Handover News: executive housing site in Darlington continues North East interest in our services

Block Management UK Ltd have added to their portfolio of managed properties in the north east with a new agreement to manage 12 apartments within an executive housing development located near Darlington, County Durham.  

This site joins a range of properties we already manage in the region stretching from Hadston in Northumberland, through the communities of Ashington and Bedington down to Aycliffe.

Woodlands Court, Darlington was planned with an eye on conservation and restoration by Anderson Ellis Architecture Ltd, a local Darlington firm. Anderson Ellis have been recipients of the Hadrian Award which commends high quality design and functionality.

The development sits within parkland surrounding a Victorian mansion. In totalthere are eighteen apartments and seventeen large detached dwellings together with associated access ways and landscaping. The site contained many t..
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(12 April 2021 )

Hidden service charge issues don’t have to derail your block freehold purchase

Block Management UK's Business Development Manager, Fiona Ducasse, writes another interesting article, this time for property investors and asset managers on reviewing service charge implications across a property investment.

It is not unusual to see service charge apportionments become out of pace with an actual property, particularly when alterations have been made to that property.  

During my 17 years in the property management industry, I have frequently come across service charges that can be best described as questionable. These have often been through either inappropriate cost headings and service charge schedules and/or apportionment errors.

As an example of disproportionate charges, an apartment block of 12 residential units in leafy Hampstead, north London, springs to mind. I was asked to review this site by the freeholder after residents had queried the apportionments during handover.

The property appeared to be a straightforward resid..
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(08 April 2021 )

Companies House offers advice to new directors of RMCs


Planning to set up a residents' management company?

Companies House has launched a new online tool to increase awareness of the responsibilities that a new residents' management company director must assume. 
The online tool came about as Companies House receives complaints from residents living in shared buildings or properties such as flats. The complaints range from disputes between residents to the poor condition shared areas such as stairways.
Flat management companies are commonly set up by residents to manage communal areas of a shared property and the overall condition of the building. The residents of the property are usually the directors and shareholders of the company. However, there can be confusion among some directors and shareholders over who is responsible for what. For example, each company is required by law to file accounts with Companies House every year. 

If you are a flat management..
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(19 March 2021 )

Clear, relevant schedules are the key to purchaser-friendly leases

Housebuilders: Is your current managing agent supporting your sales objectives with advice in this key area? 

You’ve come all this way with the planning, securing, building and marketing of your latest property development. Let’s not create a lease that is an obstacle to buying.

It is still a reality that purchasers can be surprised to realize they will be expected to contribute towards service charges, especially when purchasing a house. Isn’t it the council’s job, they ask? 

In addition, if the service charges are coming in high, what happens when the purchaser comments on them? Those charges need skill in explaining the value for money that must be present in..
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(08 March 2021 )

Handover news: Beautiful Victorian conversion in the heart of Cambridgeshire to be taken on by Block Management UK Ltd

Block Management UK Ltd is delighted to announce our latest instruction. The Limes is a lovely, well-maintained development of over 30 units located near the village of Hemingford Grey, in the heart of Cambridgeshire. The development was formerly known as the St Ives Union workhouse, built in 1838.

In 2018, the workhouse featured in an episode of the BBC TV series Who Do You Think You Are?.  Paralympic athlete and Strictly Come Dancing star Jonnie Peacock, discovered that his 4x great grandmother, Louisa Voss, and her three children had spent several months in the institution in 1853-4.  

The development consists of 19 flats and 14 houses sitting within communal grounds with garages on site. The site joins our growing portfolio of Cambridgeshire properties that we manage on behalf of RMCs, landlords and property developers and is se..
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(23 February 2021 )

Block Management UK’s Finance Director looks forward to 2021 and rebuilding of the property management industry’s reputation

Paul Mather is Finance Director at Block Management UK Ltd. Over his thirteen-year tenure at the company, he has seen many changes including growth and achievement of industry accreditation but also a change in public opinion about the industry.  

Paul started with Block Management UK Ltd as an accounts assistant in 2008.  “I was one of a small team of under ten, managing about 1,500 units. The biggest change to the company has been our continued expansion; now being more than four times that size.”

Through dedication and commitment, Paul worked his way up through the company. In the subsequent years since, he was appointed Accounts Manager in 2010, Associate Director in 2013 before becoming Finance Director in September 2018.

Paul’s job has been the oversight of the day-to-day running of our client
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(16 February 2021 )

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. 
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(10 February 2021 )

Cast a management eye over a property portfolio before you buy

Block Management UK's new Business Development Manager, Fiona Ducasse, advises early involvement from your local property manager before investing in your latest property portfolio.

I have been called on by investors and institutional freeholders many times to review newly purchased property portfolios. Whilst I understand that some deals require decisiveness and speed to secure, sometimes a portfolio can be a mixed bag of opportunities and that this is only made obvious with a thorough review.

Are you choosing and using a Property Manager soon enough? I recall being asked to look at a block of units in Streatham. The property was a block of flats above a commercial unit (a bank), part of a larger freehold ..
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(01 February 2021 )

A Unique Reference Number for Your Property

Over the last few years, Proptech - the application of technology to the property industry - has been reported often in the context of building of brand new, 'smart’ buildings.

However, recently, a less dramatic but much more impactful Proptech movement has occurred that has implications for millions of people living across the country, including our clients. Property industry organisations and companies have recently signed a letter encouraging the government in the wholesale adoption of a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) for all properties. These organisations include the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) and the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) both of which we are members of. The UPRN, branded as a vehicle registration number for buildings, is a 12-digit number that would include houses, separate flats wit..
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(28 January 2021 )

Investing in homegrown talent gives our customers a better experience.

A note from our Managing Director, David Collinson;

A comprehensive, modern property management service goes beyond having the on-site presence of a property manager. Most new customers cite the PM as the key factor in judging a managing agent’s effectiveness. However, property management is a team effort and, as the industry develops, it is becoming increasingly so.

In running a growing property management firm, I must make sure that we strengthen our offer to customers across the full range of services that we supply.

Block Management UK Ltd recently announced that the youngest member of our accounts team – Tommy - has passed his Professional Diploma in Accounting Level 4 from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).  This success, plus his work experience, having been at BMUK for three years, means he is no..
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(25 January 2021 )
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