Two years after their first appointment, Symonds & Sampson’s contract as Managing Agents for the Poundbury MANCO’s has been extended for a further five year term. Commercial Partner Ryan Holmes explains the role.
When in 2020 the three Poundbury management companies (MANCOs) awarded a two-year contract as managing agents to Symonds & Sampson, it marked a major advance in the maintenance of courtyards. So, the award in February 2022 of a further five-year contract was a resounding vote of confidence in the firm's performance to date.
In 2019, volunteer Directors from the three MANCOs jointly agreed the core services required a managing agency. Until then, these volunteers took personal responsibility for fielding shareholder reports, making site visits, contacting contractors and overseeing repairs or maintenance. As Poundbury grew, and aged, the reports increased and requirements were more complex. Something had to change.
The Directors identified that a professional managing agency could ensure consistent responses, economies of scale and free up Directors’ time to focus on strategic and financial issues. Following a comprehensive tendering process, Symonds & Sampson were appointed – with Commercial Partner Ryan Holmes leading the team.
A two-year contract gave the opportunity for the MANCOs and Symonds & Sampson to develop systems and procedures to ensure efficient management of reported issues, answer queries, instruct works, notify stakeholders, liaise with the MANCO Boards and provide advice on technical property management issues.
Symonds & Sampson ensure that planned maintenance services are arranged in accordance with established best practice, and that contract costs are competitive and benchmarked. Successes to date include savings of several thousands of pounds for all three MANCOs - notably in the delivery of lighting refurbishment contracts, insurance premiums and planned maintenance contracts.
The agents have also employed their experience and expertise to ensure that MANCO shareholders’ funds are spent only on areas that are firmly within the MANCO remit. Any third-party issues are quickly identified and passed to the relevant authority for action.
Although not able to provide solutions to every issue reported, as many lie beyond the MANCOs’ control, the managing agents will always endeavour to advise on who is responsible and assist in communication to the responsible party.
Symonds & Sampson’s qualified team of surveyors also provide complimentary general advice to shareholders on a variety of matters, including leasehold arrangements for private (non-MANCO) courtyards and the coordination and approval of scaffold and skip licences within MANCO courtyards.
Key to the agent’s role is providing a single point of contact for all MANCO shareholders and facilitating resolution of shareholder reports. Over the course of 2020 and 2021, Symonds & Sampson dealt with 1,691 reported issues across all three MANCOs, averaging approximately 74 new reports per month. 2021 saw an increase in total contacts of 71% on the 2020 level.
Towards the end of 2021, with the initial 2-year contract expiry looming, the three MANCO Boards carried out independent value-for-money and performance reviews and each reached positive conclusions. As the Chair of MANCO 2 reported, “In the first two years, Ryan and his team dealt with the practicalities of organising maintenance work whilst also helping to design and establish operational systems and processes – this was no mean feat.”
Working with the MANCO Boards, Ryan helped to establish regular courtyard inspections, a process for addressing bins and other waste in courtyards (against Stipulation requirements) and chasing non-payers of annual fees. As he says, “The role is more than simply ensuring bollards are painted – important though that is. We deal with residents’ concerns and frustrations and do our very best to resolve their issues.”
Symonds & Sampson LLP undertake a wide variety of property management assignments on behalf of individuals, trusts, estates and corporate clients. Our experienced staff deal with daily administration, maintenance and upkeep of residential, commercial and agricultural property, including account keeping and the management of complete property portfolios.