What's the case for PropTech in Block Management?
It has been six months since Brady Solicitor's LEASE Survey, which found that 57 percent of leaseholders surveyed regretted purchasing a leasehold flat.
Problems with service charge transparency, building maintenance and repairs being managed to resolution were the key issues of concern for leaseholders.
Since then, little has been achieved when it comes to raising satisfaction levels, prompting Brady’s to host a roundtable aimed at providing a portfolio of solutions. While a team of industry experts did their best to troubleshoot the ongoing communication and transparency issues, few seemed to mention that the answer to many of these problems could lie in tech.
Issue: The Service Charge
Issues around the service charge were a key focal point. After all, a shocking 40 percent of respondents felt that their service charge did not provide value for money. Most members suggested block managers publish every detail of the service charge breakdown to erase any suspicions that leaseholders may carry.
In addition to increased transparency, software like Fixflo Block provides a direct line of communication between block managers and leaseholders. This helps to establish a relationship between the agent and the leaseholder. Building trust between the two parties should reduce suspicions about the service charge and make block managers more accessible.
Issue: Building Quality
One repeat issue was the quality of buildings, with some of the expert panel admitting that developers are putting blocks up too quickly or skimping on repairs. With flats fast becoming many people's property of choice, this issue is set to gain further prominence.
The panel’s solution was to further empower block managers to stand up to developers. But, it's important to recognise that tech also has a role to play. We all know that most big problems start out as smaller issues, so swift repair resolution and an effective PPM procedure can make a huge difference. Using the Fixflo Block system, it takes just a few simple clicks for contractors to be requested to quote. Contractors are then sent purchase orders and reminded to upload reports and submit invoices. Additionally, the software is also able to check if contractor qualifications are valid and in-date. This ensures that both reactive and proactive repairs are carried out quickly; by qualified professionals.
Poor communication seemed to be at the root of most of the leaseholder issues, both in the original survey and at the follow-up round-table. Block managers were urged not to rely on an AGM for feedback but to make regular contact throughout the year.
24/7 contact is crucial and is made possible through the use of an effective online system. Block managers should consider investing in an online portal as an easy and non-threatening way for leaseholders to provide honest feedback about their building and their block manager.
Issue: Professional standards
Brady’s panel talked about the need for professional training, a code of conduct and greater regulation of management companies to improve the reputation of the industry.
Although PropTech software can’t provide block managers with either enhanced soft or technical skills (yet), it can give them the time to undergo professional training. By entrusting some of the more time-consuming tasks (chasing contractors, generating repair resolution reports) to Fixflo’s automated software, management companies can guarantee their block managers have got the time and the expertise to do their jobs effectively. Which is surely the best way to improve leaseholder satisfaction.
Find out how Fixflo Block could help you! Book a free demo with a member of our friendly team.