Why Choose MLM?
Some of ARMA’s commonly asked questions when considering appointing a new managing agent. Please provide all relevant company details including the names and qualifications of all directors and a list of proprietors if not a quoted company.
Will your fees carry VAT?
Our fees will carry VAT as we are VAT registered. VAT Reg. No.: 751 7158 27
How close are your offices to our property?
Our London head office is located close to Junction 2 of the M1 and the A406 North Circular Road affording easy access to all London and Home county locations. The office is also located close to Woodside Park Underground Station on the Northern line giving direct access to central London.
How many years have you been in the property management business?
Michael Laurie Magar was incorporated in 2000.
How many staff in your company are involved with management?
There are 20 staff at MLM:
7 Property Managers
6 Accounts staff
1 Credit Control
2 Maintenance personnel
1 Building Surveyor
How many blocks do you manage, and how many units therein?
We manage approximately 150 developments with circa 5000 units.
Please supply three references for blocks you manage. Ideally these should be similar to our own property and in our area.
Please refer to our testimonials page. Further referee details can be provided upon request.
Please supply name and telephone number of chairman/secretary of the residents’ association or board of directors of those blocks.
We are happy to provide referees upon request.
What is your fee structure?
We charge fees on the basis of a set amount per unit as per ARMA and RICS guidelines.
How can you convince us that you can offer a quality service at a fair cost?
We would ask you to initially look through our website as testament to how we manage our properties and the quality of service we offer. All fees are agreed in advance with clients and are always fair and reasonable.
We are members of the leading professional bodies covering property management and have completed our ISO 9001 quality assurance accreditation. Moreover, we have grown from word of mouth to over 100 developments solely based upon our reputation.
We would encourage anyone considering switching agents to visit our offices, and meet the team who would be handing the management of your property.
How comprehensive a panel of contractors do you have?
We manage over 150 developments from Birmingham to London, from newly built schemes to landmark listed buildings. As such we have developed a wide pool of contractors, both local and centralised specialists from cleaners to stone masons and specialist window cleaning companies to boiler maintenance companies. All contractors have been screened and vetted for the quality of their work and many more are Britannia Approved safe contractors.
Do you charge a fee for contractor selection and/or a percentage of their charges:
Contractors chosen by you?
No fees are charged.
Contractors chosen by us?
No fees are charged.
What selection criteria do you use for contractors on your panels?
Contractors are chosen for their expertise, cost effectiveness and reliability having been recommended to us by clients and residents alike. They cover all trades from small to major works. References and insurance checks are part of our vetting process.
We are not “tied” to any contracting firm at MLM with the exception of our emergency team and our handyman. We are therefore able to keep costs reasonable. We are therefore able to vet all potential contractors independently and objectively. We inspect significant works during our regular visits to the property and we operate a strict purchase order system to ensure quality control and that works are completed to budget and on time.
How often does a representative from your company visit blocks you manage and check on how your contractors fulfil their obligations?
The number of times we carry out routine inspections largely depends on the size of the estate and the complexity of equipment installed. Additional visits would occur for emergencies or during major works contracts to ensure that works are inspected at the appropriate times, not just on completion. We also find tenant liaison during these times is a crucial function of our managers. The exact number of visits can be discussed as part of our management agreement and regular on site tenant surgeries can be agreed depending on the size of the property.
Notwithstanding the above, we aim to visit our sites at least once in every month, or more – site depending.
What IT facilities do you have and what information can you record and keep updated? Are you registered under the Data Protection Act?
We make extensive use of computer technology to assist our management process and free our managers’ time to deal more effectively with the day to day management issues associated with your block.
We have invested in the industry leading software Qube Global Software (formerly ECS) which is a flexible package allowing us to view electronic versions of leases, insurance policies, tenant accounts, copies of all correspondence received or sent together with comprehensive internal note reporting on each lessee. The functionality of this tool allows reporting to our clients on a bespoke and regular basis or as may be required. We hold all leaseholders names, addresses, telephone, fax and email addresses. Naturally, every leaseholder has a financial ledger we hold on each flat together with electronic copies of all correspondence.
Are you registered under the Data Protection Act?
Yes. MLM are registered under the Data Protection Act. Or registration number is Z9931632.
Where and how do you keep service charge monies, and how are they administered and who receives any interest?
