Advice

Choosing the right Managing Agent is important, not only for your building and other communal areas but also for the community of the site. As a Freeholder or a Director of a Management Company, you have a responsibility to choose the correct Managing Agent.

It may seem like a daunting task to change Managing Agents but it would be highly beneficial to the site and to the individual owners to ensure a value for money professional service. To ensure you achieve this, it is important that the Managing Agent you choose is well experienced, is a member of the appropriate professional bodies and comes recommended. Such an agent should be able to provide a professional and personal service geared specifically to your site.

This is precisely what we offer to our clients and we believe that good communications and transparency are vital ingredients to a successful relationship.

Collective Enfranchisement is the right under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) for a majority of qualifying lessees in a development to purchase of the freehold.

Seel & Co can advise on the procedure including:-

  • Checking the Eligibility of the building, the tenants etc)
  • Organising the company and finances for enfranchisement
  • Choosing the Nominee Purchaser, be it an exisiting management company or set up a new freehold holding company.
  • Selecting and instructing surveyors and solicitors
  • Valuing the purchase price from both the Landlord’s and Tenant’s position.
  • Serving the Initial Notice on the landlord
  • Preparing for the subsequent procedures

Should you require assistance the please call us to discuss your options.

Further information can be found from the Leasehold Advisory Service either by visiting their website or by downloading LEASE’s introductory guide by clicking here.

At intervals of no more than five years, the Landlord’s electrical installations must be assessed to ensure that they meet current electrical safety regulations.

A report would be provided by a qualified electrical engineer, which will indicate remedial work, if required. Electrical safety plays an important part of ensuring the fire safety of the building.

For further information see the guide book ‘Electrical Safety in Communal Areas’ click here.

Monday – Friday:  9:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday:  9:30am to 1:00pm
Sunday:  Closed
Bank Holidays:  ClosedPlease report any problems to Seel & Co during office hours as stated above on 02920 370 100 or via email at info@seelandco.com. If the problem is not urgent please leave a message. Seel & Co will endeavour to answer any queries, questions or problems you may have at the earliest opportunity.In the event that there is an emergency, and you cannot contact Seel & Co, here are the contact numbers you should use. Please note that you will be responsible for the cost of any out of hours call outs for attendance to a non-emergency matter. 

Electrician

Linden Maintenance
07885994121

General Maintenance

J M Property Services
07920575354

Linden Maintenance
07885994121

Gas & Plumbing

Gas & Plumbing Services 
07973266872

Gas Rite Kitchens & Bathrooms
07966639389

Handyman

Terry Mears
07815786495

Locksmiths

PPM Locksmiths
0292031717

Noise Nuisance

Cardiff County Council
101

Power Outages

Western Power
03301235002

Gas Leaks

Wales & West
0800111999

Water Issues

Welsh Water
08000520130

Drainage

Dyno-Rod
02920813535

Aerials/Satellite Signals

Beamrite
02920486884

Telephone/internet etc

Virgin Media
08000643839

BT
0800800152

Fire safety is vital within blocks of flats. On a regular basis or when something changes within a block of flats which affects the fire integrity of the building, a fire risk assessment must be carried out.

A fire risk assessment will cover a range of items, which may include:

  • Ensuring fire alarms and emergency lighting is installed, serviced and tested at appropriate intervals
  • Fire doors are installed and serviced
  • Fire safety signage is installed
  • Evacuation procedure is clearly understood

The risk assessment will also provide information of how to control or resolve fire safety matters.

Every year people are injured or die due to inadequate installation, servicing or ventilation of gas appliances due to the release of carbon monoxide which is a highly dangerous and odourless gas which can cause sickness, loss of consciousness or death.

This is rectified however by ensuring that your gas appliances, including your gas boiler and gas flue, are serviced on an annual basis by a qualified and competent gas engineer. For all properties that are rented out a gas safety certificate is required annually.

Some buildings may contain a communal flue which should also be assessed on an annual basis – this is likely to be the responsibility of the Freeholder or Management Company so you should check before servicing the flue.

There is much legislation that provides structure to managing a property. The legislation covers a wide range of subjects including:

  • Accounting and taxation of service charge monies
  • Administration of resident management companies
  • Appointing contractors
  • Asbestos
  • Bribery
  • Breaches of a duty of care (manslaughter/homicide)
  • Breaches of health and safety
  • Data protection
  • Electrical Safety including disposal of electrical items
  • Equality
  • Fire Safety
  • Forfeiture of Lease
  • Gas safety
  • Licences of houses in multiple occupation
  • Money laundering
  • No smoking
  • Notification of major works and/or long term agreement
  • Parking patrol including clamping
  • Right To Manage
  • Risk Management including assessments, control of hazards, planning for maintenance work
  • Service charge, ground rent and administration charge notices and arrears
  • Working at height
  • Water testing including Legionella

Should any of the above affect the management of the site, Seel & Co will advise and recommend the best course of action specifically for your site.

The LVT or First-Tier Tribunal as it is now called in England is the Court where disputes between leaseholders and their Landlord or Management company are adjudicated.
The tribunal can adjudicate on the following matters:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Service charges and their reasonableness
  • Service quality
  • How much you have to pay to extend your lease
  • How much you have to pay to buy the freehold of your building
  • Contested Right to Manage claims
  • Whether a covenant or condition in a lease has been broken

Charges payable under an estate management scheme.

