The difficulty in comparing utility costs between blocks of flats can be explained by considering a number of factors. The calculation method may differ for each block according to a deviation in leaseholds. Property size, type, height, condition, age, service facilities, facilities, elevators, amenities and tenancy can all have a significant impact on maintenance and operating costs. Additionally, maintenance and repair histories and declining fund accruals can also vary significantly, making comparisons of condo service fee levels extremely difficult. Not only will the property and its condition be unique, the real estate services Block Management London required to manage and maintain the building can vary greatly, as can the requirements of the real estate lease.
In summary, you shouldn’t compare apples to oranges and in many cases there are probably good reasons why two landlord expenses are different. Here are some possible explanations that may be applicable when comparing one typical block management scenario to another.
( i ) You may have a more comprehensive range of services funded by your service fee (e.g. site manager or porter, cleaning of all windows, elevators, parking lots, access systems, etc.).
(ii) Does your neighbor’s service charge include financing for future repairs and maintenance? If not, your fee will likely fluctuate dramatically from year to year as large expenses are incurred. Large items may be charged separately if incurred, in addition to the rental company’s regular service charges.
(iii) How many individual apartments are in the neighboring building ? Smaller apartment blocks with fewer units tend to have a higher maintenance fee per unit. Overall maintenance costs are often disproportionately higher when the costs are borne by fewer lessees. If the ancillary costs are spread over many apartments, the result is that the share per tenant is lower. For example, a roof repair intended for only 6 apartments is expensive compared to the same facility intended for 32.
(iv) Do you have extensive gardens or is your block an older building? In this case, your service fee could be affected. For example, the presence of asbestos can have a dramatic impact on the cost of the work being carried out.
(v) How big is your apartment? The method of calculating the utilities should be specified in the rental agreement. It can be divided according to the floor area of your apartment. If you own a two bedroom apartment and your friend owns a studio apartment, it can make a significant difference. Some leases simply split all costs equally, and this can change the proportion payable significantly from one block to the next.
(vi) The location and access regulations for carrying out work may also affect the service fee. When contractors are unable to erect scaffolding or perform their work cost-effectively, additional time and expense are incurred. Difficulties with material deliveries, parking, cranes , garbage disposal, etc. all have an impact, while simple, standard procedures with no special requirements entail no premium.
After reviewing your rental agreement and the other matters outlined above, you may still feel that you are being overcharged. As a long term tenant there are a number of options available. Why not ask your landlord to hire a professionally qualified real estate agent? If they insist on appointing a firm that is regulated by RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), the standards of service they must work to are set out in the RICS code. This code serves to protect customers from unscrupulous practices and also requires the establishment of testing and protective measures that are subject to regular review by the institute.
Disgruntled tenants may also have other options, including exercising their right of management or even disenfranchisement if the property can be purchased by a majority of tenants. However, these alternatives are not always possible and may take some time to require the cooperation of others. Whatever solution needs to be found, I trust that the above will serve as a useful reference point to help those who feel they are being overcharged.
I propose to further explore the issue of disenfranchisement and tenants’ right to management (RTM) in a separate article, as these particular rights are important and require special attention and explanation.
Of course, it is wise to check all of the above either before or at the time of purchasing a multi-family rental property. Generally, management and maintenance costs are reflected in a property’s service charge over a period of years. A convincing attorney should request this information during their investigation and search with the condominium management agent. However, please note that the opportunity and associated procedures are likely to vary locally. The procedures described focus on England and Wales and are therefore not transferrable to other countries.
Additional advice and assistance on utilities is available from a good property management agent offering block condominium services. Readers are advised to look for block management agent services that meet the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) quality standards. These professional practices or management agents benchmark their property services against the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code. approved by the Minister for Housing in 2009.
RICS Chartered Surveyors who are ‘RICS regulated’ are required to comply with this code, which is strictly enforced by RICS, which conducts regular inspections of its member firms.
Why are the landlord’s administrators failing?
With the increasing number of new builds and large apartments being converted into apartment blocks, the need for associated professional advice and lease management services has increased. The demand for real estate consultants specializing in condominium management has increased dramatically, but if tenant reports and feedback are to be believed, the performance of the typical property manager and their staff leaves much to be desired.
As Director of a leading RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) block management surveying practice, I recognize the need to improve the image of the property management profession.
Many management agent firms have come under heavy criticism in recent years for poor standards of practice. It’s unfortunate that some of the mud thrown is justified.
