Property management company demanding extortionate fees for extension - HELP!(9 Posts)
Hi, really hoping someone can shed some light on this.
We have put in a request for planning permission for a fairly simple, one-storey extension on our newbuild (which we own and have lived in 4.5 years).
We have a property management company who basically charge us yearly for maintaining areas around the property and various other things (I can't actually figure out what they do for their money, but that's another story).
We have some paperwork from the property management company from when we moved in, saying that they need to be informed of any changes made including extensions - so we wrote to them informing them about the work, expecting it to just be a formality (with a small-ish fee attached, less than £100 certainly we thought).
So... we received a letter back from them saying they require an admin fee of £260 for the pleasure of allowing us to extend our property, plus we need to pay fees to their solicitor/surveyor and various other people who need to check our extension while it's being built and once the job is done (WTF - isn't that what planning permission is for, to check the extension is viable/reasonable) - so the fees could run into hundreds, thousands...who knows? It's not a cost we had factored in so it was something of a shock.
Has anyone experienced something similar to this? Any advice very welcome!
Who are the property management company? Are they a company run by householders/ your neighbours or as a for profit organisation by the original developer who still has a holdings take in the development?
You need to look at your lease that will tell you what they can charge for. There will be an alteration clause which will say something about charges the freeholder can make, normally you will need a licence for alteration which will be produced by a solicitor. Find the clause, tell us what it says and can give you an idea of costs.
Just looked again - are you the freeholder? There will be a contract, you need to look at that - that will tell you what they vp can charge for.
Is there a lot of resentment of the property management company? You could see if you and your neighbours qualify for a right to manage scheme - if you can get a few of them signed up then you'd be able to get rid of the current ones.
The management company is a 'for profit' organisation, not run by neighbours/fellow householders - it's a big, national company. They don't have a good reputation round here - some householders have actually withheld their fees (not us I hasten to add!) because they felt the company wasn't providing value for money (wrt maintaining common grounds etc). We could probably get several neighbours signed up to change to another management company - but would they be any better? I expect they all charge large fees for this type of thing.
We own the property freehold; in the contract with the management company it simply says we need to inform them about any changes made to the property - no more detail than that.
Thanks for responses so far - much appreciated.
And, if they know that you can get rid of them, have the right to query all their charges and aren't creaming off some back-handers from them (as many freeholders do), then they will also make sure that their charges are fairer.
I think by the sounds of it, thy are taking the p**s. Ask them where it says in the contract / lease that they have the right to charge fees for alterations? Normally if it does, it will be reasonable fees. The place to look is in the lease in the alterations clause, as your relationship is with the freeholder not the management company.
Write nice letter, say when they can point to the contractual obligation then you will be in a position to pay.
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