Frequently asked questions.

Q: Why is Homestead different from other residential property managers?

Homestead Consultancy Services Ltd has a reputation for attention to detail and round the clock administrative, professional and technical support.  We serve clients with substantial residential property portfolios across the North West, North Wales and the Midlands.

Our focus is on delivering high quality customer service over and above industry standards.  We stand out from our competitors due to our affiliations with key professional bodies, including the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), the Institute of Residential Property Management and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators.  We also follow the ARMA Consumer Charter for the highest standards of customer service and comply with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) guidelines.

We have highly experienced staff who hold important qualifications such as MAAT Accountancy (Member of the Association of Accountancy Technicians), ACIS (Member of Company Secretaries and Administrators Association), FIRPM (Fellow of the Institute of Residential Property Management) and AssocRICS (Associate Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

Q: Where is Homestead based and what is your geographical reach?

From our Lytham St Annes headquarters, we work with residential property owners and developers across North West England, the Midlands and North Wales; covering the Fylde coast, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, South Manchester, Merseyside, the Lake District and Cumbria in particular.

We also operate from our branches in the Midlands and Wales

Q: How many blocks do you manage and how many units?

Homestead currently manages the servicing, maintenance and repairs for over 7,000 properties across 217 separate developments.

Q: How much will your service cost?

Our aim is to keep our management costs highly competitive.  That means a collaborative, cost effective approach to working with you and tailoring our service provision and fees structure according to your business needs.  We want to maximise your investments and keep your costs low.  We can provide references to vouch for the quality, efficiency and affordability of our services.

Company secretarial work and health and saftey are subject to seperate charges.

Q: Do you charge a commission fee for appointing a contractor?

No.  Homestead does not charge a fee or take a commission on contractor selection.  All work undertaken and charged is simply covered within your agreed contract with us and the associated management costs.  This is the best approach for giving you the best price we can and offering better value for money.

Q: How do you deal with the collection of unpaid service charges?

Homestead has robust procedures in place for dealing with non-paying lessees.  The key is to tackle any issues arising at the earliest possible stage and with clear communications with leaseholders.  We have a dedicated credit control team to follow up on invoicing anomalies, shortfalls and to issue effective reminders.

 This usually resolves any payment issues or payment difficulties at the earliest possible stage, but if matters should escalate, we have access to specialist legal assistance to deal with issuing proceedings in the County Court for non-contested service charge arrears or via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in the case of reasonableness of charges being contested as dictated by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Q: Do you provide an out-of-office-hours service for emergencies?

Homestead seeks to offer round the clock support for urgent property repairs and any arising issues with an out of hours emergency contact centre.  The most important element of that process is our 24 hour call out service.  Even when our office is closed, all calls received via this helpline are answered, triaged and monitored according to urgency.

Q: How do you undertake site visits to ensure the building is in good condition and contractors are fulfilling their obligations?

Homestead undertakes regular on site visits to ensure your property is well maintained.  Your dedicated property manager will have a planned schedule of quarterly visits to the development. They will also make periodic visits to check that contractors are fulfilling their obligations. All directors are notified of the quarterly visits in advance, so you can attend as well if you wish.

Q: How do I pay my service charges?

We offer the facility to pay your service charges by monthly standing order, BACS or cheque, subject to lease requirements. You can contact our administration department to discuss your payment options and we will send you the appropriate forms to complete and return.

Q: Are you registered under the Data Protection Act?

Yes.  Homestead is registered under the Data Protection Act, registration number Z6750613.  We are also GDPR compliant.

Q: Can Homestead supply references?

We can provide a range of different references to vouch for the quality, efficiency and affordability of our services.  References can be provided with strong testimonials from clients and directors of residential management companies for whom we work.  Homestead can also provide bank references, accountant’s references and year end accounts if necessary.

Q: Where and how do you keep service charge monies, and how are they administered?

Service charges are collected in accordance with the terms of your property lease and each of our client companies has an independent, ring fenced client account with Barclays Bank which protects the money of each company in accordance with the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002.  This is also in line with best practice guidelines provided by ARMA and RICS. 

Payments are made in full within the timescales dictated by the lease. Alternatively, standing orders can be received on a monthly basis if this arrangement is provided for in the lease.

Q: Are you able to bulk buy services such as block insurance and utilities provision and if so, do you pass on the savings to the client?

Yes and yes.  For example, in the case of Insurance we cover a portfolio worth £350,000,000 and can therefore obtain significantly more cost efficient and better policies.  With utilities, Homestead is recognised by power suppliers as managers of multiple contracts and so we can negotiate preferential rates.  We can also source accountancy services at lower rates too.  All those benefits are passed on to you to help you save money.

Q: Who are the directors of Homestead CSL?

The managing Director is David Bentham FIRPM, AssocRICS
Director: Heather Heywood ACIS
Director: Sandra Jagger

Registered No: 1302831

Q: How many years have you been in the property management business?

Homestead has 45 years’ experience of service charge management.

Q: How many of your staff are involved with management?

There are 30 staff at homestead and all of them are involved in one way or another with the management of properties.

