WHAT CAN I EXPECT FOR MY SERVICE CHARGE?
If you live in a flat or an apartment, you will undoubtedly have access to the services of an Estate Manager. Such a resource is paid for out of the annual service charge levied on each occupant, and there is a spread of services they will be expected to provide for this.
Managing agents are usually employed by the developer to manage the common areas of apartment dwellings. This could be the gardens and grounds, car parking, driveways and gates, lobby, stairwells and lifts, corridors and bin stores – in other words all those amenities commonly shared by the residents at the development.
Depending upon the arrangements it is usual for each resident to pay an annual service charge
towards the cost of this facility and the developer will have provided you with this information. The benefits include having someone on hand to take responsibility for general maintenance and repairs to problems in the common parts.
This may well extend to gardening, mowing of lawns, cleaning of gutters and disposal of rubbish. In most arrangements a programme of external decorative upkeep will be agreed so that paintwork and rain water goods are maintained to a good standard.
There is usually an appointed manager who will liaise between the developer and the residents and in some cases there may be an office at the development. Ultimately when the development is completed and the construction trades leave, the occupants will take responsibility for the estate manager under the auspices of their own committee.
All estate management services must be audited, to account for expenditure so that as an occupant you have evidence of the way they are spending your service charge.
Most reputable estate management businesses will be members of ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) which is the leading trade association for residential leasehold management in England and Wales.