Essential Maintenance without a Management Company

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    Essential Maintenance without a Management Company

    Looking for some advice.
    I own one of 3 leasehold flats in a Victorian Conversion. We pay the Freeholder a ground rent of £50 a year. There is no management company and the freeholder doesnt manage the buidling apart from arranging Buildings Insurance.
    Last year I wrote to the freeholder copying all other flat owners with a suggestion that some essential works needed carrying out otherwise the building would cost more to repair when the situation became critical.The front steps are leaking as tghe render is badly blown and my tennat is unhappy.
    The freeholder didnt repond but the other 2 owners did and we all met up. The outcome was that we agreed to gather some quotes ourselves for the works and would then agree a plan to proceed.
    Due to the heavy rains the situation did become critical at Xmas. I organised a couple of companies to quote and gathered 3 quotes for repairs to our front steps where the water is leaking into my flat - the basement.
    I covered the steps with tarp as a temp fix - offered to pay for the repair if it was deducted from the larger works ie roof, re-render, weatherproofing. approx 10 -15 K.
    The top flat owner has organised one quote for the rerender. We met finally with the freeholder.
    We agreed in principle that the works would go ahead for repairs to the roof, render, steps etc.

    I am suggesting that there should be a list of agreed works. Should a surveyor be engaged to confirm what is essential?
    I also suggested that we gather 3 quotes to compare and then agree a schedule and payment plan and engage a builder.

    This has upset the owner of the top flat who is threatening to remove the protective tarp unless we proceed with her quote and start work in three weeks.

    I'm taking time off work on Friday morning to meet a render company for a second quote.

    Id like some advice as to how to proceed as a) I think the building should be surveyed so we know what actually needs doing urgently b) 3 quotes c) agree on quote d) agree schedule and proceed.

    how to proceed fairly as the outlay will be significant approx 6K estimated and who should be managing the building works? I rent the flat out and live 50 miles away.

    #2
    Look at your lease.

    It will state the obligations of the freeholder ( Lessor ) about maintaining the building.

    " THE LESSOR HEREBY COVENANTS with the lessee ( leaseholder ) to maintain and keep in good condition ....
    ( all the parts that are not your internal rooms ) The leasholders pay for all this.

    You lease will also say that you probably pay one third of all the costs

    The freeholder is responsible, and you can take him to court for not looking after the building.
    I look round the place and make a schedule of maintenence, and you can too, but it is the freeholder that should do that.

    A survey will cost up to £ 1000

    Tell the other, that if they remove the tarp', they will be responsible for any additional damage of water ingress that they cause, by removing the tarp'

    Look at your lease and come back.

    Comment


      #3
      P.s. to above post number 2.

      Be careful, as you have NO contract with the other leaseholders.
      They can agree to pay once the work is done, then not pay.

      If the freeholder ( who DOES have a contract with all the leaseholders ) can get the jobs done, and if no one pays, ( in advance ), he has a legal document ( the lease ) stating that the leaseholders must pay.

      Comment


        #4
        You really should be pursuing the FH to do the work that needs doing, sue for damages/or specific performance (follow the pre action repairs protocol first). It may be possible if this brings no results to do it yourself, but you may run into the problems mentioned above.
        Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

        I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

        It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

        Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

        Comment


          #5
          Be careful what you wish for, should this go all formal it can get really really expensive, it would really pay for you guys to work together and run it yourselves since the FH seems happy for you to do so.

          The alternative is to pay 'insurance' rates for everything and possibly commision on top.

          Supposing the freeholder really does not want anything to do with it, then you could end up paying a managing agent to organise the works too. Then the doors are open for cleaning charges, safety assessments, regular redecoration, amazing commission on the insurance, surveyors to price the insurance and so on. There are many nightmares to google.

          These extra charges bump up your service charge and notionally reduce the value of your flat too.

          The answer to all that is RTM, but then if you cannot agree on these works, would you really manage to get an RTM going, perhaps after a few thousand pounds are lost you will...

          Comment


            #6
            Sorry that sounds a bit biased, MAs are not all bad.

            I am trying to say that if you cannot agree then the alternative is professional management, that costs and there is more to it than just the job you want doing.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by paulamis View Post
              Be careful what you wish for, should this go all formal it can get really really expensive, it would really pay for you guys to work together and run it yourselves since the FH seems happy for you to do so.
              Well no he seems to lack any interest at all.

              Originally posted by paulamis View Post
              Supposing the freeholder really does not want anything to do with it, then you could end up paying a managing agent to organise the works too. Then the doors are open for cleaning charges, safety assessments, regular redecoration, amazing commission on the insurance, surveyors to price the insurance and so on. There are many nightmares to google.

              These extra charges bump up your service charge and notionally reduce the value of your flat too.
              .
              yes it would be a nightmare having to
              -pay someone to actually clean the hallways.. or worse still
              -recklessly go ahead and comply with statutory obligations to assess common areas and fire risks, or
              -not pay a surveyor to value the rebuilding cost and work it out on the back of an envelope on the basis of well ‘erm what they are worth, yeah right that will do....

              Oh and service charges being paid for a properly run and well maintained block, oh the humanity!

              Honestly..............
              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


                #8
                The entrance steps might be temporarily repaired with a paint on or trowel on compound eg aquaseal.

                You do need to check your lease to ensure that these repairs are the freeholders responsibility. You can use a surveyor to assess needed repairs and use the pre-action protocol on disrepair. While there is some case law that might help you, there is no outright right to work on what are someone else's premises and there is always there risks of a damages claim, not to mention liability issues for you to other users of the building.

                Do make sure that the surveyor is experienced in presenting matters to a court and ideally with some understanding of residential blocks management.

                Do be careful as if there is long list of items the choice of priority lies with the freeholder and you could end up paying more than 6k in one go.

                As suggested right to manage might be a better solution, but as that relies on all 3 of you cooperating on this and costs. I suggest that you get the surveyors report done as this can help in indicating how far each flat owner will go or be able or willing to afford.
                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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