Can leaseholders change property management company?
This depends on how the lease is originally structured from inception i.e. 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 charges and appoint them upon final completion of the last flat being sold. Sometimes they then allow the residents to form their own Residents Management Company as a vehicle for the residents to choose their own agent. This is the ideal scenario but in a lot of cases the Freeholder or Developer has to be approached formally for this process to happen by way of a Right to Manage Process where over 50% of residents have to agree to invoke this process which has to happen by Law if the resident sentiment is there, There is an initial cost involved starting from a couple of thousand pounds.
If you are constantly unsatisfied with the way your property management company is looking after your building and want to control the way it is being managed there are numerous options available for you if you wish to change your property management company.
Changing your property management company or managing agent can be legally demanding and potentially personally exhausting, so before you commence the process, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the process and have attempted to resolve any ongoing disputes through some avenues that are already available to you.
Depending on your circumstance, the initial step is to give your block management company the opportunity to improve (you've probably already done this!). Most large property management companies may well have already a complaints procedure in place escalated to various industry bodies, for example, the Association of Residential Managing Agents, and will need to adhere to relevant management codes like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' Service Charge Residential Management Code and ARMA Q.
If you have already exhausted these options, the next step is to find out how much support you have from your fellow residents then call a meeting between yourselves to find out who is ready to help you change the way your block is managed.
Gaining the support of the other leaseholders will be crucial should you go down the route of setting up a Residents Association or already have one and want to use it to change the management company.
If it is unreasonably high service charges you are not happy about, you will need to find out whether these are unjustifiably high with comparable evidence, this can then be used when it comes to challenging the company and will give you a better idea of how much you should be paying when inevitably it comes to replacing them via RTM.
Ringley is a specialist block management company who have a legal arm called Ringley Law which, again, specialises in the Right to Manage process. please fill out the form on this page and we will contact you within 2 hours.