Property Management – A three-legged race

Often, I am asked what is the key to the success that MIH Property Management has experienced since starting up 4 and a quarter years ago. Quite simply it is because we do what we say i.e., Make It Happen.  However, it would be foolhardy for any company and particularly  MIH to say that our approach has worked with every client. So, recently we have been thinking about what does work and what doesn’t.

Every so often we have an internal brainstorm about the blogs we are going to write and what we think people want to read.  This idea came about after a particular busy period meeting potential new clients. 

Why do clients want to leave their existing management agency?

When we are first approached about our services, aside from asking how they found out about MIH, we always ask why they are thinking of leaving their managing agent. Usually, it is the same answer, lack of communication, high staff turnover and the general inertia of the incumbent agent when a response was required.

We have previously written a blog about how difficult it is to change your managing agents, likening it to changing your bank, therefore something you avoid at all costs. Therefore, our response to the usual gripes is to ask whether they have spoken to the incumbent to try and resolve the issues they are experiencing. Something along the lines of “Better the devil you know.” 

However, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that the attempts made to affect a rapprochement are frustrated by some agent’s insistence that they know best and therefore the dynamic of the servant/master relationship changes. 

Not a dictatorial approach

While this approach may work for some, where the client has to take ultimate responsibility for the building, we don’t feel the dictatorial approach is the right one. We posed this question to one of our newer clients. The client joined in August of last year.

One of the Directors knew our Founder from one of her previous roles and therefore had an idea of the kind of service they would receive. Even so we are not sure that they understood the way MIH would make it happen for them.

From the first interview they knew that MIH were different, simply because we listened and offered constructive solutions. This was expanded upon when we finally took over with a major works project previously relegated to the boondocks now commencing in March.

Working hand in hand with the Board

Previous impediments to the works going ahead had been the planning permission and funding.  Thankfully, the Board had already completed the planning permission before we came along, but the funding was still an issue. By working hand in hand with the Board, MIH through their experience were able to find a solution to this by suggesting a loan scheme. This resulted in the full complement of funds being received in January of this year and within 2 weeks of the funds being requested notwithstanding the Festive season.

The client’s response to the question was that they felt like we were partners in a three-legged race and that we had managed to find a pace that suited both parties and had surged forward to win the race.

Working to enhance not hinder

As a company we never want to dismiss our client’s views as after all, as the people with the history and their ear to the ground they are always going to know more than MIH ever will about their building.  However, we do want to provide them with the best advice we can and work with them to ensure that advice enhances the management rather than hindering it. 

A pragmatic approach

We came across the same situation again when we managed to facilitate a long-delayed meeting between a Freeholder and an RTM about their relationship. Sadly, since the RTM had been formed, the relationship had gone sour and there had been next to no communication with invoices having been issued and ignored over time. 

When a situation arose that required input from the RTM we seized on the opportunity to meet with the Freeholder’s Agent to try and find some resolution which would suit all. At the time of writing, we have already made headway with a further meeting scheduled in 14 days to crystalize an agreement and hopefully a more collaborative way forward.

The client has described MIH as having a level of expertise and while we are happy to take credit for our actions, we are also pragmatic enough to know that we perform best when working in a united partnership. Using the three-legged race analogy, we had again found a constructive solution to a long-standing issue.

Not always a one size fits all approach

Overall MIH have been lucky that when fastening our purse belt around both ours and our collective management legs, that they have held fast. However, we accept that the one size fits all don’t work for everyone. Where this approach doesn’t work MIH accept that it is better to give up a management as it is imperative that everyone works at the same speed and at the same level to get to the finish line. 

For MIH Property Management, we stand alongside you and take joint responsibility for your property as it were our own.  Our only request is that our clients do the same and stand shoulder to shoulder with us. Quoting from a previous blog written by a MIH PM, it takes a village to raise a child but…………. it takes a great partnership to manage a property well.

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