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Block Management – courses in leasehold management

publication date: Oct 17, 2007
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author/source: Shula Rich/Block Management Courses/October 2007
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Shula Rich Block ManagementNAEA/ARLA courses take a new approach to Block Management – one delegate last year said: ‘If I don’t have a 1000 blocks to manage in five years time I’ll consider myself a failure.’ As a leaseholder, Chairman of the Board of Directors and consultant for many years I believe that the route to successes in Block Management is in acquiring understanding. Good business sense will gain the business, good understanding will keep it.

For this reason NAEA Block Management Courses are limited to twenty delegates. Individual queries can be explored, and delegates themselves can be confident that their issues have been dealt with. Errors in block management in particular can have far-reaching consequences. Failure to follow procedures – of which you may not even be aware - can result in heavy expenses to agents and employers, and contractual and legal issues.

In fact Block Management is seen as so fraught with difficulty that one delegate whom I shall never forget, said, when I asked – ‘Why have you come, and what do you want in particular from the course?’- said he had come because he had, unfortunately, been landed with a block management job, but in general, he said ‘Block Management? don’t touch it with a barge pole’ I understand and sympathise. I hope he has changed his mind now – as he has attended several courses.

However many letting agents still believe this, leaving those who have ‘cracked it’ to make an excellent living in a worthwhile and enjoyable way. Why the reputation?

1 Block management can expand to fill the time available with endless queries from long term leaseholders, who unlike assured shorthold tenants, do not ‘go away’.

2 Block management is risky. You can’t know what you don’t know and the frequent minor changes in the law, drip fed by the Government, can affect day to day procedures, which can be legal in September, and illegal in October. New financial regulations for service charge bills are a case in point.

3 Block management can poorly rewarded for the length of skilled time it consumes.

The NAEA Block Management Courses are presented as a result of the author’s twenty years experience in all aspects of leasehold and freehold management. They are specifically designed to turn an occupation which can be become an emotional and financial drain, into a rewarding business with continuing returns. Rewarding to you because your services are properly costed and ongoing for you, because you are actually providing a service which leaseholders appreciate rather than get them joining together to remove you and try to do it themselves.

The Courses Introduction to Block Management deals with the ideas behind the procedures. Why do we do what we do? It is about developing an understanding of the client’s point of view and in this instance the client is not always the employer but the leaseholder who now has the power to hire and fire. The Advanced Course covers all the procedures of which Block Managers need to be aware.

One of the great dangers in leasehold management is that you can’t know what you don’t know. Managers can happily bypass Section 20 procedures, if they do not know they exist. Paying bills for leasehold clients that should have been queried, and ignoring new health and safety regulations freshly applied to the common parts of leasehold properties.

The most important procedures have been given short courses of their own. In particular Consultation Procedures. When are they necessary? When is it better to bypass them? Why consult leaseholders when you don’t necessarily have to do what they ask and the freeholder has the final power to decide?

The Right to Manage and Enfranchisement both of which offer new opportunities to expand also have a short course to themselves. Accounting Regulations has turned out to be one of the most interesting courses. Records of expenditure are at the heart of leasehold management.

Standards of recording and responsibility have changed fundamentally since the 1985 Act gave leaseholders the right to query accounts but not to look at the original banking records. One of the most time consuming aspects of leasehold management can be a bombardment of letters from just one or two leaseholders.

The Service Charge Dispute course emphasises non–escalation based on an understanding of the leaseholders’ position. Service charge disputes need to be dealt, with not squashed or hidden under the carpet where they will reappear more time-consuming than ever, in a dispute at a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

Our fifth short course is on Appearing at a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, which can happen! Disputes are brought to life as we discuss the actual transcripts of cases around the country, packing years of Tribunal experience into the morning. The Tribunal is the legal stage where all the emotions that people bring to the management of their homes are dealt with, as well as the actual dispute.

Our final course looks at the actual Block Management Contract between the agent and employer. Look at your Contract from the clients’ point of view – Are the terms really clear? If not could it be the resulting misunderstandings that lead to a parting of the ways? Leasehold management has the advantage of providing a continuing and regular income stream. Now, with the benefit of experience, built on understanding, it will.

Course Details:
● Introduction to Block Management
● Advanced Block Management
● Right to Manage and Enfranchisement
● Appearing at a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
● Consultation Procedure for Blocks of Flats
● The Management Contract
● Service Charge Disputes
● Accounting Regulations for Leaseholders

The new Block Management courses are under the ‘Professional Development’ section of the NAEA website: www.naea.co.uk
Places can be booked on 01926 417787. Email: courses@naea.co.uk