IPM announce new director appointment

IPM ANNOUNCE NEW DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT

IPM is expanding the board of directors further with the appointment of Chris Peters as a new director of Inspired Property Management effective from the 1st December 2020. The appointment will expand the board of directors from four to five independent directors, bringing valuable experience and insight to the board. This appointment will enable the board of directors to enhance its commercial experience and operational insight, particularly within property industry.

Chris has worked within the property sector for over 10 years’ specialising in leasehold management and is a qualified member of the Institute of Residential Property Managers. Bringing a wealth of experience and a proven track record as a pivotal member of the management team, Chris has worked within some of the largest property management companies across the UK.

 

Chris Peters, director at Inspired Property Management, said: “It was an exciting new chapter to hear the board of Inspired Property Management had invited me to join their dynamic and growing company as a member of the board of Directors. It will be a great honour to work alongside Andrew, David, Danielle and Sarah in being part of an evolving team providing strategy and direction to an expanding and modern company.”

“The focus Inspired Property Management has on providing bespoke and tailored management solutions to their clients and customers, made accepting the offer to join the board of Directors an easy one to make. I am excited to help the company continue to grow in what is an ever changing and challenging environment for the property industry”

 

Danielle Parker, director at Inspired Property Management, commented: “I am delighted to have Chris join us at this important and exciting time. The appointment comes as we embark on an exciting time of expansion and we believe his input will be key in enhancing our service delivery to both clients and leaseholders.”

“As we prepare to navigate our way out of the challenges caused by Covid-19, our first-class leasehold property team, headed by Chris, whose experience and expertise is second to none, will steer us in the right direction. We’re confident about the future and our commitment to growth.”

 

IPM continues to go from strength-to-strength after making a number of strategic new hires and investing in technology within their business to allow for growth and development and become a more client focussed organisation.

 

Who is responsible?

Who is responsible for things like lights, lifts, lawned areas?

When it comes to the practicalities of looking after lifts, lighting and lawns within blocks of flats and apartments, whose responsibility is it to maintain them?

The best place to begin is your lease as this will have all the details about who is managing what aspect of your building and communal areas.

Your Lease

Your Lease should be the first document you turn to and is vital when it comes to owning your flat through a leasehold. This document will give you an overview of your responsibilities and what conditions you’ve agreed to. Examples of what your responsibilities are include:

  • if you require permission to make alterations
  • how much you’ll have to pay in maintain charges to maintain your property
  • whether you or your landlord has responsibility for repairs and dealing with noisy neighbours

As you will know (or hopefully know!) if you have bought a flat (and that could be a house broken up into flats or a purpose built block of flats, etc), then normally the leasehold you own relates to everything within the 4 walls of your flat.

This obvious leaves out the communal areas which will need to be maintained and this is usually undertaken by a property management company.

The freeholder usually appoints a company of professional managing agents who look after the overall maintenance. That’s where the fees for the maintenance come into play.

It’s well worth reminding yourself what SERVICE CHARGES and GROUND RENTS are and what you are paying for, and that includes knowing who’s in charge of repairs to internal communal areas. We will write about Service Charges and Major Works in this article only.

Service Charges

Have a look back over your lease as it will set out the way your service charges are organised and what can (or can’t) be charged. Most flat owners will pay a service charge, and if that’s you, you have the right to:

  • ask for a summary showing how the charge is worked out and what it’s spent on
  • see any paperwork supporting the summary, such as receipts

Your landlord must give you access to this information – it can be an offence if they don’t. Get to know the property managing agents and what their roles are. Most flat owners will have lights, lifts, gates and other communal services that need to be maintained, not just for aesthetics or convenience, but for safety too. Sometimes these items require additional repairs (outside the normal services charges).

Buildings insurance is normally covered by the service charges (you should stay on top of Contents Insurance) so again, check your lease and make sure you know what’s covered should something happen that requires insurers to cover a problem.

Generally speaking, the lease asks the leaseholder to be held responsible for looking after the part of the building they lease, such as:

  • internal plumbing
  • wiring
  • plasterwork and floorboards
  • the paintwork and decoration of their flat
  • any carpets
  • furniture and appliances

Major Works

Some major repairs may need to be paid in addition to services charges. Major works are usually the responsibility of the landlord.

Q. What funds do they come out of?

A. A reserve fund (or “sinking fund”) if available.

Leaseholders may pay into a sinking fund or reserve fund over a number of years. Leasehold law comes under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 so the term “major works” (sometimes known as “qualifying works”) is a term used under this Act. Alternatively, demands for the works may be sent out to leaseholders.

