I’m Sharon Crossland AIRPM (Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Managers) and when my partner purchased our flat in 1989 (long before I moved in) like many people he relied on his conveyancer to find out things about the property at the pre-contract enquiry stage. What wasn’t divulged was that other leaseholders had taken the (then) freeholder to court for not carrying out repairs, despite taking the money. On moving in at the end of 2003, there was a major problem with water penetration on the load-bearing kitchen wall and above the front kitchen window. By that time the freeholder had been absent for years (I eventually tracked him down in prison for Customs and Excise Fraud) but the agents were (in theory) still contactable so I wrote to tell them.
To cut a very long story very short we finally met the criteria for Right to Manage in 2007 and secured a managing agent (after 4 had turned us down due to the substantial neglect of the building) but correcting the best part of two and a half decades of neglect was never going to be easy. We had to start collecting service charges from scratch as we inherited no funding from the previous owners and the lease made no provision for a sinking fund!.
We have however carried out a lot of repairs and installations to the block and adhered to the relevant block management and H&S requirements. Despite the ongoing problems caused by a number of PRS landlords who are unfit to be operating, (18 out of 22 flats are sublet) we contine to derive a great sense of satisfaction when another repair is carried out or another problem is solved whether it be a leasehold or a renting isse.
It is in fact this working diary that laid the foundations for my award-winning leasehold and PRS information site, ‘Leasehold Life’!