Managing flats might be described as “more kicks than ha’pence” (a phrase which for maximum effect you need to say with a strong Yorkshire accent). There is a general misconception that managing residential buildings is easy-peasy and that those doing it are always to blame when the going gets tough. It’s not actually like that at all. Efficient estate management requires an unusual and wide range of skills, not to mention patience, tact and the rare ability of “rainmakers” to get things done. People managing flats also need access to specialist legal advice. This is where we fit in. Our areas of expertise include:
- Company secretarial services – maintaining registers of shareholders, directors and directors’ interests, filing annual returns and filing accounts, running AGMs and other meetings, drafting minutes of meetings
- Advice on articles of association for flat management companies
- Alterations. We advise on the terms of licences for alterations and seek to protect the interests of landlords as well as adjoining flat owners.
- Collection of service charge arrears
- Challenges to service charges in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, and pre-emptive applications to the LVT by landlords and flat management companies to determine the reasonableness of charges
- Consultation with flat owners about proposed works of repair and long term contracts, and applications for dispensation
- Applications to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for statutory variation of leases
- Terms of appointment of managing agents
- Protecting the interests of landlords and flat management companies when flats change hands and making the process as easy as possible for flat owners
- Legal action against flat owners who cause nuisance, and the ultimate sanction of forfeiture of their lease
- Building defects and in particular claims against developers (a subject on its own)
From time to time conflict between managing agents and flat management companies on the one hand and flat owners on the other is inevitable. Every now and again this is caused by parties who are difficult and anti-social – neighbours from hell in fact. But most flat owners are reasonable people, who just want to be treated fairly and are willing to compromise where they can see that there is another side to the story. We can assist in dispute resolution and offer specialist mediation services for this purpose.