Homeless living in flats hallways

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    Homeless living in flats hallways

    Hello,

    My first time here - I'm lucky I've managed 8 years of land-lording without serious issue! Until now...

    My tenanted flat is on the 2nd floor of a block. There are 3 blocks in total on the estate. In the past 2 to 3 weeks my tenants have reported homeless people sleeping, eating and doing 'other things' in the hallways directly outside their flat. Other neighbours have seen them too. My tenant has told them to clear out and they have but others have replaced them.

    I am not a bad person. I have great sympathy for the homeless - it could happen to any of us. But it's not safe or viable for them to live in the flats hallways.

    The flats don't have door entry systems - anyone can walk in, day or night. There have been requests for one to be installed in the past but they've been deemed too expensive and unnecessary - but that was before this situation arose.

    Nb. The council are powerless / useless. I have spoken to them. They have advised there is a local homeless shelter - but they're full and for whatever reason these people may not want to go there anyway. The shelter have / will send someone to chat to any sleepers they find but I think it'd be very naive to think that's going to magically resolve the problem permanently.

    The management company of the flats can only do what the directors (who are all owners / landlords) tell them to do . Two of the directors have proposed having 'a little chat' with the sleepers, which frankly I think is again, naive / optimistic / potentially dangerous. The third is actually an old family friend who I know is very stubborn and won't believe anything until she sees it with her own two eyes / her tenant is directly affected and complains. So far it seems her tenant hasn't been affected.

    I have firmly instructed my tenants to call the police if they are worried but, honestly, I can't believe the police will help much. I once had to call them for an issue regarding the aggressive behaviour of another tenant and they refused to attend (until I cried!), because it was deemed a civil issue (and when they did attend they were worse than useless). I know they are bound to attend if specific crimes take place / are threatened but can't help if 'all' that's happening is my tenants being terrified by someone living on their doorstep!

    I want to call an EGM where I want a vote on installing door entry to take place (or indeed any other options that will prevent entry). There is an AGM scheduled for May, but that's a long way off. The directors - are the influence of Ms Stubborn, are saying no - this will have to wait until the AGM (by which time my tenants will have left and how can I replace them with this situation ongoing?). The management company are willing to send an open letter on my behalf to all the owners advising of said EGM. My question is - if we can't have an 'official' EGM, can the directors / management company be bound by the outcome of a non official EGM?

    Thank you for patiently reading all this and await your advice.

    #2
    The lease and the rules of the management committee will outline what you can do without the support of the committee.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      There's no such thing as a "non official EGM". Either it is one, or it isn't................
      I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

      Comment


        #4
        This is a long leasehold question, not a residential letting one.

        Part of the fire risk assessment should be to consider the risk of their being trespassers. It seems to me that the management are duty bound to review the risk assessment, because of a significant change in circumstances, and the only reasonable result of such a review would be a need to secure the block. Rough sleepers are likely to bring in inflammable bedding, their bodies may be a physical obstruction on the escape route, and they may well smoke illegally.

        This is is a slightly funny area with leases. Most leases don't allow expenditure on improvements. However there are provisions to allow lease changes to be forced to allow for improvement necessary for security. I suspect most freeholders apply the changes at risk, and would only request a lease change if the expenditure was challenged.

        Comment


          #5
          Sorry, to clarify, when I say 'non official EGM', what I mean is, a meeting of landlords (who hopefully reach consensus) - are the management company bound by that consensus?

          Comment


            #6
            If you can get the request for the EGM signed by 5% of the voting rights, the company has no choice but to call an EGM. However no company meeting can override the lease. Make sure your request mentions Companies Act 2006, Section 303.

            Comment


              #7
              Normally, a management company is only bound by a 75% majority of those attending a properly called general meeting. They are also bound by a 50%+ majority, but, with less than 75%, the decision cannot be made in a way that the board cannot, subsequently, reverse.

              Not all companies allow 75% special resolutions in general, but all of them must allow them to change the constitution, which could include adding a clause allowing the members to force decisions by special resolutions.

              A 50+% vote can remove a director.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks LH64, that's very useful advice re Companies Act - I googled it. I should probably mention we are all freeholders. I'll read the lease document!

                Comment


                  #9
                  None of you are freeholders. The company is the freeholder.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Rather than faffing about with meetings, I'd just fit a simple door entry code system myself for a few tax deductible quid.
                    And then tell all occupants/leaseholders/freeholders the code.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Er, well there are 12 flats in my block alone and that'd be £2000 ++ of my money (which I don't have) and it'd mean requiring access to everyone's flats. So not really a goer that one.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Just to add to the issue ref the increase fire risk etc...... i assume the block (building) is insured via the freeholder ? If so the added ' benefit' of all those extra bodies in the hallway could invalidate your buildings insurance should a fire take place due to the homeless setting up a stove or something similar...... they need to go asap and the other leaseholders should be standing together to get this sorted quickly. I deal with the homeless as part of my job and i assure you that word will get around that your nice and warm hallway is available and evicting a few of them will not solve the problem, it will only get bigger and bring along it's own issues with ASB and drugs.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Nah, fifty quid for a combi lock as an emergency security measure and then get it sorted properly at the May AGM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks Hudson. I've gone back to the management company and pointed out we're not insured, also quoted the lease where it talks about ensuring standards being maintained in the hallways and quoted the Companies Act - as suggested by Leaseholder 64 - that asserts company members can force directors to hold a mtg - but given the above, maybe it's better they organise it after all.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              As well as the legal issues associated with modifying property you don't own, a combi lock without a fire brigade override is likely to be a fire safety issue in its own right.

                              Comment

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