The Sorting House
In partnership with urbanbubble, property owners achieved:
- Exterior refurbishment, with interior plans to follow
- Settlement of outstanding debts and claims
- Re-evaluation of the building and rental prices
- Resolution of maintenance issues across the site
The full story:
Since 2000, The Sorting House has offered a creative living environment for residents in Manchester. It houses 107 apartments and eight commercial units, offering a luxury, city-centre living experience with a unique social garden between apartments.
The Sorting House began life as a post office; today, it caters for a wide demographic of leaseholders, owner occupiers and tenants. It blends contemporary and historical appeal, with a rare green space to enjoy on the fringe of Manchester’s up-and-coming Northern Quarter.
The Directors of the Sorting House Management Company ltd approached urbanbubble towards the end of 2015. By March 2016, we had successfully taken over management from the previous team, who had been functioning there for seven or eight years.
The outgoing service found The Sorting House difficult to manage – there were many persistent issues, such as leaks, broken lifts, subpar wall conditioning and unusual architecture that works against regular maintenance. Some of the leaks were so extreme that one apartment had been bearing the ill effects for two years, without any remedial action being taken. Security issues were also present; the front door never closed properly, and the fob system was on the brink of total failure.
But urbanbubble’s main task, it transpired, was the resolution of financial difficulties tied up in the structure. 11 insurance claims were still open, as the previous managers hadn’t updated the teams pursuing them. Additionally, residents were paying a premium for out-of-date building insurance valuation. A re-evaluation was needed, along with copious work on the site’s external features.
Setting the bottom line straight
First, we wanted to solve these continuous financial pressures – most of them were down to poor communication from case to case. The old property agents told us that some of the debt linked to the Freeholder of the building was uncollectable. However, after working closely with the Freeholder and our legal team we put a payment plan in place; we have now collected more than half of the outstanding service charge, and will continue to until their units are sold.
Much-needed outdoor repairs
Solving these difficulties meant we had less resources to bear, at the outset, in other areas. Yet urbanbubble realised the distinctive garden space was largely responsible for the leaks elsewhere, due to moisture build-up. We corrected this over numerous site visits; today, it is watertight, and far more durable to inclement weather. Other external repairs took in the carpark, which had to be reorganised, cleaned and cared for going forward.
We were also able to liaise with Manchester’s council and police force in preventing the homeless from gathering at the building’s exterior. The area is now jet washed regularly, and we’re planning to upgrade the CCTV and intercom system.
Taking a view to internal adjustments
Our progress continues – so far, urbanbubble has solved the fob and front door issues, replaced a glass canopy at a much lower price than expected, and laid a schedule for redecorations across the whole site.
Furthermore, other ‘internal’ changes are in the pipeline: to keep residents in the loop, we’re releasing regular updates for leaseholders, who were never satisfied with the communicative skills of their previous management service. In doing so, we have reassured them that they won’t be hampered by the same lack of control again, increasing their confidence in the management of The Sorting House.
urbanbubble has headed up the transition, and is continuing to work with the site Directors to bring this beautiful site up to date so that it meets the expectations of the modern residential market, and giving it a clean slate for the future.