Block management refers to the professional management of residential blocks or developments, typically involving multiple units or properties within a shared building or complex. It involves overseeing the maintenance, repairs, financial management, and administration of the common areas and facilities within the block.

Block management is necessary to ensure the smooth operation and upkeep of shared residential properties. It helps in maintaining the common areas, resolving issues, coordinating repairs and maintenance, handling financial matters, and enforcing rules and regulations within the block. Block management ensures that residents can enjoy a well-maintained and harmonious living environment.

A block manager has various responsibilities, including:

  • Managing the day-to-day operations of the block.
  • Overseeing maintenance, repairs, and renovations.
  • Collecting service charges and managing financial accounts.
  • Handling insurance matters and claims.
  • Enforcing rules and regulations.
  • Communicating with residents and addressing their concerns.
  • Arranging meetings and facilitating effective communication within the block.

A residential block management lease refers to a legal agreement between the freeholder or landlord of a residential block of flats or apartments and the leaseholders or tenants. It outlines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties regarding the management and maintenance of the building and its common areas.

Here’s why a residential block management lease is important:

  • Clarity of Responsibilities: The lease clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the freeholder and the leaseholders. It outlines who is responsible for what, such as maintenance of common areas, repairs, insurance, and payment of service charges. This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes between the parties.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: The lease typically sets out the procedures and obligations for maintenance and repairs of the building and its communal areas. It ensures that the property is well-maintained, providing a safe and habitable environment for all residents. The lease may specify the procedures for reporting and addressing maintenance issues, as well as the allocation of costs for repairs.
  • Service Charge Payments: The lease usually includes provisions for the payment of service charges by leaseholders to cover the costs of managing and maintaining the building. These charges contribute to services such as cleaning, gardening, building insurance, and communal utility bills. The lease provides transparency regarding the calculation, payment schedule, and use of service charges, ensuring fairness and accountability.
  • Rights and Restrictions: The lease establishes the rights and restrictions of both the freeholder and leaseholders. It may include provisions on subletting, alterations to the property, pets, noise restrictions, and other matters that help maintain a harmonious living environment and protect the interests of all residents.
  • Dispute Resolution: In the event of disagreements or disputes between the freeholder and leaseholders, the lease often contains provisions for dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or arbitration. This helps to address conflicts in a fair and structured manner, avoiding costly and time-consuming legal proceedings.
  • Overall, a residential block management lease provides a framework for the effective management, maintenance, and governance of a residential block, promoting the rights and responsibilities of both the freeholder and leaseholders. It ensures that the property is well-maintained, fosters a sense of community, and helps protect the interests of all parties involved.

Service charges are regular payments made by residents to cover the costs of maintaining and managing the shared areas and services within a block. These charges contribute to expenses such as cleaning, maintenance, repairs, insurance, communal utilities, and the block manager’s fees. The specific items covered by service charges may vary depending on the block’s amenities and management agreement.

Service charges are typically determined based on the estimated costs of managing and maintaining the block. The block manager or managing agent prepares a budget outlining expected expenses, and the service charges are calculated by dividing the total budgeted amount among the residents according to their property’s size or allocated share.

A sinking fund is a reserve fund set aside for future major repairs, renovations, or unexpected expenses within a block. It is separate from the regular service charges and serves as a financial safety net to cover significant capital expenditures. Money is allocated to the sinking fund periodically to ensure sufficient funds are available when needed.

In block management, a service charge typically covers the cost of maintaining and managing the common areas and shared facilities within a residential or commercial building. The specific items covered by the service charge may vary depending on the building and its management company, but here are some common expenses that are typically included:

  • Building maintenance: This includes routine repairs, cleaning, and upkeep of communal areas such as hallways, staircases, elevators, and entrance areas. It may also cover the cost of maintaining external areas like gardens, parking lots, and security systems.
  • Utilities: The service charge usually includes the cost of utilities that are shared among the residents or tenants, such as electricity for common lighting, heating, and ventilation systems.
  • Insurance: The service charge may cover the cost of building insurance, which protects the structure of the building and common areas against damage, fire, and other risks. Contents insurance for shared items like furniture in communal areas may also be included, but this is dependent on your lease.
  • Management fees: This covers the cost of professional property management services, which involve overseeing day-to-day operations, handling administrative tasks, arranging necessary repairs and maintenance, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.
  • Reserve fund: A portion of the service charge may be allocated to a reserve or sinking fund. This fund is used to accumulate money over time for major repairs, refurbishments, or unexpected expenses that may arise in the future.
  • Ground rent: If the building is leasehold, the service charge may include the ground rent, which is a fee paid to the owner of the land on which the building is situated.

