Residential Management Company Problems

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    Residential Management Company Problems

    Hi all, looking for some helpful advice as always.

    I rent out a leasehold property which has a resident run management company. The main director of the RMC and i do not get on, she does not approve of my tenants because "they do not fit in".

    The problem is that i live abroad and she is refusing to communicate in a manner that i find acceptable (invoices and the odd letter basically).

    She has told me that e-mail is not acceptable and should not be used, nor will they send me letters direct to my foreign address as it costs too much. They have informed me that they will be sending any letters to my parents address which they had listed as an emergency contact.

    Since many of these letters are invoices with a 21 day limit, i can't guarantee that letters sent via my parents will get to me on time, nor is it their job to forward mail on the RMC's behalf. I said the only effective solution is e-mail or a direct letter, but apparently that's not going to happen unless i pay for postage and admin costs.

    There is nothing in the lease document detailing contact methods, the role is a volunteer position and i have been told that going to the post office every time is too much because "they have a life".

    Is there seriously anything i can do here? i'm wondering if i should just route all mail through a solicitor as it's getting a bit personal.

    Thanks

    #2
    Not a lot you can do.

    Why ?

    As you say, the role is a volunteer position and i have been told that going to the post office every time is too much because "they have a life".

    Communications can be by letter or email, but email only if everyone agrees with
    email communications, otherwise all bills etc, will go by snail mail.

    Look at it another way -
    You have ( I assume ) a mortgage to pay ( most people do ) yet you may get
    £ 500 per month on top of your work earnings to pay your mortgage.
    Other people in the flats who live there, do not get an extra £ 500 ( via letting)
    to help pay their mortgage.

    Also, why should the other people, though the service charges, have to subsidise
    the extra postage costs to you, ( costs to manage the place = all costs divided by
    the number of owners.
    Especialyly as you get up to £ 500 per month that no one else gets, and you want
    them to pay the extra postage to overseas !

    So I can understand the reluctance to add to the service charge, costs for overseas
    postage, when someone is making a profit from renting out, that the others do not get.

    And yes, just for you, someone has to go out in the rain, hail, snow, just for you, to
    visit a post office, when normaly they just pass a post box, and mail with 1st class stamp.

    Ask them to advise the extra cost of mailing direct to overseas, and pay what they ask.

    I have been there, done that, not liked the irresponsible sub tenants.
    I am not saying I was as bad as yours, but making money out of what should be your
    home, but making more work for others is a sore point with some.

    You know the size and weight of the largest / heaviest letters you get, so send over
    pre addressed half A4 envelopes, and pre stamped, - say 10, then all they have to do
    is pop those in the post box.
    Am sure if you do that, you get your letter, the others dont see "extra" postage
    on the accounts, and you have been seen to rectify the matter.

    on the 21 day invoices, you will just have to say, As soon as I receive the letter,
    I will settle immediately by return.

    Best of luck

    R.a.M.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks ram, i actually make a rather large loss on the property, basically moving out and renting it was the only way to avoid eventual bankruptcy (the joys of a recession), but either way that's pretty irrelevant.

      My frustration is that e-mail was going fine but has now been taken off the table as it was 'too much work', i can't see how even domestic post is quicker, easier or cheaper than e-mail and it was working well.

      I think a lot of it comes down to a dispute she has with my tenants (and therefore myself), she believes i was negligent in allowing someone who works unsociable hours to live there (tenants a paramedic). For example the management company mandates that bins are put out between certain hours (7-8am), yet the tenant is at work so puts it out earlier. There have been several disputes of this nature and it's getting a bit unpleasant to be honest.

      Plus there's this whole issue of 'admin costs', the insinuation was that i should pay for her time to go to the post office.

      Comment


        #4
        It does sound like the director is trying to make your life difficult.

        I would ensure that your tenant is not breaking any of the terms in the lease, if there are then you could in the most extreme cases be liable for forefeiture of the property, this can only be enforced by the freeholder.

        The RMC does have the right to police the property and could if they wanted to seek an injuction from the courts to stop any anti-social behaviour, but I would be surprised if they granted it on the basis of the tenant placing the bins out early unless it is causing a safety issue such as blocking a fire exit.

        I have been on the other side of the fence in my property in which a tenant keeps leaving toys in the hallway which other residents have been complaining about and have had residents complaining to me about a tenant who using the communal area as a storage area.

        In regards to admin fees I think it is unfair that the director has taken the decision to not send you emails and enforce an admin fee on you in this way. I would try and reason with the director as much as possible, you can't expect a tenant to change jobs just because a director wants them to put the bins out at a certain time. But, it is not unreasonable to make sure that the tenant is waking the neighbours up at 4am when going to work.

