The work of a managing agent is to manage, arrange and communicate. We do this for groups of people who need to receive information about maintenance, upgrades, current spending, and future plans but who otherwise would be uncoordinated – they wouldn’t know what was going on, or what was expected of them.
Our role is varied and many-faceted and the challenge is to carry it out effectively and sensitively. We deal on a daily basis with:
- inter-personal politics and dissemination of information;
- customer service, helping those who come to us for advice understand the roles and responsibilities within communal living and how a financial year in property works;
- building pathology to deal with reactive maintenance, planned maintenance and cyclical works;
- law to gain a shared understanding of covenants and responsibilities which sometimes need to be enforced; and
- bookkeeping and accounting.
Luckily for us and our clients, while our core business is property, the human relationships, regulation, and compliance in what is a complex and highly legislated industry are all things that can be managed remotely. Not forever though. We very much need to be in touch with the buildings we manage and those who live in them. There is no substitute for seeing and feeling a problem, and in the short term photos and more conversations than we would normally have with clients and residents are painting pictures of what we need to see.
We have switched to video conferencing to ensure that Annual General Meetings can take place, and we have had over 6,000 customers opt-in to more by e-post.
Our main challenge is finding contractors with the capacity to attend our sites – and in some instances, availability of suitable protective equipment – and clients look to us to ensure that we have responsibly advised the supply chain.
During this pandemic, the need for strong communication is crucial, particularly as residents who are ‘staying home’ have more time for scrutiny of their home environment. The challenge of ‘managing and arranging’ has become increasingly complex with trades and supply chains hampered by ill, self-isolating or furloughed staff and many contractors not willing to enter people’s homes. There has also been confusion over which maintenance tasks should be considered, although the government has now published guidance on electrical and gas safety checks as well as lift inspections.
So, perhaps in these strange times, our services are needed more than ever.
Why not READ our Planet Rent Blog too: blog.planetrent.co