It’s important to note that the specific items covered by the service charge should be outlined in your lease.  The management company, or their agent. should also provide you with a breakdown of the service charge costs and any relevant financial statements to ensure transparency and accountability.

The law states that any service charge contributions are held on trust by the landlord, for the leaseholders. This means, in practice, that the money can be held in one or more account such as a bank or building society to be used for the purposes set out in the lease. If the landlord becomes insolvent such money is protected for the benefit of the leaseholders from any other creditors seeking payment.

The Law states that a service charge is only recoverable by a landlord so far as the costs have been reasonably incurred. Also, it states that it is only recoverable if works carried out for the charge are of a reasonable standard.

A leaseholder can challenge the reasonableness of a service charge if it does not comply with The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended), ultimately, by applying to the appropriate Tribunal. In England, this is the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and in Wales it is the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. They have power to make a ruling whether, or how much of, a service charge is reasonable or payable.

Section 42 of the Landlord and Tenant Act requires that all landlords and Resident Management Companies hold variable service charges in trust. 

So, the RICS code requires that service charge monies held should be ring fenced by holding them in a designated bank account and should include the name of the client or the property (or both) within the title of the account. 

The RICS Code requires managing agents to write to the bank and get a notice in writing from the bank that acknowledges the status of these designated accounts. It is acceptable to have one such letter in writing from a bank that details all client accounts held at that bank. 

There is no legal requirement on landlords or managing agents to open separate bank accounts for each scheme, but that may be a requirement of the lease. There is no requirement in the RICS code to put reserve funds into separate bank accounts unless that is a requirement of the leases of a scheme. But the Code requires that reserves be placed in an interest earning account. 

Talk to us as soon as you are aware that there is likely to be a problem to avoid an escalation of our arrears procedure. There may be ways in which we can help you to spread the cost but doing nothing will almost certainly lead to the problem becoming worse as you may end up incurring the additional costs of legal and administrative fees.  

Ground rent is a fee that leaseholders (those who have a leasehold interest in a property) are required to pay to the freeholder or landlord. In the leasehold sector, ground rent refers to the annual or periodic payment made by the leaseholder for the use of the land on which the property is situated. It is a common feature in leasehold agreements, particularly in the United Kingdom.

The ground rent is typically set out in the lease agreement and represents a form of income for the freeholder or landlord. The amount of ground rent can vary significantly depending on factors such as the location, type of property, and terms of the lease. In some cases, the ground rent may be a nominal amount, such as a peppercorn rent (a token amount like £1 per year), while in other cases, it can be a substantial sum.

Ground rent reform refers to changes or reforms in the system of ground rent, which is a fee paid by leaseholders to the freeholder or landlord of a property. Ground rent is typically paid annually or semi-annually by leaseholders and is associated with leasehold properties, where the leaseholder owns the right to occupy the property for a specific period but does not own the land on which the property is built.

The purpose of ground rent reform is to address perceived unfairness or issues related to the ground rent system. In some cases, ground rents have been criticized for being excessive, increasing significantly over time, or being subject to unfair terms and conditions. These issues can create financial burdens for leaseholders and affect the affordability and saleability of leasehold properties.

Reforms can take various forms depending on the jurisdiction and the specific concerns being addressed. 

Some common ground rent reforms include:

  • Caps or restrictions on ground rent increases: This involves setting limits on how much the ground rent can increase over time, ensuring it remains affordable for leaseholders.
  • Conversion to peppercorn rent: Peppercorn rent refers to a nominal or symbolic amount, such as £1 per year, rather than a substantial payment. Converting ground rents to peppercorn rents effectively eliminates the financial burden on leaseholders.
  • Extending lease terms: In some cases, ground rent reform may involve extending the lease term for leasehold properties, providing leaseholders with greater security and reducing the impact of ground rent increases.
  • Simplifying leasehold enfranchisement: Leasehold enfranchisement allows leaseholders to purchase the freehold or extend their lease. Ground rent reform may include simplifying the enfranchisement process, making it easier and more affordable for leaseholders to acquire the freehold or extend their leases.

Ground rent reform is often driven by concerns over the fairness and transparency of leasehold arrangements, particularly in relation to the financial obligations imposed on leaseholders. The specific reforms implemented vary across jurisdictions, as different countries and regions have their own legal frameworks governing leasehold properties.

Disputes in block management can arise between residents, between residents and the block manager, or among residents and the management company. Disputes can be resolved through open communication, negotiation, and mediation. If necessary, legal avenues such as tribunals or courts can be pursued. Many block management companies also have formal complaints procedures to address resident concerns.

