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Right to Manage in London

A leaseholder contacted us about carrying out the Right to Manage to entitle flat owners to take over the property management of the block. The property is a block of 20 flats with 3 shops on the ground floor. It also has a large car park which is shared with the shops. The block is located in New Cross, South East London.

The root concerns for the leaseholders were;

  • The general state of the communal areas was very poor. The carpets had not been changed in 15 years and were threadbare in hard wearing areas. It does not look like the place has been painted since it was first built, however the managing agent has indicated that parts were painted 5 years ago.  One leaseholder tried selling his flat a few years ago and he decided to paint the front door and the hallway to his flat in order to improve the chances of selling it.
  • There were no postboxes for the flats and post was going missing every week. Nobody could get anything sent to the flats because they were not likely to receive it.
  • The front door is opened by a code. This code has never changed, therefore anybody who was given the code over the years could access the property and take post.

When we come across a block like this it usually means:

  1. The service charge is very high and there are lots of service charge arrears. The managing agent cannot collect enough service charge monies to manage the property; or
  2. An inexperienced landlord manages the property maintenance and repairs themselves.  Sometimes they collect the service charges as normal and carry out very little maintenance and repairs in order to keep the profits. By the way, this type of management is illegal and the landlord could end up at the Property Tribunal.

However, neither was the case here.  The property was managed by an agent.  The service charge collected were very low and therefore the managing agent could not keep the place in good condition. The managing agent fees were averaging £75 per unit. It was not possible to deliver a proper service for this price.

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We met up with some of the leaseholders and explained how we could help them change managing agents. We explained that the service charge would have to increase in order to improve the security and general upkeep of the property. They expected this was going to be the case.

First thing was to canvas the property owners to become members of the RTM company. We helped the directors approach other leaseholders for support. They did a fantastic job in encouraging flat owners to respond and sign up to become members.

Due to the commercial element and the fact that the property was split-level, we instructed a surveyor to measure up the building to ensure it qualified for the Right to Manage.

More than half the leaseholders became members of the RTM company. We submitted the claim to the Landlord. They instructed a solicitor to validate the claim. The solicitor requested additional information and raised some queries with regards the management of the commercial units, miantenance of the shared car park and insurance for the block. We explained the wide scope of the RTM company’s management rights, with reference to legislation and recent case law.  The solicitor was satisfied the claim was valid and the landlord accepted the claim.

We are currently in the middle of the management handover. Due to the commercial aspect, we are again advising the out-going agents with regards the management functions that we are entitled to carry out. They did not expect that we would be taking over the maintenance and management of the shared parts of the estate, but they have come to accept this.

 Pembroke Property Management are experts in carrying out Right to Manage for residents.  Its a real value that we have that in-house expertise to ensure the transition is smooth and the flat owners’ rights are protected during the handover process. Call us to discuss how we can help you.

“Our block was suffering from mismanagement and the common areas were in a terrible state. Pembroke Property Management helped me secure the support of fellow leaseholders and successfully carried out our Right to Manage. The Landlord instructed a solicitor to investigate our RTM Claim and Pembroke Property Management dealt with all their enquiries thoroughly. We are delighted to bring about a change of managing agents.” P Lonergan