BLOCK MANAGER SITE VISITS
Your development has a dedicated Block Manager, who is your point of contact via our Edgware office for all day-to-day management queries or issues. At Benjamin Stevens we pride ourselves on ensuring regular site visits are carried out and dependant on the size and needs of the development, in order to keep your Management Fee as competitive as possible, these would be at least quarterly for smaller conversion blocks through to 6-weekly for larger developments. This gives us a great opportunity to deliver our consistent high standard of service in the following ways:
- Checking the quality of the services provided by external contractors (cleaning, gardening, general maintenance, etc)
- Being visible on site for resident, Director, and contractor meetings, as required
- Carrying out real time inspections via our ‘TIM’ app, to pro-actively manage picking up issues where possible as they arise
SERVICE CHARGE BUDGETING & RESERVES
At Benjamin Stevens we take the financials of all our developments very seriously. The importance of sensible and correct Service Charge budgeting each year cannot be understated, as if the correct funds are collected from Lessees at the start of your development’s financial year then the day-to-day running should be smooth, with the placement of all necessary annual contracts, insurance premiums and any ad hoc works as required. We look to liaise with the Client during the last quarter of the current financial year to set the next 12 months budget, using known and expected costs, in order that a sensible budget is agreed in good time to issue the Service Charge demands in line with the Lease.
Within the annual budget we also strongly advise our Clients to save for the long-term future of the development by including sufficient reserve funds for redecorations, unforeseen large scale works, safety assessments and any replacement of gates, lifts, security equipment and entry systems that may become necessary. Where required, we are able to utilise our trusted supplier base to obtain capital expenditure plans that detail the correct level of reserves that should be collected to cover future works over the course of the next 5-20, as required by the Client.
We also go the extra mile to put in place procurement contracts and reduced rates, that can be passed directly to our developments, from simply contractor day rates through to health and safety assessment costs and lower standing charge/pence per unit costs for the communal electric supplies.
Our dedicated accounts team are on hand within our Edgware office to assist with all Service Charge payment and accounting queries. Aside from a Block Manager each development also has their own Client Accountant, to ensure consistency and development knowledge when you contact us.
Our Accounts team assist with the initial billing each year of the Service Charge budget and keep a close eye on any outstanding payments or debtors to assist our Credit Controller in ensuring as best as possible there are no shortfall of funds which may affect the day to day running of your development.
We look to provide our Clients with quarterly reports detailing both debtors and the financial position against the budgeted figures so you can be confident we are acting in your development’s best interests at all times. At year end the Block Manager and Accountant will review the expenditure together to ensure the funds are present and correct before any in house or external accountant provides the draft Service Charge accounts for review by the Client. We aim to complete your year-end accounts within 4 months of your financial year end, to complete the accounts in good time and avoid any possible issue of a Section 20b Notice (which would need to be issued 6 months after the year end should the accounts not be complete).
RESIDENT MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (RMCs)
The duties that RMCs have towards Leaseholders are set out in the Leases and normally take two forms - Either the RMC is a party to the Leases, with its covenants set out expressly, or the RMC will be directly responsible for performing the Landlord’s covenants.
At Benjamin Stevens we deal predominantly with developments that have a Resident Management Company, as although they have the liability to carry out the duties an RMC will require a good Agent to execute these duties and provide their experience and knowledge from day-to-day maintenance through to legislation and law.
Contractual duties (such as maintenance, placing insurances and Service Charge accounting) are combined with statutory duties (including ensuring that Service Charges are fair and reasonable, and consulting with Lessees on major work projects under Section 20 of The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985), which is why it is essential RMCs either have express knowledge in all areas of block management or employ an Agent to do so on their behalf.
For more information, please see our main Block Management page – ‘Why have a Managing Agent?’.
At Benjamin Stevens we understand how important it is to ensure each development is fully compliant from a health and safety aspect. As such we have procurement deals in place with our trusted contractors to offer reduced rates as and when your fire risk and general risk assessments become necessary. These assessments are combined by our contractors to save further costs to your development.
For older buildings (built before the year 2000 when building regulations changed) we also arrange the necessary asbestos checks, to ensure any ACMs (asbestos containing materials) are located and kept safe in line with legislation for the safety of all residents, visitors, and our contractors.
Where the electrics are concerned, we also have in place procurement prices for our contractors to carry out the 5 year electrical tests in the form of an EICR (electric installations condition report) as they become necessary. Subsequently the reports and any issues requiring attention are forwarded to Benjamin Stevens Block Management for our files and for immediate consultation with the Client to rectify.
SECTION 20 MAJOR WORKS
Qualifying works under Section 20 of The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 are for repair, redecorations, or any major works where any one Leaseholder (based on the Service Charge percentages they pay) would be required to contribute over £250. At Benjamin Stevens our Block Management staff have a wealth of experience in dealing with the ‘Section 20 process’ from start to finish, in the form of all Notices to Lessees for the intention to carry out such works, obtaining sealed tenders and notifying the Client and all Lessees of such quotes via the 2nd Consultation Notice, through to the instruction of works, project management and completion snagging to ensure all works are satisfactory in order to release final payment to the contractors.
The Section 20 legislation must be followed to ensure the funds to cover the applicable works can be fully collected. As this is aside to the day-to-day management of your development this does carry an extra fee, which is standard across Block Management, in order to carry out all the duties and services which must be followed under this law.
Should you require any further information about the legal process please do contact us via our Edgware office. We are also able to provide this service on a consultancy basis, should you be a development who is currently self-managing. Please do get in touch should you need any no-obligation advice before proceeding with any project, or to discuss or procedures or fees.
Where additional Company Secretarial services are required by a Resident Management Company, we have a wealth of experience to assist with all duties that may be required during the course of the financial year. These would include, but are not limited to, the updating of Company and Director details at Companies House, holding Company files and Accounts as required and the issue of Notices, the receipt of Proxies, attendance at and subsequent distribution of minutes for the Annual General Meeting.
Likewise, with our Management Fees and services, we like to bespoke your needs to the duties and subsequent fee involved. Should you require either partial or full Company Secretarial services please do contact us via our Edgware office where we would be pleased to discuss the various services in this area that we can provide.
Should you wish to discuss affording us the pleasure of managing your development, please do get in touch via our Block Management team. Our Managing Director and Portfolio Manager would be happy to speak directly with you, either in person or via video call, to discuss the needs of your development.
We understand that not every development is the same, and require different services, and that is why we believe we are different to other Managing Agents in spending the time to bespoke the service to your needs, whilst ensuring the covenants of your Lease are met. Example management agreements, budgets and price lists can also be drafted to show you how we approach the annual cycle of block management, from the initial budget through to the eventual year end accounts (Our KPI on accounts is to be produced within 4 months of year end, 2 months earlier than Section 20b legislation).