Frequently Asked Questions
A Management Company is a company limited by share or guarantee whose members are residents of a development. These companies are run by Directors elected from amongst the residents who in turn usually appoint Managing Agents to administer the company and manage the developments. This is where Andrew Louis comes in.
The Lease is the most important document in relation to your ownership of the property. It sets out the contractual relationship between you, your neighbours, the freeholder and, if applicable, the Management Company. It says what you can and cannot do at the property, what your neighbours can and cannot do, when and what you must pay and what services you are entitled to receive.
It is very important that all owners of flats and apartments have a clear understanding of the terms of their lease and therefore it often pays to ask your solicitor to run through it with you.
The responsibilities of a director of a Residents’ Management Company are the same as for a director of any Company and therefore you have statutory and fiduciary duties that should not be taken on lightly. However, in practise you will be responsible for liaising with the Managing Agent to ensure that the development is managed properly, in accordance with the lease and in a cost effective manner.
It will be necessary for you to meet regularly with your fellow directors to agree policy decisions as to how the development should be being run. This will include anything from agreeing the budget and financial accounts, to deciding on the priority of repairs and reviewing quotations. You will need to hold meetings in accordance with statutory requirements and consult with members or shareholders as required.
In the majority of instances Andrew Louis will act as the Company Secretary, thereby ensuring that the company complies with its filing requirements, etc. If requested, Andrew Louis can also assist by arranging Directors and Officers Liability insurance in order to minimise the personal liability faced by the directors of Residents’ Management Companies.
Because the Lease or Transfer under which you purchased your property says you have to. As the Lease or Transfer will vary from development to development you should make reference to your own lease or Transfer for details of the exact provisions that apply. However, generally the service charge that you pay is your contribution towards the overall cost of managing and maintaining the structure and fabric of the buildings and communal areas of your development including any plant or equipment situated therein. Your Lease or Transfer sets out exactly what services should be provided and the percentage of the total costs that you must pay.
When setting a service charge we review historic costs, future trends and our knowledge of the particular development. As a starting point, we are likely to add an inflationary uplift but there may be some areas where we anticipate savings or where a service is no longer required. However, whilst we seek to provide an excellent service at a fair price, many of the costs are dictated by external forces such as new regulations and legislation, cost pressures from suppliers and the requirements of the development owners.
In each case we will provide a detailed budget annually and this will be subject to consultation with the freeholder and residents’ representatives.
All service charge receipts relating to your development are paid into a dedicated bank account specifically for your development and the cost of providing services is met from this account. This bank account cannot go overdrawn and we cannot order any work unless there is sufficient money in this bank account to meet the cost of the work. This is why you are required to pay service charges in advance of us providing the services and also why it is important that you pay your service charge promptly when due. If your service charge is not paid promptly when due it is likely to result in us having insufficient money available to continue to provide services to your development which will result in services being withdrawn.
I have some financial problems and am struggling to pay my Service Charge. What should I do to ensure the matter does not escalate?
Talk to us as soon as you are aware that there is likely to be a problem in order to avoid an escalation of our arrears procedure. There may be ways in which we can help you to spread the cost but doing nothing will almost certainly lead to the problem becoming worse as you may end up incurring the additional costs of legal and administrative fees, etc.
This is probably because you are a new owner and the change of ownership has not been advised to us. You should immediately contact your solicitor and ourselves so that we can arrange to rectify this as quickly as possible. However, we are bound by the terms of your lease and can only amend our records upon receipt of the correct documentation.
If you are being asked to pay ground rent it is because your Lease says you have to. Ground rent is a contractual rental payment to the owner (Freeholder or Headlessee) of the land on which your development is situated. Unlike service charge, ground rent is not related to the provision of any services.
By Direct Debit – If you wish to pay future invoices by interest free monthly direct debit payments, please telephone our Accounts Department on 0151 330 5340 for a mandate.
By Credit / Debit Card – Please telephone our Accounts Department on 0151 330 5340 to pay by credit / debit card. In order to help prevent fraud DO NOT write your credit / debit card details down and send them to us. A handling charge will apply to credit / debit card payments.
By Cheque – Please make your cheque payable to Andrew Louis Property Management and ensure that your unique account number is written on the reverse (your unique account number will appear on all invoices and statements that we send to you).
Online - You will soon be able to make payment via our Online payment facility using the ‘Make A Payment´ section of the website & this will guide you through the secure payment process.
In the first instance, we suggest you should make contact with the flat above. Quite often, the residents will be unaware of the fault and will be happy to rectify the problem straight away. Should you experience difficulty making contact with the flat in question, please contact our Block Managment team on 0151 330 5355 or email email@example.com who will contact the owner of the property advising them that there is an apparent leak.Regrettably, Andrew Louis cannot carry out any repairs to pipe work falling within the responsibility of individual owners.
Should there be any damage caused to your property and you wish to make a claim on the block buildings insurance, please contact our Block Management Team who will provide you with the necessary information.
