The following blog post series has been written by one of our property managers, Vivian Emanuel. Vivian was our first employee to graduate from JFM’s internal property management training programme in January 2019. The series was produced by him as part of his training, but we’ve held on to it before publishing a little longer than we’d intended!
Common Homeowner Management Issues
While we carry out our duties as Property Managers, we regularly take phone calls from property-owners who find they are unsure what to do in certain situations.
Of course, as a managing agent, JFM have the responsibility of ensuring the shared areas are looked after and issues are resolved as swiftly as possible. In other cases, we may only be able to offer guidance to home-owners and suggest what they should do to resolve the issues themselves.
In this series of posts, I will demonstrate some of the common issues homeowners tend to report and recommend ways they can be resolved. Starting with one of the most common issues.
Who is Responsible – My Landlord/Agent or Me?
On purchasing a property in a block of flats or a house on an estate, it is important to know what you will be paying for through the service charge. It is the lease or transfer of part that will determine what the service charge covers.
As a rule of thumb, managing agents will typically be responsible for items outside your front door, including:
- The common parts of a building or estate
- The external grounds and gardens
- The structure of the building
- Any commonly used plant or equipment within the building
Arranging repairs in these areas usually falls to the managing agent, therefore.
While these general points are a good starting point, it is always very important to refer to the lease for certainty. The lease will usually go into much more specific detail about what needs to be dealt with by the managing for of your building. Sometimes, the lease will throw up surprises! This information can often be found in the landlord or management company covenants section.
What is the Demise?
In a leasehold property, confusion can be caused when an issue is described as ‘demised’. The demise of a flat is that part of the property belonging to the leaseholder. In most cases, the front door and anything within the four walls of the flat is demised.
Your managing agent would not usually deal with issues within the ‘demised premises’. However, this is not always clear to leaseholders. Let’s take a typical lessee issue – “my heating is not working”. In most cases, this kind of issue is for the individual leaseholder to resolve because most heating systems these days are demised to the owner. Sometimes, we may be able make suggestions of heating contractors that can be used. We would not typically offer formal recommendations, however.
In some cases, a heating system may be a shared system within a block and not be demised to the leaseholder under their lease. Of course, if we receive reports of faults with a communal heating system, we will naturally ensure the appropriate contractor or is instructed and take full responsibility for resolving the issue.
A description of what parts of your property make up the demise will be found in your lease.
Watch out for subsequent parts to this short series by Vivian Emanuel.
Vivian Emanuel BSc (Hons) AIRPM