What is Block Management?

Block management, also known as leasehold or estate management, is the practice of managing multi-unit residential properties such as blocks of flats on behalf of their owners or landlords. It involves the day-to-day operations of the building, including maintenance, repairs, finances and administration and is usually carried out by a professional property management company or managing agent.

In this blog, you will learn everything that you need to know about block management and how it can help you manage your residential properties smoothly.

What is block management and why is it important?

Block management is primarily concerned with the effective management of communal areas within a building, such as entrance halls, stairways, lifts and outside spaces. This includes the maintenance and repair of these areas, ensuring they are kept clean and tidy, and taking measures to improve the safety and security of the building. The property management company will typically employ a team of skilled professionals who are responsible for carrying out these tasks.

From a landlord’s point of view, block management is important as it removes the burden of managing the complex needs and challenges associated with shared residential properties and ensures the efficient financial management of the block and compliance with all relevant health and safety guidelines. This can be especially beneficial for landlords who own multiple properties or live in a different location to their rental properties.

Tenants on the other hand will benefit from having a dedicated point of contact whom to communicate with which will ensure a faster response to any queries or issues. Most importantly though, it provides them with the peace of mind of living within a safe, secure and well-maintained building and having an attractive and pleasant place to live.

What is a leaseholder?

A leaseholder is someone who owns a property, however, unlike a freeholder, they do not own the land on which it is built. Under a leasehold contract, you would own the lease which allows you to live in the property but typically, a lease will run for a set period of time, be that years, decades or centuries and must be renewed accordingly. A leaseholder’s legal responsibilities will include payment of maintenance/service charge costs and ground rent.

What are service charges?

Usually paid annually or twice yearly by either the property owner or tenant, a service charge is a payment made to the property management company to cover the costs related to the upkeep of all communal areas within a shared building. This can include the maintenance and repair of such items as roofs, guttering, drains, foundations, window frames and lifts. It can also cover any management administration costs as well as the insurance on the building.

The amount of service charge payable will depend on a number of factors and can vary greatly depending on the location of the property, its size and the facilities offered. So for example, a modern apartment within a shared complex containing leisure facilities and landscaped gardens will have a much higher service charge than a flat within a small block with no facilities or outdoor garden area to maintain.

Types of services provided by block managers

Block managers provide a range of services which benefit both property owners and tenants and is crucial to the smooth running, management and maintenance of a property. The extent of the services required will differ depending on the size and complexity of the building, however, the key areas of focus will usually encompass:

Maintenance and repairs – the block manager will need to ensure that the building is maintained to a high standard and that all planned repairs are carried out in a timely manner whilst emergency repairs are responded to quickly and efficiently. Regular liaison with the residents plays a key role in ensuring that any problems are identified at an early stage and repaired accordingly.

Financial management – another essential aspect of block management is the financial management of the building. This includes budgeting, collecting service charges and paying bills on behalf of the landlord or property owner. The property management company will typically have an experienced finance team that handles these tasks and ensures that the building’s finances are kept in good order.

Dispute resolution – block management also involves dealing with any disputes or issues that arise within the building. This can include disputes between tenants, problems with noise or anti-social behaviour and complaints about the maintenance or repair of the building.

Site inspections – block managers are responsible for conducting frequent site visits to the property to meet with the residents and to check the buildings for any damage, potential repairs ahead of any major breakdowns and to discuss any safety concerns. Site reports and action plans are typically produced and circulated following the visit.

Safety and compliance – it is the role of the block manager to ensure that all building safety standards are being upheld and comply with the relevant health and safety and fire  regulations and guidelines including ARMA, RICS and The Golden Thread. Providing residents with a safe and secure place to live is crucial in not only providing a high level of service but avoiding any legal matters which could arise from the poor management and neglect of a property.

How MRI Software can transform and elevate your residential block management services

At MRI Software, we’re passionate about helping you leverage technology to drive greater operational efficiency and better customer and client experience. Specialist block management software is becoming more and more instrumental in providing managing agents with the competitive advantages required to set themselves apart and take their business to the next level.

With more than 8 million residential units now being managed globally using our solutions, contact us today to find out more about how our residential block management software could help your business grow.

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