• faq

      • We have considered moving to a new managing agent, after being with our existing agents for a number of years, but fear that it will be complicated, time-consuming and very disruptive.
        • Part of our service is to manage the whole move from your present management agent.  We can ensure the move is as seamless as possible.  Once you have given your notice for the required notice period to your current agent, we can manage the process from then on, both with liaising with the outgoing agent in relation to all the handover records, as well as the commissioning of our systems with all the records of the property.

      • Why should we have to pay for a Chartered Accountant to certify the annual accounts?
        • A lease will often require that the service charges annual accounts to be certified by a Chartered Accountant.  Less frequently, the lease may actually stipulate that the accounts must also be audited.  In fact "audit" in the case of service charge accounts will not be the same as it would be for a trading company.  Nevertheless, the cost of audited accounts are still much higher than for certified accounts.  Even if the lease does not stipulate that accounts must be certified, if there are five or more flats in a block, then by law (S.21 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985) the service charge annual accounts must be certified by a Chartered Accountant.

      • I am a leaseholder - can I ask Carlton Property Management, as the Managing Agent, to carry out work?
        • Leaseholders can report a problem relating to the building or the common areas, if they see one.  However a leaseholder doesn’t have the right to instruct the management agent on any management policy or related matters. This is partly because there is no legal contractual relationship between the leaseholder and the managing agent, but mainly it’s because the freeholder/landlord or the residents’ management company is the client and the one with the right to make decisions about the block.  You can of course make your views or opinions known to the directors of the resident management company.

      • I own a share of the freehold, with the leasehold of my flat. Does that mean you work for me?
        • Yes – and no! Carlton Property Management, as managing agent, works for the Landlord (whether this is a freehold company, an individual, a residents management Company or Right to Manage company) to ensure the appropriate responsibilities and legal obligations are carried out. Leaseholders who own a share of the freehold are shareholders of the freehold company.  The company is effectively the Landlord, and its directors are the only individuals with the legal right to give instructions on the management of the building.

      • What if I'm not happy with the standard of work being carried out, for instance by the gardener or cleaner?
        • Of course, whether you are our Client or a leaseholder, if you feel that work being carried out (for instance under a regular maintenance contract such as gardening or cleaning) is not being done according to the agreed scope or expected standards, then we would appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible, so this can be put right by us.  In addition, our regular inspections are aimed at monitoring the quality of the work carried out by contractors.

      • What is a Section 20?
        • This is a requirement under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which states that any work that will cost more than £250 per flat, must go through a formal consultation process with all the leaseholders. During the process, leaseholders are able to make their comments or to suggest an alternative contractor to give a quote. If more than one alternative contractor is suggested, the client selects one out of these to add to the contractors already invited to quote.  This is provided the nominee contractor complies with liability insurance and health and safety requirements and can demonstrate the same quality standards expected of all the other contractors. Once quotes have been received from the selected contractors, and again communicated to the leaseholders, one quote (usually the lowest) would be accepted and the work would commence once funds are available.

      • How long does a Section 20 Consultation take?
        • As it is a fairly involved and legally prescriptive process, it can generally take between three to four months from the decision to carry out the work to when the contract can commence (as long as the funds are already available).  If the work in question is urgent, and any delay would have a serious or detrimental effect on the building, then a dispensation can be applied for from the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) to bypass the Consultation process and enable to work to be carried out quickly.  Even so, the FTT discourage the use of dispensation applications if they appear to try and circumvent the normal consultation process.

      • What can I do if I have really noisy neighbours in my block?
        • As Managing Agent, we have no legal ability to deal with matters like this. There are a number of organisations able to deal with this problem, such as the local authority's Environmental Health Department or the Police. The first thing you could do is to knock on their door and politely inform them that they are creating too much noise. If they ignore you or you don't feel able to do this, then you could contact these organisations, who should be able to help you. If the offending flat is rented to tenants, you could either contact the leaseholder who owns the flat to let him know about the problem, or alternatively, let us know about it and we will contact the leaseholder to try and help find a resolution.  Whether the Landlord is able to enforce any covenants regarding noise nuisance depends on what your lease specifies.  It remains a leaseholder's responsibility to ensure his tenants do not cause disruption to other residents. We would advise you to keep a diary of events, which would help your case.

