Harwood Hutton provides expert support to the directors of residents’ management companies (RMCs), helping them run their blocks of flats or apartments in the most professional, cost-effective manner and ensuring they comply with their legal obligations.
An RMC protects the interests of the owners. It typically manages common parts of the building such as boundaries, roofs, halls, drives and gardens, although it may have other responsibilities as well.
RMCs are run by directors who are usually unpaid and appointed from the residents themselves. It can be an onerous, unthankful task, which is where we come in.
Harwood Hutton is fully versed in the technical and practical aspects of ‘block management’. Within our comprehensive RMC Support Service, we can offer all of the following:
Our in-house accounts department sets a forecasted budget with the RMC and then keeps a close eye on current finances and outgoings. We can advise on payment plans, ad-hoc charges, clauses in leases/transfer deeds, cost control, budget forecasting and invoicing. We prepare annual management accounts for distribution, and these form the basis of the statutory accounts (see later).
We supply clear and detailed reporting on issues concerning your property, for example the current status of works from redecoration, general repair requirements and grounds maintenance to full refurbishments.
We act as company secretary to many of our RMC clients, which means we maintain the registered office, comply with rules regarding AGM (where applicable) and board meetings, and arrange for the keeping of minutes of directors’ meetings and general meetings. We also ensure statutory records and registers are submitted in a timely manner. This service allows Harwood Hutton to sign cheques for supplier invoices – subject to approval from the directors – on behalf of the RMC. Where AGMs are held we can send out notices, agendas and related documents to owners and attend the AGM if required.
We maintain an approved contractor database to ensure the highest level of workmanship. Through a panel of approved insurance brokers, we can also offer highly competitive insurance services, tailored for the client’s property.
Harwood Hutton has regularly applied for – and been successful in obtaining – tax-exempt status for RMCs on the basis that the accounts are effectively dormant.
Our credit control team aims to recover any monies that are owed quickly and courteously. If we can’t reach an amicable settlement, we will engage a specialist ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor to bring recovery cases to a swift and cost-effective solution.
We work with a roster of qualified specialist contractors to ensure our clients have a competent party carry out the necessary and legally required fire risk assessment of communal areas. We will ensure fire risk assessments are carried out when they due, and we will put the required insurance cover in place.
Our dedicated Property Manager has instructed and managed hundreds of different jobs. All jobs are thoroughly assessed before we seek quotes from competent, local contractors. We make every effort to protect the physical investment of our clients’ properties, while keeping overall spending to a sensible level.
Harwood Hutton can provide a tailored Ground Rent-only collection service (or as an add-on to our full management service) to assure the timely collection of the balances due and remittance of funds received.
Major works may be on a cycle of planned maintenance or they may be unplanned. We will ensure the major works are correctly tendered for by competent contractors. If the major works exceed the limit set under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, we will ensure the full Section 20 process is carried out. We are on hand to assess, advise and potentially supervise major works either directly or through the appointed professionals.
Harwood Hutton handles the management of all planned and cyclical maintenance requirements such as internal redecoration, external redecoration and service maintenance. We will also be mindful of areas where prevention is better than cure.
We carry out regular inspections at all of the properties under our wing.
We will ensure Service Charge Accounts are presented to owners in a timely fashion, allowing them to see the level of expenditure incurred and any balancing payment or credit which may be required following the completion of the year in question.
The share register is basically the allocation of shares that make up the equity in the RMC. Typically, it is the role of the director or authorised person to make sure the shares are allocated correctly and that the allocation is up to date. Incoherent or incorrect share allocation will hamper and delay the sale process and can also prevent comment at an AGM.
*where the RMC is a company limited by shares
As an addition to the management service, Harwood Hutton can arrange for statutory accounts to be filed for your RMC to avoid undue stress and potentially costly fines for tardiness.
I always get quick, clear and definitive responses from the Harwood Hutton tax team – commercial answers to commercial issues.Robin Berry – Morgan Management
Right from the outset Harwood Hutton gave us direction and great advice – and that advice has evolved over the years as we’ve grown. We’re both medium-sized companies providing a bespoke service – one furniture, one accountancy – and the relationship works.Andy McCarron, McCarron and Co
I’m deeply impressed with Harwood Hutton’s extensive knowledge of tax arrangements for residential and commercial property landlords.Qadeer Ahmed, MD, ABA Finance
They really took their time to understand what was important to us and our business and the expertise we required. Whoever we speak to at HH, we get the same fantastic response and technical input. It’s a real partnership.Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
I have worked with the directors at Harwood Hutton on a number of mutual client matters over many years. The reassurance of their clear, commercial and focussed advice is one of the main reasons I regard this as one of my most valuable professional relationships.Frank Wessely, Partner, Quantuma LLP
Harwood Hutton never seem to rest on their laurels. They are always seeking out new avenues and ways to improve their offering. A very forward-thinking company with staff who are always well briefed and who approach each task with drive.Karl Austen, MD, Surefoot Communications
We have engaged Harwood Hutton in several areas of structuring, including VAT issues, decoupling an SPV from a group structure and HMRC clearance for a transaction. The team have exceeded all expectations by being proactive, measured and very thorough.Adam Fawsitt, Director, FHT Limited
We moved to Harwood Hutton as they delivered a succinct and professional proposal. If anything, we have been more impressed post-move. They are a fantastic company to work with. They do truly differentiate. They have the skills and capabilities of a mega firm but with a personal service.Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers