Apart from the Annual General Meeting, to which all Directors should make every effort to attend, most Boards of Directors are encouraged to meet at least twice a year. One of those meetings would be with the Managing Agent to formulate the following year’s budget, and the other meeting to discuss ongoing issues. Many larger developments with active Boards will meet every eight to ten weeks. Being a member of a Board of Directors normally means you are the first people to discuss and approve or reject potential costly items of maintenance or repair.
You must always remember that it is property owners’ money you are dealing with, including your own, and even though there may be a desire to keep service charge bills down, you as a Board are responsible under the lease/TP1, for maintaining the property. Failure to do so could result in difficulties further down the line. Your Property Manager should normally have the best financial overview of the property as they are aware of cash flow and the likely expenditure, including cyclical major works due under the terms of the lease/TP1, and their input at any budget meeting should be listened to carefully. If a reserve fund is allowed for in the lease/TP1, it should be utilised to its maximum potential.
The Board Meeting provides a forum for input from the Managing Agents and your fellow Directors, to receive updates on outstanding issues, and to discuss possible solutions. There may be times when other property owners approach you with matters of concern, when they learn that you are a Director. This clearly has both benefits and drawbacks. The benefit being that you become aware early of certain issues, and can decide whether it is a matter for the Board, or should be handled by the Managing Agents. It also enables you to reassure the property owners that their problem will be looked at.
Our experience as a Managing Agent, can cover small units, up to vast developments of many hundreds of units. This allows us to take a large part of the workload away from the Directors, and includes services such as: collecting service charges, chasing up arrears, providing maintenance services such as cleaning and gardening to a development, organising repairs, instigating health and safety inspections, and, following consultation with the Board, acting on recommendations.
The above is intended to take away much of the difficult work associated with running a property, leaving the Directors to concentrate on general matters and priorities of expenditure within the budget.