My flat is shared freehold and the other directors are....awful...help!
The are not all awful of course, it's like this... 1. is great and we try and get things like leaks from the roof fixed. 2. supports us but does nothing much to actually help. 3. won't participate in any meetings or do anything but is happy with what me and the two above are doing as long as it does not involve any effort at all (and they live miles away and rent out the flat very cheaply because it's very damp which is a problem they say they are desperate to sort out so they can sell) 4. undermines everything we try and do, for example, we get someone in to look at a problem as agreed in the minutes, warn everyone in advance, but at the last minute this person says it's not convenient for the workman to visit etc, continually complains about serious H&S issues, says 'someone should sort it out' but then makes this impossible. 5. won't answer emails unless it suits them, also fails to read communication and is very reluctant to address issues (again serious repairs and H&S) but tries to turn it back onto us as our mistakes/unreasonableness (and for being older women I think). As someone who held a good job with good relations with colleagues I find this rather shocking. Thinking of handing over to an outside agent to manage for us on the basis of a majority decision by the Directors. Everyone knows there are serious repairs needed, at meetings it's minuted that everyone agrees to do certain things, including keep each other informed of progress towards specific goals, but any effort is being undermined all the time and most seem unaware of their responsibilities as Directors. HELP!
It's difficult to self manage as everyone has different ideas about finance and differing agendas. We found a very small and local managing agent who charges £100 pcm to organize and supervise the running of a 5 flat conversion.
It's £1200 a year that could go towards repairs but when it wasn't being paid I ended up organizing all the meetings, the maintenance issues and chasing monthly payments and to be honest I got no thanks and nothing but moans about others having to do a tiny share (of cleaning communal areas, sweeping the drive or helping garden) I found it much better for my well being to insist in the end that a third party took on all of this role and we do find they have cost effective contacts for small jobs, so it ends up being swings and roundabouts with regards to cost.
It takes all the personalities out of the equation which helps a great deal.
Thanks for your reply, I think the same as you, I don't mind paying someone to do it properly but if one or two people don't agree can they be forced to accept an outside company? Particularly as they are saying they won't pay any more. Its very disheartening, particularly as we have paid for extensive repairs to one flat and the owner wont contribute towards essentials like the roof now.
Apismalifica, I'm sorry I'm really not qualified to advise you, I can only sympathize and share experiences from when I was in the situation of taking over and chairing the meetings on behalf of a young family member who purchased leasehold with share of freehold (held by a limited company of which all property owners are equal shareholders) In this particular case of the five shareholders, some are very long term, others newer and one an absent landlord. The situation at the time was that feelings ran high with some feeling frustrated at lack of progress and others feeling bullied, as a result nothing ever got done despite, as you say, minuting all the right ideas.
After an awful lot of work I managed to get the majority on side as being of the same mind and approach.
There are obviously always issues and maintenance (such as the roof and fabric of the building) which are equally for the good of all, and then there are issues which are of self interest, where things can never be equal. Agreed, it's hard to persuade those living in the basement that the roof is a real priority, but if you buy an apartment you can't neglect communal responsibilities and I had to keep ramming that point home.
At meetings, for most items, majority rule carries the vote and if a shareholder is to be absent they were requested to submit their vote in advance, appoint a proxy or be recorded as having abstained.
It's this kind of thing that an independent agent can assist with and we're fortunate that ours offers a service which is excellent value for money.
I and another shareholder have had to be extremely strong and insist upon raising the monthly charge, making sure it was collected and trying to establish a 'sinking fund' which was lacking at the time of purchase. I kept pointing out that a well run and adequately funded property was more of an asset than one falling into disrepair and not on a sound financial footing. We had really fallen for another property, however, rejected it as repairs were funded on an adhoc basis as need arose, with no provision in the accounts for contingencies - far too much of a risk.
Here's a link for some background reading which will help clue you in a bit more as to the rights and responsibilities. Read the bit about serving notice, although if the payments requested are up to date, I'm not too sure where you go from there. See also Here
Is your monthly service charge adequate for the building's needs? is it on a par with other similar properties in the area? I lobbied for a £30 pcm increase which had been very long overdue and brought the amount more into line with other similar properties. I also suggested and was successful in raising a one off end of year contribution to boost the bank account a little.
It really does sound as though you need a crisis meeting to make people fully aware of how urgent and crucial some expenditure is and a third party can definitely assist with this, as I say, taking personality and personal interest out of the equation and dealing with cold, hard fact.
If I were you I'd post a short message in Legal asking how to proceed if shareholders won't acquiesce to spending on vital repairs.
Thank you for that, and in a weird way its really helpful to hear we are not the only ones who have been in this mess. We are planning a 'crisis meeting' and have identified a block management company and think you are right that it will remove the personal stuff so it's no longer all down to some people driving it and others putting on the brakes so it goes nowhere.
A problem shared and all that. Best of luck with it all, hope it gets sorted for you
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