Why are we moving away from Rendall & Rittner?
As you are aware the property management of your Lifestory community has been outsourced to Rendall & Rittner since Summer 2019. During this time, we have worked closely with our homeowners, committees, Lifehosts and the Customer Operations team to learn what works best for our communities in managing your homes.
We considered many options to deliver the best service levels for a growing business, and this included how we should communicate with our homeowners, deliver property management services and provide value for money. Our goal is to provide a service that we can control and continually improve that can be seen as a market leader in the property management sector .
We are really excited by this change as it means that property management will be handled by our own Lifestory team who are fully invested in finding the best solutions for you and our communities.
Ultimately, we want you to always receive the best possible value for the service charge and management fee you pay, and we believe through this approach we can ensure we are consistently providing an outstanding customer experience, which supports you throughout your whole journey.
When will this happen?
The transition plan will commence in October of 2022 and the handover is planned to complete across all 3 regions by December 2022 starting with the London and South East region on 3rd October, then with Midlands and North going live on 2nd November. It will then conclude with the South and Southwest going live on 16th November. The exact timeline for individual properties will be communicated in due course.
Our teams will ensure the handover process is as smooth as possible, so there is no interruption to the services you receive, laying the foundations for continued improvement. We will communicate a plan for the transition phase in due course, but if you have any queries in the meantime, please contact [email protected]
What should we do with our current standing orders/direct debits?
Leave them in place until Lifestory contact you directly to outline what you need to do next.
Will Lifestory change the contractors we currently see around our community?
We regularly discuss with the Lifehosts/GM’s about the performance of general contractors such as gardeners, cleaners, etc so if they continue to do a good job at a fair and reasonable price, there is no reason to make changes.
For some of our larger contracts for plant, mechanical and electrical services, we will review and go out to tender before contracts expire, if required. Employing local suppliers is also of importance to us and will be considered.
Rendall & Rittner already place all contracts in the name of the landlord so the transition will be straightforward. Lifestory has always contracted the Tunstall service, insurances, health & safety and risk assessments directly, so also minimal change here.
Until we announce the day that Rendall & Rittner are no longer responsible for the management of your development, everything will continue as normal. We will communicate well in advance of any changes in communication lines and methods.
Who will prepare our next service charge budget and answer queries?
Rendall & Rittner remain responsible for managing your development until we advise of the exact date their involvement will cease. As with past years, Lifestory will work with Rendall & Rittner on the budgets that are due which they are in charge of.
Will the transition increase our service charge?
We cannot make any promises on the service charges as there are several elements of cost and fee for example, utilities, insurances and maintenance contracts that are subject to market conditions. The transition process itself will not increase the Management Fee in the first year nor will the service charges be affected by any demobilisation or mobilisation costs as these are all being picked up by Lifestory.
How do we find out more information about this new business?
Lifestory will communicate regular updates to each community and a team of us will be visiting every community involved to provide more details and answer any questions. We will advise you of the date of the visit to your community in the coming weeks. We encourage you to contact us at [email protected] if you have any specific queries prior to our visit.
Who will be responsible for H&S matters/training for the site team?
Lifestory are currently responsible for training all the Lifehosts and General Manager's and this will not change. Over the past 18 months we have created a number of processes, new induction manuals and increased support for our team. Health and Safety is a vital part of this and will remain one of our highest priorities. We have just appointed a new Head of Health & Safety to the business and a significant part of their role will be to oversee the operational developments.
Is there a full list of services that will be provided by Lifestory?
There will be a full list of services that will be provided and if any additional costs are to be applied for items such as a sales pack, we will ensure this is communicated clearly.
What does this mean for our Lifehost/General Manager?
For a vast majority of Lifehosts/General Managers/on-site team it won't mean much change but should allow a faster resolution of issues with our properties and the management of these and having more senior support on the ground on a more regular basis. We are also working on implementing a structured training programme for all of our on site teams to better equip them for the roles they do including training on a Property Management System we are implementing.
As with anything, there will have to be some change, and in order to effectively deliver this, we will be undergoing a consultation process with the senior team over the coming weeks in order to resource into the new structure that will be required for us to provide the property management function within the Customer Operations team. This will affect only a small number of senior roles and not your on-site team members.
What are you going to do differently and how do you know you can do it better?
We are investing in new business systems, staffing and training to improve the levels of service and efficiency across all our communities . We have learned a lot in the past 2.5 years of what works well and what doesn’t.
Some of the key areas that we are focusing on are the presentation and transparency of financial information, efficiency in our supply chain, better use of IT for managing and resolving issues and the creation of formal joint residents committees at every one of our communities.
What will the new Property Management business be called?
The legal entity for this service will be Lifestory Customer Operations Ltd, but this is simply part of the Lifestory Group customer experience.
What will the company organisation look like after this change?
The new company organisation will closely follow the existing organisation where our communities are supported locally and regionally by our on-site teams. In addition to this the regions will be supported by a number of group functions such as Finance, Procurement, HR, IT and Health & Safety.
Can we give you suggestions and points to consider as you put all this together?
Yes, please direct any comments to [email protected]
Will there be an online system for me to be able to check my account and read any relevant updates on contractors, maintenance etc?
Yes, we plan to launch a portal for you to login and be able to view statements, budgets, accounts, news about the development etc.
What will the new management fee be?
For the first year the management fee will be tied to the fee that is within the existing Rendall & Rittner agreement.
Will you also manage properties outside of Pegasus and Renaissance?
Currently we have no plans to manage any properties outside Pegasus and Renaissance.
Will there be a written document that informs us exactly what to expect of Lifestory as Managing Agents?
Yes, we will create a document that clearly communicates this.
Can you simplify all the paperwork and make it easier to read and understand?
Yes, we are taking into account all the feedback from our current homeowners so we can implement it in order to make improvements wherever possible.
Will there be an Out of Hours service in case of a building emergency?
Yes. This is an important part of the Managing Agent service. We will share more details of this as we get closer to the transition date.
Will the new managing agency be affiliated to an independent professional body?
Yes, the new organisation has recently applied for membership of ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and The Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) have recently merged and are incorporated as ‘The Property Institute’.), and as a professional service provider in its own right will adopt relevant standards applicable to the services it is providing.
Will Rendall & Rittner have completed all outstanding matters, which have arisen during their contract along with sharing information with customers such as forward budgets before the end of their contract?
Rendall & Rittner remain under contract until the point of termination and this includes the requirement to fulfil all obligations regarding service charge budgets and accounts. In addition, the agreement requires Rendall & Rittner to transfer all information and records to Lifestory upon termination. We are working with Rendall & Rittner and their senior management team to ensure that the transition is completed successfully.
Lifestory has agreed an incentive payment to ensure that all outstanding issues that are within Rendall & Rittners’ remit to resolve are remedied before the handover is completed. This incentive is part of the Lifestory mobilisation costs and does not affect service charges.
The Lifestory group are committed to maintaining a good relationship with Rendall & Rittner after the transition of the later living portfolio and they are still contracted to provide property management services for the Anthology brand comprising almost 1000 homes across central London.
Last updated on: 29/3/22