How is the management of your shared freehold block performing? Mary Anne Bowring of Ringley has set this simple quiz. Can you remember the last time your management company had a meeting? Do you get frustrated that block issues do not get addressed or resolved fairly? Then it may be time to review just how well your blocks management is performing by putting it to the test. 1 How often does your residents committee mee (a) never 3 (b) informally 2 (c) at least once a year to set priorities 1 2 Do you hold Annual General Meetings? (a) we didn't realise that until 2007 an AGM was a legal requirement 3 (b) our AGM's are sometimes late or informal but we usually hold one to present the accounts to the shareholders 2 (c) we hold an AGM every year and even though this is now not required will ensure accounts are still presented to the shareholders 1 3 Do you take and file minutes? (a) we have taken minutes, Flats who sold used to be very good at that 3 (b) we are unsure what past decisions have been made but could make a new decision if required 2 (c) we maintain company registers and I can put my hands on minutes of all Directors Meetings 1 4 How productive are meetings? (a) it's very hard to get anyone to turn up to a meeting 3 (b) generally diverge into wine & personal issues 2 (c) have some structure and collective input 1 5 How contactable is your managing agent? (a) They change so often I don't even know who to talk to 3 (b) Some of the time 2 (c) All of the time 1 6 Who carries out the workload of the Management Company? (a) we just stagger to get our house in order when a flat sells and needs a set of accounts 3 (b) falls upon 1 unpaid hero 2 (c) is shared fairly between the lessees 1 7 What percentage of flat owners are Directors? (a) I don't think there are any Directors, Companies House will probably strike the company off soon 3 (b) There is only 1 Director 2 (c) 50% of the flat owners are Directors 1 8 How many strategic decisions have you made this year? (a) Several 3 (b) 1-3 decisions 2 (c) Not sure we have done anything strategic 1 9 How many people are involved in making block decisions? (a) None, it always ends up being me 3 (b) I have to formulate the decisions, but Flat X usually supports me 2 (c) Our residents committee deliberates and formulates decisions 1 10 Do you think the decisions are fair? (a) everyone is in it for themselves 3 (b) there is usually a consensus and understanding that the lease sets the tone 2 (c) ideally if money were not an issue decision making should be delegated to an Agent or someone impartial 1 11 Do you have a share certificate? (a) are received when you trade on the stock market 3 (b) I had one once 2 (c) the Company Secretary has an audit trail of issues & seals 1 12 Have you read the lease for your property (a) never, surely that is a solicitors job 3 (b) perhaps once 2 (c) when I need to find what is allowed or what is whose responsibility 1 13 As the elected Directors, what is your job? (a) implement the residents wishes 3 (b) take the tough decisions necessary to run the block 2 (c) uphold the covenants set out in the lease 1 HOW DID YOU DO? If your answers were mostly (a): Your management company isn't performing as well as it could do. It might be advisable to get some professional help or employ a managing agent to help the block. Look for property management service that can offer the following: Legal paperwork dealt with Service charge accounts prepared and file An Online property manager No win, no fee litigation on service charge arrears Contractors for your block issues. A network of specialists for extras when you need them Mostly (b): Your management company appears to be on the right track but you may want to consider professional help with the following areas: -An Online property manager -No win, no fee litigation on service charge arrears -A network of specialists for extras when you need them Mostly (c): Your management company is in great shape; you are either working in a related profession or a good politician. Keep up the good work!
(Weekly, fortnightly or monthly)