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Block Management FAQ

Why do we need a managing agent and what do they do?
Not all properties have managing agents but most do. The Managing Agent is responsible for ensuring that many essential things happen at your block: insuring the building, resolving any maintenance issues, health & safety, major works etc.

What type of properties do you manage & what areas do you cover?
We manage every type of development imaginable from historic listed conversions to brand new developments; the minimum size of buildings is 4 units. We concentrate on South West London, however we do manage properties outside of this region in London.

What is a freeholder?
The owner of the land that a property is built on.

What is a leaseholder?
A leaseholder essentially rents the property from the freeholder for a number of years, decades or centuries.

What is a management company?
This is different to a managing agent, a management company or RMC (Residential Management Company) is a company made up of people who own the flats that make up the block. Directors are usually elected from amongst the residents who employ a managing agent (such as Aspire).

What is a service charge?
A service charge is a fee payable by all owners of the flats that make up your whole block of flats.
All service charge payments that Aspire receive are paid into a designated client bank account with monies held in trust in accordance with the Client Money Regulations. An annual budget including expenditure cost estimates is prepared and agreed for each estate prior to the start of its financial year. The Service Charge required to fund this anticipated expenditure is calculated and an application for payment issued to each leaseholder along with forecast expenditure and supporting details.

What is ground rent?
Ground rent is the rent that all Leaseholders pay to the owner of the land. Terms for this payment will be set out clearly in your lease, normally annually or half yearly.

What are reserve funds?
A reserve fund is a fee payable by the owners of the flats to ensure there is sufficient money available for future scheduled major works, such as internal and external decoration.

How is the building insured?
It is better to have buildings insurance for the whole block of flats “a block policy” this insurance premium is then split between each flat. This way it ensures that every flat has buildings insurance, we recommend our leaseholders each obtain their own contents insurance for their respective flat.

Do you have a database to maintain property records?
Yes, through the use of our specialist property management software package, on our internal server as well as a paper back up for important documents. This includes pictures of all the work arranged invoices, and inspection pictures etc.

Do you carry out inspections?
Your property manager will inspect your property at least one to two times a year (depending on the building). If there are any maintenance issues we need to oversee, we will inspect more frequently.

What contractors do you use?
We work with a selection of local contractors, whom we have built a rapport with over many years; they offer competitive rates, are reliable, honest and trustworthy.
We are happy to use any contractors recommended by our clients if the contractors have the necessary certification and public liability insurances.

What is a Section 20 (S20)?
This notice tells you that your agent/landlord proposes works on a building that will cost you or any other tenant more than £250; or proposes to enter into an agreement for works or services which will last for more than 12 months and will cost you or any other tenant more than £100 in any 12 month accounting period. It is intended to protect leaseholders from paying unnecessarily large sums for work carried out to their building.

What happens if the leaseholder doesn’t pay?
It is the leaseholder’s obligation to pay the service charges and ground rent promptly, lack of payment/late payment does delay works being carried out as we work within budgets and funds available.
If services charges are not paid, the freeholder/agent can begin forfeiture proceedings. This can lead to the landlord repossessing the flat. However, under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, the right of the landlord will be restricted.

Is it easy to change Managing agents?
Yes! You would call us in the first instance for a quotation, once you are happy you can contact your current agent to give notice. On average, this process takes one to three months.
We will need the freeholder or the Director/Secretary of the management company to sign our terms of business/block management agreement.
There is a small upfront cost due to the initial extra time taken to audit the property and study all of the leases. The annual fee charged will vary from block to block dependent upon size, units and the level of management required. We take no commission from any suppliers or contractors however do charge a supervisory fee for major works.

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