Frequently asked questions

Please find below the answers to frequently asked questions about residential block management:

What is a block management agent?

When flat owners share a building and/ or grounds they are often also jointly responsible for its management and upkeep. This is a multi-faceted and frequently time-consuming job which involves on-going commitment and continuity. Many lessees (or freeholders) choose to appoint a management agency to carry out this work, saving themselves time and any possible conflicts of interest.

What is a residents’ management company? 

Each leaseholder usually owns a share of the Residents’ Management Company (RMC), which is set up when the block is developed in order to look after common parts of buildings and grounds. The money to pay for this comes from your service charge, although additional funds may be requested to pay for larger projects such as a roof replacement. RMCs are run by directors, usually unpaid and appointed from the lessees themselves. RMCs may choose to appoint a professional block management agent to look after the building and grounds on their behalf.

Why should we take on a block management agent? 

For the reasons outlined above, plus management agents keep on top of the latest property legislation relating to fire safety, Health and Safety, accounting requirements etc and so can advise on how to avoid exposure to possible litigation. Letters Property Management endorses and complies with the Service Charge Residential Management Code of Practice published by RICS.

Who will be in charge?

You will. The flat owners/RMC appoint a managing agent to act in their best interests and to their specifications. We ensure open communication at all times, arrange regular meetings with lessees, operate a transparent financial service and we’re available by phone, email or in person and at our offices or on site.

Could we do it ourselves?

Yes. Lessees can and do choose to save money by managing their shared building and grounds themselves. This involves up-to-date knowledge of property law, insurance, fire, health and safety regulations, accounting and carrying out administrative paperwork. They must also ensure all lessees are treated fairly. It is a long-term commitment which can be disrupted if individual lessees leave the management company. Appointing a block management agent frees up time and gives lessees peace of mind in the knowledge that the day to day responsibilities are in safe hands.

How do you set your fees? 

Every block of flats or apartments is different so we meet the owners to discuss exactly how our service will benefit them and set our fees accordingly. We always strive to provide the best possible value for money but never cut corners in order to provide the cheapest quote. Our responsibility as a block management company is to protect your investment by ensuring it is well-maintained and effectively managed and our fees reflect that.

Where are you based? 

Our office is in Walmgate, in the centre of York, and all staff and trusted tradesmen live locally. We only take on block management responsibilities for companies in and around York, to ensure our team can visit your property and get to know it well and that tradesmen are always on hand. Our small, dedicated team is easy to reach and you will receive a prompt, personalised service from people you know.

What are my responsibilities as an owner? 

You are responsible for anything within your flat or apartment, including wiring and pipework and insurance. You must abide by the covenants set out in your lease, which may include obtaining permission for pets, avoiding noise nuisance and paying the communal service charge.

Why do I pay a service charge? 

Service charges allow the management company to provide communal services such as gardening, the cleaning of communal areas, building insurance, window cleaning, accountancy fees and/or block management agent fees.

What if people don’t pay the service charge?

As a block management company, we take responsibility for collecting service charges and any other contributions. We act on behalf of the RMC/lessees to recover any unpaid charges in a discreet and impartial manner. We do not have the authority to reduce individual charges but can offer information and advice to anyone experiencing payment difficulties.

What about ground rent? 

Ground rent is completely separate from the service charge. Leaseholders may be required to pay rent to the freeholder of the property, for the land on which the property is built and rights of access to any communal gardens and/or car parks.  The lease will specify how much rent you have to pay and when.

If you have outstanding questions, our experienced and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help. As a flexible local company, we can meet you day or evening, weekday or weekends to carry out a no-obligation valuation of your property. Contact us.

If I am not happy with your service, who do I speak to?

Just call the office; one of our senior management team is usually available or will respond promptly.  If we can’t resolve the issue then our Customer Complaints Procedure can be found here.