faq's

got something on your mind?

We get asked all sorts of things about property management and apartment living, all the time. So, here’s our handy library of answers to the questions we get asked the most.

If you can’t find the info you’re looking for, you can always give us a buzz or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

cleaning

Q. I don’t think the cleaner is doing a very good job. Who can I tell?

A: If you don’t think the service of any maintenance supplier is up to scratch, then you need to tell your managing agent so they can investigate. There could be a performance issue with the supplier in question, or it could just be that the duration, frequency or specification of the cleaning schedule isn’t right for the needs of your block.

If pbm manages your block, please don’t hesitate to give us a buzz or drop us a line with your concerns and we’ll look into it straight away. You can find our contact details here >

Q. There is a funny smell in a communal part of my apartment block. Who can look into this?

A.  If any of the shared spaces in your block smell odd (like gas, drains or damp for example), please let your Property Manager know straight away. If you smell gas, you should also call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. This service is open 24 hours a day.

If we manage the block for you, we’ll send someone over as soon as possible to do a site inspection and take a look (or smell) at the offending area. If action is needed to resolve the problem, then we will contact the relevant contractors or professionals without delay. You can find our contact details here >

contacting us

Q. How can I contact my property manager?

A.  You can call the pbm office between 9am – 5:30pm Monday to Thursday, and until 5pm on a Friday.

Alternatively you can email your property manager directly, or we have site-specific email addresses that you should be able to find on the notice board in your block.

You can also report a maintenance problem via the online client portal (click the customer zone button at the very top right of this page), or using the form on our contact page.

Find our contact details here >

Q. Who can I contact with an out-of-hours emergency problem?

A. During normal office hours (9am-5,30pm Mon-Thurs, and to 5pm on Fri) you can contact your Property Manager, or any of the PBM team, by phone or email. Click here to get in touch >

If you need to contact one of the pbm team between 5:30pm – 9am on weekdays (5pm on Fridays), or at any time during the weekend or bank holidays, we also offer an emergency out-of-hours phone number as an additional service to some clients. If your block is signed up for this service, you will find the emergency contact number on the pbm plaque at the entrance of your building and on the communal notice boards.

If you don’t have our emergency service, but your block does have a concierge team or other on-site management staff, please contact them instead.

complaints, disputes and queries

Q. My neighbours are causing a nuisance. What can I do?

Firstly, it’s worth checking the terms of your lease, particularly if the problem relates to noise, pets, parking, decoration, communal spaces or other day-to-day things. There might be a specific clause in the lease that relates to the issue, so it’s worth being clear on the facts.

Good communication is often the simple key to avoiding a nasty neighbourly dispute, so if it’s safe to do so, you can try and have a friendly chat with the resident in question to explain what is bothering you. (Often, people aren’t aware they’re causing a nuisance). However, if you don’t feel this is possible, or the resident in question is showing any signs of aggressive, dangerous or illegal behaviour, then please seek professional help.

If we manage your block, please raise the issue with your Property Manager. You can find our contact details here >

You can also call the police and/or the local authorities if the issue is serious, ongoing or threatens your health and safety or that of other residents.

For more info about dealing with neighbour disputes, click here >

Q. I am not happy with how my block is being managed / maintained? Who can I speak to?

A.  If we manage your block, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at any time if you are concerned about something. You can find our contact details here >

It is our job to create cared for spaces, build happy homes and achieve better value for our clients, so if you feel that we’re falling short on any of these things, please let us know so we can put things right.

Q. I’m not happy with how pbm handled my email / call / query? Who can I complain to?

A.  If we have fallen short of expectations somewhere along the line, please accept our apologies. We would welcome the chance to hear what you weren’t happy with and be given the opportunity to put it right. We honestly view complaints as opportunities to improve, so although your communication might be negative in nature, we still consider this to be invaluable feedback.

If you want to make a formal complaint, please click here to find our complaints handling procedure and details of how to contact our complaints handler.

emergency repairs

Q. Who can I contact to request emergency repairs to a part of the apartment building?

A.  Obviously in the event of a real emergency, such as fire or flood, please contact the emergency services by dialling 999.

If something has happened to the inside or outside of your apartment block that makes it unsafe or unusable, then please contact your Property Manager as soon as possible. You can find our contact details here >

If you need to contact one of the pbm team between 5:30pm – 9am on weekdays (5pm on Fridays), or at any time during the weekend or bank holidays, we also offer an emergency out-of-hours phone number as an additional service to some clients. If your block is signed up for this service, you will find the emergency contact number on the pbm plaque at the entrance of your building and on the communal notice boards.

If you don’t have our emergency service, but your block does have a concierge service, please get in touch with the concierge team initially.