      • What if some of the flats are being rented, even though there is a covenant in our leases to say this is not allowed?
        • Normally a lease will state that sub-letting is not permitted without the landlord's written permission, others will allow it for a minimum period, but there will still be stipulations about how it's done.  Once we are contracted to take over the management of a block of flats, we ensure that, for the sake of all the leaseholders' “quiet enjoyment” of their properties, we take the details of all the existing sub-lettings, so we know who to contact if there are any issues relating to a sublet flat.  Nowadays, the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent, if the lease requires this.  It's also worth remembering that many leases also require you the enter into a legal Deed of Covenant with the sub-let tenant.  If you do, then you must forward a copy to the agent.

      • Is Carlton Property Management a member of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA)?
        • We are full corporate members of ARMA. With the  introduction of a voluntary self regulatory regime on 1 January 2015, called ARMA-Q, it is an accreditation that proves a high standard of professionalism and expertise, as well as reassurance for the landlord and the leaseholders they building is being managed by appropriately trained and knowledge managers.

      • Why do I have to pay Service Charges?
        • Service charges are payments made by the leaseholder for all services in connection with the maintenance and repair of your block of flats. This is a fundamental part of the lease, and it will usually state how often these are to be paid and are generally “on account payments, ie in advance", so that funds are available to pay for work as they occur. These services will include maintenance and repairs, insurance of the building, lighting and cleaning of common areas, gardening and, where applicable, provision of central heating, lifts and porterage. Usually the charges will also include the costs of management by a managing agent. Service charges can vary from year to year; they can go up or down without any limit other than that they are reasonable (S.19, Landlord & Tenant Act 1927 and 1985). Details of what can and cannot be charged by the landlord and the proportion of the charge to be paid by the individual leaseholder will all be set out in the lease. All such costs must be met by the leaseholders.

      • What are Reserve Funds / Sinking Funds?
        • Many leases provide for the collection of sums in advance to create a reserve or ‘sinking' fund' to ensure that sufficient money is available for future major works, such as external decorations or lift replacement. The lease will usually set out when regular, cyclical or maintenance works are due. Contributions to the reserve fund are not repayable when the flat is sold. This is because the cost of essential elements in the building are spread out over a number of years, allowing for a fairer distribution of financial responsibility between one or more owner of a particular flat. For instance, the cost of replacing a roof can be quite high. It would not be fair for owner A to have the benefit of the roof, free of cost, for several years, then sell his flat to owner B, who then has to pay for a new roof the following year.

      • What is Ground Rent?
        • Ground Rent is the rent that all leaseholders pay to the owner of the land (this could be a freeholder or head lessee, or a freehold company, where the leaseholders have collectively bought the freehold). Terms for this payment will be set out clearly in your lease. Ground Rent is strictly payable in accordance with those terms – normally annually or half yearly. The amount of Ground Rent due can vary for each property. For example, a 2 bedroom flat held on a 99 year lease granted in 1974 may have a Ground Rent due of only £10 per annum paid annually in arrears. However, a 2 bedroom flat held on a 125 year lease granted in 2001 could easily have a Ground Rent of £200 per annum paid annually in advance. On a newly built block of flats the developer will decide what annual ground rent to impose on each flat together with the asking price. All flat buyers would be well advised, therefore, to take detailed legal advice on their leasehold obligations before purchasing a flat in a residential development.

      • How is the money spent and will I be given information about the budget and expenditure?
        • All service charge payments from leaseholders are paid into a designated client bank trust account, specifically for that block of flats. At the end of the financial year the Chartered Account will produce a full set of accounts showing the total service charges received for the year against the total expenditure. The accounts are produced in accordance with the TECH 03/11 Guidelines and the Landlord & Tenant Act.  The client bank accounts are conducted in accordance with the rules of the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code and of S.42 Landlord & Tenant Act 1987). If there is an overspend on the year's expenditure, there would have to be a balancing charge from the leaseholders.  If there is an underspend, the lease will state how this is managed - often this is transferred to the reserve fund, or it is returned to the leaseholders.  The annual budget, including expenditure cost estimates, is prepared and agreed with the landlord for each block or estate prior to the start of the next financial year. The service charges required to fund this anticipated expenditure is calculated and issued to each leaseholder along with the expenditure details.

