New Bank Account

New Bank Account

Busy few days for all at OBMS Ltd as we switch bank accounts to Metro Bank.  If you are a leaseholder and need assistance regarding how to change your payments, please do not hesitate to contact our accounts team.

What is a Section 20 ?

What is Section 20?
Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002) sets out the three-stage consultation procedure with which to follow when carrying out qualifying works to your building where the contribution from any one lessee exceeds £250, or a qualifying long-term agreement where the contribution from any one lessee exceeds £100 in one financial year. If your Residents’ Management Company (RMC) is looking to carry out works, or enter into a long-term agreement of this nature, then consultation must take place with all lessees. If there is a Recognised Tenants’ (or Residents’) Association (RTA), then you must include them within your consultation.

Stage One
For qualifying works, under Section 20 you would be required to serve a “Notice of Intention to Carry Out Works” upon all lessees. The Notice must generally describe the proposed works, state the reasons for considering the proposed works, and invite leaseholders to make written observations within 30 days. The correspondence address for observations should be stated within the Notice as well. The importance of the Notice of Intention is that it offers lessees with the opportunity to provide the name of a contractor from whom the Landlord/RMC should try to obtain an estimate for the proposed works.

Stage Two
At the expiration of the 30 day consultation period, at least two estimates should be obtained: one of these estimates must be from a person completely independent of the Landlord/RMC. If nominations were made within the consultation period, then estimates should have been obtained from at least one of these nominations. The Landlord/RMC must then provide a “Statement of Estimates” which sets out the details of estimates that have been obtained and a summary of observations received within the consultation period. Any estimates that have been obtained must be available for inspection by the lessees, including estimates obtained from nominated contractors. A “Notice to Accompany the Statement of Estimates” must also be served in conjunction with the Statement of Estimates, which sets out the hours and place where details of the estimates may be inspected, inviting lessees to make written observations on the estimates within 30 days, specifying the address to which those observations should be sent.

Stage Three
If, at the expiration of the consultation period, the chosen contractor did not provide the lowest estimate, then a “Notice of Reasons” must be served upon all lessees. This essentially states the Landlord’s/RMC’s reasons for awarding the contract. It is worth noting that if a nominee is chosen to carry out the works, and they didn’t provide the lowest estimate, then although the requirements of Section 20 have been fulfilled, it would be prudent to serve a Notice of Reasons because that estimate could be tested for reasonableness by the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) under Section 19 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act.

What is property maintenance?

Property Maintenance: Why excellent communication plays a big role

There’s more to property maintenance than the work itself, and we’ve found that providing clear and direct communication with landlords, ground rent paying tenants, developers and freeholders is key to success.

Orchard Block Management Services has been providing professional maintenance for domestic properties, purpose built apartment blocks and converted houses since 1992. We always use trusted, skilled tradesmen to complete our maintenance work, whilst our Maintenance Department is always on hand to help our clients with any problems or queries they may have. We make it our duty to inform tenants, landlords, freeholders and developers of ongoing-maintenance work or routine check-ups, ensuring everyone is up to speed at all times.

 

We’re committed to guaranteeing all of our sites are in a good state of repair, whilst we respond to emergencies promptly and efficiently, ensuring tenants are safe and the integrity of the site is sustained. Our Maintenance Department will only ever contract trustworthy, reliable and competent tradesmen for the maintenance or repair work, and this is proven by the fact that we freely offer recommendations of the painters, decorators, plumbers and electricians on our website.

 

Over the years, we’ve developed a reputation as a leading property maintenance provider, and our clients do not just come to us because of the quality of the workmanship, they choose us because we’re open and honest every step of the way, acting for you, not instead of you. We cater to the management and maintenance of many different buildings, so if you’d like us to take care of your property with regular detailed site inspections from well qualified contractors who will not let you down, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01604 620422, or alternatively you can email us at info@obmsltd.com.

 

Vacancies ……..

Exciting times…… Due to our business expanding, we are pleased to announce two new vacancies within the property team. If you are looking for a change, and wanting to work in a fast pace environment, please contact us for further details at om@obmsltd.com

What is Property Management?

A property manager, whether an individual or a company, is responsible for looking after individual properties or a group of properties such as a block of flats on behalf of a third party, usually a landlord or another company. These on-going activities associated with the management of property are generally referred to as “block management”.

Orchard Block Management Services

Here at Orchard Block Management Services Ltd we manage apartment blocks for private freeholders and residents’ associations in and around Northants, and have a well-established track record in property management. We endeavour to maintain all properties under our charge to a very high standard, ensuring that cleaning, gardening, window cleaning and all other aspects of maintenance are completed regularly, and we do this by carrying out regular detailed site inspections. Our maintenance department contracts only trustworthy, reliable and competent tradesmen for the maintenance of your property.

Property Management Service

OBMS are committed to providing a professional property management service for our customers in Northampton and the surrounding areas of; Bedford, Kettering, Wellingborough, Daventry and across Northamptonshire. By maintaining all sites in a good state of repair, responding to emergencies promptly and efficiently we ensure that the integrity of the site is always preserved. Our experienced team is happy to assist and advise you for any of your property management service enquiries, simply contact us today on 01604 620422.

 

Merry Christmas from Everybody at OBMS!

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The team at Orchard Block Management Services Limited would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

To make sure we are contactable over the festive period, we will be in the office between Christmas and the New Year. Here are our full opening hours:

• We close on Friday 23rd December 2016.
• We are open for business on Wednesday 28th December and Thursday 29th December 2016.
• We close at 5.00 pm on Friday 30th December 2016 for New Year.
• We will be back in the office on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year! From everybody at OBMS.