Q: Are you able to bulk buy services and are the savings passed on to the client?

Yes: for instance in the case of insurance we cover a portfolio worth £400,000,000 and therefore are able to obtain cheaper and better policies than the man in the street.

Another example is that we are known to power suppliers as managers of multiple contracts and are able to obtain preferential rates.

We are often able to source accountancy services at rates not available to the man in the street.

Q: Will your fees carry VAT?

Yes.

Q: How can you convince us that you can offer a quality service at a fair cost?

Homestead trades exclusivley in service charge management and has been in the industry for 45 years. we can provide references to vouch for the quality, efficiency and affordability of our services.

All our staff are fully trained and engage in a process of continued professional devolpment.

Q: How much of a comprehensive panel of contractors do you have?

Homestead has an established panel of local contractors with multiple entries for all trades. as well as the expected trades, we can also call on contractors to deal with matters as diverse as lightening conductor services and Honey Bee swarm collection.

Q: What selection criteria do you use for contractors on your panel?

Homestead follows the association of residential managing agents (ARMA) and the royal institue of chartered surveyors (RICS) guidlines.

We also invite nominations to our panel from each of our clients as per the requirements of section 20 of the landlord and tenant act 1985

We are happy to include contractors who come recommended by residents provided that they satisfy the criteria and guidlines we work to

We prefer to use contractors that are local to the clients development.

Q: Can you supply an example of the format of financial information you will use for our block?

This information can be provided on request.

Q: How do you deal with complaints?

Homestead has a complaints procedure that follows the ARma and the RICS guidlines. We also subscribe to the Ombudsman: (property)

Q: what length of notice period do you require?

ARMA guidlines state that there should be 3 months’ notice.

Q: List all of those staff that we are likely to liase with and their qualifications.

A copy of our contact list can be provided upon request.

The following qualifications are held by our staff:

  • MAAT Accountancy qualification (Member of the association of accountancy technicians)
  • ACIS (Member of company secretaries and aministrators Association)
  • FIRPM (Fellow of the institute of residential property management)
  • AssocRICS (Associate member of the royal institute of chartered surveyors)
  • Management and control of enviromental hazards: NEBOSH (National examination board in occupational saftey & health.)
  • LLB (Batchelor of law)
  • Bsc Marketing Management
Q: List any professional or trade bodies to which your firm belongs to.

Homestead is a corporate member of TPI

Our directors are members of ICSA (institute of company secretaries and administrators), the IRPM (institute of residential property management) and RICS (the royal institute of chartered surveyors)

Homestead subscribe to Ombudsman services: (Property).

Q: Please provide full details of your professional Indemnity insurance.

Homestead carry a professional indemnity policy for the sum of £1,000,000. a copy can be provided on request.

Q: provide proof of your probity

Homestead have an excellent reputation with local solicitors for clarity efficiency and speed when delaing with sales.

Homestead also have an excellent credit rating which we would invite potential clients to check.

being members of the RICS provides our client companies with comfort of cover under the RICS clients money protection scheme which covers the loss of funds.

Q: provide a copy of any standard contract you use

we use the standard ARMA model contract.

Q: How Often does a representative from Homestead visit blocks you manage and check on how your contractors fulfil their obligations?

The allocated property manager has a planned schedule of quaterly visits to the development. they also makes periodic visits to check that contractors fulfil their obligations. All owners are notified of the quaterly visits in advance so that they are able to attend if they wish. with larger developments, the visits will be more frequent.

“With Homestead, it’s about doing the ‘right’ thing, staying within the guidelines and looking after the needs of clients and tenants. I’m confident in the knowledge that I’m in safe hands.”

Terry Hall, Carwood Design Print Ltd, Bootle

 

 

 

HOMESTEAD CONSULTANCY SERVICES LIMITED

Company number 01302831

 Directors

J D Bentham FIRPM, Assoc RICS

H T Heywood BA (Hons) ACIS

S Jagger

HOMESTEAD CONSULTANCY SERVICES (CYMRU) LIMITED

Company number 11023357

 Directors

J D Bentham FIRPM, Assoc RICS

S Jagger

HOMESTEAD CONSULTANCY SERVICES LIMITED

Company number 01302831

Directors

J D Bentham FIRPM, Assoc RICS

H T Heywood BA (Hons) ACIS

S Jagger

 

HOMESTEAD CONSULTANCY SERVICES (CYMRU) LIMITED

Company number 11023357

Directors

J D Bentham FIRPM, Assoc RICS

S Jagger

Homestead (Midlands) Ltd

Company No: 11952770

Directors: J.D.Bentham
Sandra Jagger

Regional Manager: Matt Watters

Homestead Consultancy Services Ltd.

29 St. Annes Road West,

Lytham St. Annes, FY8 1SB

T: 01253 640040

E: enquiries@homesteadcsl.co.uk

 

HOMESTEAD (MIDLANDS) LIMITED

Company No: 11952770

Directors: J.D.Bentham
Sandra Jagger

Regional Manager: Matt Watters