The ICSH is hosted a webinar on Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs) on Thursday 28th May. OMCs are said to be the glue holding together the running of apartment blocks and managed estates throughout the country. Approximately 20% of apartment stock is social rented (local authority or AHB). 60% of stock is in the private rental sector, including rents underpinned by social/public supports. An understanding of the relationships, finances, law, and on-the-ground practices for OMCs is key to the voluntary housing’s involvement with the sector.
The webinar started off with a quick poll to establish what attendees believe to be the biggest challenge facing OMCs during the Covid-19 crisis. There was a joint top 3 response with the following recorded as the biggest challenges:
- A rise in tenant complaints (due to restricted services)
- Cleaning of communal areas
- Delays in maintenance and repairs
The first speaker, David Rouse, a Multi-Unit Developments Advisor with The Housing Agency gave an overview of the key issues for AHBs and OMCs, the implications of Covid-19, the relevant legislation and the role of state bodies. Russell Grainge, our second speaker, is the Head of Property Services with Circle VHA and he presented some practical experience of the management of multi-unit developments and OMCs from an AHB perspective. He discussed issues such as the life cycle management of apartment blocks and the differences between old and new schemes, He highlighted the importance of communication with tenants and to include them in decision making processes where possible; as well as the set up of residents groups where owners and tenants are involved in the running of the apartment scheme.
Feedback from attendees was very positive with many commending the comprehensive and concise presentations with a lot of relevant information and experiences to take back to their own areas of work.