We currently live in a 5 flat conversion where we manage the property between the 5 owners. It works fine. Sorry I can't find the details of our accountant, but we also use a chartered company secretary who puts together our company documents and files them correctly with companies house. I'd recommend him but he's away at the moment for a month - PM me if you'd still like details. He's not technically a managing agent as he doesn't do day-to-day stuff.
You should probably all become company directors. One of you needs to deal with the money, so bank account, outgoings etc. Then someone else should take on overseeing communal areas, in our case this is mostly booking a gardener. Someone takes responsibility for renewing the insurance every year. Any unforseen repairwork needs to be overseen by someone - this doesn't come up often but we just ask for a volunteer. Inevitably there will be some people in the group that do more than others - try not to get too hung up on that!
Try to have a meeting where you all get around a table about every 6 months. And the good thing about 5 flats is you can vote on things easily.
Thanks greenbanana very helpful. Out of interest would accountants do the filing fior companies house as well as accounts or do we need specifically a chartered company secretary? I would be grateful for their details thank you.
I think some accountants would do the filing for you as well, but not sure. I don't think you have to have a chartered secretary but it certainly makes everything look much more professional - we're just selling our flat at the moment and having someone 'official' to answer freeholder queries etc has helped. Solicitors seem generally confused by there being no managing agent. I've sent you details and example costs.