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FAQ

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How close are your offices to our property?

1st Asset are located just off the Kings Road, usually just a few driving minutes from each property they manage.

How many combined years experience do they have?

We have a combined experience of over 40 years.

How many blocks do you manage?

We manage 27 blocks in central London, and are currently expanding, welcoming on average two new clients each month and we have grown by 150% in the last year.

How comprehensive a panel of contractors do you have?

We currently have 160 contractors on our ‘active’ list including seven accountancy partnerships, five ‘painter & decorator’ firms, four specialist plumbers, two locksmiths, six commercial cleaning contractors, two roofers, five lift maintenance firms, and one freelance abseiling guttering team.

What selection criteria do you use for contractors on your panels?

All new contractors are required to complete a 22-section questionnaire, provide two trade references and supply a copy of their public liability insurance. Contractors are given a ‘code of conduct’ to follow whilst on site.

How often does a representative from your company visit blocks you manage and check on how your contractors fulfil their obligations?

All buildings are visited every 12-16 weeks, and in response to matters arising. All major works are signed off by a buildings surveyor before payment is released.

What IT facilities do you have and what information can you record and keep updated?

We operate a specialist software system to record all freeholder, management company, leaseholder and under-tenant data, full financial records, diarised reminders for key dates (Companies House Annual Returns deadlines, for example) and a comprehensive list of prior maintenance and works guarantees.

Where and how do you keep service charge monies, and how are they administered and who receives any interest?

Service charge monies are kept in dedicated client deposit accounts. Client deposit accounts are non-interest bearing. All scheduled costs above a pre-agreed threshold (usually £250) are pre-agreed with Directors before works are instructed. Service charge certificates are prepared annually by an independent Chartered Accountant, usually within 12 weeks of year-end, which includes a check of all bank transactions.

Can you supply an example of the format of financial information you will use for our block?

Yes, sample reports are available on request.

How do you deal with unpaid service charges – what procedures are in place to deal with non-paying lessees?

Service charge requests are sent out four weeks in advance of their due date, by a choice of email or post, to give leaseholders good time to budget for their contribution. Reminders are sent every four weeks to those who have overlooked payment. Where payment is not forthcoming, a recovery plan is addressed and agreed with the Directors.

This would usually involve a combination of the following:
1. Informal telephone and email chasing
2. Formal arrears demands via post
3. Offers of repayment by monthly instalments
4. Engaging the services of a professional property debt collector (fees recharged to leaseholder)
5. Approaching the mortgage lender (if any) for payment
6. Advising the Directors on court action.

We have many years experience dealing with the fine line between collecting rents and managing awkward tenants, please call us for more information on how we could help your situation.

How do you deal with lessees in breach of their leases?

Where a substantiated breach of lease occurs, it would be usual to first verbally inform the leaseholder and request that they cease, followed by (if required)

Do you offer an out-of-office-hours service for emergencies?

1st Asset are available in the office between 8am to 6pm, and calls are forwarded to the on-call staff member between 6pm and 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10am to 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Outside of these hours, your message will be relayed to the on-call property manager, for a return call within 60 minutes. This service is included in our core management for no extra cost.

Do you carry professional indemnity insurance?

Yes, our indemnity insurance is provided by one of the most well know block insurers in the UK.