Living in a flat- problems with management committee(7 Posts)
Hello, looking for advice on a situation which is causing some worry.
We live in a flat in the centre of town; in our area it is popular with tourists so some of the flats are being done up and sold or let out as holiday lets. However we are a family and have lived here for years.
My husband helps my doing the management committee side of things to save money, this has been fine until recently when someone bought one of the flats and had been doing it up tot be sold, this person has a property development company. They are trying to add over 100K to the flat they have bought by redeveloping it.
They have caused a few problems with the other flats, for example firstly all the noise etc and then doing things like taking over the hall read with their one furnishings (which are not in keeping with the Georgian building and are modern). They have asked for a new fire alarm system to be installed at great cost to the other home owners although they themselves have not yet contributed their share of the cost.
Now, their property had not sold at the inflated price and had to be let out; we know see it's on the market again after Christmas. They are now asking if there is money in the management committee 'kitty' to redecorate the whole hallway (it is a very large old house so this would be substantial).
I'm afraid they tend to corner people individually and demand these things...this happened recently with my husband so he said it is beside the point whether there is enough money and it would need to be discussed in a meeting of the homeowners. They then said he was 'being aggressive' (which has happened before when things are not agreed to on demand).
There seems to be no thought to others, for example a family living in the building, only to the sale of their property.
What to do? We are hoping they would have sold by now and moved on to be honest. Any advice welcome!
What do the Articles of Association of the Management Committee state? Presumably if there isn't a scheduled meeting of the Committee, there is a procedure for a member to call a meeting and out their suggestion to the other members? Refer this owner to the Articles, to the correct procedure, etc and take it from there. There should be annual accounts and whoever acts as Treasurer should be able to state the current position.
OK Thanks. I'm not sure if there are Articles, we just run it ourselves quite informally. There are some (very old) articles stating things like no animals with four legs(!) and there was a bit of controversy about the holiday lets as there was an old document saying they could only be let out to a family...something like that any way. Would these be what you are referring to?
Yes there are Committee meetings once a year or so, usually in our flat. (did have a Solicitor as an owner for a while who helped a lot but has moved unfortunately)
So I suppose it might be necessary to call a meeting? (sigh) the last one, this person turned up late, spent all the time on the phone then left early.
I do think that it might be better to have 'reinforcements' however.
Do you have directors of the management company? Are you all shareholders? What does the lease say for the property?
Usually leases state that internal and external redecorations should be carried out whenever required, or at least every 7 years. It's probably worth checking as otherwise they could use it as a stick to beat you with.
As you say it's going to be expensive to have the decoration works done, you need to make sure you don't violate section 20 of the landlord and tenant act, which states that you have to consult on any large scale works with all residents. This process on its own can take approximately 3 months to go through, and it is important as otherwise the directors could be left with the bill for the work. Have a look at www.lease-advice.org for more info on it.
When I lived in a flat, we agreed once a year what works needed doing (redecoration/roof etc) and then got quotes then contributed extra to the management committee account and when the money was there, got the work done.
How is it that you've paid to have a fire alarm system installed and they've not contributed to it?
Don't be bullied by them - they can't make you do anything.
- The necessity for a fire alarm is governed by law. Has the Company had a fire risk assessment completed for the common areas? If so, what does this say?
If not, please note that there is a legal requirement to manage the health and safety risks in common parts of a residential building and a risk assessment needs to be completed and reviewed periodically (the initial assessment should contain advice on how often this should be)
- What do your property leases say about the Company's rights to recover costs for improvements?
- Do your property leases say anything about the Company having rights to recover the cost of any works required by law/statute?
My understanding of your post is that you've gathered funding in part for the fire alarm works, does this mean they aren't yet instructed? If not, I would postpone until you are sure that the works are legally required and the costs are recoverable; there is a legal requirement to serve consultation notices for any major works that exceed £250 for any one leaseholder.
As far the new leaseholder throwing their weight around, same advice goes for them: they have to abide by the lease - which will probably forbid storing items in the common parts and the other behaviour you describe.
I really recommend some expert guidance on the lease content and to ensure the management company officers are aware of both their legal obligations to the common parts and in terms of enforcing rules and regulations.
If you don't want to pay for a managing agent to manage the block for you, at least get one in on a one-off / consultancy basis to guide on this.
Hi thanks so much for the replies! That is a good idea to get an agent for this although we're hoping she might be gone soon.
Yes we have had the fire alarm installed / assessed etc. It was about 1K for each flat.
I will bear in mind the suggestion of having an agent to help, and that we all need to discuss the redecoration of the hall etc.
Hopefully it will all be over soon. Just met lovely elderly neighbour who is finding it all stressful and not wanting to go on holiday in case this person does something while she's away! It's a shame. It's always been lovely and easy going, until recently. Some people think it's like a museum rather than people just living here tbh.
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