Changing the block management company typically involves several steps:

  • Review the terms of your current management agreement.
  • Provide notice to terminate the agreement within the specified timeframe.
  • Research and shortlist alternative block management companies.
  • Request proposals or quotes from the shortlisted companies.
  • Evaluate the proposals and choose a new management company.
  • Coordinate the transition process with the new company and ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities.

When selecting a block management company, consider the following qualifications:

  • Relevant experience in block management.
  • A solid track record and positive references.
  • Knowledge of relevant laws and regulations.
  • Professional certifications or memberships in industry associations.
  • Strong financial management capabilities.
  • Transparent and effective communication processes.

Residents can get involved in the block management process by:

  • Participating in residents’ meetings and AGMs (Annual General Meetings).
  • Joining a residents’ association or committee.
  • Providing feedback and suggestions to the block manager.
  • Volunteering for specific tasks or projects.
  • Staying informed about the block’s rules and regulations.
  • Encouraging open communication and cooperation among residents.

In block management, several common issues can arise. These issues often require attention and resolution by the property management company or the residents’ association. Here are some of the typical challenges faced in block management:

  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Financial Management
  • Disputes and Conflict Resolution
  • Health and Safety Compliance
  • Leasehold and Legal Matters
  • Communication and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Environmental and Sustainability Considerations
  • Property Security

Addressing these common issues requires competent and proactive management, effective communication, regular maintenance planning, and adherence to relevant laws and regulations.

Our Complaints Handling Procedure can be found here .  If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may contact the Property Ombudsman.  

When disputes arise among residents, we would typically follow a set process to address and resolve the issues. While specific procedures may vary depending on the nature of the dispute, here is a general outline of how we may handle disputes among residents:

  • Receiving Complaints: The management company establishes a mechanism for residents to submit their complaints or concerns. This can be done through various channels such as email, a dedicated online portal, or a helpline.
  • Documentation: The company maintains proper records of the complaint, including details such as the date, time, and nature of the dispute, as well as the involved parties.
  • Initial Assessment: Upon receiving a complaint, the block management company assesses the issue to determine its validity and severity. They may gather additional information, interview involved parties, or inspect the relevant areas if necessary.
  • Mediation and Communication: In many cases, the management company acts as a mediator between the parties involved in the dispute. They facilitate communication, allowing residents to express their concerns and try to find a mutually acceptable solution. This can involve meetings, discussions, or written correspondence.
  • Investigation: If the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation or if the matter is more serious, the management company may conduct a detailed investigation. They might interview witnesses, review relevant documents or records, and gather evidence to better understand the situation.
  • Expert Involvement: Depending on the nature of the dispute, the management company may seek the expertise of professionals such as legal advisors, surveyors, or engineers. These experts can provide objective opinions or advice to assist in resolving the dispute.
  • Decision and Resolution: After gathering all necessary information, the management company makes a decision regarding the dispute. They communicate the decision to the involved parties, outlining the rationale behind it and any actions required.
  • Implementation: If there are actions or changes needed to resolve the dispute, the management company oversees their implementation. This may involve repairs, modifications, changes in policies, or any other necessary measures.
  • Follow-up and Monitoring: After the resolution, the management company monitors the situation to ensure the dispute does not reoccur and that the agreed-upon actions are implemented correctly. They may conduct regular inspections or follow-ups to confirm the effectiveness of the resolution.

In the first instance, we suggest you should make contact with the flat above. Quite often, the residents will be unaware of the fault and will be happy to rectify the problem straight away. 

Should you have trouble making contact with the flat in question, please contact our office on 01242 399150 or report a fault here who will contact the owner of the property advising them that there is an apparent leak.

Regrettably, Fraser Allen Estate Management cannot carry out any repairs to pipe work falling within the responsibility of individual owners.

Should there be any damage caused to your property and you wish to make a claim on the block buildings insurance, please contact our team who will provide you with the necessary information.

In a block of flats, noise nuisance refers to excessive or disruptive noise that causes a disturbance or annoyance to the residents. 

Some common examples of noise nuisance in a block of flats include:

  • Excessive volume: Loud music, television, or parties that create a disturbance to neighbours, especially during late hours or at inappropriate times.
  • Footsteps and movement: Frequent loud footsteps, dragging of furniture, or other noises caused by residents moving around their flats, particularly during quiet hours.
  • Banging or slamming doors: Constant slamming of doors, which can create a loud and disruptive noise throughout the building.
  • DIY and construction noise: Excessive noise caused by renovation work, power tools, drilling, hammering, or any other construction activities during restricted hours.
  • Pets: Continuous barking or other disruptive behaviour from pets within the flat, which disturbs other residents.
  • Plumbing and appliances: Noises caused by malfunctioning plumbing, vibrating pipes, or loud appliances such as washing machines, dryers, or dishwashers that are used during quiet hours.
  • Parties and gatherings: Large gatherings, parties, or social events that generate excessive noise and disturb the peace of other residents.

