It is a very common situation. As a leaseholder in a block of flats you see things that need doing in the building. One of the lightbulbs in the stairwell has been broken for weeks, or the stairwell isn’t being cleaned as often as it should. You pass these things on to the freeholder or Managing Agent but nothing gets done! Why do you even have to pay the service charge if it isn’t being used properly?
If you are fed up of not having a say in how your service charge is being spent or tired of chasing for maintenance to be done without any response, perhaps it’s time to take matters into your own hands! The good news is, you and the other leaseholders in your building may be able to, thanks to the ‘Right to Manage’ provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
The ‘Right to Manage’
When you, as a group of leaseholders, want to take over the management of the building, you need to apply for your ‘Right to Manage’. This legal process, which does have some specific criteria that you need to meet before being able to apply, is designed to give you control over the management of the block of flats.
As part of the process you and the other leaseholders form a Limited company. This limited company and its appointed Directors then carry the responsibility of ensuring that the building is kept in a good condition, overseeing any concierge or maintenance staff and managing the budget for any repair or maintenance work that needs to be done.
There are a lot of things to think about when managing your own block of flats, some of which are more obvious than others. To help you get started, here are 3 Top Tips from Elizabeth Adams, AWH’s Managing Director, covering some of the most important – and yet perhaps not immediately considered – aspects of managing a block property:
Be fire aware
“Updated fire legislation has been coming out on a frequent basis since the Grenfell fire which places ever more regulation and onus on the freeholder and the freeholder’s managing agent to ensure all parts of the building meet the current standards.”
Communication is key
“Block management is always a two-way communication between freeholders and leaseholders, usually via the managing agents. In order to keep up excellent standards for the building(s), it’s imperative that there is a good flow of information between leaseholder and freeholder.”
Keep a close eye on costs
“Running a building can be costly, but there are many ways to keep the service charge under control, which reflects well on the managing agent and ensures there are funds for the highest priorities.”
Why use a Property Manager
As you can see, unless you are a professional landlord, taking over the management of the property, along with the tasks and responsibilities that involves, will normally be done in your free time if you have a day job.
Of course, that is where dedicated property managers can come in and remove some of the burden from you.
While you, as the leaseholders who are exercising your ‘Right to Manage’, are ultimately still responsible for the upkeep and management of your property, a property manager is there to take the day-to-day tasks off your hands.
This takes a variety of forms, from overseeing the maintenance of the property, dealing with insurance claims to collecting service charge payments. A good property manager will also support you in setting budgets, creating a maintenance plan and even ensure compliance with current Health & Safety and Fire regulations.
At AWH, we pride ourselves on offering a 1st class property management service, with a block property portfolio that includes a range of property types in and around central London. The service we offer is always tailor-made for the property, depending on the client’s particular needs.
Take control of your property
If you are interested in finding out more about what is involved in managing a block property yourself, we are here to help.
Download the PDF guide and discover:
- The benefits of exercising your Right to Manage
- What it involves
- How a property manager can help
Alternatively, contact us for tailored expert advice from our property management team. Call 0800 071 5517 or email email@example.com.