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Legal Services

It’s not just producing the legal packs often required when a property transfers. Our legal team can offer so much more…..

Management Information Packs – Leasehold Properties

The Leasehold Information Pack should contain information about the management of the freehold including:
levels of ground rent and service charges
accounting information
insurance
proposed future maintenance works
any other requirements of the freeholder or the management company relating to residential property.
The form LPE1 is produced by the Law Society and is the preferred form used by solicitors, though it is not obligatory to use and some Freeholders/Management companies will use their own versions.

Management Information Packs – Freehold Properties

If a property being sold is a managed freehold – i.e. where a freehold property has a shared amenity requiring maintenance either through an estate rent charge or covenants set out in the title, then we use the standardised FME1 template.

Right to Manage

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 provides a right for leaseholders to acquire the landlord’s management functions by transfer to a company set up by them – the Right To Manage (RTM) company. The right was introduced, not just as a means of wresting control from bad landlords, or managing agents, but also to empower leaseholders, who generally hold the majority of value in the property, to take responsibility for the management of their block.

The landlord’s consent is not required, nor is any order of court. There is no need for the leaseholders to prove mismanagement by the landlord. The right is available, irrespective of the performance of the landlord’s management.

Common Ground’s right to manage services include;

  • Check to see that the site qualifies for the right to manage
  • Formation of the right to manage company and then acting as interim company secretary, creating the mem and arts, membership forms, register of members, appointment of directors.
  • Serving the claim notices on all applicable parties
  • Liaising with the freeholder to enable them to validate the claim.
  • Keeping leaseholders up to date with the process via an online portal system
  • Confirming the claim and arranging registration at the Land Registry.

Co-ordination of Freehold purchases

Subject to meeting certain criteria, under the Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993, the owners of flats in a building, and sometimes part of a building, to join together and buy the freehold of that building.

Provided at least 50% of the flats in the building, who are qualifying tenants, participate and the building qualifies the landlord cannot refuse. The procedure is quite complex and the correct notice needs to be served on the landlord, so it is advisable to use a specialist solicitor and surveyor when undertaking this process.

Alternatively, the freehold purchases can just be a straight-forward transaction between Freeholder and leaseholders.

Either process usually involves co-ordinating several parties (usually one freeholder and several leaseholders and two or more law firms) Common Ground’s experience, processes and technologies ensure that this process is as smooth as possible

Co-ordination of mediation cases

Leasehold law is complex and often disputes can arise through poorly drafted leases or situations that arise where the law can be interpreted in different ways. Common Ground has experience of mediating between parties either through acting directly as a mediator of preparing documents to present to a third-party mediation service such as RICS

Why Common Ground?

We focus on relationships with directors and residents and never lose sight of the fact that we are managing YOUR home.

Block Management

A professionally maintained block or estate will add value to your property, improve relationships with neighbours and allow you to enjoy your home.

Financial Transparency and Control

Directors of Residents Management Companies can track financial information in real time. This means no nasty surprises after year end.

Management Tracking

Our unique portal system allows all stakeholders to track progress of news, events and maintenance 24/7

Leasehold Library

The Common Ground Leasehold Library cuts through archaic legal jargon to enhance your understanding of all things leasehold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check our frequently asked questions and knowledge base for information about Common Ground and the services that we offer.

What are your fire saftey tips for leaseholders?

 

