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Property Hunter: Help. Our block manager isn’t performing…

How do we change our block manager?

I answered a question here recently about whether having your building professionally managed is a good idea. Since then I’ve been inundated by readers asking how to change from a block manager who is not performing. There are options, depending on the management structure of the building.

If you own your property as a share of freehold, there is usually a freehold management company in place which will have authority, under the lease, to appoint the managing agent (block manager) to act for them. The decision of who to appoint is usually made by the directors. If you are a director, or know who they are, you can contact them and discuss your thoughts with them.

Check the terms of your management agreement, but you should be able to give your agent notice and appoint a new agent. If you do not know who the directors are, you can find details on the Companies House website.

If your building has set up right to manage or has a resident management company, these entities should have control under the terms of the lease.

Again, if your managing agent is underperforming you can approach directors of the company who can make a decision on whether to dis-instruct your agent. If your building is owned by an away freeholder and there is no management company, it is likely that they instruct the managing agent and you will have the least control over the management of your building. If the managing agent is a member of ARMA or RICS they will be required to have a complaints handling procedure and to be members of an Ombudsman service.

If you feel that you have exhausted all means of complaint, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to appoint a manager. Note that the managing agent will be acting for the freeholder so if you believe the issue lies with the freeholder rather than the managing agent, you may find the issues continue.

Another option is to set up a right to manage (RTM) company. There are a few hoops to jump through, but assuming the relevant requirements are met, the RTM company can force the freeholder to relinquish management functions of the lease to them. Alternatively, you could choose to collectively enfranchise — or purchase the freehold, though of course, you’d have to factor in the costs of the transaction.

■​ Jo Eccles (pictured top) is a property expert and director of SP Property Group. Got a question for Jo? Email: