Useless management

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    Useless management

    We own the leasehold of a flat (one of 4) above a shop and Post Office, which we let out to a tenant. Our tenant is on benefits and having got herself into difficulties with her electric, the electricity board made her have a key meter with a repayment schedule too high for her to cope with (this has now been reduced). As a consequence, her meter cut out at one point. A resident of another flat then knocked on her door and had a go at her, complaining because the COMMUNAL lights in the hallway had gone out and threatened to sue her if they had an accident climbing the stairs in the dark.

    Our tenant immediately phoned us to ask why she was paying for the communal lights....well, it was news to us and we had no idea ourselves. I arranged for an electrician to check the source and he confirmed that the communal lights do indeed run to our flat.

    At the time we bought the flat two years ago, the management had been struck off for not getting the accounts in to the Inland Revenue on time. Our solicitor made our seller pay all sorts of insurance indemnities to cover us until the management was re-instated, which it was a few months later.

    The management is in the control of one of the residents in one of the flats. He is useless at it and is reluctant to get anything done. The building requires quite a bit of maintenance and repair but despite several letters to him, he fails to respond to me and won't answer his door when we knock on it. I have also written to him to ask him about the buildings insurance which falls due every October but 2 Octobers have come and gone and we don't even know for sure whether we have any insurance for the building. He hasn't collected any money from anyone in the building (including ourselves) since we owned it.

    Now this issue with the communal lights has arisen. Our tenant asked him for money but he has only given her £20 to cover the last eighteen months and refuses to give more. I am puzzled as to why the power source for the communal lights goes to our flat but the only thing I can think of is that a former owner of our flat (at the time the whole building was built in 1987) was then on the management.

    The situation seems outrageously unfair to me. Surely the lights could be powered into the flat of the present management-I bet he would then chase the other residents for money then. Personally I think he should be struck off. and someone else should take over. I did offer to do so soon after we bought the flat because he seemed so loathe to get any work done but he didn't want to give the management up. I believe this is because he doesn't want to spend any money himself and so while he is on the management, he can control the finances.

    Something needs to be done, especially regarding the communal lights situation but I don't know what action to take. Any advice would be most welcome.

    I am guessing your flat is part of a conversion.

    I own a house converted to a block of flats. The "communal" light for the ground floor runs off the ground floor flat's electricity. The "communal" light for the first floor runs off the first floor flat's electricity. Each light only comes on for 15 seconds when someone pushes the switch. At one stage I enquired as to the cost of installing an extra meter and new electricity supply. The figure quoted was £1,000. I gave the lessees the option of having this work done. Surprise surprise no one wanted to pay that kind of money. They are happy to continue paying mere pence.

    Do you want to pay for the installation of a new electricity supply?


      Useless Management

      Hi Poppy,
      Many thanks for your reply.

      No, the flats are not conversions. The whole building was built in 1982 (not 1987 as per my previous posting) as a purpose-built shop/post office with the 4 flats above. This is why I am so puzzled that the electricity supply for the communal lights is feeding through just the one flat (that is, ours).

      I've been reading the documents relating to the original lease when they were built and the first owner of the flat that is now ours (at the time it was built) was the original management but he died some years ago and the flat had another owner before us. In fact, I phoned the man we purchased the flat from recently. He lived in it for three years but assured me that he didn't know that the communal lights came through the flat. I have no reason to suppose he was lying because of course we have owned the flat ourselves for two years and have only just found out.

      The current useless management have naturally not been too worried about it as our poor tenant has been paying for it. Like with yours, our communal lights work on a push-in switch which slowly releases itself until it turns off.

      No, I don't wish to pay for the electricity board to change the supply of the communal lights but I would like to either;

      A) get rid of the current management so that it can be better run for the good of the building with regular payments going towards the general upkeep and to pay for aforementioned electricity in a fair fashion.


      B) Force the current management to take his responsibilities a little more carefully.

      I think only option A would work, realistically. As he clearly doesn't want to spend any of his own money, he would be obstinate at option B, as has already been proved.

      I'm just not sure how to approach the whole thing?


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