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Thread: cleaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    162

    Default cleaning

    I am trying to let my flat and noticed yesterday that there was a lot of mud on the stairs. I'm going to keep an eye on it but I think standards have dropped of late.

    I am wondering what standard of service I can expect when it comes to cleaning? It's a converted house into 6 flats and I know the LL doesn't want to do any (shifting the responsibility on to the occupants) and I suspect that the stairs and lobby are only cleaned once a month. We (6 flats) were billed £180 for the year in advance which included fire alarm testing. The LL and their family own 3 of the leases and they sublet those flats and whenever a prospective tenant views their flats the building seems to be cleaned. Another flat owner sublets and doesn't want any expense. I am happy to pay for a decent standard of service. The other "live in" leaseholder is in arrears and refuses to pay any service charges.

    The LL covenants to "at all times during the said term to take reasonable care to keep in good and substantial repair and in clean and proper order and condition those parts and appurtenances of the Building which are not included in this demise or in a demise of any part of the Building"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Foundation trench for New Shed@ Ham on Rye
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    Default

    In a building like this I would expect cleaning to every two weeks, ideally weekly, though with conscientious and considerate residents ( and no adverse factors eg a nearby road or building site) monthly might be done.

    The question is the standard and cost not so much frequency. I'd ask often are you cleaning and what are your cleaners expected to do as it seems haphazard.

    Whatever they decide to do it certainly should not be adversely affecting your home it's amenity and value.

    As sad as it sounds, I'd take a day in the week as a benchmark and note changes with photos then and specific incidences. When the bills arrive at the end of the year you can compare what you you paid for with what you got.

    In a case where residents are not doing manual jobs at a work, an hour on the sofa might be better spent on the stairs with kit and a podcast, and save the money.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers. More ramblings atleaseholdpropertymanager.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    162

    Default

    Thanks.

    With 5 of the 6 flats sublet I think it would be difficult/unfair to get occupants to clean. I know I could do with a bit more exercise but I'm self employed and I'd have to drive around there. I'd rather pay somebody to do it and use the time to earn enough to pay them.

    The LL is allowed to create new regulations in regard to the common parts. Is this something they could do in regard to cleaning?

    Is there not a 'health and safety' issue with them allowing/leaving occupants to clean?

    If things don't improve could I employ somebody who is insured to do it and pass on the cost or withhold the amount from service charge demands?

  4. #4

    Default

    I had a similar problem which turned out to be temporary due to the managing agents allowing financial problems to occur so there was no money for cleaners. My property came up to let and each time I had a viewing I hoovered all six flights of stairs. I got my tenant and the cleaning was sorted out at a later date.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Foundation trench for New Shed@ Ham on Rye
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    Default

    it was an idea, but fair enough. There are health and safety concerns but they are not insurmountable.

    Regulations over the common parts are unlikely to affect cleaning standards as they cannot contradict the lease terms themselves.
    Hopefully they are just about leaving prams and bikes out etc.

    You have to discuss it and agree improvements but cannot unilaterally act. You may find that hiring someone for an hour or doing it yourself is cheaper for the landlord and you overall and you contra against the service charge bill he sends you.

    After all clean common parts make flats easier to let.....
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers. More ramblings atleaseholdpropertymanager.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Many thanks.

    One further question. Sorry!

    Can the LL use the excuse of one of the leaseholders being in arrears as grounds for not doing more cleaning? The LL is a limited company which was set up with no assets. It's not a 'Right To Manage' company, it's owned by a woman whose family owns 3 of the flats.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Foundation trench for New Shed@ Ham on Rye
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    Default

    No they are still obligated, if they have a cash flow issue then jolly well sue the tenant or seek possession under ground 8 or section 21. It is their problem and the risk of being a landlord.

    its an opportunity to say if you can agree a rate and standard, you can do it for the time being and sort it out in due course. They take the bait and you end up with a bill for SC and say here it is less my bills for cleaning from x to y.

    http://www.flat-living.co.uk/userfil...ng15-8-11-.pdf
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers. More ramblings atleaseholdpropertymanager.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,158

    Default

    The "I cant do any works 'coz a certain leaseholder hasn't paid' exuse pops up quite a bit in LVT decisions, but the obligation to repair takes prescedent over this, some leases do say that works will only be done when/if money is received but there are various common/statute laws that would overide this anyway.

    My FH has for many years worked on the assumption that he could claim moneies off leaseholders in advance, its only in recent litigation involving myself and others where it is clear that the lease makes no such provisions and that he must do work, and recoup the cost later, no doubt not what he intended and its questionable if he actually read the leases when he first purchased the freehold.

    Of further annoyance is that my lease also obliges certain works but has no mechanism for recovery, which I thought was quite unique but did come across another similar one at LVt recently.

    Andy
    Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

    I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

    It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

    Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by andydd View Post
    The "I cant do any works 'coz a certain leaseholder hasn't paid' exuse pops up quite a bit in LVT decisions, but the obligation to repair takes prescedent over this, some leases do say that works will only be done when/if money is received but there are various common/statute laws that would overide this anyway.
    In this case its slightly different as the leaseholder of the flat is the freeholder and his excuse is that he needs his rent to come in before he can pay.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers. More ramblings atleaseholdpropertymanager.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
    In this case its slightly different as the leaseholder of the flat is the freeholder and his excuse is that he needs his rent to come in before he can pay.
    Sorry I haven't explained it properly!

    3 of the 6 leases are owned by the director of the freehold company and family members. The freeholder does not own any of the leases. Does that make a difference?

    The company that owns the freehold is not a RTM company nor one set up for collective enfranchisement. It was set up with negligable capital (one or two pounds for the issued shares). The shares are owned by the director.

    There is one leaseholder in arrears for service charges (not part of the director's family). In fact the leaseholder has just been ordered by the County Court to pay the arrears monthly. From what I hear the freeholder is not going to get it on a voluntary basis.

    Another excuse they may try and use is that they have insufficient funds because they have had to adjust the service charge account because of an LVT decision. Assuming the service charges are held on trust then the company's only income is £150 per year ground rent. It has no capital and expenditure has exceeded reasonable service charges by about £750.

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