Wishtower behind the scenes

What do residential property managers like Wishtower actually do? Pop round every six months to check no-one’s removed all the fittings and shipped them overseas? Look up ‘Cleaners’ in Google and give one a quick call? That might be how some do it, but that kind of slapdash approach isn’t for us, or our clients.

Like the Wizard of Oz, we’re the people behind the curtain pulling levers to make the magic happen – and effective property management relies on knowing which levers need pulling, and when, to protect people, homes and investments.

So, what’s involved?

If you are going to be a reliable and effective residential property manager, you need to have some very varied skills. Throughout the day we’ll be juggling the complexities of managing the legal obligations of health and safety, whilst also not forgetting to post information on a notice board about forthcoming scheduled maintenance.

In areas such as insurance and utilities, we reach out on clients’ behalf to specialist brokers to ensure they get the best packages, but we also make sure that we aren’t overlooking utilities meter readings and contract renewals.

As maintenance anniversaries and servicing requirements come around, or repairs are needed, we refer to our register of approved contractors. This database is constantly kept up to date to ensure cost-effectiveness and with regular additions that need to be vetted. We monitor their work, set and check KPIs, read every service report and diarise any review dates.

Small or large, all the tasks are handled by us with the same acceptance of responsibility of acting on a clients’ behalf to protect them, the building and the occupants.

Our areas of responsibility in more detail:

Health and safety compliance

Health and safety are always high priority on our to-do list, and it’s an area that has lots of moving parts, including but not limited to:

  • Health & Safety and Fire Risk Assessments
  • Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR)
  • Gas Safety Records
  • Smoke and Heat Detection
  • Legionella Risk Assessments
  • Asbestos Surveys and Management Plans

These are just some of the regulations that freeholders, landlords and management companies, both commercial and residential, have to be aware of and adhere to with the heavy lifting generally being handled by their property managers.

It’s not just that we ensure compliance; we know what must be complied with. The Building Safety Act and the Fire Safety Act for example, both implemented in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, have introduced a raft of new obligations, each of which must be complied with in detail.

Keeping an eye on maintenance

  • Selecting and Vetting Contractors
  • Setting and Overseeing KPIs for Contractors

We have an extensive register of approved contractors who are vetted to ensure that their own processes and paperwork are in order, and that they have appropriate and sufficient liability insurance in place for the service they are providing. We set metrics for all long-term contractors, and then assess continuously whether those are being met. We review every service report filed, to pick up the detail of what further works are likely to be up and coming and when, as well as ensuring all reports are present and complete.

New contractors are referred to us, and norms change, meaning that there’s no laurel resting! Instead, another thing we do continuously is review contracts, vet new introductions and ensure quotes remain competitive.

Managing everything to do with utilities

  • Taking Meter Readings
  • Reviewing Contracts and Suppliers with our Brokers

Billing from utilities providers is based on estimates, so disputes and disagreements can arise when these come in, or the utility company announces some change, those involved frequently find themselves wondering whether there is an up-to-date meter reading. Yes, there is, since that’s part of our standard delivery, along with ongoing assessment of contracts and supply alternatives – something particularly front of mind with energy prices rocketing.

There’s more to insurance than you might think

  • Expert Broker Liaison
  • Paperwork and Renewals

A building should of course have adequate buildings insurance cover – and this doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest cover, but the most suitable and comprehensive for the most competitive cost.

Other insurances may be less obvious. Does every unpaid director of a Residents’ Management Company or Residents’ Association know the importance of appropriate Directors and Officers Insurance, and know where to source a competitive quote? Is every leaseholder aware of how reliant they may be on plant items within their building and the importance of engineering cover to deal with sudden and unforeseen failures of lifts, gates, shutters so that their properties remain are easily and safely accessible.

We have a panel of experienced and trusted insurance brokers who we can approach in order to keep on top of renewals and competitiveness, so we will always work to obtain the best deal and the most comprehensive cover for you.

And much more

Further circumstances arise only occasionally, such as a sale of property. In such cases, we will jump in, preparing sales packs and so on.

We also tackle the smaller things that make everyone feel looked after – notices on bulletin boards within buildings with helpful information individuals may need, for example.

And that’s really indicative of something wider: we like to see ourselves as the glue that holds everything together. We are the people in the middle, the ones who deal directly with everyone from residents and leaseholders to landlords, contractors and RTMs/RMCs.

If you are already part of the Wishtower family, we are working every day to build and maintain strong relationships between you and all of the other stakeholders around us, and if you’re not yet on board – what are you waiting for?

This update is provided free of charge for information purposes only: it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Wishtower or by Wishtower as a whole.