Many developers and Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs) employ managing agents to provide maintenance and other services in housing developments. The managing agent works under the instructions of the OMC.
Managing agents’ services typically include:
- Inspecting and maintaining common areas
- Organising waste collections
- Collecting service charges from owners
- Administrative duties, such as arranging buildings insurance cover
- Organising meetings between the OMC and owners
- Responding to enquiries from owners
Owners pay the costs of employing the managing agent as a part of their annual service charge. The cost of the agent will depend on the firm, but largely depends on the range and quality of services provided.
Before you buy a home in a multi-unit development, you should find out if the developer and/or OMC has appointed a managing agent.
Who appoints the managing agent?
Developers generally appoint a managing agent at the outset of a development, often before the first unit is sold.
The developer should:
- Inform buyers that a managing agent has been appointed
- Outline the services that will be provided
- Explain the managing agent’s procedures for dealing with requests/complaints from owners
Once an OMC has been established, it appoints a managing agent. This should be done through a written contract between the Owners’ Management Company and the managing agent, which clearly sets out both parties’ obligations and responsibilities. As part of the contract, the agent should agree to meet at least quarterly with the Owners’ Management Company or residents’ committee.
How to complain
The contract between the OMC and the managing agent should set out how the managing agent should deal with owners’ complaints.
If you are dissatisfied with the managing agent’s performance, you should raise the issue with your OMC but you should not withhold your service charge as a protest. This is a breach of your lease and could lead to financial difficulties for your OMC.
Who regulates managing agents?
The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) licenses and regulates managing agent services. You can make a complaint to the PSRA about a managing agent but you should contact your OMC first, as the OMC employ the managing agent. The PSRA also regulates other property service providers such as auctioneers and estate agents.