Living in a leasehold flat is different to living in a freehold property. There is a lease which sets out the obligations between yourself, your neighbours and your landlord the freeholder. The lease also sets out how your service charges should be dealt with.
There are often several misconceptions about service charges. We are currently finalising a service charge guide for leaseholders which will help to explain service charge calculations and terminology.
Hera will ensure that as a leaseholder you receive regular updates about your property. This might be an adhoc group email about maintenance that is being carried out at the property, dates when your property manager is due to attend to carry out a site visit and so on. In order that you can receive maximum benefit from these communications we ask you to provide us with your email address.
We provide a group email account, [email protected], which you can use for all of your email communications to us. Each email is logged against your property on our computer system. The advantage of a group email is that the response times can be monitored and also, in the event of a member of staff being on leave or off sick the task can be reallocated in their absence.
At Hera we understand that an issue may arise outside of office hours and ensure that our group email box is monitored during evenings and weekends and any emergency maintenance issues dealt with and updates sent to leaseholders. We can also offer an out of hours service to leaseholders. The benefit of this service is that leaseholders can call them directly 24/7 to report emergency maintenance issues.
Renting out my leasehold property
If you want to rent out your property you will need to ensure that you have consent from your mortgage company and your freeholder. If you contact us we will send you the relevant information we will require in order to provide consent for your sublet. Hera can provide a full Lettings and Management service. For more details on this service then please visit our Lettings and Management page.
Selling your leasehold property
Your purchaser will want to know lots of information about your property, service charges and the management of your property. Your solicitor can contact the Hera team on the [email protected] mailbox with their enquiries. Please note, you will need to ensure that your service charge and ground rent account (if applicable) are up to date prior to completion of the purchase.
Living in a property with a communal heating system
On larger developments, it is often a planning requirement for a communal heating system to be installed. Your managing agent will be tasked with maintaining the equipment such as boilers, tanks pumps etc. and billing for heat usage to the leaseholders. There are regulations which set out how residents should be billed for their heat usage in order that the heat provider covers their costs but does not profit from providing the heat. Hera will do a number of things to ensure costs are as accurate as possible. The most common process for this is as follows:
Firstly, they will use the services of a broker to find the most competitive price for gas consumption to the main plant.
They will then use an independent specialist to create a tariff so that the tariff recovers the cost of gas consumption. The tariff is provided to the billing company who send out bills on behalf of the Freeholder. Each property has its own meter which records how much hot water and heat is being used, these meters can be read remotely and the readings are sent to the billing provider who will then send out a bill based on actual usage. It is important to note that the price per unit used is for heat consumption and not gas, so it cannot be directly compared.
If you rent your property out you will need to ensure that your tenancy allows you to recharge your tenant for this heat consumption. If your property is managed by Hera we can arrange all of this for you. Further details can be found on our Lettings page.
When a developer applies for planning consent on a new build property, the local council will often restrict the amount of spaces allowed for parking. Often this may be only one space per property and these days, where there is often more than one car per home, this can cause difficulties at a development.
It is important that as a leaseholder you understand that your managing agent is very limited in the powers they have to control parking at your development. Often you may have a gated entrance to prevent members of the public parking in your car park, or they can employ the use of a ticketing company to issue parking tickets to people who are not parking in their allocated bays.
Hera will engage with their client to decide on the most appropriate method of parking control and will do our best to ensure that parking methods are enforced, but it is important to note that we have no legal power over parking issues. You may find this document useful.
Condensation and damp
Condensation can cause real problems if left uncontrolled. Apart from running water on the inside of windows and walls, it can also lead to mould forming, decaying window frames and damage to fixtures and fittings. This advice note from ARMA takes a look at some of the things you can do to combat condensation in your flat.
Noise problems cause many complaints in blocks of flats. DIY, building activity, late night music, laminated floors and barking dogs are the main culprits. It may come as a surprise, but your landlord or managing agent have very limited powers to take action and it's unlikely that a court will evict a leaseholder for being noisy. This advice note from ARMA provides advice and looks at some of the ways you can deal with noise problems.
Click here to watch our series of repair videos which show you how to deal with the most common issues around your property.