For those involved with taking on new property-management jobs, it can be a long-winded process of taking over things. After all, there’s an array of issues and information to become familiar with, rather than just doing a quick letting or sales deal.
Therefore as you embark on this journey it’s important to know just what you need to get going with. We’ve therefore summarized 7 key pieces of information that you need to get the ball rolling, with further detail and issues emerging later down the line.
This is bread-and-butter stuff for a property managing agent who is taking on a new job direct from a client or through a former managing agent, but of course an owner or management company can be involved with this themselves.
This might be part-and-parcel of a new purchase, or simply change in management circumstances.
Therefore, here are some key pieces of information you need to request right off the bat, no matter what situation you’re in. They’re also still applicable for all sizes and types of properties, whether small-scale residential flat, or large commercial schemes.
1. Tenant Details
It’s obvious, but often missed. Add as much information as possible, including more informal contact details like email addresses and telephone numbers as well as formal addresses and points of contact.
Some may be based off-site, so any practical occupier details would also be helpful.
Regarding the official names on leases, make sure these are all correct, with any copy leases and documentation.
In addition, there are two other types of tenant information to focus upon, the first is any arrears and general accounts queries. This will help detail any problems straight away, and any practical issues like agreed monthly rent or other payments that need to be arranged as soon as possible.
Secondly, any general correspondence regarding each tenant, ideally everything but at least any problems, disputes, and sales/transfer details.
2. Service Charge Details
For those with communal areas and service charges, there is a whole raft of information needed – even if without a formal charge, check that there have been no ad-hoc charges as well.
Regarding the main service charge, in addition to existing budgets and former completed accounts, you need to look at the current and future situations. So consider current funds available, and when these can be paid over all together or an initial float for the new agent to begin paying suppliers (and forwarding the bank details of the new agent if this will be a separate account).
Also, for the current service charge year you’ll need an agreement for the final accounting information to be handed over, including income and expenditure data and any final cash reconciliation. Although these tend to happen after the start date, up to a few months, you need agreement to this right at the outset.
3. Client Details
It may sound obvious, and you hopefully already have a new management agreement signed and new-client checks completed, however this is for more detailed information from the current property manager.
This can include unique accounting details such as VAT registration details and even bank details and procedures.
When dealing with entities like management companies, access details to companies house is required, and any ancillary company-issues such as statutory books, shareholding and directorship details.
Sometimes even the client’s registered address may need changing from the former agent or accountant’s own business address.
4. Supplier Details
These are basically any contractors and other bodies you’re involved with instructing and paying, particularly with service-charge properties.
Bog-standard information includes the actual list of these including names, contact details, and the basis and contracts or agreements for them continuing at the property.
Linked with accounting information, you may need to flesh out what invoices are due and whether the old or new agent is paying these and the timing of them. Usually the old agent will need to formally write to all these suppliers saying there is a new agent to send invoices and details to, particularly important for utility companies who won’t accept any communication from a new owner direct.
Also, ask if there have been any disputes or unpaid invoices that you need to get clarified.
5. Compliance Details
This covers a wide range of issues, often more property-condition focused such as Health & Safety and Fire Risk Assessments. Not only get hold of the actual documents, but also get confirmation on whether any action-points have been completed.
Other examples include electrical fixed-wire tests and certification, asbestos surveys, and documentation regarding specific services such as lifts and water supplies.
6. Documentation Details
Linked to the compliance information, make sure all other kinds of documentation are available, if not from the current managing agent, then see if they know where they are held, for example solicitors or the owners direct.
This may include building surveys and reports, and on the legal side more title ownerships and lease copies. Also, any linked correspondence regarding these, such as sales and lettings currently under way and former correspondence regarding the above.
7. Practical Property Details
On a final note, any practical property issues are of course essential, particularly regarding access such as keys, access codes, and security procedures.
These might also be other head-knowledge that is important to establish, whether car parking arrangements, or problem repairs being needed.
Getting the Info, Fast
As you embark on your new property management role, go through these above factors with the current person or firm managing the property to begin collating important information. The earlier and clearer the better, with agreed time frames and deadlines to then produce and go into more detail.
If you’re a managing agent this is a helpful reminder to go through alongside any generic list you may have, and help see the reasoning behind this all.
Or if you’re a landlord or managing company direct this can help steer both yourself but also any property manager you’re employing to make sure they’re on the ball going forward.
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