A residential property managing agent is a specialist company that is engaged by a Freeholder, Landlord or Management Company, to undertake the Landlord’s responsibilities as detailed within the terms of your lease.
The property managing agent will be responsible for the Landlords obligations which typically include the repair and maintenance of the building, collecting of money including service charge and ground rent, ensure compliance in matters such as legal and health & safety, and insuring the building. Managing agents may offer slightly varying services in how they perform, however their duties will always reflect the Landlords lease obligations.
A managing agent is paid via the service charge in a category called the ‘management fee’. Based on best practice, the management fee is equated on a per unit basis however can also be equated on a flat fee, depending on what has been agreed with the Landlord as part of the management contract.
Who appoints the managing agent?
The ‘Landlord’, as has been referred to in this guide, can take different forms such as a Freeholder, a Resident Management Company or a Right to Manage Company. The lease terms will define who is responsible for ensuring the management duties are carried out and whether a managing agent may be engaged to undertake those duties. Should those duties be passed to a Resident Management Company for example, the Resident Management Company would then be in a position to formally engage a managing agent to undertake those duties, with the duties being agreed by way of a management contract.
What areas are a managing agent responsible for?
Under the terms of the lease the Landlord is typically responsible for the ‘communal areas’ which would include entrances, hallways, gardens and the main structure of the building itself. Whilst this is going to be dependant on the terms of your lease (and we would ask that you check your own lease for further guidance on this point), as a rule of thumb, we would suggest that any area that is used or specifically for the use of all leaseholders at the development, will be under the responsibility of the Landlord and therefore the managing agent.
Are managing agents regulated?
As of June 2021, there is no statutory regulation of residential managing agents in England. There are however independent regulators that managing agents can be members of as well as adhering to codes of practice by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), all which help ensure the industry remains professional in its work. ARMA (The Association of Residential Managing Agents) is one such regulatory body that Strangford Management is a member of, who introduced their consumer charter and professional standards requirements for managing agent which in turn raises the standards of all their members. Managing agents that are members of ARMA are also required to sign up to a government redress scheme, with Strangford Management being a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme.
How much does a managing agent cost?
Well, this will depend on the terms of the contract between the managing agent and the Landlord as services can vary and therefore the cost of those services can vary. You should be aware of any additional costs that some managing agents also include for certain services such as company secretarial, out of hours emergency management, attending meetings and so on. We undertook a survey of managing agent fees previously so click here to go through to that guide on how much a managing agent costs.
Do you have to use a managing agent?
A Landlord does not have to use a managing agent however there are benefits to using professional company such as most agents will use specialist software to undertake the daily/yearly task requirements as well as be continuously trained in the latest changes in the industry, ensuring clients receive the very best information possible. This may not always be available should your development be self-managed and therefore we would always encourage Landlords to seek advice from a managing agent such as ourselves, before embarking on self-management.
The best managing agents can not only lead to a more positive resident experience but also reduce the overall workload on the Directors of the Freehold or Management Company. Strangford Management Ltd offer a free 30minute consultancy for any Director of a Freehold Company, Resident Management Company or Right to Manage Company, to understand the gaps in your current service and where immediate improvements can be made.
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