Answers from Our Property Expert
What our customers are asking
"We would like any changes to leases to done at market value, but with a get out that its done at the Freeholder's discretion. We could then allow changes to Freeholder's leases for a nominal 1 upon agreement by both freeholders. Is this possible?" - Mr Roberts,
In short YES this would be achieved via passing resolutions which then need to be held in the company minute books
" The Agent is demanding 5,000 of me in July for a new roof, I have had no say over this what so ever, is this a correct way of dealing with things, can I then pay this in installments. " - Mr A Williams,
You do have a say, any demand over 250 for any 1 service charge payer must be subject to statutory section 20 consultation (up to 3 notices of 30 days each) the notices are 'statutory consultation' and you have 30 days to make observations, all such observations MUST be replied to in writing within 30 days, you can nominate a contractor of your choice or object if you believe the works are not due or a cheaper or alternative solution can be put in place. Whether you can pay in installments will depend on your lease, probably not is the short answer. Most leases give you 21 days to make payment after a demand is issued. It's worth approaching your mortgage company, a good managing agent will have a 'financial hardship policy' and may well support and help you in remortgaging towards capital works projects.
"My balcony wall has crumbled away and part fallen down, its been 3 months now and they haven done anything about it, is this something I can claim of my Buildings insurance for ? not likely, sounds like due to disrepair. " - Mr A Williams,
In theory you should be threatening the management company with action for breach of covenant and getting them to make the repairs. Best to check your lease 1st to see if it is the freeholder's or management companies responsibility to do the repairs, or whether your balcony is demised to you and therefore its your responsibility. there should be a plan in your lease and it will depend on whether there is a red line around the balcony or whether the red line stops before you enter your balcony. the former makes it your responsibility, the latter the management companies.
"My garage roof and sidewall have now big gaps in it, everything is ruined in my garage, this could have been caused by the erection of a new Morrison Building next door, have asked the Management Company and they have said its not down to them and no." - Mr A Williams,
Depending on how close to you the morrisons building was you might have been supposed to be protected by the party wall act procedures. I'd start by sending photos and threat to Morrisons. Yes you could get the buildings insurance involved, but probably to be covered they'll be looking for a single event as the cause/accident to pay up.
"We achieved our RTM 1st and run the block through a RTM company, we have since bought the Freehold and have a Freehold company as well and would like to simplify things. The problem being, 1 leaseholder is a member of the RTM company only and a Director" - Mr B Roberts, SW15
There is little point having 2 companies on a small site such as this as the accountancy costs of preparing service charge accounts for the RTM company and 2 sets of dormant company accounts for both the RTM and Freehold Company is dis-proportionate to the benefits. The RTM is the legal entity that is standing in the shoes of the Freeholder or now Freehold Company and managing and to stop it managing you'll need to agree to disolve the company, wind it up. This is a procedure that requires clearance from the tax office, non-trading/dormancy status and then an application to Companies House. Our Solictiors practice Ringley Legal LLP could arrange this for you. But first, I suggest the way to deal with the Director of the RTM Company who is not a shareholder in the Freehold Company would be as follows: 1 - clearly they want to remain 'in control' so they need a directorship 2 - check the articles of the Freehold Company and see if persons other than shareholders or members can be a director of the freehold company, if necessary call a meeting or pass a written resolution so that they can. Ringley Legal LLP can assist you with the resolutions. 3 - to protect yourselves and not expose you to inviting someone into the Freehold Company who then gets their freehold share for free, pass a resolution that lease extensions shall be issued to Flat 1 and Flat 2 (the participants) on request for 999 years at a premium of 1.00 and that future freehold shares or lease extensions will be sold to any leaseholder in the property at market price, such price to be determined by a Chartered Surveyor acting in the capacity as 'joint expert' for the parties. Ringley Legal LLP can assist you with the resolutions. 4 - then it would be safe for you to invite the non Freehold Company owner to be a Director of the Freehold Company to participate in company business, setting service charges running the block etc.... and get their consent to wind up the RTM Company thereby effectively transferring service charge management to your new Freehold Company. Again Ringley Legal LLP can assist you with the winding up. When you've simplified the arrangements I would recommend Ringley's Block Care 300 legal and financial administration package at 525 + Vat per annum which will help you self manage repairs but safely with us running the legal paperwork, budgets and demand cycle. To see what Block Care 300 - from 525 + VAT per year gives you go to http://tiny.cc/bc300 In respect of the ground rent this would remain payable by Flat 3 who did not participate to the Freehold Company. In respect of the reserve fund, this should be held by whatever entity is collecting the service charge and producing the service charge accounts.
"There is a very bad Mould Problem in the Flat, I called the Management Company and after some time they sent round a Damp Specialist who told me that there wasn't a problem at the flat, Do I have the right to have my own “Specialist round?" - Mr A Williams,
Yes you do. The problem if not an obvious roof or gutter leak may well be condensation, an advice leaflet is attached to help you.