Q. How much do they cost?

A. If the costs of major works are going to be in excess of £250 for any one leaseholder, then the landlord is required to consult with leaseholders under Section 20.

Q. What is a Section 20?

A. There are three main notices that must be served on the leaseholders under a Section 20:

1. Notice of intention: This Notice must describe the proposed works, why the works are being considered and offer an invite to the leaseholders to make written observations within 30 days.

2. Notification of estimates: When the 30 day consultation period expires, it’s time for at least 2 estimates to be obtained by the landlord from contractors to carry out the works.

The landlord must provide to the leaseholder a Statement of Estimates setting out details of quotes obtained together with a summary of observations (received within the consultation period). The leaseholders are then invited to make observations (in writing) of those estimates within 30 days.

TIP: If this ever comes up, speak to a leasehold property lawyer to get more help, and look through Flat Living for more updates and tips on Major Works and what qualifies for the same.

3. Notification of award of contract: If you are not a legal professional or heavily into property law, this can all seem a little daunting and complicated. Essentially, this third part includes the why and what from contractors’ estimates and the leaseholders must be kept informed. Ultimately it’s a notification for you (as a leaseholder) as to why the landlord chose the contractor for the repair the major works. There are many variables to consider when gaining estimates from contractors, and sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best one.

You only have to pay into a sinking fund if your lease says you have to.

When we mention MAJOR WORKS, in property law and in leasehold terms, it means works that are required to maintain the building or premises, at an extra cost by the tenant under the terms of the lease through a “top service charge”.

If you are thinking of buying a flat it is SO important to get really good legal advice or the best leasehold lawyers on it, because there may be some works due, or the building, lift, gate or lighting may be particularly old or in need of some major TLC!

Conclusion

The law dictates that leaseholders paying variable service charges must be consulted before a landlord carries out qualifying works or enters into a long-term agreement for the provision of services.

When you are buying your flat (congratulations!) as a leaseholder, speak to your solicitor or instruct a solicitor of your choice that is recommended to you.

As a leaseholder, there are many aspects of a lease and it’s really worth understanding your requirements before signing on the dotted line. If the stairs, gates, lifts, lighting and other communal working parts, look like they are old, out of date or might be an expensive addition to the usual services to repair, speaking to a specialist lawyer will guide you with the best advice going forward.

Credit goes to LMP Law, for the overview of who is responsible.

Top Tips for Working Remotely

With phase two of lockdown now heading our way, it’s again time to get your motivation back for remote working.  Sounds easy, right?

Not for everyone. The newfound freedom is tough for some employees to adjust to, especially going back into the second phase, so better to have a plan and structure in place to keep up your productivity. Since companies rarely explain effective ways to work remotely, IPM have put together a few recommendations that have helped their team with working from home.

Remote working is becoming more common, so consider the habits below to get the most out of the days you’re not in the office.

1. Find a workspace

First, you’ll have room to spread out your work materials — such as papers, books, and reports — and leave them out the entire day. This beats working at the kitchen table. Then, you have to clean up your materials for lunch; get everything out to work in the afternoon; and clear everything away for dinner. Second, a dedicated workspace can help your motivation. When you go to this designated space, you know that it’s time to work.

2. Invest in work materials

I’ve worked for both type of companies and find that having the right materials, whether or not I buy them, is well worth it. Investing in a few supplies is a relatively minimal cost to do great work and maintain the autonomy working remotely offers.

3. Make a schedule

I also schedule breaks. For example, after writing an article for two hours, I’ll take a 15-minute break. Taking breaks is an important part of managing your energy throughout the day. Leaving your home or apartment for a bit and taking a walk is a great way to boost your energy levels for the afternoon ahead.

4. Communicate with colleagues

I find it helpful to check digital communication tools at designated times during my day. When I create my daily schedule, I note when I’ll check email and Slack, for example. Some people set up an automatic response on their email, alerting colleagues when they should expect a response. And still others, like managers, may find it helpful to tell team members in advance when they’re available to talk or respond to emails.

5. Have designated work clothes

6. Reduce distractions

7. Determine the end of your workday

That’s why it’s important to determine in advance when you’re workday will end. Include this in your daily plan discussed above. Then, close your laptop and place it in your book bag or close your office door so your computer is out of sight.

8. Use your peak hours effectively

The answer to such questions can help you determine your peak work periods. I’m a morning person; I prefer working early in the morning and immediately after lunch. I prioritize my important tasks for these periods and the save less-important stuff for later in the day when I’m mentally fatigued. Knowing when you work best can help you get the most out of your day.

More companies should explain how employees can be effective when working remotely. Until then, try out the above suggestions and see what works best for you.