Feature: Common Challenges and Disputes
Top 5 Challenges Faced by Block Managers
Written by the team at Block in a Box
It’s well known that working in the property industry has its challenges, and no more so than for the property managers themselves.
Whether you’re part of an external management company or if you’ve set up as an RMC, you’re likely to have faced some or all of the issues below. Here’s our round up of the most common issues facing property managers in 2022:
Recruiting & Retaining the Right Staff
Effective property management demands a certain skillset. Staff need to balance many competing priorities and to switch hats faster that you can say ‘flash flood’! At any one time, PMs need to be customer service reps, mediators, administrators, accountants, complaint handlers and organisational whizzes- all while keeping on top of industry changes and current regulations. Finding a team of people that can fulfil that many requirements, and then keeping them, is a tough task- especially if you’re forming an RMC of resident volunteers. We wrote an article for last month’s magazine about the need for genuine work-life balance for property managers which goes into some detail about the day-to-day challenges faced by management staff- it might be worth a read for a bit more insight into the sort of people you need on your management team.
Emergency Maintenance and Out of Hours Services
When you think of property management, this is likely one of the first things that springs to mind. PMs handle anything from scheduled large-scale works to emergency repairs and general upkeep. Planned maintenance is obviously slightly easier on the stress levels as you know it’s coming, budgets are set aside and the right processes can be followed throughout. Emergency works, however, are a different kettle of fish. Most will have a treasured list of trusted suppliers to turn to, some may even have an out of hours service in place to handle midnight water leaks, but for many, the buck stops with them, and their phone is on loud day and night. We wrote an article for November’s Flat Living about the importance of out of hours support (which also forms part of our advice for supporting a work-life balance for property managers) and it really should be considered by any and all management companies to avoid staff burn out and unnecessary stress for residents who run into issues outside of the 9-5.
Cashflow, Budgeting & Accounts
This is the bane of a property manager’s life.
Keeping cashflow moving and budgets on track, as well as handling year-end tax returns can be a heavy burden- especially on RMC directors who may have absolutely no background in accounts. Residents have faced hikes in service charges over the last year due to the pandemic and the cladding crises squeezing management company budgets and forcing up the cost of insurance.
This has led to an increase in arrears, and without these scheduled cash injections, property management can come to a standstill.
Handling Resident Complaints
Residents can find a reason to complain about anything and everything it seems. Some may write full formal emails about seemingly tiny issues while others may really have something to complain about- both must be handled sensitively and in line with a PM’s duties and the lease, which can take up a huge amount of time and energy for all involved. Complaints that aren’t handled in the correct manner or that don’t reach a suitable conclusion can escalate into personal spats, withheld service charges and even legal action in some cases. Even more reason to make sure you’re hiring the right team for the job!
The cladding crisis still looms large over the industry as we head into 2022, and handling the distress caused to residents as well as the financial impact of any necessary works will be a tough ask for busy property managers. While funding may make its way to some of those who need it, we’re sure that shortfalls will become clear.
As the fight for support continues for those living in blocks of 18 meters or below or in buildings that use a different cladding material to Grenfell, this chapter is far from closed.
Block in a Box is here to support you through all the challenges you may face as an RMC director. We can help with anything from RMC Director Training to out of hours support and service charge arrears. Head to our website or give our friendly team a call today: 0333 015 4145.
Block in a Box was been created to assist self-managed Residents’ Management Companies, Right to Manage Companies and Residents’ Associations, their blocks of flats and the leaseholders that live in them by providing a mix-and-match toolbox supplying all the services you need. We designed it with a steering committee of directors and association members to provide something that would truly help.