Noise from TVs, Hi-Fis, party guests leaving the property etc. can be very frustrating, particularly late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Persistent noise nuisance is best dealt with by your local Environmental Health Department which has the necessary powers to deal with this and whose involvement usually provides a speedy resolution although we will communicate with the residents breaching the terms of the lease as well.
There is frequently an adjustment to the service charge after the year end as it is unlikely that our estimate will exactly equal the amount expended during the year. This adjustment can be a credit if we over estimate or a debit if we under estimate. If we under estimate; an invoice will be dispatched to you for the balance due. If we over estimate, the adjustment is credited to your account with this helping reduce the future charge.
It is common sense and good practice to save for future known large expenditure matters such as re-roofing, re-carpeting and re-decoration notwithstanding having funds for unexpected concerns such as emergency roofing works requiring scaffold installation and serviceable parts failing such as water pumps or gate motors.
An amount is collected each year so that money is accumulated and available to meet either significant unexpected expenditure or other periodic repair or renewals.
The process also helps to ensure fairness, so that every leaseholder is making an annual contribution to future major works costs, even if no work is carried out whilst that leaseholder is in occupation. The leaseholder therefore shares the cost of parts of the building or equipment wearing out relative to the period he or she was a leaseholder.
In the event you wish to sell your apartment, you will be required to get permission from the Management Company or Landlord. As part of the transaction your solicitor will be required to complete leasehold enquiries which Andrew Louis as the managing agent will assist with.
Andrew Louis offer estate agency services and are pleased to offer preferential rates to existing leaseholders under block management.
For a FREE market appraisal please contact our sales team on 0845 803 3039 or visit us on andrewlouis.co.uk
You may have certain restrictions within your lease agreement about subletting, so if you are considering renting your apartment please ensure that you contact us first so we can advise you of the terms of your lease relating to subletting.
Andrew Louis offer residential letting and property management service and are pleased to offer preferential rates to existing leaseholders under block management.
For a FREE rental appraisal please contact our lettings team on 0845 803 3039 or visit us on andrewlouis.co.uk
Yes. Whoever is the owner of the property on the date the invoice is due for payment is responsible for paying that invoice in full even if you are likely to sell your property part way through the period covered by the invoice. If this is likely to happen you should send a reply paid envelope with your payment in order that we can issue a receipt. You should then hand this receipt to your solicitor who can ensure that they collect an appropriate apportionment from the purchaser at completion of your sale.
Any arrears of ground rent or service charge are likely to delay your sale until the arrears are paid in full.
As managing agents, we are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the communal areas of your Block. If you have identified a problem that needs to be drawn to our attention then please contact us either by´email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0845 803 0015
Go to the fob ordering section of this site and complete the details. Subject to receiving your details and the appropriate payment we will despatch a pre programmed fob to you directly.
Many of the units here are let to tenants who do not seem to care about the development in the same way as owners do. What can I do to ensure that the quality of the development is not diminished?
Many developments have a high proportion of rented property and owners who live on site often have differing aspirations to those of short term tenants. Andrew Louis recognise this and will take action to ensure that non resident landlords insist that their tenants uphold the lease covenants and behave in a way condusive to living in a modern apartment complex. There is no doubt that this is assisted where there is an effective Residents’ Management Company or Tenant’s Association that works in partnership with us to enforce the development rules.
Can I withhold payment of my Service Charge if I am not happy with the way my block is being managed?
Often one of the main reasons a block of flats is not being managed properly is that there are insufficient sums in the Service Charge bank account.
A good Agent must therefore ensure that this does not happen so that it can, at all times, maintain, keep safe and insure the building or buildings under its jurisdiction. The Agent must also ensure that there is sufficient money in the account to react to urgent or extraordinary maintenance requirements. As such, for everyone’s benefit, arrears cannot and will not be tolerated.
Although you may choose not to pay a builder or other service provider if you are not happy with the service they are providing, you cannot withhold Service Charge contributions. Without an adequate balance in the Service Charge account, it is impossible to keep the building safe and for this reason the Courts would almost always find against the defaulter. You must pay your Service Charge and raise the query or complaint you may have in the correct manner. Ultimately, with a reputable Agent you should always have the sanction of a Complaints Procedure and recourse to their professional body.
In extreme circumstances, the Freeholder can forfeit your lease for persistent non-payment of Service Charge. More normally, failure to pay Service Charge results in the offending Leaseholder having to cover the costs incurred by the Freeholder or its/his/her or Block Management Agent for pursuing the arrears or serving notices in pursuance of the arrears.
Andrew Louis is committed to providing a high quality management service. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it, as this will help us to improve our standards.
In the first instance it is best to speak to the Property Administrator or Manager for your property. Call or email and we will endeavour to resolve any problem as quickly as possible.
If you are not satisfied with your response then we suggest that you write to us detailing the nature of your complaint. We will endeavour where possible to respond in detail within 10 working days. All complaints are logged and reviewed by the Managing Director.
We are also delighted to receive your compliments when you have been particularly impressed by our service.