Block Management FAQ's


Block management focuses on the maintenance of buildings with multiple residential units, like flats and apartments, and their communal spaces. A property manager works across all types of buildings and could include residential and commercial units. In effect, all block managers are property managers, but with a particular expertise on the challenges that shared buildings can bring.


A residential block management company oversees the day to day running of a building and/or estate. They will collect service charges, arrange insurance, pay contractors and generally oversee all communal aspects of the building or the estate for the benefit of the residents. Beyond this, they will provide experience and expertise in financial planning, routine maintenance and the setting of the service charge budget, as well as ensuring all safety and compliance laws are followed.


In the UK, block management is regulated alongside many other property professions by The Property Ombudsman. A good block manager will be knowledgeable and able to help you understand your rights and obligations and have a thorough understanding of Landlord and Tenant legislation. They will be professional, committed to best practices and comply with relevant standards. They will be transparent, able to provide full accounting details on request and be open about connections with service providers and any commissions.


Depending on your lease and building setup, it could be the freeholder (owner) of the building who manages it directly or it could be a 3rd party to the lease such as a residents management company which is often run by a board of volunteer owners who stand as directors. It could even be down to each owner to cooperate and work together as equal voices. No matter the setup, any party can choose to employ a managing agent to take-on the workload and provide professional oversight.


Typically, there is a freeholder who owns the structure and supporting communal spaces and then each individual unit will have its owner. Each of the unit owners and the building owner will have a Title Register, Title Plan and Lease. There is often a ‘3rd party to the lease’ which is the residents management company, which takes on many of the responsibilities of the freeholder in ensuring the lease is obeyed, insurance is in place, service charge is collected and maintenance undertaken.


Depending on the cause and position of the leak, this can vary. Typically, the landlord is responsible for the main pipes used in common by the building. Pipes inside of the flat and pipes that exclusively serve the flat are typically the responsibility of the leaseholder. There is no set model for this, so responsibilities and obligations can vary. It is important to have a clear understanding of your responsibilities under the lease and a good managing agent will be able to communicate this. If the building benefits from a comprehensive insurance policy then it may be possible to claim under the building insurance.


The freeholder is usually responsible for repairs to not just the roof, but all supporting structures and shared parts, like communal hallways, stairs and lifts. However, many leases will have terms included that allow the freeholder to recover these costs from residents through the service charge. Commonly, the freeholders responsibilities for maintenance and repair are divested to the residents management company, which gives the residents control over when work is carried out, who is used to complete said work and oversight on the final costs, but unfortunately, there is no getting away from the final bill.


A more complicated question than it may seem, as unfortunately there is no set model as to how excess payments are viewed. Some modern leases will detail explicitly how an excess is to be handled, but the majority of lease will be silent on the matter. Even the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) has fallen on both sides of the argument and found both for and against the excess being payable by the individual claiming. This is a contentious issue that highlights the benefit of a professional, impartial 3rd party managing agent who can advise all parties equally on the terms of the lease and ensure repairs are completed fully and without delay.


Depending on the lease, you may have a board of volunteer directors you can approach as a resident & owner to discuss you concerns and encourage them to look for a new managing agent. Should it come to it, you can stand as a director and directly take action to put forward your desired change. If the freeholder manages your building directly, you may have rights under the lease to request a new agent, but failing that you have rights under law to take control of the management of your home (known as the right to manage). Should you need to do this you should speak with a specialist solicitor. If you are a freeholder or director and looking for a new agent, simply give us a call – we can work with you to make any transition seamless.


You don’t, but you should! There are no requirements to employ managing agents, but the involvement of a trustworthy and professional agent can help you navigate a wide variety of challenges and potential pitfalls. From ever-changing legislation to contentious disputes between neighbours; the need for long term financial planning & accounting to thorough construction and building knowledge, the expertise required to effectively manage shared buildings can seem overwhelming.

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