'Lax' managing agents under fire...again

Firms charged with the upkeep of blocks of flats – known as managing agents – could be putting occupants at risk, according to a leading property management company.

By law, any block of flats with common areas should undertake health and safety and fire risk assessments, typically on an annual basis, and have electrical installations assessed every five years. The property must also be surveyed for asbestos and, if found, monitored regularly.

However, property firm Urban Owners has found that 56 per cent of flats in the UK do not undergo a fire risk assessment, and up to 93 per cent do not have their electrics tested. More than 80 per cent of properties had never been inspected for asbestos.

"The lax attitude of many managing agents towards safety is unacceptable," said Steve Wylie, director of property firm Urban Owners. "Unprofessional firms are routinely neglecting their legal responsibilities."

There are an estimated 1.8 million flats and properties in the UK which are owned on a leasehold basis and are overseen by managing agents. The industry has been mired in controversy over large fees and lack of transparency in recent years.

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