The underlying trend of Government policy with regard to private Landlords is to move away from the small operator with perhaps one or two properties towards larger organisations such as limited companies.
We hold no opinion from a political perspective, but we can see, that with long term renting likely to become more and more common there are real advantages from more organised Landlord structures.
As always what we are about to say are generalisations and of course do not apply across the board.
In our career in property management we have seen all too often a reluctance of small landlords to spend money on their properties. A quick lick of paint is considered adequate maintenance. If that is the limit of what they believe adequate for their own property imagine the reluctance to invest in communal aspects of the property.
The sudden knowledge of roof constructions, health and safety, you mention it, they will justify why money should NOT be spent.
Our recommendation is that every property should have a long term maintenance programme, with key jobs planned four or five years ahead. This ensures tasks do not get forgotten about and finances can be planned accordingly.
The reluctant spender will dismiss this….we’ll just draw down money as we need. The problem is jobs just get endlessly deferred, so important work does not get done.
Health and safety is increasingly important, but the reluctant spender will always be dismissive and use the ‘health and safety is nonsense argument’ so popular in this country to swing other flat owners behind them. This is indeed one of the biggest challenges we face. Good maintenance and property management is all about preventative actions….avoiding things from happening in the first place. And because they are not staring you in the face they are things that can be deferred for just that bit longer.
If you are thinking of investing in a leasehold property, take a good look outside the immediate property. Find out how the Management Company is set up and whether they have a maintenance plan and reserve fund.Your solicitor will have requested a sales pack, but these do not always tell the full story. If there is a managing agent, have a chat with them. Most will give you a pretty good steer on how the property is maintained.
If you are already resident it is equally worth asking the same questions. If you are not comfortable with what you hear, consider becoming a director of the management company, and push for the appointment of a managing agent, able to manage the property in a structured way.
Every PM Property building in its portfolio gets its dedicated forward work plan, aligned to requirements of the lease and where necessary an inspection from an independent surveyor.