From time to time major works are a necessary evil in maintaining the fabric of an apartment block. Mostly, such works are planned months or even years in advance, giving flat owners plenty of notice as to the scale of the work and the likely cost. Sometimes, however, unplanned major works may need to be undertaken as a matter of urgency. That’s when they can be a shock to the occupants and the leaseholders’ bank accounts. Here is one such occasion...
A few years ago I owned and let a three bedroom flat within a large, thirties built block in South London. Prior to completing the purchase I had a full survey which revealed nothing untoward. It appeared that both my property and the block as a whole were sound and ship-shape.
With good, long-standing tenants in place and a profitable rental income, I was very satisfied with my investment. Indeed, for around two years everything was fine and dandy. Then the bombshell hit.
On a grey winter’s morning the postman knocked and handed me a Recorded Delivery letter. Hastily, I opened the envelope. To my dismay, it was an invoice from the managing agents requesting payment of £8,600 within 30 days. Unbeknown to me, urgent major works had been undertaken and this was my portion of the cost.
More than a little concerned, I contacted a director of the Resident Management Company. Apathetic and less than helpful would best decribe their response to my quest for facts about the major works.
Giving-up on this line of enquiry, I decided to call the managing agent. Five calls and two days later somebody finally got back to me. Their tardy, lackadaisical approach was no surprise. Over the whole period of owning the flat, the only communication I had from them was their uninformative invoices for management fees. However, what I was to learn about the major works was astonishing!
One of the roof gutters had apparently been partially blocked for several months or even years. Over that period, water ingress together with subsequent condensation had caused severe damage to roof timbers and brick cladding over much of the upper parts of the building. Mould was also prevalent in many of the top floor apartments and communal areas.
As a result, several roof beams had to be replaced, new insulation installed and substantial repairs to the cladding undertaken.
The shocking truth is that this horror could so easily have been avoided. If the managing agents were earning their fees, they would have instigated regular inspections of the exterior and all communal areas of the property. Consequently, the problem would have been identified long before the worst of the damage occurred and the simple task of clearing a gutter would have been all that was needed to rectify the problem.
As responsible managing agents, InBlock provide regular building inspections for each and every block under their management. At last, there’s a block management agency that recognises the true value of ‘a stitch in time’.
To find out more about InBlock call 02030 111 777 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org