      • Why is my service charge so high when I have a friend that pays half the amount?
        • Individual properties and leases can vary enormously as indeed the size and number of flats in a block, making comparisons of service charges between different blocks almost impossible. There are probably good reasons for the two sets of charges being very different when comparing two different blocks of flats. Here are some typical reasons:- (1) one block may have a more comprehensive set of services funded through theservice charge (eg all windows cleaned, lifts, car parking, fire detection systems, entry systems etc); (2) Does your friend's service charge include reserve funds as yours may well do? If not, their charge is likely to fluctuate dramatically from year to year as large expenditure falls due; (3) How many flats are in your friend's block? Small blocks tend to have a higher maintenance charge per flat and overall maintenance costs are often disproportionately expensive because the costs are shared by fewer lessees, rather than being spread across a large number. For example a roof repair paid for by only 4 flats could be more expensive compared to a roof replacement paid for by 20 lessees, even if the roof area is larger; (4) Do you have extensive gardens or is your block an older building? If so, your service charge could be adversely affected; (5) What size is your flat? Service charges are often calculated by reference to the floor area of your apartment.  Others on a straightforward equal basis. If you own a larger apartment than your friend, then this can make a significant difference.

      • The balancing charge on my annual accounts relates to a time before I purchased my property. Do I have to pay it?
        • Yes, because as an Assignee of the lease, you have taken on the obligations.  However, as part of the contract of sale there should have been an agreement that the previous leaseholder would lodged a proportion of a possible balancing charge. The solicitor who acted for the previous owner may well have kept back a sum of money from the sale as retention to cover this additional charge. You should contact your solicitor in order to check that any recovery of monies due to you can be made.

      • Why have my service charges increased?
        • This could be for a number of reasons. The cost of providing maintenance services is assessed annually but is initially based upon our knowledge and experience with other similar properties. In future years we have the benefit of actual expenditure, but even with this, there are some matters that are impossible to accurately predict. The costs of repair in one year may be minimal but may be quite substantial in the next year. Additionally, we may have to take into account outside influences such as changes in Government legislation which have recently led to substantial increases in the costs of providing management services generally. In addition, with new developments, it is often difficult to accurately predict the levels of expenditure in the first year or two. As a result there may be increases in the costs of providing certain services for the first few years of a new development. Another reason could be that the contractors who provide services to your property will normally increase their prices yearly to cover their inflationary costs. Insurance costs have changed significantly due to such things as the rise in terrorism, global climate changes, the increase in personal injury claims etc, and these have led to large increases in premiums.

      • If I am selling my flat, do I have to pay the charges in full?
        • Yes. You should pay all of the charges due on the property prior to any sale taking place. To protect the purchaser's interests, their solicitor must establish that there are no debts outstanding on the property. Part of the usual pre-sale enquiries that solicitors make is to ask if there are charges due or outstanding against the property. If you have not paid in full it will, in most cases, delay completion of the sale of your property. Your own solicitor will apportion any money due back to you in the final completion statement.

      • How can I pay my Service Charge?
        • You can pay by cheque and send it to us by post. Alternatively you can make your payments through online or telephone banking. Details are provided on your service charge bill. We do not currently offer a standing order or direct debit service for several reasons. These include ensuring that payments are made in accordance with your lease terms and the difficulty in ensuring adequate cash flow from sums paid in this way.  Standing order payments could be arranged if you are temporarily experiencing difficulties, but the client makes the decision.

      • What happens if a leaseholder doesn't pay?
        • It is the leaseholder's obligation to pay the service charges and ground rent promptly by the due dates stated on the invoices. We have a robust arrears regime which is effective in ensuring in most cases, there are few arrears  where the leaseholder genuinely forgets to make the payment on the due date. Worst case scenario is that if the arrears continue despite reminders and an administration charge, the landlord may then decided to take legal action to recover these charges, which could lead to forfeiture proceedings. If approved by a court, this can lead to the landlord repossessing the flat. However, the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, the right of the landlord will be restricted.

      • I want to change the address my invoices and statements are sent to
        • Please advise us of any change of correspondence address in writing. For legal reasons, we cannot accept such advice over the telephone. You must write or email us at info@carltonpm.com and we will then make the necessary amendments. Also for legal reasons, any new address must be within the UK.

      • What are my responsibilities as a Residents' Management Company Director?
        • Your responsibilities as a Residents' Management Company (RMC) Director are the same as for any company director. Consequently you have statutory and fiduciary duties that must not be taken lightly. In simple terms however you will be responsible for ensuring that the development is managed properly and cost effectively. For this you will need to work with your fellow Directors to agree a budget with the management agent and to ensure that your members then contribute on time and in full. You will need to hold meetings in accordance with statute and ensure that you consult with your members/shareholders regularly. We also recommend that you consider taking out a Directors & Officers insurance policy.

      • Can I sub-let my property?
        • Most leases allow sub-letting of property, subject to obtaining prior consent of the landlord/directors of the RMC, which cannot be unreasonably withheld. It is not permissible to sub-divide or sub-let only part of the flat - all leases have very clear covenants against this. Any resident wishing to sub-let their property should contact Carlton Property Management. It is vital that we have been advised so that accurate contact details are maintained so we know who to contact in the event of an emergency or other urgent matters.

