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Bad property management is not something new and we at MIH for one, know how important this has been to our continuing success and growth. However, this blog is not something we take great delight in writing and for once we feel completely despondent about property management as an industry.
Often, we feel that we know what Woodward and Bernstein felt like when they uncovered the Watergate scandal and while what we uncover, wouldn’t bring a president down it is to us truly horrifying. However, for us what is most concerning is the lack of recourse for our clients and often their complete unawareness of what their managing agent is doing.
We started this blog by saying how difficult this was for us and we are loathed to be seen as whistleblowers and in an attempt to be lighter-hearted than we feel will say that all names have been changed to protect the innocent. In addition, we truly believe that all agents genuinely want to do a good job, ensure that their clients are compliant and that these are isolated incidents. It just so happens that we have had clients that are unlucky enough to have experienced these and that we have found them.
However, with property management veering outside the conventional norm. A managing agent no longer simply manages “the fabric of the building” but is now involved in so many different aspects of management that often something has to give. Unfortunately, this something can be to the detriment of the client and this is what has made this so difficult.
During the last year, and again I admit that for us these mistakes have been beneficial, we have found that our clients have been unfairly disadvantaged by these and often these can have long-lasting consequences.
Sometimes, these can be a fairly minor problem such as bad management of insurance claims. Yes, we are aware that any contributor to the policy can submit a claim but it seems that often the claimant is not made aware of how their actions can impact others with the end result being an increased premium. For us, we are always keen to remind owners of the need for a good claims history and although unpopular, try to encourage owners to work together to resolve their claim without involving the insurance.
Perhaps more concerning is poor staff management and how this can impact a management company for years to come. Having recently taken over a block where the incumbent porter had been employed for many years we were surprised to find some unorthodox practices surrounding some aspects of his job and salary.
Admittedly the previous agents had inherited this situation and we imagine had not raised with the client due to the difficulties involved however MIH felt that the consequences outweighed the pros of this situation and quickly identified these to the client. Particularly in view of liability concerns. In this case, the benefits of having these practices regulated far outweigh the financial concerns. A “hairy” situation was averted but not without MIH having to go the extra mile to ensure the client is future-proofed.
We have witnessed issues with bad legal advice too which could be financially detrimental to our client and are now looking at ways in which we can look to reverse this. At this time, and despite our best endeavours we cannot guarantee that our client won’t be adversely affected but continue to try and provide our assistance where we can. For us, this was a truly shocking example of poor advice being provided by a managing agent on something that they were not specialists in and has only made us more determined to concentrate on the areas that we have expertise in.
However, I think it is cold comfort to our clients that we won’t make the same mistake as they are likely to end up paying for this one.
For us, MIH is primarily a property managing agent whose advice on other services is based on the expertise of others. We would hope that we would not commit our clients to the same level of exposure but perhaps what has most frightened us, is how vulnerable our clients are as they are relying on us to advise them, and if we get it wrong, the only real recourse is to take legal action which is both costly and benefits, no-one. It has really made us stop in our tracks and take stock and we for one will definitely be in the queue to improve the regulation for managing agents.
We will also be tightening the screws on our working practices as for MIH, the client is everything!
We were recently asked why we write these blogs? And whether these were an attempt to improve the perception of the industry. We answered without hesitation, that this was indeed our goal and as a company, MIH were committed to the pursuit of excellence in property management. Our goal is not to be the biggest in Property Management but to be the best and we want our clients to experience this commitment.