16 July 2021
Resident Directors work with professional managing agents like FirstPort to make sure their development is safe, clean and comfortable and that their community is a great place to live. A recent survey by FirstPort revealed that 70% of resident directors took on the role because they have a sense of pride in their development and want to see it well-managed.
We often hear from residents who want to be more proactively involved in how their development is run but are unsure if they have the right qualifications to fulfil the role. There isn’t a required qualification to become a resident director, and each and every director will have their own unique skills and experience they can harness to support their neighbours.
Top ten traits:
Here, we’ve highlighted some of the common traits shared by resident directors we work with.
1. Strong communicator
Key to success is regularly communicating with your fellow directors, leaseholders, residents, sub-committees, and any other stakeholders. Establishing regular communication with your managing agent is also important, and they’ll be able to advise on the best ways to keep everybody in the loop on decisions impacting your development.
2. Team player
It sounds simple but establishing close working relationships with all of your stakeholders will help to keep standards high – it’s important that everybody feels part of a team that’s all pulling in the same direction. Also, identifying complementary personality types and different skillsets helps to create a well-rounded board of directors. For example, a professional accountant can review budgets whilst an event manager can look at community engagement initiatives. The most successful boards play to each other’s strengths.
3. Keen learner
Although resident directors don’t need to have specific specialist knowledge, as directors of a limited company they will need to gain an understanding of both the relevant aspects of company law and leasehold law. The company’s rules will be laid down in its Memorandum and Articles of Association and the lease will define the obligations the directors are responsible for ensuring the management company fulfils. The company also has a duty to comply with a range of health and safety regulations too. Your managing agent will be on hand to provide you with guidance. In fact, our survey highlighted that 80% of resident directors rely on their property manager for support or advice in their role.
4. Creative thinker
At times it helps to be able to think outside the box and look for new ways to tackle problems. For example, working with your fellow directors and managing agent to find new ways to engage with leaseholders and residents. It could be a virtual meeting over Teams or Zoom, a WhatsApp group, or dedicated drop-in sessions for each sub-committee.
5. Long-term thinker
One of the most effective ways to preserve the value of your development is by looking at the bigger picture, especially when making decisions concerning budgets and maintenance matters – short-term savings can cost more in the long run. Being a long-term thinker, budgeting for years to come and having the eye for detail that helps keep your development looking good is typical of effective resident directors. Working with your managing agent, share and discuss plans for the development and any major expenditure with your fellow residents to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Good resident directors are personable and approachable. Developing an open and transparent partnership with your fellow directors, leaseholders, residents and managing agent reduces any tension and ultimately makes for a nicer living environment. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be available 24/7. Boundaries may need to be set so that you can switch off and enjoy your home. Simple things go a long way, like setting up a dedicated email inbox that can be monitored by all directors to share the responsibility whilst making sure residents queries are heard.
7. Acts with integrity
Trust and honesty are crucial to developing strong relationships. Directors must always make decisions in the best interest of the company and its members – never for the individual. Maintaining impartiality and being transparent with important decisions such as managing budgets or instructing required major works (not just desired) is of the utmost importance. Resident directors will also be privy to confidential information so it’s crucial that you act with discretion at all times.
8. Well organised
Our survey revealed that 61% of resident directors are employed and fulfil their role alongside their job, and a third also fulfil other responsibilities in their spare time. Getting the work-life balance right can be challenging so it’s important to be organised. As a board, establish clear points of contact and lines of ownership for the various tasks to help prevent anybody becoming overwhelmed. Again, your managing agent is there to provide you with support and advice in the role and to update you on any industry changes that may impact you.
9. Decision maker
As a resident director you need to be decisive but also be willing to listen to your fellow directors, leaseholders, residents and managing agent when making decisions about what’s best for the company and the development. Directors should expect to lead the decision-making process and be proactive when making suggestions or proposing any changes.
With our home environments having become even more important to us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resident directors having a genuine passion and taking pride in your community has never been more apparent. It’s this enthusiasm which often has a ‘knock on’ effect and helps ensure your fellow leaseholders and residents love where they live and want to work with their Resident Management Company (RMC) or Right to Manage (RTM) Company to maintain this.
Working with resident managed developments across the UK, we understand that each community and board of directors is unique, and so too is their approach. Whilst these are some of the common traits we’ve encountered in our four decades of experience working with resident directors, this list is not exhaustive.
Becoming a resident director is a great opportunity to get more involved with decisions about your development, to support your neighbours, and to help make sure your community is a great place to live. So, if you’re interested in finding out more about the role, why not start by speaking to one of your board directors or your managing agent to see how you can make a difference.
Want to know more? Just get in touch…
We understand the challenges property management creates for Resident Directors. With over 40 years’ experience, FirstPort works with over 1,000 resident managed developments across the UK, helping RTM and RMC Directors meet their management and legal obligations, all while delivering a great service for residents too.
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