Apartment Living Horror stories – Beware…

Living in an apartment can be total bliss, once you’ve found your dream place and made it your home, whether you are a resident or manage a block, you need to make sure you are fully aware of some of the horrors which can surface if you’ve not done your research!

From nightmare neighbours to spine-chilling service charges, you should be aware of the frightening facts that you might not expect or have overlooked before signing your lease.

Here are some of the terrifying facts you should know about living in or managing an apartment block. 

1. Discovering that the building is under-insured when you suffer a major loss, such as a fire can be horrific for the people involved knowing they can not recoup the full value of their losses.

2. Buying a short lease on a flat in a prime central London location, only to discover how much you’re going to have to stump up for a lease extension!

3. Being the property manager of a prestigious development block and spending three hours at a residents’ association meeting where they’re still discussing item one of the agenda – whether the trees should be trimmed or not!

4. Realising that the apartment owners in your building are all Airbnb addicts, who are infact sub-letting their own apartments and using your concierge as a hotel porter and having loud parties every weekend.

5. Returning to your penthouse apartment on the 15th floor, weighed down by luggage to find the lift is broken.

6. You overlook charging the residents for major works which took place more than 18 months ago and find out that you can only recover £250 per resident.

7. Realising that your property manager has been using your block’s sinking funds and you now have nothing to carry out urgent repair works.

8. Discovering that your tenant has been keeping a family of black sable ferrets in their flat even though pets are prohibited in their lease and they’ve been breeding uncontrollably!

9. Having taken over the management of the smallest building in your portfolio, which has the most difficult leaseholder, you spend most of your time having to deal with them on the phone or in person, over stones from the driveway or leaves on the paths.

10.  Being the third manager to be appointed by the courts of a building in disrepair with no sinking fund and the residents cannot afford any uplift in service charges – and they all hate each other and can’t agree on any works! Total nightmare…

We all have horror stories but it’s how we deal and manage with situations. You should always be prepared when it comes to having all the facts as a leaseholder and knowing what your responsibilities are if you decide to be part of a Residents Management Committee.

A good block property managers will assist you in ensuring your property is managed efficiently and all issues are dealt with quickly, for more information about how Inspired Property Management could alleviate some of your horrors get in touch with one of our expert property managers today by calling 01302 729500.

Does building development interfere with the rights of an RTM company?

If a Landlord’s decides to develop a building, what will be the impact on the RTM Company be and what rights do they have?

When an RTM Company acquires the right to manage a block, they take over responsibility for the performance of management functions in respect of that block. Management functions are functions in relation to services, repairs, maintenance, improvements, insurance and management. The Landlord is prevented from doing anything that the RTM Company is either required or empowered to do (except if the parties agree).

Often, leases reserve a right for a Landlord to develop neighbouring or adjoining property, despite the fact that this may affect the demised premises. A landlord’s right to develop its property is in conflict with the rights of a right to manage company to manage the building and perform those management functions.

This tension has recently been considered by the County Court in Francia Properties Limited v Aristou (Unreported). Reported by Cassandra Zanelli from Taylor and Emmet Solicitors.

Relevant Facts

In this County Court case, the Landlord sought a declaration from the Court that it was entitled to develop a new flat on the roof space of the building. The lessee of the current top floor flat objected, as did the RTM Company.

One of the issues considered by the County Court was whether the construction of the new flat would interfere with the management functions exercised by the RTM Company.

Decision of the County Court

The County Court agreed to grant declaratory relief in favour of the landlord.

It was agreed between the parties that the roof and roof space of the building were retained by the landlord.

The Court decided that in the absence of an express of implied prohibition, a Landlord is entitled to use its retained land as it pleases. The roof was part of the Landlord’s retained parts, and therefore the Landlord was entitled to develop it.

Although the roof and roof space formed part of the buildings over which the RTM Company exercised the management functions, the RTM legislation does not take away property rights from the Landlord.

Essentially, what the RTM Company was required to do was manage the roof of the building. Although this would be affected by the works needed to build the new flat (and would change the size of the building and therefore the responsibilities of the RTM Company), this was not an absolute bar to the works.

The tension between the Landlord’s right to develop and the RTM Company’s obligation to perform the management functions could be resolved by allowing the landlord to carry out the works so long as the Landlord took all reasonable steps to minimise the disturbance to the management functions of the RTM Company both during and after the works.

Comment

This decision (albeit at County Court level) provides some guidance on how the tension between a Landlord’s proprietary interests (and right to develop) and the rights of an RTM Company can be reconciled.

We understand that permission to appeal the decision has been granted!