Answers from Our Property Expert
What our customers are asking
What is compartmentation and what materials are used to separate compartments with a building?
The word compartmentation is used to define the fire separation between escape routes and between flats. A compartment is simply a part of a building bounded by walls and floors that will resist the passage of fire for a specified period of time. All penetrations thr...Read More
What is block management?
Block management can often be confused with AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) for individual flats. The former is a highly specialised and regulated area whereby the 'managing agent' is appointed by residents or developers to undertake the duties of managing he fabrick...Read More
What is a reasonable service charge?
What even is a fair service charge ?Normally your freehold and/ or managing agent agree the required service charges for your block. There is no set level defined by a lease or enshrined in law. The estimates laid out for itmes in service charge for your block do nee...Read More
How much should a property management company charge?
If you are talking about a block management fee which is incorporated into your overall service charge then in London it should be around £275 per flat per annum plus VAT. Who pays the service or estate charge?The service charge payable for a flat is usually laid out...Read More
How much do management companies charge?
Managing agent fees vary throughought the country anything form £250 per annum ber flat plus VAT to as much as £500 per unit for higher end blocks with high levels of amenity. A fair and reasonable level for a 2 bedroom property within the M25 should be around the £2...Read More
Can a freeholder appoint a managing agent?
Yes they can and often do. Developers often pre sell the ground rent on leasehold flats to developers well before the block of flats is finished. In this way they guarantee a bonus revenue stream over and above the profit margin they have forecast for the buid.The pr...Read More
How do you take over freehold?
For residents to collectively buy the Freehold of their building they will need a majority of over 50% (the remaining residents will then have a choice to join and buy or remain a leaseholder of the newly formed Freehold Company). This process is commonly known as En...Read More
How do I set up an rtm?
Right to Manage Company or (RTM's) are fairly straight forward to set up. Firstly you will need the agreement of over 50% of leaseholders. Then the best practice would be to appoint a specialist RTM solicitor who will take you through the steps and on your behalf ser...Read More
How do I challenge a leasehold service charge?
This is a common question amongst leaseholders who either feel they are being over charged or that they are not receiving value for money form their managing agent. In the first instance they need to write to the managing agent stating their concerns and if a satisfa...Read More
Can residents taking over management company?
Residents have the Right to Manage their own development which is enshrined in Law by what is called a Right to Manage Process and legally form an 'RTM company. There are a few initial steps to start this process the main one being having a majority (over 50%) vote t...Read More
Can leaseholders change property management company?
This depends on how the lease is originally structured from inception ie when the flats were initially built by the developer or Freeholder (or both). Normally the developer will have a preferred managing agent they work with during the build process to set service c...Read More
What is a management agent?
A management agent or managing agent is a company appointed by a Freeholder of a block of flats, or residents or the original developer of the block whose main purpose is to ensure the building is maintained to satisfactory levels in terms of the general upkeep and d...Read More
What does service charge include?
Service charges for blocks of flats are designed to cover all necessary items of expenditure to ensure the building firstly is safe and complies with all the minimum health and safety requirements laid out in law and also the building is maintained to a good standard...Read More
What is a management company responsible for?
A management company is usually formed by the developer of a block of flats or the residents themselves. It is a bone fide company registered at Companies House with associated Directors. It is formed to ensure the running of the block has an accountable legal entity...Read More
What is a rtm company?
An RTM stands for a Right to Manage Company. It is quite common for a developer or Freeholder to appoint their chosen managing agent when the last flat is sold in the block of flats. If this managing agent is perceived by the residents to be inadequate, expensive or ...Read More
What can the property ombudsman do?
If for any reason residents are not satisfied with any aspect of how teir block is managed and feel they have not had an adequate response by their agent they are at will to make a complaint to the industry ombudsmen. The main body for this would be the Royal Institu...Read More
How do you change a managing agent?
It is actually more simple than you think to change your managing agent depending on who appointed them in the first place. If the developer of the block of leasehold flats appointed the managing agent then normally after the last flat is sold there are a few first s...Read More
How do I complain about a managing agent ?
There are various ways to do this with a few governing bodies. The most regulated body governing managing agents would be the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) whom have the most reprisals for their members and indeed any unsatisfied complaints would rend...Read More
Can I refuse to pay service charge ?
Normally no as the payment of service charge is a firm and legal obligation duty laid out within the lease you would have signed when buying your property. Often people would say 'why should I pay my service charge as the service I am paying for is not satisfactory' ...Read More
What are section 20 qualifying works?
In essence any works to a block of flats costing more than £250 per property will by law trigger a Section 20 (Landlord and Tenant Act) Consultation process.This is good news for all residents throughout the country owning leasehold flats who are not necessarily dir...Read More