Residential leaseholders - are you unhappy with your managing agent/landlord?

You may have been listening to BBC Radio 5 Live lately, more specifically the programme 5 Live Investigates.

In a recent episode it looked at the issue of landlords (and managing agents employed by the landlords) allegedly overcharging leaseholders for services provided to their property and maintenance of the same.

The law surrounding service charges states that the expenditure has to be reasonable and here a landlord enters into an agreement for qualifying works (this can include day to day repair agreements but not cleaning contracts) for over 12 months, or one which will cost an Individual leaseholder more than 250, they have to carry out a consultation (save for in very specific circumstances).

The programme highlighted some of the options open to leaseholders who wish to challenge excessive or unnecessary charges/works. These included:

  • Approaching the landlord/managing the agent about the costs.
  • Bringing an action in the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property) (this is similar to a County Court but is not chaired by judges).
  • Taking steps to take over the management of the building your property is in known as the Right to Manage (RTM). RTM is where the leaseholders of a block take over the management of it. They get to employ managing agents if they wish to and organise the maintenance and service contracts for the building. They do still have a responsibility to the landlord to maintain the building in compliance with the lease, so they cannot simply cancel everything and reduce their service charge to nil!

There is a very specific procedure that you and your fellow leaseholders need to get on board with and follow, as it can take some time to get off the ground and running.

In our next post we'll be looking at what buildings qualify for the RTM.

If you believe your building qualifies and you want to find out more about setting up a RTM company, Emsleys Commercial team can help. Contact Angela Macready on 0113 201 4900 for free initial consultation and no obligation quote.

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