Common area electricity management with no common supply

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    Common area electricity management with no common supply

    Advice needed. Property has 3 flats on 999 year leases. Freehold is owned by the management company that is shared equally by the leaseholders and which I run. .Common area services include a fire alarm and lighting, supplied from the leaseholders consumer units as there is no dedicated common area supply. Although the power used is minimal I want a solution that a) does not require an expensive dedicated supply and significant rewiring b) ensures leaseholders or their tenants do not take avoidable action to interrupt the common area supplies or compromise safety services. Are there any precedents, ideas or pitfalls for doing this via a variation to the leases that would add a suitable covenant and possibly address the slight imbalance in common area power contributions? The cost of a common area supply is probably 100 years worth of common area power need. Moreover the leases demise only the cabling and services that are for for the sole usage of the flats so in theory I believe the common area cables and the minimal eletricity passing through them are the Landlord's property. I should say this is all for future proofing with no current issues.

    #2
    I'd just knock a few pounds off the service charge of the flat paying the electricity bill. Surely tenant wouldn't shut off the electricity, or there would be no lighting outside?

    Perhaps install push button timers to keep the bills down?

    Comment


      #3
      The problem is that there can be a situation that a flat is unoccupied and the electricity turned off with the result that your fire alarm system is inoperative.Pain in the arse but the only proper solution is a landlord's electricity account.

      Comment


        #4
        Hmm. Well I think any lessee would be well aware that his flat supplied communal lighting, and that he was being reimbursed for it. Therefore unlikely the electricity would stay off very long.

        (Who turns electricity off nowadays other than mortgagees?)

        Comment


          #5
          I would say that you are in breach of Health and Safety and Fire Safety law if you are relying on supplies that you don't control. The flat owner may suffer a main circuit breaker trip when they are away, or their insurers may insist the power is turned off. They may also want to rewire.

          I presume you already have emergency lighting, as there will already be significant costs in maintaining that. If you don't have emergency lighting, that would imply that the lights are luxury, and it doesn't matter that they don't work when the flat is empty.

          Comment


            #6
            Putting in a dedicated supply is prohibitive and you do not seem to want to run comunal off flat.

            So turn it around, FH co takes over responsibility for one meter, from there you (qualified electrician that is) runs a supply cables to a check meter which supplies the flat.

            The flat owner runs the account, switching etc, and pays the balance shown on the check meter, the FH company makes up the rest.

            Now you just have to choose a responsible LH to do all this as if they do not pay their money the FH company is going to be on the hook.

            (In a similar situation as the LH I just paid the bill for the communal area, not worth the effort to work it out - until the MA tried to bill me for it )


            eg
            https://www.electricaldirect.co.uk/p...4aAvNgEALw_wcB

            Comment


              #7
              All good points-thanks. Lighting is not so much a problem as existing common area lighting has functioned for 40 years without issues and is now all low power LED. Upgrading to EM lighting is mitigated by the fact that each light is driven off one flat’s supply and test switches will be in the common area. Outage of one light still allows escape route to be illuminated. Fire alarm is more of a concern as it is driven off one flat’s supply. I’ve not seen that the BS 5839 alarm standard is so prescriptive as to require separate supply. Separate circuit, key isolation, warning labels, battery backup, visible supply indicator and no card or prepayment meters yes, but we meet these. Plus the landlord is entitled by lease to access the premises for maintenance of common area items. The existing setup is fine but it would be useful to spell out obligations I believe.

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