Persistent noise nuisance is best dealt with by your local Environmental Health Department which has the necessary powers to deal with this and whose involvement usually provides a speedy resolution although we will communicate with the residents breaching the terms of the lease as well.

In the event you wish to sell your apartment, you will be required to get permission from the Management Company or Landlord. As part of the transaction your solicitor will be required to complete leasehold enquiries which Fraser Allen Estate Management, as the managing agent will assist with.

As managing agents, we are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the communal areas of your Block. If you have identified a problem that needs to be drawn to our attention then please contact us either via our portal or call us on 01242 399150. 

Yes, a block management company can often assist with lease extensions or enfranchisement processes. Lease extensions and enfranchisement refer to legal procedures that allow leaseholders (residential property owners) to extend the length of their lease or collectively purchase the freehold of their property.

As part of our services, we can provide guidance and assistance to leaseholders in navigating lease extensions or enfranchisement processes.

We can help you with the following: 

  • Knowledge and Expertise
  • Valuations
  • Legal Support
  • Negotiations
  • Administration and Documentation

Additionally, engaging a solicitor who specialises in leasehold matters is also recommended to ensure you receive comprehensive legal advice throughout the process. 

The cost of block management can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the property, the level of services required, and the location. 

Block management fees can be charged as a percentage of the annual service charge budget for the property.

On average, block management fees can range from 3% to 10% of the annual service charge budget. However, it’s important to note that these figures are just estimates, and the actual cost can vary significantly. Some block management companies may charge a fixed fee or a combination of fixed and percentage-based fees.

In addition to the management fees, there may be other charges for specific services or additional work required, such as maintenance and repairs, insurance administration, financial reporting, legal compliance, and handling leaseholder inquiries. These additional costs should be outlined in the management agreement or contract.

To get an accurate estimate of the cost of block management for a specific property, it’s advisable to contact several block management companies or agents and request a detailed breakdown of their fees and services. This will help you compare the costs and choose the option that best suits your requirements.

In accordance with the terms of the lease, your building must be insured.  The lease covenants in respect of insurance usually prescribe what insurances need to be put in place. 

However, as most leases are based on historic covenants, they are often out of date and are not relevant to the insurable risks that are faced by property owners today.

Click here for our guide as to what policies you require. 

We mainly focus on Bristol and the Cotswolds and the surrounding areas.  

Standard practice is either Bi Monthly or Quarterly, but depending on the development this is subject to change.  

Contacting us is really easy – click here for more information

Block Management is a highly specialised and regulated area whereby the ‘managing agent’ is appointed by the Resident Management Company, Right to Manage Company, Freeholder, or developers to undertake the duties of managing the building as a whole, including the fabric of the building, facilities, amenities of a block of flats or estate, funded by the payment of service charge by the occupants.

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is a specific type of tenancy agreement commonly used in the private residential rental sector in the United Kingdom of a single dwelling. It provides certain legal rights and protections for both landlords and tenants. An AST is the default tenancy agreement when a private residential property is let to an individual or a group of individuals as their main residence

A Section 20 notice refers to a provision under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 in the United Kingdom. It sets out the legal requirements that landlords must follow when undertaking qualifying works or entering into long-term agreements that would result in leaseholders incurring significant costs.

When a landlord intends to carry out works on a property or enter into an agreement that will last more than 12 months and requires leaseholders to contribute towards the costs, they must comply with the Section 20 notice procedure. The notice serves to inform leaseholders of the proposed works or agreements, provide details of the costs involved, and give leaseholders the opportunity to comment and make observations.

The Section 20 notice is typically served in three stages:

  • Stage 1 Notice: The landlord provides a written notice informing leaseholders of their intention to undertake qualifying works or enter into a qualifying agreement. This notice outlines the nature of the works, the reasons for carrying them out, and invites leaseholders to make written observations within 30 days.
  • Stage 2 Notice: If the leaseholders’ observations raise significant issues or objections, the landlord must provide a detailed response. The Stage 2 notice includes the landlord’s response and specifies the proposed contractor and estimated costs.
  • Stage 3 Notice: Once the landlord has obtained estimates from contractors and chosen a contractor, they must notify the leaseholders of the selected contractor and provide the leaseholders with an opportunity to make further observations.

The Section 20 notice procedure aims to ensure transparency and fairness in situations where leaseholders are required to contribute to substantial works or long-term agreements. It allows leaseholders to have a say in the process and potentially challenge excessive costs or inadequate proposals.