All funds whether rents or service charges are kept in individual bank accounts within the Royal Bank of Scotland’s client monies system. These accounts are administered in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors “client money protection scheme”. Interest on service charges, reserve funds and sinking funds accrues to the residents. All accounts are managed to the RICS Code of Practice for Residential Managing Agents and are reconciled every month. Interest is credited to client’s accounts dependant on the level of funds in the account and rates are regularly checked to ensure that they receive a reasonable rate of interest, where market conditions allow.
Can you supply an example of the format of financial information you will use for our block?
A copy of the kinds of financial reporting you can expect from MLM on a quarterly or monthly basis is enclosed below.
How do you deal with unpaid service charges – what procedures are in place to deal with non-paying lessees?
Having sent a tenant a request for payment (demand) in accordance with the lease, non-payers will receive reminder letters if payment is not received on time and if necessary, we will send a notice of intended legal action. If this still elicits no response, legal action is sought to recover the service charge. On the rare occurrence that payment is still not received after this procedure, a County Court action is started to recover the debt.
Once a Judgment is obtained there are a number of options in descending order of preference to ensure payment:
- A final approach is made to the lessee,
- an approach can be made to the mortgage company,
- seek an attachment to earnings order,
- lodging a unilateral notice against the property putting potential buyers on notice that the notice needs to be fulfilled,
- lodging a charge against the property so that the leaseholder can not sell the property without fulfilling the terms of the judgement.
Where a challenge is made for reasonableness, we have in-house surveyors who will present a case arguing the reasonableness (of the service charge) at a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. Our procedures are very robust and the use of the LVT in these instances is minimal to non existent.
How do you deal with lessees in breach of their leases?
Where there is a clear breach of the terms of the lease, our first response is to speak with the leaseholder and give them an opportunity to remedy the breach. Depending on the severity of the breach and instructions from our client, we can then take a variety of further measures to include legal action for breach culminating in an action for forfeiture of the lease as a measure of last resort.
How do you deal with complaints?
MLM has a full complaints handing procedure. Naturally, we would hope to deal with all issues before any formal complaints are made. However, we do realise that we cannot please all the people all of the time and have a robust complaints policy aimed at resolving any conflict.
Do you offer an out-of-office-hours service for emergencies? If so, please provide details.
We are acutely aware that property management is not a 9-5 operation and outside normal office hours, we have a 24/7 out of hours emergency service to deal with these occurrences. Our out of hours number is 0845 056 9391
Does MLM possess any in-house legal expertise?
The Managing Director, Michael Jacobs is a Chartered Surveyor and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Law and Property Management. Furthermore, he has spent his working life advising a wide variety of clients on lease construction for new developments and lease alterations for existing developments; is used as an expert witness for court hearings and has significant experience in lease interpretation.
How can we pay our service charges?
We accept payment by the following methods:
Credit / debit cards
BACS or CHAPS
Internet bank transfer
For specific details, see Making a Payment.
What length of notice period do you require?
We can take over the management of a property at very short notice. Usually we require at least one month, but this can be reduced to 1-2 weeks for most properties if required in an emergency.
Do you make a charge to take over the management of a property?
We make no charges for taking over properties with less than 50 units, however after our initial property audit, we will make recommendations to the board which might involve additional contractor costs. For example, we might recommend that a Building Surveyor puts together a 10-15 year maintenance life cycle plan in respect of the suitability of the sinking fund.
List all those of your staff we are likely to liaise with and their qualifications.
We insist that all members of the management team prepare, take and pass the Institute of Residential Property Managers exams. Presently there are also 2 managers completing their Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors programme at MLM. Many of our accounts teams are educated to degree standard with a number taking further professional accountancy exams – ACCA and ATT exams.
Each management team comprises
1 Accounts manager
1 Property manager
1 Assistant Property manager
1 Building Surveyor
1 x purchase ledger / sales ledger clerk.
List any professional or trade bodies to which your firm belongs.
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Association of Residential Managing Agents
Institute of Property Managers
Financial Services Authority
Surveyors Ombudsmen: Property
Provide full details of your professional indemnity insurance.
MLM holds both Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance in accordance with the RICS regulations. A copy of our current policy can be provided upon request.
Provide a copy of any standard contract you use.
Download a Draft Management Agreement PDF