Q. The roof of my flat has been damaged in a storm. Who can I contact to arrange repairs?

A.  If your block is signed up to our emergency contact service, then you will find the emergency contact number on the pbm plaque at the entrance of your building and on the communal notice boards.

Alternatively, if the problem has occurred during office hours, you can find our office contact details here >

Q. There is water leaking into my flat? What should I do?

If your block is signed up to our emergency contact service, then you will find the emergency contact number on the pbm plaque at the entrance of your building and on the communal notice boards.

Alternatively, if the problem has occurred during office hours, you can find our office contact details here >

Q. There is water leaking into my flat? What should I do?

A.  If you think there is a leak, or you notice signs of damp or water ingress generally, please contact your Property Manager to make them aware of the problem. You can find our contact details here >

There are various reasons why water might be getting into places it shouldn’t, such as wind-driven rain, leaking pipes, overflowing baths, eroded grouting around sinks, showers or baths, etc. Sometimes leaks and damp can even develop as a result of more than one source!

The key is to establish the source of the leak and to stop it! That’s where we can help. We can clarify who is responsible and arrange (or help you arrange) any necessary repairs and making good. If you need to make an insurance claim, we can also provide you with the necessary information to do that.

feedback

Q. I’d like to give you some feedback. How can I do that?

A.  We honestly welcome all feedback. If you have something good to say, then we’d love you to pop your comments onto Feefo. Or on Google My Business, if you have a Gmail account.

Of course, we’re also more than happy to hear from you in person by phone or email – particularly if you’ would like to discuss something in a bit more detail or want to raise a concern. Feel free to get in touch at any time. You can find our contact details here >

If you want to make a formal complaint, please refer to our complaints handling procedure for details on how to do that.

fees and charges

Q. What are your block management fees?

A.  Our fees vary depending on the size of your block and the scope of our agreement with you. However, in line with the RICS Residential Management Service Charge Code, we charge every client a fixed fee, based on a per unit basis.

Some clients may have also requested additional services, specific to their particular block, or have opted for our out-of-hours support service, so there may be additional fees for certain sites. If you aren’t sure what the deal is for your block, please just ask.

Our fees carry VAT and our registration number is 814 8238 26. All aspects of finance are handled completely opening and transparently at PBM, so the price you see is the price you pay.

Q. Do you charge any extra fees or earn any commissions?

A.  We charge a basic fixed fee for every client. Some clients also have additional services (for example, out-of-hours support), for which there is an extra charge. This will be detailed in the management agreement.

We also charge card payment handling fees on bounced payments. This is made up of the fee that we get charged by the bank, plus a small admin fee.

Q. Where do you hold client money for things like service charges or reserve funds?

A. We hold all Service Charge and Reserve Fund monies in dedicated Client Trust Accounts, in line with Section 42 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.

Reserve Funds are ringfenced separately from Service Charges and any interest received goes directly to leaseholders.

insurance

Q. Where can I get a copy of the buildings insurance for my flat?

A.  You can find a copy of your buildings insurance certificate by logging into the client portal on this website (click the customer zone button in the top right corner of this page).

Alternatively, feel free to contact us by phone or email to request a copy. You can find our contact details here >

Q. Can I claim for damages or repairs on the buildings insurance for my flat?

Possibly, depending on the terms of the policy for your flat and the cost of the claim compared to the excess that would automatically be payable. We can put you in touch with the relevant insurance company or broker, so you can discuss the details of your potential claim and confirm the policy details if needed. You can find our contact details here >

leases and legal documents

Q. Where can I get hold of a copy of the lease for my flat?

A.  If you own the flat, then you would have received and signed a copy of the lease at the time you purchased the property. This is a legal document and should be kept safely.

But.…we know that sometimes things get lost. If you have misplaced your lease and need to get hold of a copy you can either buy one from the Land Registry, or request a copy from us. We make a charge of £50+VAT for this. You can find our contact details here >

lifts

Q. There is a problem with the lift in my block. Who can I tell?

A.  If the lift in your block isn’t working properly or is damaged in some way, please let your Property Manager know straight away. If we manage your block, we will send someone out to see what needs to be done to fix the problem. You can find our contact details here >

Note: If someone is stuck in the lift, there should be an emergency contact button inside. Press it and you’ll be connected to someone who can help.

