If your resolutions for 2017 include finding a new (and better!) managing agent, Ian Hollins of property management specialists Clear Building Management reminds you what to look for.
The notion of New Year’s Resolutions can be a bit trite, particularly if, like us, you tend to have broken that ‘no wine on a weekday’ / ‘don’t take work home’ etc resolution by the second week of January. However, the start of a new year does rightly encourage most of us to have a think about our lives, what works well and what could be improved and, for flat dwellers, this will often include the service they receive from their managing agent. Many leaseholders will also have received their annual service charge demand over the festive period, further sharpening the mind.
Making the break though takes confidence, so, if your New Year wish list includes a new managing agent, what should you be looking for to help you ensure that 2017 will lead to a better property management service?
Here we set out elements of the Clear Building Management service level agreement to give you something against which to benchmark potential property management providers:
We acknowledge all NEW support requests made via our online portal or to our support centre email within 2 working hours. All other support requests are acknowledged by the end of the next working day. The Clear Building Management team assesses each support request and allocates them an “Importance” level. This ensures that the genuinely urgent and important support requests can be dealt with quickly and appropriately.
All requests are allocated a target completion date and next action date so residents can clearly see how we are dealing with the matter.
When we take over a block it is more often than not down to a breakdown in communications between the residents and the former managing agent. At Clear Building Management we are committed to keeping the lines of communication open and offer the following timescales:
- Phone messages – returned within 2 office hours, or at an agreed time/date.
- Emails – response by end of next working day from working day of receipt.
- Post / Faxes – response by end of 3 working days following working day of receipt.
- Pre-Sale Enquiry Pack (where all information available) – delivery within 5 working days
- Sub-Letting Consent Application – response within 5 working days
Key to successful block management is a network of reliable and effective suppliers. None of us are in business for the fun of it and we understand the importance of paying our contractors on time. Suppliers upload their invoices and supporting information to our payment-processing portal; we then guarantee to settle it by the end of the calendar month following the month of receipt.
Collection of service charge payments
Unpaid service charge demands can dent a resident management company’s vital cash flow. We commit to having no more than 5% of service charges being outstanding after 60 days, where no payment plan has been agreed nor recovery action commenced.
At Clear Building Management we aim to resolve all complaints within 24 hours of them being raised. Whilst complaints can be a source of a valuable feedback, we are pleased to be running at less than one complaint per annum per 100 units under management. Our commitment to keeping our customers happy was rewarded in August 2016 when we became the first independent managing agent to be given the ‘Customer Service Excellence Award’ by the Cabinet Office.
These are just some of the ways in which we help residents and leaseholders to measure our performance. As flat dwellers ourselves, we know all too well the effect on day to day life of a managing agent that doesn’t respond to calls, isn’t on top of maintenance matters or who simply doesn’t seem to care.
So, if you are a leaseholder at the end of your tether with your managing agent, make it your New Year’s Resolution to seek a new managing agent and escape poor service.
This article first appeared in Flat Living Magazine. Click here to view.