What is Block Management?
Block management is the organisation of maintaining a block or an estate of living spaces, usually flats.
These usually come in the form of block management companies who organise a selection of contractors to take care of a wide range of shared spaces while making sure the building safety is up to standard. Management such as this is essential when it comes to organising and maintaining a block of flats, whether it comes from the management companies themselves or whether they are outsourced services. It is an essential part of multi-property or joint-ownership management and lettings.
What is serviced in block management?
The entirety of a residential block that aren’t residential flats can and should be covered by block management, taking the onus off of the residents themselves. Block management itself is normally included in a rental/ownership agreement.
Cleaning of communal areas
Hallways, corridors, lifts and anything else that separates the residential living spaces should be well-maintained. They should be cleaned regularly and repaired if need be.
Lighting, lifts, or anything that isn’t doing what it is meant to do should be fixed by block maintenance contractors/professionals.
Any shared or communal garden spaces should be properly maintained by block management to preserve the look and feel of the area while preventing any safety concerns caused by overgrown or uncared for nature within property grounds. Another example in this area is shared bin stalls which are used frequently and must be checked.
Exterior building maintenance
Windows are the main topic for this area, with window cleaning being an integral part of block maintenance. Damage to the outside of your shared property should also be noticed and dealt with accordingly.
Health and Safety
The building should be regularly checked for all safety equipment and procedures. Fire escapes and smoke alarms are a prime example of this, and making sure everything is in working order is essential in case of emergency.
How does it work?
As a tenant (leaseholder) you will have signed a contract to rent your flat. Your flat is within a residential block of flats that has a series of communal areas, indoors and outdoors, that are either part-owned by you or entirely by the owner of the block. Within your contract should be a section normally under “service charges” which would outline the services and the cost you would incur for the services to take place as part of block maintenance.
Block management (typically one block manager) communicates with contractors to ensure that these services are fulfilled and that the block is maintained. Sometimes you will find that there are specialist businesses which can fulfil all of these services which block owners may turn to. They should also be contactable for you as a leaseholder in case you have any queries or concerns regarding communal space.
Most of the services usually covered in block management are essential, but some could possibly be overlooked or debated as to how often they should be done. As previously stated, as part of a leaseholder agreement, these services should be stated, but you can enquire about changing/altering some of these if you are not happy with them in any way. If you feel as though they are coming in to clean too often and you are overpaying for these services as a leaseholder, it is worth asking the block manager if it is possible for this to be changed. It is the same if you are concerned in the other direction, feeling as if your windows aren’t being cleaned frequently enough or you are worried about the shared fire alarm.
However, this can be difficult, especially if you live in a block with lots of residents. Every resident will need to agree with you for your flat management company to consider a restructure of these services. A good block manager or management team will not only be good at communicating with contractors and service companies, but also the residents themselves to have a clear picture of what they want.