Residential property management agents for freeholders and leaseholders in blocks of flats and apartments have concerns regarding the lack of importance that some attach to risk assessments.
Stairwells and common areas in residential facilities are treated as commercial spaces under current arrangements and we have to go to great lengths to convince some people that mandatory risk assessments are in fact necessary and should be taken seriously. There are of course also many other statutory requirements that freehold management companies require to comply with and which are often sidelined.
Other issues include the need for landlords to address the many leaseholds or tenants’ rights that landlords and freehold management companies must recognize. In particular service charges, applications must be issued in a prescribed form and meet timelines.
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Expenditure limits must be recognized and strict consultation procedures followed. Many of these statutory requirements are often ignored with many freeholders believing that they do not apply because they collectively own their freehold.
Leaseholders in blocks of flats who have benefited from the purchase of their freeholds and who self-manage their properties fall into the category of those who are at the most risk of becoming complacent. This can be particularly prevalent where the buy to let market is proportionally high, in areas such as London and the South East of England, Absent leaseholders who do not reside at the property are often less involved in the freehold estate property management company however this is certainly not always the case and many do take a healthy interest.
Sometimes these freehold or leasehold block management companies form the view that because they have seemingly avoided any problems in the past that they can continue to ignore the new and current legislation and responsibilities imposed on them through statute. They will no doubt save valuable service charges monies in doing so which is all very well until a problem arises or a risk eventuates.