Applications to the LVT may incur charges and in most cases it is advised to apply to the LVT only as a last resort. The cost per application and address where the applications should be submitted are as follows:

Applications for money matters including premium of nominated insurer:

Disputed charge

not more than £500.00

more than £500.00 but not more than £1,000.00

more than £1,000.00 but not more than £5,000.00

more than £5,000.00 but not more than £15,000.00

more than £15,000.00

Application fee

not more than £50.00

£70.00

£100.00

£200.00

£350.00

For applications concerning dispensation with consultation requirements, determination as to suitability of nominated insurer, appointment of managers and variation of leases, costs are as follows:

Number of dwellings

Up to five

Between six and ten

More than ten

Application Fee

£150.00

£250.00

£350.00

There is no fee payable in respect of the following provisions:

  • applications to determine the terms or price in respect of enfranchisement (Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (houses) and Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (flats);
  • applications to determine the terms or price in respect of lease extensions under the same legislation as for enfranchisement above;
  • application for an order for the limitation of service charges arising from the landlord’s costs of proceedings (S20(c) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985);
  • application for an order to dispense with service of a Preliminary Notice prior to an action for the appointment of a manager (S22(3) Landlord and Tenant Act 1987;
  • determination of liability to pay an estate management charge (S159(6) Commonhold Leasehold Reform Act 2002);
  • variation of an estate management charge (S159(3) Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002);
  • all applications arising from the right to manage (Ch 1, Pt2, Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002);
  • applications for a determination that a breach of a covenant or condition in the lease has occurred.

The guide below outlines the structure of Leasehold Living, your roles and responsibilities and those of your neighbours.

Click here to download the guide.

One result of living in a block of apartments is that noise from neighbours can become a nuisance.  Unlike living in a house many walls and in some cases both floors and ceilings are adjoining a neighbouring property.

Most Leases contain covenants relating to the prevention of nuisances including noise nuisance but enforcement of breaches of covenant can be slow and cumbersome. It is therefore recommended that any occupier firstly contact their local authority whose Environmental Health Officers have the legal powers to act in the case of noise nuisance far more effectively and quickly where it can be proved that a nuisance exists.

Any formal action however it is taken to counter a noise nuisance will be reliant on there being sound (excuse the pun) evidence from those suffering a nuisance.

A leasehold property transfers is the sale of a property in which the lease obligations are transferred to the new owner (leaseholder).

Seel & Co deal with the transfers of properties within a development.  We manage answering all solicitors’ leasehold questionnaires, providing information and documentation and ensuring that all the legal documents are in place. As part of the transfer process we ensure that any outstanding charges are settled and where necessary, issue a new share or membership certificate to the individuals.

Right to Manage (RTM) is a provision in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 for Leaseholders to force the transfer of the management of a building to a special company set up by the Leaseholders.

Certain conditions need to be met and specific notices issued.

RTM does not necessarily mean self-management. The right to manage is simply a transfer of responsibility and decision-making. Leaseholders should not be tempted to view RTM just as a route to do-it-yourself management unless the building is small (no more than, say, six flats) the day-to-day management may be best left to a professional managing agent.

Management is a job which requires certain skills and experience and carries with it great responsibility.

Further information can be found from the Leasehold Advisory Service either by visiting their website or by downloading LEASE’s introductory guide by clicking here.

Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002) sets out the three-stage consultation procedure with which to follow when carrying out qualifying works to your building where the contribution from any one lessee exceeds £250, or a qualifying long-term agreement where the contribution from any one lessee exceeds £100 in one financial year.

If your Residents’ Management Company (RMC) is looking to carry out works, or enter into a long-term agreement of this nature, then consultation must take place with all lessees. If there is a Recognised Tenants’ (or Residents’) Association (RTA), then you must include them within your consultation.

Stage one

For qualifying works, under Section 20 you would be required to serve a “Notice of Intention to Carry Out Works” upon all lessees. The Notice must generally describe the proposed works, state the reasons for considering the proposed works, and invite leaseholders to make written observations within 30 days. The correspondence address for observations should be stated within the Notice as well. The importance of the Notice of Intention is that it offers lessees with the opportunity to provide the name of a contractor from whom the Landlord/RMC should try to obtain an estimate for the proposed works.

Stage two

At the expiration of the 30-day consultation period, at least two estimates should be obtained: one of these estimates must be from a person completely independent of the landlord/RMC. If nominations were made within the consultation period, then estimates should have been obtained from at least one of these nominations. The Landlord/RMC must then provide a “Statement of Estimates” which sets out the details of estimates that have been obtained and a summary of observations received within the consultation period. Any estimates that have been obtained must be available for inspection by the lessees, including estimates obtained from nominated contractors. A “Notice to Accompany the Statement of Estimates” must also be served in conjunction with the Statement of Estimates, which sets out the hours and place where details of the estimates may be inspected, inviting lessees to make written observations on the estimates within 30 days, specifying the address to which those observations should be sent.

Stage three

If, at the expiration of the consultation period, the chosen contractor did not provide the lowest estimate, then a “Notice of Reasons” must be served upon all lessees. This essentially states the Landlord’s/RMC’s reasons for awarding the contract. It is worth noting that if a nominee is chosen to carry out the works, and they didn’t provide the lowest estimate, then although the requirements of Section 20 have been fulfilled, it would be prudent to serve a Notice of Reasons because that estimate could be tested for reasonableness by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) under Section 19 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act.

For long-term agreements, the procedure is essentially the same, however Stage 2 is referred to as a Notice of Proposals. For instance, an agreement such as an intercom maintenance contract isn’t just about the cost of the maintenance, but the number of visits per year, frequency of visits, number of staff per visit, inclusions/exclusions of service etc.

In the event that the consultation procedure is not followed correctly and the Landlord/RMC is successfully challenged at the LVT, then the maximum amount recoverable from lessees under the service charge is £250 for major works and £100 for long-term agreements.

For more comprehensive information on Section 20 please see the advice guides on the LEASE website.