Q. How often do the lifts in my block get maintained and who pays for this?

Maintenance plans can vary from block to block, but there will always be an annual lift inspection that is covered by the engineering insurance policy. Servicing is done by the lift maintenance company on a quarterly basis and this is typically paid for from Service Charge monies.

major works

Q. What are major works?

A.  Major works are just that; significant undertakings of work to maintain, update or repair the fabric of your building. They are major in scope and usually pretty major in terms of cost too. Major works usually include things like:

  • Replacing the roof
  • Internal or external redecoration
  • Lift replacement or refurbishment
  • Re-carpeting
  • Installing a new security system

Read our handy ‘Block Management Jargon Buster’ article about Major Works to find out more >

parking

Q. Someone else keeps parking in my allocated parking space. What can I do?

A.  Bad parking, lack of parking and the use of other people’s allocated spaces is an all too common cause of neighbourly dispute!

Before you march angrily round to your neighbours or put notes on windscreens, we always advise that you first just check the terms of your lease to see what it says about the parking arrangements for your block.

Of course, if your flat comes with a dedicated parking space (and this is specified in your lease) then you are completely within your rights to politely ask your neighbours not to use the space, provided you feel safe/comfortable doing so.

If you continue to have a problem, then please let your Property Manager know, so that we can help you to resolve the issue. It could be that we need to send a reminder to all residents in the block, put up private parking signage or increase/put in place car parking control. You can find our contact details here >

Q. Someone has left their car in an awkward place, causing an obstruction. What can I do?

Parking restrictions can vary from location to location, but if you give us a call with the make, model and number plate of the car in question, we will try and see if we can resolve the issue.

Q. People who don’t live in our block keep parking their cars in our spaces. What can we do?

A.  We all know that parking is often at a premium in built up areas, or places that are near town centres and stations. So some people chance their luck by parking in the bays that are allocated to your block of flats. They might genuinely think it’s free parking, or miss the ‘residents only’ signage (if it exists). Or they might be fully aware and just abandon their car anyway!

If you are having trouble with non-residents parking in the spaces that are allocated to your block, please get in touch with your Property Manager to raise the issue. You can find our contact details here >

We’ll refer to the terms of your lease to check exactly what rights you (or others) have to use the spaces in question. Then, if necessary, we can review the signage on-site or take steps to involve the local authorities.

If your block has secure parking (e.g gated or barrier entry) but this isn’t working properly, please let us know straight away and we’ll get someone on-site to fix it.

Q. There are potholes in our car park or problems with the bay markings. Who can I tell?

A.  If you are unhappy with the condition of the parking spaces for your block, or you think that there is a safety risk, please let your Property Manager know as soon as possible. You can find our contact details here >

payments

Q. Which payment methods do you accept for Service Charges?

A.  You can pay Service Charges, or other fees, at any time of day or night online via the ‘client login’ area of this website (click the customer zone button in the top right of this page). Note: payments made via the website do incur a small payment processing charge.

Alternatively you can pay by bank transfer, cheque or credit/debit card over the phone.

pest control

Q. There is a wasps nest in the eaves above my window. Can I get this removed?

A.  We don’t want any nasty bites or stings, so if you do think there is a wasp or bees nest near your flat, please don’t try and tackle this yourself! Contact us and we can arrange for professional pest control people to come and take care of it.

Depending on the terms of your lease and where the insect problem is, the cost of pest control would normally be paid for with service charge monies.

Q. I think my apartment block might have a mouse or rat problem. Who can I call about this?

A. Give us a buzz! We’ll arrange for the necessary pest control people to come and take care of it. Usually, the cost of any pest control work would be paid for with service charge monies.

You can find our contact details here >

In the meantime, even if you can hear or see some little unwelcome visitors, please don’t try and deal with them yourself!

qualifications and accreditations

Q. Which property management industry bodies is PBM accredited with?

A.  PBM is accredited by ARMA (The Association of Residential Managing Agents), the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and RICS (The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

To gain accreditation with these industry bodies, we have demonstrated that PBM complies with over 160 rigorous standards and a strict code of conduct, including;

  • Open accounting and straight dealing
  • High levels of customer care
  • Positive references from block residents

You also get the peace of mind that your money is protected (via RICS Money Protection Scheme) and our work is audited by an independent regulatory panel.

Q. What qualifications do your property managers have?

A.  All of our property managers are affiliates of IRPM (Institute of Residential Property Management), with some qualified at Associate level and others at Member level.

reserve funds

Q. Will I earn interest on the money I pay towards a reserve fund?

A.  Yes. If the terms of your lease provide for the collection of a reserve fund, then that money will be held in a dedicated Client Trust Account until it is needed. If there is interest payable on that amount, that will go directly and equally to the leaseholders.

Service Charges also receive interest. All interest earned on reserve funds or service charges is taxable as Trust Tax.

Q. What is a reserve fund?

A.  A reserve fund is a pot of money that is collected over time (usually as part of your service charge) and specifically set aside to cover major works and cyclical maintenance (i.e the larger maintenance jobs that only need doing every 3-10 years, such as exterior painting, lift refurbishment, etc). Your lease will specify exactly what is covered and over what time period.

