Is the cost of building a storage cupboard recoverable on the service charges?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Is the cost of building a storage cupboard recoverable on the service charges?

    We're a company of leaseholders and we need to build a storage cupboard in the common area of our building to accommodate loads of cleaning materials such as a vacuum, gardening tools, ladders, cleaning products etc.

    We've no where else to put the equipment which is otherwise stored on various landings.

    I've read the lease which says that as the landlord, we have to ensure all the common areas of our building are kept clear of such items to allow both right of way and emergency exit but there is no clause saying that we can build a cupboard.

    Given that there is a need for such a storage and that the lease does state that the common areas must be kept clear, would the cost of installing a cupboard be recoverable in the eyes of the law?

    #2
    The cost of providing a storage cupboard should be charged to the annual service charge account just like cleaning, electricity costs and buildings insurance and shared by all the flats.

    Comment


      #3
      But not if there is no clause in the lease which allows you to a) build it and b) charge for it. The same goes for the tools themselves. You may find that your lease has a "catch all" clause which will say something like "provide anything else which is to the benefit of the tenants" or such like, but beware, such clauses are interpreted very narrowly by LVTs.

      Would you be able to get the written agreement of all flats to that expenditure as something additional to the service charge?

      Comment


        #4
        Most tenants will agree but a minority won't. But how do those few who don't want to pay expect the rest of us to keep the building clear of clutter and dirt if we can't buy utility materials and if we can't store them away?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by crumpetsfortea View Post
          Most tenants will agree but a minority won't. But how do those few who don't want to pay expect the rest of us to keep the building clear of clutter and dirt if we can't buy utility materials and if we can't store them away?
          Well there should be no clutter at all. As for cleaning and vacuums, if you can't get a cupboard agreed to then you have no choice but to get quotes for cleaning companies that have to drive to you as they cannot store their equipment on site.............none of you are obligated to store it in your flats under your lease terms are you?.....

          Suddenly a cupboard looks very inexpensive !
          What is the rough cost of a cupboard for you?
          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by crumpetsfortea View Post
            Most tenants will agree but a minority
            won't.
            It's part of the maintenence / running costs and safety issues.
            More than want than don't, your mandate is to maintan the building as
            you see fit, and in conjuction with a majority VOTE to clear the landings.

            Just go ahead and do it. If you are lucky, sometimes the next years
            service charges are cheaper then previous if no repairs are needed,
            so no increase in service charges for a while, evenwith storage expense..

            If anyone complains, tell then that if the trip and fall over the current mess,
            the insurance would be invalid, as they refused to make the place safe.
            ( don't quote me on that )
            Or, as they refuse to keep the place clear of obstructions, it is a Health
            and safety issuse, ( would be anyway ) and those that refuse to have new
            storage wil have to keep cleaning items in their own flat ! ! !

            Tell them- -- it's they who dont realise it costs money for buildings .
            and if they were used to haveing a house 10 years ago, they could let it be
            totaly un-maintained, but it does not work here.

            Comment


              #7
              It's part of the maintenence / running costs and safety issues.
              More than want than don't, your mandate is to maintan the building as
              you see fit, and in conjuction with a majority VOTE to clear the landings.
              No it isn't unless the lease says it is, and majority votes have nothing to with this. If the lease says the landlord must clean, and the tenants must pay the cost of cleaning, that does not extend to the costs of building a cupboard. As LHA has said, they have the option of employing outside contractors who will bring their own stuff.

              Additionally, depending on where the cupboard is to be located, it may infringe on other rights tenants have over that area.

              Comment


                #8
                As someone has pointed out, a cleaner who brings his/her own cleaning products has to visit using a car or van. Additionally, he has to pay for parking which our building does not provide. A once a week cleaner who visits on a Monday does not sort out an unforeseen accident on a Thursday when a moving tenant might cause some mess or when a sudden leak floods a floor.

                Having the cleaning equipment and other utilities such as a ladder on site makes cleaning much easier for those residents who care about the building and who don't mind giving up their time to keep things clean and tidy.

                The Lease says that the Landlord must keep the common areas "in clean and proper order". I wonder if this indirectly justified a cupboard whose building cost can be recovered via the service charge?

                By the way, the Lease also says that all Lessees can use the common space but the proposed cupboard is an unlocked walk-in and conveniently, will occupy a dead end corridor.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by crumpetsfortea View Post
                  As someone has pointed out, a cleaner who brings his/her own cleaning products has to visit using a car or van. Additionally, he has to pay for parking which our building does not provide. A once a week cleaner who visits on a Monday does not sort out an unforeseen accident on a Thursday when a moving tenant might cause some mess or when a sudden leak floods a floor.

                  Having the cleaning equipment and other utilities such as a ladder on site makes cleaning much easier for those residents who care about the building and who don't mind giving up their time to keep things clean and tidy.
                  All good arguments to present to the resistant lessees for an outside agreement.

                  The Lease says that the Landlord must keep the common areas "in clean and proper order". I wonder if this indirectly justified a cupboard whose building cost can be recovered via the service charge?
                  IMO, no. You're free to take your chances though.

                  By the way, the Lease also says that all Lessees can use the common space but the proposed cupboard is an unlocked walk-in and conveniently, will occupy a dead end corridor.
                  That doesn't mean they don't have rights over it, even if there is no reason for them to exercise them.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    But if you are interpreting a clause in the very narrowest of terms, then there really is no hope of recovering costs for anything other than basic bills such as electric and repairing a leak.

                    What happens when the time comes to have a hard wired fire alarm system which is now compulsory by law? I doubt very much most of the older Leases have any clause requiring this. Does the absence of such a clause mean that this cost has to be met by an outside agreement? Is a Lease that black and white? Is what you see what you get?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by crumpetsfortea View Post
                      The Lease says that the Landlord must keep the common areas "in clean and
                      proper order".
                      And if that MEANS removing the items into an unused area and putting a door on
                      and lock on., I would here, at our premises count he number of people who agree,
                      and the number who disagree, and if more agree than don't, then go ahead.

                      Stairs and landing are not storage areas, no matter what the lease says.
                      You get the clutter off the landings, and the remedy is as you suggest.
                      Save saccidents, saves misuse by children drinking cleaning fluid, save theft, etc etc etc.

                      But your premises are typical of some where some people refuse to be responsible, and
                      you have to be reponsible for them.
                      If you had another fire and safety report, it would say not to store cleaning products
                      ladders etc on the landing, and to find out, you need to spend £ 400 to be told that.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by crumpetsfortea View Post
                        Does the absence of such a clause mean that the cost
                        has to be met by an outside agreement?
                        If costs are incurred to comply with the law, etc, the only money to do that comes
                        from the flat owners, and no one else.
                        You cant go onto the street and beg for money to comply with the law if residents
                        say they dont want to pay.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Can I safely say that the Law is above the Lease?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Even in older leases there would normally be either a catch all clause or a clause which provides for statutory changes, or other situations where an authority requires changes to be made. LVTs recognise this and will apply a wider interpretation where it is reasonable (or indeed necessary) to do so. Also, as a company it would be wise for shareholders to agree to such expenditure (outside of the service charge if necessary) in order to keep the company compliant with its statutory obligations. I don't think your cupboard reaches that standard.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I would here, at our premises count he number of people who agree, and the number who disagree, and if more agree than don't, then go ahead.
                              It doesn't matter if 99 agree and 1 dissents. You can't enforce payment from the 1 if it's not provided for in the lease, and if the other 98 change their minds you run the risk of having to pay them all back too unless you nail them down to a written agreement.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X