COVID -19 – Update week commencing 30th March 2020
We, as your Property Factor, have our challenges in this current climate and we are sure most of our owners will recognise this. Our Group Managing Director, David Reid, is President of the Property Managers Association Scotland and Nic Mayall, our Operations Managing Director, is the Vice President of the Association. We can, via this platform, seek to establish information from Scottish Government and other member firms within the industry to understand if there is a consistent position, to ensure we are delivering to our customers the correct approach. We have been liaising with other factors directly and, as expected, they are facing a common challenge. The firms we have spoken with have indicated a similar approach as below.
Key points for homeowners to recognise are:
- Current Government guidelines indicate that services such as gardening, cleaning, window cleaning etc. can continue, at present, if the social distancing rules can be applied. This includes travelling to site with no more than one person in a van. Whilst some of our suppliers can do this, a number are unable to do so and, indeed, some have a current lack of availability of staff. In such cases, services will have to be withdrawn. We are monitoring this situation on a daily basis and trying, where possible, to appoint alternative contractors although this may prove difficult.
- We are liaising with Associations/Committees, where they exist, and are communicating with our clients electronically via email, our web site and portal, James Gibb +. You should check these communication platforms, if you can, on an on-going basis. If you know of neighbours who cannot access the internet, we would ask that you keep them up to date with our communications. As all our staff are working from home, it is currently not possible to produce mass copy print runs of letters etc.
- Where no Association/Committee is in place and we have limited ways of communicating with all owners in the development or to gauge the collective decision of all homeowners, we are having to make some decisions, which in many cases the deed of conditions allow us to do. We cannot simply make a decision on the say so of one or two owners’ opinion, as opinions, so far, have varied dramatically.
- Following removal of COVID-19 restrictions, some of the potential cost savings from non-attendance may have to be utilised for tidy up exercises when services recommence but this will be communicated when the time comes and in consultation with homeowners.
- Where we have site staff, (house manages, concierges etc), we are following government guidelines and will ask them to work from home. Many have the lap tops and telephone communication which allows them to do so. In some cases, the site staff are returning to site in quieter times to carry out essential duties, as an example, bin rotations, security inspections, site report.
- It should be noted that our remit is to manage the development for and on behalf of owners, administering the management of the development/block. This includes all financial matters, information exchange, managing enquiries, managing invoicing and debt control, managing insurance claims and managing services. These services are continuing as normally as possible and you can be assured that we are doing everything we can to minimise disruption during this difficult time. If a supplier cannot not attend site, we can confirm that no charges will be made or passed to owners.
- We confirm that where we have site staff (house managers, concierges etc) and the above process of working from home and attending site continues, this will be invoiced as normal. Where working from home is not possible or site presence is not possible, we will provide further information. Your development manager will confirm the status via the communication platforms stated above.
If you have any urgent queries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone, 0333 240 8325.
The Directors Office