March 18, 2020

Coronavirus 2020 – UPDATES

Coronavirus 2020

Further to the changing situation with regards to the Coronavirus issues affecting our country and the impact on residential property management, please see our latest updates below:

9th September 2020:

We are pleased to advise that property management services are continuing as normal, with the relevant PPE and social-distancing processes in place. As the lockdown is being lifted in sections, this will have an impact on our directors, freeholders and residents from both a social and asset management view so we would like to take a moment to address this and how we are able to help all of you.

AGM & Resident Meeting – Social Interaction & Video Conferencing

With the reduction in physical gatherings now no more than 6, which is likely to remain for some time, it has effectively stopped us from holding face-to-face residents meetings & AGM’s. This is a huge shame as we had started to plan a number of these meetings following the lockdown release in the last month, so we have had to now pause those meeting plans and we’ve let you know if you have been affected. For a growing number of sites, we have seen a big take-up on our offer to hold ‘virtual’ resident meetings and AGM’s, whereby we host the video conference and invite the residents/members to join from their computer, tablet or phone app from the comfort of their own home. The meeting agenda is conducted as normal with minutes provided afterwards. If this is something you would like to consider, please do let us know so we can arrange one for you.

Board meetings and site meetings with directors or contractors are currently unaffected as long as there are no more than 6 people present and social distancing is adhered to.

Proactive Management & Inspections

We are now regularly attending our sites as part of routine site inspections and we are pretty much up-to-date now, so there is no longer a backlog as a result of coronavirus restrictions imposed earlier in the year. We are ensuring social-distancing remains in place, we will be using the relevant PPE to keep our staff and the residents safe and overall making sure your property remains in good condition throughout. We are working with you all on routine & planned maintenance as well as S20 works and other plans, so you should see a fairly business-as-usual level of communication, but if you are unsure of the progress of any item of work, please do get in touch with your property manager.

Whilst we are all operating in a rapidly changing environment, we at Evolve are still here for our clients and residents, so if you have any questions, observations or welfare concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. Remember, maintenance issues can still be reported 24/7 online: https://evolvemanagement.fixflo.com/Auth/HomeIssueCreate and our out-of-hours providers are still working and covering all of our sites: http://evolve-management.co.uk/out-of-hours

New Staff

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome two new staff members who have joined us in the last 6 weeks. Tyler Rezaiy as our latest property manager & Sarah Carter as our newest service charge accounts assistant. Our two new colleagues, when added to our existing award-winning team, will allow us to provide the best possible service to all of our clients, so expect to hear from them in due course on various matters, and you can always speak to me, Kelly or Rachel as the senior management team if you have any questions.

2nd June 2020

We are pleased to advise that property management services are continuing as normal, with the relevant PPE and social-distancing processes in place. As the lockdown is being lifted in sections, this will have an impact on our directors, freeholders and residents from both a social and asset management view so we would like to take a moment to address this and how we are able to help all of you.

Social Interaction & Video Conferencing

We have been working with a number of clients on regular video conferences to discuss management issues, updates or other works. Although we have offered this facility free of charge to all of our clients, there are a few who are a bit unsure. The app can be used on a smart phone or tablet so you do not need to use a computer if you are not technically minded. We will be looking to continue and promote video conferencing long after the health crisis is through as we have found it has been very helpful to progress decisions and discuss works without waiting for a convenient physical meeting. Please do let us know if you want to take advantage of this system and we will make sure to offer it when/if a situation arises where that type of meeting would be of benefit.

Proactive Management & Inspections

Following the various risk-assessments, we are now able to attend the sites for less urgent matters and we have started to undertake our next round of site inspections. We are ensuring social-distancing remains in place, we will be using the relevant PPE to keep our staff and the residents safe and overall making sure your property remains in good condition throughout. Our contractors and residents have been amazing throughout this disruption and have regularly reported issues which have been promptly dealt with, so we are not expecting any unwelcome surprises when we attend your site next.

Meetings

As per our earlier note about video conferencing, we have the facility to offer this now. As for physical meetings, the restrictions still make AGM’s impossible, however we can meet residents and directors at the site as long  as it is outside and everyone keeps to the social-distancing restrictions. As long as it is not raining, we are happy to attend your site for a meeting in the communal grounds if required. Please remember to just ask us if you need us to accommodate any special needs for visits or meetings and we will see how we can help.

Safeguarding Residents

One question we have been asked regularly is what to do about any concerns for the welfare of neighbouring residents in your block. The advice we have given is that if you have any serious concerns, for example you have not seen them for some time, they do not answer their door, etc. please contact the ambulance service. If you have neighbouring residents who are struggling to obtain food due to isolating, contact the local authority who can make contact with social services and other care providers. Although this is not within our normal management responsibilities, if you have concerns for a neighbour, we can certainly provide help for the relevant authorities or organisations.

Industry Publications

As a recognition of Evolve’s exceptional response to the coronavirus in our industry, I have been recognised with a full page article in the News on The Block magazine’s latest issue released today which explains how we approach the various considerations to ensure our sites, clients & customers remain cared for at all times. This is a great accolade for our firm and to be featured in the national property management publication

Whilst we are all operating in a rapidly changing environment, we at Evolve are still here for our clients and residents, so if you have any questions, observations or welfare concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. Remember, maintenance issues can still be reported 24/7 online: https://evolvemanagement.fixflo.com/Auth/HomeIssueCreateand our out-of-hours providers are still working and covering all of our sites: http://evolve-management.co.uk/out-of-hours

21st April 2020:

We are pleased to advise that property management services are continuing as normal, with the relevant PPE and social-distancing processes in place. We understand that as the lockdown has now been further extended, this will have an impact on our directors, freeholders and residents from both a social and asset management view so we would like to take a moment to address this and how we are able to help all of you.