  1. All escape routes and electric cupboards must be kept clear at all times. If you have any items of storage, combustible items or any obstructions in the stairs, electrical cupboards or escape routes, please remove them immediately.
  2. Door mats are provided by some flat front doors. If you have a door mat outside your flat, please remove it, as in the event of a fire they could become trapped in a flat door and allow fire or smoke to spread into the corridors or stairs.
  3. Read the Fire Action Notices in the communal areas to familiarise yourself with the action to take in a fire, and the location of the designated fire assembly point.
  4. Flat Fire Doors: All flat entrance doors that open onto the escape route must be fire doors fitted with a serviceable self-closing device and an intumescent strip/cold smoke seal with a 30 minute fire rating. It not, a fire occurring within one flat could spread into other dwellings and also compromise the means of escape. All flat entrance doors that open onto the escape route must be upgraded ASAP to include a self-closer and a third fire rated hinge if these are not already fitted. Please check your door for combined intumescent strips/cold smoke seals; these must be fitted if they are not already. If your flat door has a letter box this must be filled over or have fire resisting letter boxes fitted on the inside of the flat doors.
  • The standards are (serviceable self-closing device and an intumescent strip/cold smoke seal with a 30 minute fire rating installed into either the door edge or doorframe) conforming to BS 476 part 20:22 and BS 476 part 31:1. BS 476 – Fire doors and doorframe, BS EN 1154 – Self closers, BS EN 1154 – Hinges, BS EN 1906 and BS EN 12209 – Door handles and locks.
  1. It is recommended that a Grade: D LD3 system in each flat (non-interlinked) with a smoke alarm in the room/lobby opening onto the escape route to protect the sleeping occupants of the flats.

What happens if a landlord proposes major works with leaseholders?

If a landlord proposes to carry out works that will cost any one leaseholder more than £250 or is looking to enter into a long term qualifying contract (Longer than 12 months) that will cost any one leaseholder more than £100, the landlord is required to go through a consultation procedure under section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

A section 20 process is made up of three distinct stages

1) Notice of Intention to Carry Out Works” upon all lessees. The Notice must generally describe the proposed works, state the reasons for considering the proposed works, and invite leaseholders to make written observations within 30 days

2) At the expiration of the 30 day consultation period, at least two estimates should be obtained:

“Notice to Accompany the Statement of Estimates” must also be served in conjunction with the Statement of Estimates, which sets out the hours and place where details of the estimates may be inspected, inviting lessees to make written observations on the estimates within 30 days, specifying the address to which those observations should be sent.

3) Award of contract

If at the expiration of the consultation period, the chosen contractor did not provide the lowest estimate, then a “Notice of Reasons” must be served upon all lessees

Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenants is the subject of a great deal of case law and is a subject of discussion in it’s own right

For further reading see https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/section-20-consultation-private-landlords-resident-management-companies-agents/ 

What is Ground Rent and how is it different from a service charge?

Ground rent is the money that you pay as a leaseholder to the Landlord or Freeholder for basically renting the land that the leasehold property sits on. This is usually a fixed sum and is paid annually.

The service charge is payment for all the services (such as maintenance of gardens and communual areas) that you as a leaseholder will use but will not be specifically responsible for. This will often be an estimate of what the landlord will anticipate will be for the forthcoming year.

Ground rent can be collected directly by the Landlord, by the managing agent or a specialist ground rent collection company on behalf of the Landlord or Freeholder

Client Testimonials

"I very highly recommend Common Ground.  Their conscientious team is highly professional, experienced and efficient, which is extremely reassuring to Directors and responsible owners of properties.  They are pro-active, helping to plan ahead and to anticipate problems, which they can deal with firmly but sensitively.  They are a pleasure to work with."

Clive

Chairperson, Beauchamp Place, Oxford

“We moved to Common Ground from one of the large national agents. The list of maintenance items that required attention was growing longer and longer as we were moved from one property manager to the next. Common Ground stood out from the day the MD came to assess the site and fixed two of the outstanding maintenance items during that visit.
Common Ground worked through the maintenance items which we were able to track through their portal system. It’s also been a pleasure to have the same property manager and accountant throughout. The continuity is important, so it is good to work with an agent that retains its staff.”

James

New Inn Hall Street, Oxford

“Our relatively small development was rescued by Common Ground after a disastrous initial situation caused by the inefficiency of the managing agents appointed by the developer. After examining the situation Common Ground came up with a first rate transparent management system which gave directors full and instant access to accounts and other matters, such as legal advice and rights of leaseholders. They make managing easy for directors and attend to everyday problems promptly.”

Eddie

Summertown, Oxford

Contact Us

Property Management Office

Address

Sandford Gate, East Point Business Park
Oxford, OX4 6LB

01865 910 169

Finance & Administration Office

Address

Chiltern House, 45 Station Road
Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1AT

01491 525 940

London Office

Address

Ealing Cross, First Floor
85 Uxbridge Road
London, W5 5BW

020 4551 9116