      • Can I make alterations to my property?
        • All leases include restrictive covenants prohibiting alterations to either the floor plan or the internal parts of the property without prior written consent. Such alterations will include the replacement of windows, the removal of internal walls, installing external lights, adding individual satellite aerials, and the construction of an extension. Residents wishing to make alterations should apply to Carlton Property Management in writing, letting us know of these plans.  We will require detailed information about the precise works to be undertaken including the appropriate plans and specification relating to the proposed works and any Building Regulations and Planning Permission required.  If walls or other structural changes are proposed, a Structural Engineer will be required to make the appropriate calculations. Finally, a surveyor will need to inspect the property both before and after the works, which would include how you will carry out the works, whether the work will impact on other leaseholders, how it might affect the landlord's retained structrue and a number of other considerations that may not necessarily be obvious to you.  You will need a Licence to Alter before you start the works.

      • Can I keep pets in my property?
        • This is dependent on the terms contained within the lease or transfer document. Most leases prohibit pets or require written consent of the landlord/directors of the RMC before a Pet Licence can be issues and a pet is allowed to reside in the property. But the Lease will usually have a caveat that even if permission is given, if the pet causes noise nuisance or results in complaints from other residents, the Licence can be withdrawn and the pet may have to be removed from the premises.

      • I think I have damp in my flat. What can I - or you - do about it?
        • It's very common for people to suspect they have penetrating or rising damp when in fact what they’re experiencing is condensation. Problems with condensation are rife throughout blocks of flats. The causes are many and varied and eradicating the issue altogether is almost impossible. It's created through people simply carrying out the normal activities of living in a property.  This includes washing, showering, cooking, drying clothese etc.  We have an advice note provided by ARMA that can help you determine what the problem is that you are facing and how to combat it if it is condensation. Click here

      • How often would Carlton PM visit my block of flats?
        • For most developments this will be four quarterly property inspections during the year, plus specific visits to meet residents' representatives or the client. Of course in reality this often means that we visit much more often than this, particularly in the early days of the contract or where there is a specific matter to resolve.

      • How do I get started?
        • Property owners considering a change of managing agents might be discouraged by the thought of having to devote significant and very precious time and effort in securing the benefits offered by a new management company. Carlton Property Management sets out to ensure this process is made as simple and easy as possible for our prospective clients. We recognise that certain fundamental issues will require client input. However, by obtaining information directly from the previous agents we aim to minimise the need for unnecessary client involvement in the handover process.

      • What do I do if I want to complain?
        • In the first instance it is best to speak to your property 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 the response you receive, then we suggest you follow our Complaints Procedure. Details of the Complaints Procedure are set out in the Leaseholders Handbook, which we provide to every leaseholder on the properties we manage, on this website and on the portal,. All complaints are reviewed by the directors of Carlton Property Management and, if necessary, we will arrange to meet you in person to find a resolution. We are, of course, also happy to receive your compliments and any comments about how we can improve the services we offer you.

      • Why do we need a managing agent?
        • Maintaining the common areas, the fabric of the building and the grounds are important elements in ensuring the value of your property is maintained. Poorly managed sites deteriorate quickly and become less attractive to purchasers and the costs associated with good management are often less, particularly where your agent has considerable purchasing power. The manager is responsible for ensuring that many essential things happen at your development and these are mainly:- (1) To make sure the building remains properly insured, at the right level and with appropriate cover. This might include engineering insurance for lifts and other plant, Directors and Officers Liability for Directors of an RMC and of course traditional buildings insurance that will include terrorism cover together with common area only contents cover; (2) To provide services on site including cleaning, gardening, window cleaning, lift maintenance,fire detection systems, entry system maintenance etc. In fact just about any service that your development requires under the lease. There are also several statutes and regulations that also must be complied with.  These include anything from legionella water testing to pigeon control. It depends on your building's needs and what services are agreed with the landlord; (3) Health and safety is a major part of our work to protect you and the people who work on your development. In addition we ensure that everyone who works on your development is properly qualified and insured; (4) All of the above is backed up by an inspection regime that not only provides a visual overview of the property but will seek to maintain and indeed enhance the value of your property going forward by ensuring that your development is maintained at agreed standards; (5) as agents, we are experienced, fully qualified and have a thorough knowledge of the industry and the legislative compliance regime that blocks of flats are required to adhere to.  Managing a block of flats is a complex, legally complicated, matter, and amateur management could result in a lot of expensive mistakes.