Social Interaction & Video Conferencing
We have now invested in a video conferencing platform to enable our directors & freeholders to join us on meetings to discuss management issues, updates or other works. This will allow our valued clients to be able to see us face-to-face, if we cannot come to you, let us bring you to us. If this is something you would like to consider for any meetings before the lockdown and social restrictions are eased, do let us know and we can arrange something. The platform we are using is https://zoom.us/

Proactive Management & Inspections
Although we cannot visit the site’s at this moment in time on routine visits, we are still working with our regular contractors (cleaners, grounds maintenance, etc.) who are regularly reporting any issues or concerns to us. This has allowed us to continue to provide an award-winning service to our estates and mitigate any impact the coronavirus is having on visits to the site.

Safeguarding Residents
One question we have been asked over the last few weeks is what to do about any concerns for the welfare of neighbouring residents in your block. The advice we have given is that if you have any serious concerns, for example you have not seen them for some time, they do not answer their door, etc. please contact the ambulance service. If you have neighbouring residents who are struggling to obtain food due to isolating, contact the local authority who can make contact with social services and other care providers. Although this is not within our normal management responsibilities, if you have concerns for a neighbour, we can certainly provide help for the relevant authorities or organisations.

Finally, whilst we are all operating in a very challenging environment, we at Evolve are still here for our clients and residents, so if you have any questions, observations or welfare concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Remember, maintenance issues can still be reported 24/7 online: https://evolvemanagement.fixflo.com/Auth/HomeIssueCreate and our out-of-hours providers are still working and covering all of our sites: http://evolve-management.co.uk/out-of-hours

6th April 2020:

Further to our previous updates, we wanted to update our valued clients, leaseholders and residents.

So far we have been proactively contacting our contractors at our sites to ascertain their willingness to continue with current works, such as internal cleaning, grounds maintenance, etc. A lot of local agents have scaled back work unless it is either urgent or an emergency, however now of all times we need to ensure our sites are kept in good order, most especially internal cleaning.

As a result we are pleased to advise that nearly all of our estates have a business-as-usual approach, with the relevant PPE for our contractors (gloves, face masks, etc.), social distancing and other precautions as required. The housing minister recently gave specific advice for residential property management which gives specific advice to continue where safe and possible.

Unless we have contacted you specifically about your block, the services will continue as contracted, however if clients wish to suspend any contracts please do let us know and we will advise accordingly. All contractors have been spoken to by our staff and they are aware of what we expect from them considering the current climate but if you have any questions or observations, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

All our staff remain working full time, we are all accessible on the phone and email as normal and we are ensuring a business-as-usual approach to keep our estates and blocks in good order, safe and insured.

We have been approached by some leaseholders about affordability on the service charges and payability. We have to take each case on their merits as we have to ensure cash flow is not interupted and our ability to keep your building and estate safe & insured is maintained. If you have financial problems, please contact us NOW so we can discuss it. All sums invoiced will need to be paid eventually no matter what temporary arrangements are agreed and we are not permitted to reduce service charges without a corresponding reduction in services or contracts if agreed by the client/freeholder/directors.

We will of course update you all as the situation changes or progresses, but please be assured that we are looking after your asset, finances and safety of all residents in our blocks & estates.

The Evolve Team

18th March 2020:

RE: Coronavirus Company Update & Procedures.

We are contacting all of our valued clients to update you on the situation with coronavirus and how it may affect operations with Evolve. Our business and importantly the management of your estate should not change much at all as we have thoroughly tested contingencies with cleaners, electricians, roofers and other contractors as well as emergency coverage.

If any contractor advises us that they believe they may have contracted the virus, we will ask them refrain from attending our sites for at least 14 days. We may have to ask an alternative contractor to attend to undertake the work required or if it can wait until the original approved contractor can attend. This may have an impact on consistency at the estate, so we ask everyone to bear with us during these unprecedented times. As the situation is very fluid, we are relying on daily government advice/instruction and if this has impacts on contractors being able to attend, we will advise you all accordingly. At no time will your estate be left unsafe or unprotected from a fire risk & general health & safety perspective though. We are working with our cleaning contractors to ensure disinfectant is used and a more thorough clean of areas regularly in contact with hands (light switches, door handles, etc.) are kept clean as far as possible.

Regarding our own colleagues. Some of our staff may be working remotely for the time being as they have family members in the at-risk category, however they can all still be reached on the phone as normal and will be able to answer emails and provide their usual service, just not physically based in our Ringwood head office.

We have been advised that mass gatherings, social events or even resident meetings should be avoided for the time being. This could have an impact on arranging AGM’s, directors meetings, residents meetings, etc. as we need to avoid exposing those at risk (due to age or underlying health conditions). Any pre-existing meetings will be discussed shortly with you to see if the meeting can be held in another format, such as a phone conference or postponed. Our primary responsibility is to the health of our clients and customers, which may mean some temporary disruption, however we will do everything we can to engage with you using alternative methods.

Site visits will still be undertaken where an urgent situation arises or there are health & safety or security risks, so we can reassure you that your estate will remain in good hands and we have plenty of external contractors ready and waiting to step in as required, should there be any interruption with existing contractors.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if you have any questions, however we are anticipating no change in the levels of service you receive other than some physical meeting disruption. Normal service will resume as soon as the situation & government advice permits.

Finally, normal office-based work will completely continue as normal, including progress on major works, legal work, sales & purchase paperwork, company secretarial, service charge budgets & collections, maintenance instructions, annual accountancy, supplier & invoice payment processing, etc.

The Evolve Team