The utility sector is riddled with disgruntled tenants, landowners and property management companies looking for improvements and a better deal. With so many tenants out there looking to change their substandard manager, there is little doubt that a large number of agencies and providers in the housing management sector are failing. So what went wrong? And why don’t the affected property managers and tenants simply take action to convert their broker to a professionally managed agency?
, there are qualifying property laws that give tenants the right to manage or acquire their property through disenfranchisement. I intend to explain the above and the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 at my leisure in future articles Focusing here on discussing the root cause of tenancy management problems and why there isn’t always a ready made , easy and quick fix.
Possible reasons for the decline in real estate service standards could be due to the larger block management firms increasing in size through the acquisition of local smaller practices. After such an acquisition, the previous owners of these smaller organizations often retire or move on, thereby losing their expertise and knowledge. Clearly, this loss will tend to dilute the quality of service being provided for the Transferred Properties.
Service will also be affected if the new block manager’s offices are some distance from the properties themselves. The result is that visits become less frequent and potential problems and necessary building maintenance and repairs are not quickly identified. Difficulties inevitably arise and again the poor tenant loses. Other tenant and condominium managers have suffered in recent years as some of the larger companies reorganized internally, cutting costs and seeking additional profit margins.
By implementing cost cutting measures and restructuring in their companies Block Management London, this can affect customer service and perception. The result of such a change often leads to the fragmentation of rental management services, impeding the flow of communications. One department will not always be aware of the actions of the other, which becomes evident when tenants call and receive conflicting and inaccurate reports. Real estate agents are also getting in, offering service charge management agent services alongside their core business. While some will no doubt be competent, others may be overwhelmed. Potential clients should always check the references and qualifications of those who will be providing the service.
An experienced sales or rental manager is not necessarily the best person to protect the value of your property and the interests of your property manager. It is possible that there is a suitably qualified person somewhere else in the organization, but this will have little impact on the management of your property. What really counts is the competence of those doing the work. You should determine whether there is a risk of your property being managed by less suitable and unqualified people.
Find a chartered surveying practice or rate Regulated by RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) or alternatively an agent who is a member of ARMA (Association of Residential Management Agents). The RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code sets out what is considered best practice for management in the private residential rental sector and highlights any regulatory requirements that managers must comply with.
The services of all practicing administrative agents should therefore meet the standards set out in this Code. If not, questions should be asked.
Of course, there are companies that simply refuse to take responsibility for quality standards effectively and are happy to muddle through. Employees are often poorly trained, not fully aware of codes of conduct and standards, and are not always sufficiently qualified or experienced to meet customer needs. So what can be done when tenants are facing ongoing problems because their landlord or block manager is not performing?
Current legislation , tenants have a number of options. Tenants have a right to advice on proposed works or services that meet or exceed certain criteria and cost limits.
Tenants now have a right to management of their property and can take over the management function from the landlord by founding their own company for this purpose. The landlord retains his interest in the property and the leasehold is still payable under the lease. This is a relatively inexpensive arrangement and is more easily accomplished than the justification discussed below. It is likely that the Residents Management Company (RTM) will have a duty to the landlord to manage the property to a reasonable standard in order for this arrangement to continue.
As an alternative to the above, tenants may prefer to purchase the property jointly from the landlord, using their statutory right to disenfranchisement. This method can be more expensive and more difficult to achieve in practice. However, it offers tenants the full control and freedom that ownership brings. By purchasing the property in full, the tenants completely eliminate any interest in the property from the previous landlord. Ground rent is no longer payable after the sale, but this component will be reflected in the total purchase price paid. In all cases, the terms of the property lease will continue to apply, subject to any changes or agreed lease extensions.
Current legislation requires tenants to obtain majority consent among the other tenants or landowners. In practice, however, there are obstacles to reaching the necessary consensus between the parties involved. With so many apartments for rent to tenants, the initial task of locating and contacting tenants can in some cases prove extremely difficult. But for those of you who may be taking action to try and change your management agents, I would like to offer a few words of encouragement.
It is essential that the tenants are committed to the proposed measure and that the necessary funds are collected in good time. With professional advice and help, your goals can be achieved. Provided your property meets the qualifying criteria, you can rest assured that your efforts will ultimately be rewarded.
Overall, the housing industry is changing. Recently introduced new legislation appears to be progressively improving standards and accountability. Revised health and safety regulations and the introduction of risk assessments have undoubtedly made a difference too, helping to keep people safe in their homes.
It is hoped that the combined effect of these changes will eradicate the substandard practices that have been all too common of late; assisting in the restoration of professional standards throughout the practice of condominium management.