Leasehold Management Has Become More Exhaustive Over the Last 10 Years


Managing Director of Block Management UK Ltd, David Collinson, describes how we've changed our provision of block management to clients over the years.


When I founded Block Management UK Ltd in 2003 the landscape of our client base was different to what it is today.

At the time, an apartment block that we were signed on to manage might typically consist of 75% owned by investors/landlords. The remainder would be leaseholders. With a high proportion of our clients being landlords (often absent), there could be a sense of 'them and us’ with residents of the property. It was a barrier to good working relationships and we would try to break that barrier down with leaseholder meetings and printed community newsletters.

Nowadays, it is more likely that the split is in favour of 60% owner-occupiers. Flats have become a more popular choice for those wishing to own their own property. With this shift comes more of a desire for a leaseholder to understand their lease. In the past, leaseholders might not have been able to place their hands on a copy of the lease or know their demised premises from their easements ('demised premises’ is the description of the physical extent of your flat, as well as any other areas, such as a basement and 'easements’ are the rights granted to a leaseholder under a lease.)

In addition, owner-occupiers take more pride in the common areas and show more interest in the running of the property. The expectations of our clients have risen and property management has become more exhaustive.

In response, we as the managing agents have raised our game. This has meant a significant change in the way we manage buildings and the way we interact with our clients. We find ways of accommodating this growth in interest in what we do. Recently we’ve invested heavily in new property management software that will see us increase efficiencies by up to 46%. We also maintain a high level of staff in relation to the industry as a whole. The ratio of property management staff (including accounting/admin) to properties is 1:11.

Whilst property management has become more exhaustive, it has lead to a higher level of quality, nice environments and better property values.

A well-run building feels different when you enter it. Not just because the common areas are neat and tidy but because the fabric of the building is well maintained and the working parts (lifts, security doors, lighting) do actually work. You’d miss it if it wasn’t there.

When I founded Block Management UK Ltd it was common to find property managing as a service that would be offered by either a firm of chartered surveyors or estate agents or letting agents. By not getting into selling properties or putting in a tenant, BMUK has been able to better represent stakeholders such as freeholders and leaseholders with more even handedness.
(12 April 2019 )