Manage

Managing the Homes

Once the drama of getting your homes built is over the work doesn't stop! You have already planned how you will set rents and oversee tenants. Make sure you have good practices which can stand the test of time and any changes in personnel as time passes. Your group has committed to managing homes for your community for a long time.

Photo: Halton Mill

The Hub can

  • Help you develop transparent, fair policies and practices based on the experience of others
  • Make sure your governance continues to be robust and appropriate, so you are confident and accountable
  • Link you with others who have experience of similar issues

You may have some areas that are used by all the tenants such as corridors and stairs in flats and parking areas and bin stores outside. You will have to arrange for these to be cleaned and repaired and pay for any electricity. You may want to charge the tenants a fair share of this separately or include it in the rent. If your tenants claim benefits for the rent, then this may not be covered by their benefits.

You will need to arrange for safety checks each year for the heating and hot water systems which is a legal requirement. You will also need to take out insurance for any damage to the property and in case one of your tenants or someone going onto the property gets injured and you are responsible.

You could ask a property manager to deal with all of this for you or you could ask a Housing Association to manage it. You can find out more in the Housing Associations section of the Develop your Plan page.

You should aim to make a small surplus that you should set aside for large things that will need replacing or repairing in the future such as a new roof or replacing boilers. If you make any 'profit' you will need to think about what you want to do with this.

Sustainability

  • If your homes are built to a very high standard of energy performance and sustainability, make sure to bring this out in your rental or sales marketing. Tenants and buyers will be attracted by the prospect of very low energy bills and a healthy environment inside the homes.
  • As with any heating system, if you've opted for a shared boiler for your development (district heating), factor in the ongoing servicing and maintenance.
  • Also allow some management time for administering the income you may be gaining from renewables at your development.
  • If you've installed biomass, you'll need to factor in management time for ordering pellets, ensuring you source them from approved suppliers in line with requirements of the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
  • Allow management time for any communal facilities.

Getting started and keeping going

Before the homes are finished you will need to find someone to rent or buy them. Do this in good time but not so early that your potential tenants find something else. Allow at least three months to sign up your tenants before your houses are finished - longer if the houses are being sold.

Confirm with your builder that work will be completed on time.

Ongoing management responsibilities include:

  • Collecting rent and deposits from the tenants
  • Arranging for repairs and maintenance to be carried out
  • Finding new tenants when people move out
  • Cleaning and maintenance of any communal areas (stairs, parking areas, bin storage for instance)
  • Annual safety checks on heating and hot water systems
  • Make sure empty property is locked, with water and power turned off
  • Insurance to cover any damage to property or people for which you could be held responsible

Your business plan should have helped you plan to make a small surplus which can be used for both planned and unexpected maintenance. It is part of your role to monitor your finances regularly and make sure that your income can support all your foreseeable costs.

If you are working with a Housing Association (see some examples on our Links page) you may find that they can play a role in these ongoing considerations, in return for an agreed management fee. This suits some groups very well.