Read our handy ‘Block Management Jargon Buster’ article about reserve funds to find out more >

Q. How do you ringfence reserve fund monies so they’re not spent on the wrong client or project?

A.  We hold all Service Charge and Reserve Fund monies in dedicated Client Trust Accounts, in line with Section 42 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.

Reserve Funds are ringfenced separately from Service Charges and any interest received goes directly to leaseholders.

rubbish and recycling

Q. The bins in my block are always full and overflowing. Who can I speak to about this?

Please contact the Property Manger for your block to raise the issue. You can find our contact details here >

If you are able to take pictures and email these to us, that would be really helpful. We are also happy to come and do a site visit to check the situation and determine if the problem is due to residents using the bins incorrectly, or something else (like missed collections by the council, difficult access, etc).

We can then put out a communication to residents, if necessary, or speak with the local council or waste contractor to discuss having more bins, or more frequent collections.

Q. Which bins should I use for recycling at my block and what type of waste will be accepted?

A.  Please contact the Property Manager for your block for confirmation. You can find our contact details here >

The recycling rules can change from area to area. You can find general details of what is accepted for recycling in your area by visiting your local council website, but it’s also worth checking with us if you are unsure about the specific recycling arrangements for your block.

security

Q. I have lost the security key for the front entrance. Can I get a replacement?

A.  Yes you can! Please contact the pbm team and we’ll arrange for a replacement. There will be a charge for this, which we will confirm once we know which block you live in. Costs vary depending on the type of key and the security system in question. You will need to make payment before the new key will be released. You can find our contact details here >

If you ever see anyone behaving suspiciously in or around your block, please call the police.

service charges

Q. How often do you collect service charges?

A.  Service Charges are collected in line with the covenants of your lease (so can vary slightly from client to client) but in every case we use a step-by-step process to request and chase payments.

Q. When do you issue Service Charge Accounts?

A.  We typically issue Service Charge Accounts between 3-6 months after the year-end. Occasionally this can take longer (for example, if we took over the management of your block part-way through a financial year and are waiting on information from the previous managing agent). If that is the case, we’ll issue an s20b notice (in line with the Leasehold and Tenancy Act). This notice will advise you of the delay, list the expenditure to date, and set a deadline by which we expect to have the final accounts ready.

Q. I want to ask a question about my Service Charges. Who should I contact?

A.  Any managing agent worth their salt, should ensure that you have easy access to the right information about your Service Charges. This includes details about how the Service Charge has been calculated, if there are any variances from the previous year (along with an explanation as to why) and exactly how the money you pay has been spent.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of your Service Charges, our advice is always to get in touch with your managing agent and have a chat about it. If that’s us, please don’t hesitate to give us a buzz or drop us a line. Find our contact details here >

site visits

Q. How often do you make site visits?

A.  Our property managers will usually try and visit the blocks that they manage at least once a month.

Q. Do you inform residents when you are due to make a site-visit?

A.  Dates will be listed on your communal notice board. We’re more than happy to meet with you during that visit if there’s something you want to discuss (or you just want to say Hi), but if you’d like a meeting, we just ask that you arrange this in advance so we can agree a mutually convenient time.

Q. Do you tell residents the outcome of a site visit? If so, how is this information communicated?

A.  If there is anything resulting from the visit which residents need to know, or something that we need feedback on, then this will be posted on the communal notice board and/or included in our usual update e-newsletters.

Q. Can we request a site visit for our block if there is something particular we want to raise?

A.  If there is something you’d like to discuss in person, we’d normally try and tie this in with a scheduled site visit, so please get in touch to arrange a suitable time. Find our contact details here >

However, we can make special appointments outside of these contracted visits if there is something particularly urgent that needs to be discussed or looked at. There might be an additional fee for this, depending on the terms of your management contract. If in doubt, just ask us and we can confirm.

suppliers

Q. Who chooses the suppliers and contractors that work on my block?

A.  We are completely independent and don’t have any in-house or subsidiary service providers. Instead, we have built up an approved panel of suppliers who have all been selected based on their ability to work cost-effectively and meet our strict service level agreements.

Most of the suppliers on this panel come by recommendation and many of them are local. We take care to build good working relationships with each and every one. They are all vetted thoroughly and are all required to provide insurance and health and safety information. If they don’t cut the mustard, they don’t make the list!

If you would like to recommend a supplier, then please do. We are happy to connect with them too and discuss adding them to the panel.

Q. How often do you review suppliers and is there a tendering process to ensure competitive pricing?

A.  We tender all of our contracts annually and constantly monitor the performance and price of our suppliers throughout the course of the year. We are a dab hand at negotiating too, so will always secure the best price for the job in hand.