Recently our surveyor carried out a Building Survey on a Flat in an old converted Grade II Listed hospital / workhouse in Bridport. Properties such as these usually have a Management Company in place to control the management of the block.
In cases such as these we tend to give the following advice.
- Often many self-managed blocks do not fully comply with all statutory legislation and, as a result, there are likely to be shortcomings that need addressing. The management company should consider the professional services of a chartered surveyor to manage the block in future to overcome serious shortcomings.
- The success of buying a leasehold property often depends on the quality and effectiveness of the management system. Prior to purchase, therefore, the client should make as many enquiries as they can and it can be helpful to speak to other lessees in the building if at all possible.
- The client should check how management is organised and who takes decisions, find out what contract there is between the lessees and managing agents and check whether regular liaison meetings take place.
- The client should find out if a fund is being built up to pay for repairs or whether money has to be collected ‘as needed’. Find out if there are problems in extracting service charges from any of the lessees.
- If there are communal gardens, roads, lifts, garage or aerials etc., check what maintenance contracts are in force since they will have to be paid for.
- Check that the building insurance cover figure has been regularly updated and that it includes common parts and stairways.
- Have a good look at the development of block without ‘rose-coloured spectacles’ and try to gain sensible impression of the quality of care being shown. Generally the better a leasehold development is managed, the better your investments will be.