Why switching to a professional property management agent is worth every penny

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick - Credit: Archant

An efficiently managed and well maintained block of flats holds its value, looks good and provides a safe and happy environment. Yet increasingly, individual owners and residents’ associations complain that their property management company is just not up to scratch.

If you are a director of a Residents’ Management Company (RMC), you will be familiar with the complexities of ensuring that your block remains in good working order. But what if the roof on your block needs repairing and one leaseholder hasn’t paid their service charge for eight years? What can you do? Clearly, the arrears should never have been allowed to build up, and certainly the cost of the roof should be coming from the reserves.

Yet every time you try to contact the managing agent, you get put through to someone different or no one calls you back. Poor communications, inefficient debt collection and a slow response to your needs may be some of your biggest bugbears.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case – a good, experienced property management company will ensure the smooth running and maintenance of your block.

So what should you look for? Your agent should be local – if you’re in St Albans and your agent is based in London, it is unlikely they can just ‘drop in’ to check if all is well. A local agent will be familiar with our local housing (Rumball Sedgwick has been based in St Albans for over 250 years, so we really know the vagaries and complexities of its housing!) ,

Additionally, a property manager should be familiar with different types of leases, plus all of your financial and legal responsibilities. An efficient agent will visit your property regularly, ensuring that timely preventative maintenance is carried out.

I recommend that you look for the following accreditations as must-haves: membership of the Association of Residential Managing Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and being affiliated to the Institute of Residential Property Management.

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As a chartered surveyor, I know that a good property manager is worth their weight in gold. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it is worth paying for expert, experienced service!

If you would like to know more or are interested in changing agents, please contact Harry Stratford BSc (Hons) MIRPM AssocRICS, our Senior Property Manager, on 01727 852 384 (St Albans) or 01923 200094 (Watford) or visit www.rumballsedgwick.co.uk