        I believe in respect to admin costs you can raise this through the LVT. Admin fees should be used with a certain level of respect and shouldn't be used as a weapon. It is tempting to use an admin fee to fine a leaseholder for not complying with the rules set down but it is not the correct way of doing things only the courts can make those decisions. If there is an admin charge for one person then it also has to apply to other people as well. If it costs £5 to send a letter to your country and the director doesn't charge residents in the UK any admin fee then giving you a fee of £5 would be reasonable. If the RMC charges UK residents £1 on top of a cost of a stamp as a admin fee then it is fair to charge you £6, I personally don't think that having to walk further to a post office rather than the post box is a fair justification for charging an additional fee but then I would say that email would be a better alternative.

        Of course to argue the case you would have to go to the LVT and you would have to pay a fee, if you win then you could ask that the LVT to instruct the RMC to pay the fee but there is a risk to you if you go down that route. The bottom line is if the admin fee is excessive or reasonable.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks, i've had a think about the whole thing and to be honest i believe the professional relationship with this director has broken completely and can't be fixed, there is just too much acrimony.

          I'm willing to work on any problems but i can't do anything if i don't find out for 2 weeks, that just causes issues to fester and get worse. I'm going to send a letter with a cheque to cover postage costs and a request that one of the other directors handles communication with me from now on, i think that's a fair request although i don't know if they have to honour it.

          It's frustrating because i'm about ready to sell up and take the negative equity on the property. Being abroad makes a tough job harder and i think without a management company that is willing to compromise on things like a simple e-mail it's pretty much doomed to end up in court.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Chimaera5 View Post
            I'm willing to work on any problems but i can't do
            anything if i don't find out for 2 weeks,
            Regarding the bins.
            The Management co cannot dictate when the bins are put out.
            They can request.

            We pass on the information that the council put out which says have the bins
            out by 7am, we do not insist. it's the coiuncil that insists.
            So if they have to go out one day earlier, the previous night, then so be it.

            One thing you could say about the letters is.
            ( i assume now, they refuse to email, and refuse to post )

            "As you refuse you post or email, then if I do not receive any bills, then no
            bills are payable" ( Let them argue the law, and not you ).
            I have forwarded a supply of prepaid envelopes so no one has visit the post
            office, an no one has to pay any extra to get letters to me.
            I trust this now is acceptable."

            Then it's in their hands to show they are being reasonable.

            Forget courts, its "That woman" that is being difficult.
            You have done your best.

            I know I am often abrupt, but can see both sides, so just state your case,
            supply pre-paid, advise of possible delays, and you have been seen to do
            everything possible to ensure you get information / invoices.

            After that, tell her you can do no more, and leave it at that.
            Let her take you to court, but she wont, as you have been reasonable, and
            she has not.

            R.a.M.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ram View Post
              I know I am often abrupt, but can see both sides, so just state your case,
              supply pre-paid, advise of possible delays, and you have been seen to do
              everything possible to ensure you get information / invoices.

              After that, tell her you can do no more, and leave it at that.
              Let her take you to court, but she wont, as you have been reasonable, and
              she has not.

              R.a.M.
              Thanks, it's actually nice to have the opinion of someone who's on the other side, i appreciate it's a thankless job but it's the way you communicate that makes the difference. Every letter that's sent to the tenants or myself ends with a threat, which just gets tiresome.

              Comment


                #8
                As suggested 10 A4 envelopes pre stamped is a much easier alternative than the grief.

                Bear in mind all that work and time they do spend, is done voluntary. Treat it as a "thank 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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                  Bear in mind all that work and time they do spend, is done voluntary. Treat it as a "thank you".
                  I am away on holiday, in a far off land with "Sun" and something called Decent Temperatures. Not seen those for a while !

                  And guess what I have been doing on my holiday . . . . . ?

                  Typing handouts for meetings, looking up legal info, to cut and paste into
                  handouts, ( easier to cut and paste, than type in manually ! )

                  Deciding what to put on my crib sheets, how far to delve into agenda items,
                  setting out the next years list of maintenence items, etc etc etc. cos have
                  meetings in early March, and to lose 2 weeks typing is not an option.

                  Yes, we all do it because we love it, have known at an early age that to run a
                  management Co of a block / house is what we dream of since birth.

                  Yeah, right ....
                  It's a pain, a chore, and when things go wrong, can be a full time job till it's put
                  right.
                  I could write a book of How to be a caring responsible Manager, but it would
                  not sell, as it would only have 22 words -- "Don't bother, you will be hated by all,
                  no matter what you do, so go buy your own house with no hassles".

                  R.a.M.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ram View Post
                    I could write a book of How to be a caring responsible Manager, but it would
                    not sell, as it would only have 22 words -- "Don't bother, you will be hated by all,
                    no matter what you do, so go buy your own house with no hassles".

                    R.a.M.
                    I wish I read that book...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mattdee View Post
                      I wish I read that book...
                      That's a good chapter 1 then you turn the page and learn how to approach people and deal with issues proportionally.

                      The end of the book reads

                      "While some still 'live' in chapter1 most are now either indifferent or appreciate me"
                      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

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