Managing Director John Socha Presents SME Northamptonshire Business Awards

Orchard Block Management Systems’ Managing Director John Socha presented awards to the Networking Group of the Year and the Overall Winner at the prestigious Business Awards.

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The Networking Group of the Year award went to The Business Club Northants, a company that started in 2007 to help Northamptonshire businesses connect. They bring a new and refreshing approach to business networking, holding evening meetings across the county.

This year’s overall winners were Seckingtons Northampton, an accredited Aveda hair salon located on the Wellingborough Road. Seckingtons have built up an excellent reputation in the hairdressing world and they have a loyal clientele, really setting the standard for businesses everywhere. The salon also picked up an award for Training and Development.

All of the 2016 winners can be seen here.

The awards were established to help promote hardworking, ambitious and successful local businesses and support all the good work they do. They are an excellent way to celebrate the achievements of SMEs in Northamptonshire and OBMS Ltd are very proud to have been able to contribute.

We would like to congratulate everyone who took part and made the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards a success. Well done to all category nominees and winners and many congratulation to Seckingtons Northampton, the overall winners.

Advertising on all the Major Letting Portals

Upad is the UK’s largest online letting agent, allowing landlords to advertise their properties on all the major lettings portals.

It gives landlords the freedom to choose the right tenants for their property without having to advertise for them.

Once a tenant has been chosen by the landlord, Upad can sort all of the administration and set up.

 

Here, Upad is reviewed by the Managing Director of Orchard Block Management Services Ltd. (OBMS), John Socha. John has extensive experience in property management and OBMS currently manages 105 apartment blocks and sites. He also has his own property portfolio comprising 23 properties.

“I first started using Upad in 2009 when they became a Recognised Supplier through the National Landlords Association.

Upad does all the work for you by generating high quality tenant applications through their professional adverts on Rightmove and Zoopla.

As a landlord, you meet your tenants face to face. You can then make your own mind up as to who you feel will be the best person to live in your property.

I was impressed with the speed of let – I found great tenants in less than two weeks. Not only did Upad find me great tenants fast, but they saved me money compared to using a traditional letting agent.

I started using Upad after selling my own letting business and I haven’t looked back since. Give Upad a try. You won’t be disappointed.”

Continual Professional Development – ARMA Conferences

We take continual professional development (CPD) very seriously at Orchard Block Management Services Ltd., which is why we encourage our Property Managers to attend, amongst others, ARMA conferences.

CPD is defined as ‘the means by which people maintain their knowledge and skills related to their knowledge and skills related to their professional lives’.

Our property manager, Andrew, attended the most recent ARMA conference in London on Monday 22nd June 2015. Not only was this a chance for him to continue his CPD on a personal/professional level, but Orchard Block Management Services Ltd like to have a representative there to feed back about any recent changes in ARMA legislation. The day included the following agenda:

LONDON (2): 22nd June 2015
• Chair’s Welcome
Noella Morton, Warwick Estates Property Mgmt Ltd
• ARMA Update – ‘Moving forward together’
Michelle Banks, CEO of ARMA
• Technical Update
Helen Christie, ARMA Technical O_cer
• Breakout session, follow up to ARMA-Q
Facilitator: Tony Hymers, Burlington Estates Ltd and
Michelle Banks, CEO of ARMA
• Banking with ARMA-Q
Steve Arundale and Steve Russell, NatWest PLC
• Combined heating & power: how does it a_ect you?
Michael Donnellan, Towers & Hamlin LLP

Particularly in light of recent changes within ARMA-Q, the ARMA conferences are a way for us to keep up-to-date with legislation, changes in block management, and of course our competitors!

We believe that the commitment to ARMA includes a commitment to CDM for all our property managers. Belonging to ARMA is a symbol (and working promise) of our commitment to raising standards of block management.

Rubbish and Recycling – It’s Everyone’s Problem

Not a month goes by when the office doesn’t hear about issues with rubbish or recycling at one of the blocks of flats which we manage:

  1. Sometimes the issue is to do with the council. This is an issue which is easily rectified, but it must be done as soon as possible. If the council have missed a bin collection, then they must be notified within 24 hours in order for them to reallocate a collection to your property. Most councils now prefer for these issues to be addressed via online forms, so it is actually much easier and more effective for the issue to be directly addressed by you, the leaseholder or tenant, rather than us dealing with the issue. The form you are asked to fill out doesn’t account for third party interests such as block management companies, so it is much easier for a resident to contact the council directly.
  2. Another refuse issue occurs due to residents not disposing of their refuse correctly. Lots of the sites we manage have bin areas, which can be accessed by residents (normally via a coded lock) and by the people who collect the refuse. Simply leaving your rubbish in the bin area, i.e. not putting it in the relevant bin means the council will not collect it. It could be either refuse or recycling, and as such the council will not collect it.
  3. This initial issue means that others will start to follow by example, leaving their rubbish bags in the bin store instead of in the bins themselves. Before long, piles of rubbish are in the way. The council will not collect from sites with this issue, which means a private contractor would need to be instructed, at a cost to leaseholders’ service charges. If we can prove that a particular tenant left rubbish, we will charge it back to that tenant.
  4. Recycling also causes an issue. As soon as there is any cross-contamination from refuse to recycling, the council will not be able to collect. This will also incur a cost to the site, by having to instruct a contractor to reorganise the recycling.

Rubbish and recycling will always be a contentious issue as it involves both communal and personal responsibility. Particularly in the case of recycling, though also refuse, there is an element of environmental obligation. We all have a responsibility to recycling where we can. Not only that, but communal living necessitates respect for your neighbours. Everyone wants to live in a clean and safe environment, and we can all do our best to make sure that happens.

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