Dispelling Some Misconceptions About Residential Property Management

Property management - like all industries – has its fair share of misconceptions and myths around it. Here we address three such misconceptions with the intention of helping leaseholders, RMC directors and landlords understand the role of the managing agent. 

Property management companies receive remuneration from contractors.

The suggestion here is that disreputable contractors perform poor work and/or overcharge leaseholders/landlords for that work. As a managing agent, choosing overly costly contractors who also perform poor work is a quick way for us to get fired. 

Firstly, our vetting system for contractors dispels the idea that a poor firm can make it on to our books as a recommended supplier. 
Secondly, seeking competitive quotes from local contractors (should our vetted contractor/s be unavailable) means that all stakeholders (RMCs, leaseholders and managing agent) can clearly see the costs of works and can decide together who to appoint. 

It is in our interests as property managers to manage property for as long as possible. Contractors who fail to meet our standards must be replaced. Otherwise, we risk jeopardizing our working relationship with the site and increasing the chance of being replaced ourselves.

Property managers should be local so that they can be on-site all the time. 

When we complete a tender proposal for a new property, there is usually a mention of a site visit schedule that they are expecting. This is a common assumption from RMCs who ask us to complete a tender. It comes from the fact that many smaller managing agents – who are primarily lettings or estate agents - might be visiting a property more often to liaise with renters or show the property to a prospective buyer. 

Whatever the reason, restrictions placed on businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year have highlighted a fact of property management that had been true for several years: that much of the work of effective property management takes place off-site. 

If property managers are not on-site, they are not working.

This is the other side of the previous misconception. The concern being raised is; clients may not be sure sure what a property manager does when they are not actually on-site.

In fact, so much of our work is office-based, from accountancy to shopping for the best insurance rates to sourcing and managing contractors. Company secretarial duties, lease reviews, preparing budgets for next year, arranging for health and safety inspections and many other duties leave us little time for ad hoc site visits. 

In an emergency, it is not the property manager you want to turn up first but the local plumber we have sourced and who we have contacted on your behalf. Trust us, when we’re not on-site, we’re busy.

(10 February 2021 )