New report reveals key role managing agents need to play in wake of leasehold reforms
Seventy per cent of Resident Directors currently spend ten hours or less a month on their role, but leasehold reform and industry changes (such as the effects of the draft Building Safety Bill) could increase this if Directors don’t have access to the support they need.
Sixty one per cent are currently employed, and at least a third (33 per cent) are involved in additional responsibilities outside of work or their role as a Resident Director, such as sitting as board and committee members, or acting as school governors, charity trustees and volunteers.
A new report by FirstPort has identified that eight in ten (80 per cent) Resident Directors go to their managing agent as their first port of call when they need help in their role. The property management company undertook the in-depth report with more than 200 Resident Directors across its network, to better understand their wants and needs. With the introduction of new leasehold reforms offering leaseholders the opportunity to take more control of their homes, and an estimated 4.3 million leasehold homes in England alone, it is likely the number of Resident Directors will rise in coming months – and with it, the part to play for property managing agents.
The report reveals the biggest incentive to become a Resident Director is a sense of pride in their development (70 per cent), followed by a desire to support their neighbours (36 per cent). With the home environment having become even more important over recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many neighbours becoming closer, it is likely this figure will continue to rise over the next year.
Resident Directors’ key priorities when it comes to the day-to-day management of their properties include value for money from managing agents (58 per cent) and contractors (55 per cent), ensuring the property’s service charge budget is accurate (52 per cent) and successfully completing repairs and maintenance (52 per cent).
New and proposed changes to regulation and compliance are expected to have an impact on priorities, however, as more powers will mean more responsibilities. Some areas of responsibility are a cause of concern. In particular, Resident Directors picked out insurance (75 per cent), building safety (72 per cent) and sustainability (71 per cent). As residents are granted greater control over finances, insurance, and fire safety, informed advice will become more important. It is likely Resident Directors will benefit from additional expert support in these areas in the coming months and years.
FirstPort’s Chief Operating Officer, David Young, says: "It’s great to see homeowners engaging with their communities and opting to become Resident Directors. Resident Management Companies are a powerful way for residents to get more involved in the important decision making about the management of their homes and to play an active role in supporting their community.
“The proposed changes to regulation and building safety may, understandably, worry some Resident Directors but that is where having a great property manager comes in. Managing agents play an important role helping Resident Directors to successfully navigate and fulfil their responsibilities. We know Resident Directors often take on the legal responsibilities and liabilities that come with this role without any formal training and while carrying on with their day jobs.
"Working with a responsible, professional property manager means Directors have peace of mind that they’ve got the right support in place for them and their communities, and a safe pair of hands to take on the technical and time-consuming jobs that come with managing complex residential developments.”