Garness Jones’ property management specialists have transformed the financial fortunes and living quality for residents at a Hull apartment complex which was losing money and unable to pay for vital maintenance and repairs.
Residents own their own apartments on long leases in the city based complex and collectively own the freehold of the building, having formed a management company
However, Rebecca Coulman, a director of the resident-led management company, says accounts fell more than £10,000 in arrears early last year.
It left them unable to pay for essential maintenance and repairs, causing a constant headache for those with responsibility and leading to them looking for a change in direction.
“We were in bad position last year as we found that a number of residents had, for a number of reasons, fallen behind with their monthly service charge payments,” she said.
“It was allowed to go on far too long and by February last year we had no sinking fund at all and we simply couldn’t afford to carry out the work which was needed.
“We had employed a small management company for the past couple of years to take care of all these issues but they closed.
“The financial situation was not sorted and that caused all sorts of problems and led to the communal areas becoming run down also.
“It made it quite unpleasant and that is upsetting when you own the leasehold on a property in such a building and you can see it gradually getting worse.”
Garness Jones team employed to take over management of apartments
Garness Jones took over the management of the complex last year, led by the specialist Block Management team which manages more than 2,000 residential units in more than 100 complexes of apartments and houses across the region.
Within 15 months, it has been transformed with new automatic LED lighting installed throughout the communal areas, which have also been redecorated and had all the carpets replaced.
Cleaning up and repainting the premises’ boundary fencing, fitting new communal doors and repainting the building’s external render are the next jobs on the schedule to be completed by the end of 2021
Key to that success has been ensuring all tenants pay their contributions – as they are required to do legally – meaning there has been more money in the pot to invest back into the premises.
“Making sure people were always paying their contributions, and that those who had outstanding amounts settled their accounts, was key here,” said Liam Parker, Senior Block Manager at Garness Jones.
“Unfortunately this situation had been allowed to get out of hand and the lack of funds was really harming the quality of life for all living in the complex.
“Overseeing the financial aspect of any development such as this is key and there needs to be strict procedures followed over service charge collection. It can’t be allowed to reach a situation where so much is owing.
“We were also able to make significant savings by turning to our established network of trusted contractors to provide work and services to the complex, without compromising on standards.
“In the time we have been involved we have been really pleased to make such a positive impact for the residents. We have now reached a stage where there is a positive cash balance with reserves and the overall development is much improved for residents, who are now assured things are in good hands and are able to take a back seat.
“We also discovered that there was information missing on the title registered with land registry, so we have addressed that now and all leases are now noted officially.”
‘Peace of mind’ and a better environment provided
Mrs Coulman says she is delighted the residents turned to Garness Jones when they did.
“The great thing now is that everything runs so smoothly and we know everything is in hand. We have peace of mind and a better environment,” she said.
“Liam and his team deal with everything for us and residents can go straight to them as they manage everything with our best interests in mind.
“It really has removed a lot of headache and worry, and the living environment, and atmosphere, has improved for us all.”
If you are unhappy with the way your block is managed, you can collectively as leasehold residents choose to break away from such companies and employ a new company to take over the responsibilities. Find out more here
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