It seems today that change, uncertainty and travesty is everywhere we look. Could there however be a glimmer of light found in the leasehold sector?
For some time now momentum has been building for reform. We cannot overlook, nor disregard that tragedies such as the infamous fire at Grenfell tower, which saw 72 people lose their lives in June 2017, have acted as a catalyst for such change. But the vast majority have stood up and recognised our industry requires a change.
“The biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years” is how the UK Government have described the proposed Fire Safety Bill amendments. Designed to bring meaningful change and help people to feel safe in their homes. But who will now be accountable and at what cost? Will leaseholders or directors of RMC or RTM companies be asked to complete basic safety training/assessments and where will money come from to pay for such undoubtedly scrupulous measures?
Agents need to be thinking about these proposals and inputting processes now. Not waiting for the bill to pass through parliament and react. These dangers are very real and trying to deflect blame after the fact is no longer acceptable.
So, what have your agent done, or what are they doing now to act in a way that runs in line with the ideologies set out by the reform movements. Is your agent keeping a “golden thread” or clear file on all safety aspects of your building? Is there a clearly communicated strategy in place for a case of emergency? Is your agent making sure the people they appoint to carry out inspections are fit for purpose? Or are they merely complying with suggested best practice….
At Transparent Property Management we ensure that if these credential aspects are not in place, we bend over backwards to get them. It is also mandatory that appointed assessors are to the relevant level of comprehension and experience based on the complexity of your building/estate. Our foundations are built on empowering our customers with knowledge and sometimes it is merely an education process. Helping our customers understand why these aspects are so important and including them in the process helps us keep people as safe as we possibly can. Yes, accidents and tragedies can occur within a blink of an eye. But simple reminders such as testing your fire alarm monthly or keeping communal areas clear of obstruction can save lives.
Reform must be a journey we all take together. Although the journey starts with the “accountable person” they can not do it alone. Education, collaboration and actions are what will move us forward. Could we be educating people on their responsibilities as a leaseholder before they even take ownership? Or at very least make it mandatory to provide a standardised health and safety referral manual upon acquisition. It may not be a complete tailored guide to their specific block, but at will at least put these very important issues in peoples mind raising awareness. Make it an environment where people will want to ask their agent questions and fell comfortable to do so.
It is now our responsibility to take the lessons learnt from our tragedies and commit to change.
If you are looking to be part of our family and have confidence in a RICS accredited and IRPM recognised Manging agent who cares deeply about their customers safety, please get in touch.