hearings arise.
Running a block requires cleaners, gardeners, doormen and such like. Under employment law, all these employees must receive appropriate contracts and fair treatment. Again, this is a task that can be undertaken by a managing agent.
Find your agent
Seek recommendations, look out for qualifications and take up references. Apart from gathering recommendations from other landlords in the area, look out for managing agents with links to the Institute of Residential Property Management (RICS).
1.1 Be upfront about your block
Without adequate detail, potential agents cannot give you a fair and accurate tender for the job. Show them the tenancy agreements, leases and service charge arrangements. Discuss the block’s past and present problems with them. How they react will clue you as to whether these are people you can work with.
2.2 Ask plenty of questions
You’ll have numerous questions. Do you need to know whether you will have a dedicated single contact or whether you are being offered a team? Or how cover will be provided over holiday periods? Or how often will you receive reports? Or whether the agent receives commission from contractors or insurance companies? Brainstorm a list of questions before meeting the potential agent so that you don’t forget anything you planned to ask.
3.3 Fine tune the contract details
An experienced agent will take you through a draft contract, customising it for your particular needs. You should cover everything from who has the final say on the appointment of contractors to the arrangements should any legal proceedings with tenants occur.