If your managing agent isn’t doing their job properly, what steps can you take to rectify the situation?
Mnaaging AgentsJohn Peartree of the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations (FPRA) advises that there are a number of approaches to the problem.
Residents fall out with managing agents for a huge number of reasons: poor financial handling, not paying bills, not making repairs or carrying out maintenance fast enough and being hard to get in touch with are a few of the most common reasons for discontent.
In situations in which the building’s Residential Management Company employs the agent, there is, of course, the option to fire and replace them.
However, before this happens, it can be a good idea to open lines of communication, even if their poor communication is one of the reasons you’re unhappy with them.
Inform the agent that you are unhappy with aspects of their performance. State explicitly what you are unhappy with, what you want them to do about it, and set a deadline whereby you want to see the problems rectified.
Make sure you confirm all of this in writing. Then, if no improvements are evident, consider firing them.
Under most contracts, it is required that a notice period is given and this can often be six months. Where this is the case, it could be a good idea to give notice of dismissal alongside the request for improvements, with the deadline for evidence of this last stated as three months from the date of writing.
Then, if the improvement is not forthcoming, you are already half way through the notice period, and still have time to source a replacement.
In situations where the managing agent is employed by the freeholder, the situation is a little more complex. When problems arise with the agent, and complaining to them as discussed above doesn’t work, leaseholders should then move on and make their complaint to the freeholder.
In situations in which this has no result, the options are for the leaseholders are to apply for Right to Manage the building, whereby the tenants form an RMC and take over the management of the building; or, beyond this, enfranchisement, where they purchase the freehold of the building. If in any case the managing agent is an ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) member, a complaint can also be made to them.
But, as John Peartree points out, it is important to remember that, whatever the situation, once a committee has decided once and for all that the agent is failing in their duties, and improvements have not been made, then there is a duty of care to change agents.
In too many cases, human nature results in committees hanging on, hoping that the agent will improve as they dislike the thought of dismissing them. This is not responsible committee work.
If an agent is not performing, has had the poor aspects of their performance drawn to their attention, been fairly warned and not adequately improved, then fire them.
The Federation of Private Residents Associations Ltd,
59 Mile End Road, Colchester Essex CO4 5BU
Tel: 0871 200 3324 (normal national rates apply)
Fax: 01206 851616