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Frequently asked questionsAsk a Question
LESSEE: What does my service charge payment cover?
Your service charge payment covers the basic services that will be supplied to the common areas of your property as set out in your lease. This can include communal lights, the building and related insurances, cleaning, gardening, health and safety checks and management fees. Generally, this will not include any costs for the interior of your property unless you have a communal heating system or water bill.
LESSEE: As a lessee or tenant in a block that you manage, how do I know which maintenance issues are my responsibility?
As a leaseholder or owner of a flat you will usually be responsible for maintaining anything that only you benefit from within your property. This tends to include your boiler, white goods such as fridges and freezers, and the glass in your windows.
If your flat has a balcony, the leaseholder is usually only responsible for the floor covering as the structure forms part of the building.
An AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) tenant will not be required to fix the fixtures, fittings or contents within the property unless the damage is due to the tenant’s negligence. An example of this could be not clearing out the shower drains or putting fat and grease down the kitchen sink.
If you are unsure if something is your responsibility, it is always best to refer to your lease or, if you’re a tenant in one of our managed flats, your tenancy agreement. For support understanding or interpreting your lease, or tenancy agreement, please contact us.
LESSEE: What is the difference between building and contents insurance?
Building insurance covers anything which would not fall out of your house if someone tipped your house upside down. This includes the structure and fabric of the building but does not cover your personal items.
Building insurance will also not cover you if a problem in your flat leads to damage in another flat, and then a claim is made against you.
LESSEE: Should I take out contents insurance?
Though your lease may not mention contents insurance, we would recommend that you do take it out; especially if you have valuables which would be impossible or difficult to replace.
LESSEE: Why have we received a Section 20 notice and what does it mean?
It is a requirement under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act that if works are to be carried out which may cost any one flat more than £250.00 (inc. VAT) that a consultation process is followed.
This is usually a two-part process – though can sometimes be a three-part process – but it always starts with the Managing Agent sending a Notice of Intention on behalf of the landlords. This advises the contributing lessees of the works that needs to be carried out and gives them the opportunity to comment on this within 30 days and put forward a contractor for consideration.
The second part involves the Managing Agent issuing a Statement of Estimates which details the quotes and again gives the contributing lessees another 30 day opportunity to comment on the works and inspect the quotations.
Rarely, this goes to a third stage with a notice issued by the Managing Agent if the most inexpensive contractor is not selected.
For more information on this process, please consult your lease, look at the ARMA website or give us a call.
It is important to note that for a Section 20 notice to be initiated, one individual flat is likely to have to pay more than £250.00 rather than there being a blanket fee of £250.00 per flat.
LESSEE: Do I need permission to carry out works in my flat?
A simple refresh
Usually if the works involve a simple refresh, permission is not required. Being thorough and detail-focused we would always recommend that you check your lease first. If you need any advice or guidance on this, please contact us and we’ll point you in the right direction.
More extensive works
If the works to be carried out are more extensive, such as changing floors, knocking down walls or changing a bath for a shower or vice versa, then it is likely that you will need the landlord’s permission. This will involve applying for a Licence to Alter. You will need some input from the landlord’s surveyor to ensure that the works being carried out do not impact the building or other flats.
We would always recommend that you complete the correct legal process as the License to Alter document will be held with your lease at Land Registry and will be required to confirm that you have approval for the works should you look to sell the property at a later date.
LESSEE: My building has cladding. How do I know that it complies with safety regulations?
Unless you have a cladding survey, a Fire Engineer’s Report and/or an EWS1 form you have no evidence that your cladding is safety compliant and will need a professional opinion on which works are needed to ensure the external wall system is safe.
As of October 2019, if your building is over 18m you will need to ask your developer if you require the cladding survey and Fire Engineer’s Report. If you don’t need this, an EWS1 form can be prepared. If you do need this, the building owner may need to arrange the survey and report.
Please note that as of October 2020 there are tens of thousands of buildings that need these surveys and reports, but only 300 licensed Fire Engineers who are allowed to prepare them. While you’re waiting, we suggest you ask for the most recent Health and Safety Fire Risk Assessments, so you know your risks are being minimised.
LESSEES & TENANTS: What do I do if I have a maintenance issue?
As managing agents, we only become involved with an issue if it’s in the communal areas of your property or on the estate. In this case, please report the issue directly to your MIH property manager.
If you can’t recall their contact details, it will be their first name followed by @mihproperty.co.uk.
If you are a tenant in a flat we don’t manage, and you have a maintenance issue within your accommodation, you should contact the owner.
ALL: How do you protect client money?
All funds are held in separate ring-fenced trust accounts in accordance with Section 42 of the Landlord and Tenant Act and are covered by the FCSC guarantee. Any interest received from these funds is paid directly into the relevant bank account.
ALL: How do I report an emergency outside office hours?
If you have an emergency outside office hours, please leave a message on our answerphone and, if necessary, we will get someone out to you as quickly as possible. You can also email us.
Every member of the MIH team has access to the answering machine and email messages.
Here’s our phone number: 020 3637 7968
Here’s our email address to report an emergency: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL: What is your complaints procedure
In line with ARMA and TPO guidelines, a copy of our complaints procedure can be found on our website or at this link. We hope and expect you will never need to use this.
A copy of our complaints procedure can be found here.
FREEHOLDER: As a freeholder, how can you assure me that the leaseholders will be happy with the service you provide and ensure my obligations as freeholder are met?
On handover of any property we undertake a full lease review so we can distinguish between freeholder and leaseholder responsibilities and make both parties aware of their obligations.
We understand that, as a freeholder, you may be in the strange position of being responsible for a property that you may never see, and may not want to be involved in.
We understand, so work to act as the buffer between you and your leaseholders. Plus, with the benefit of our strategic advice and wise
long-term planning, we will maintain your property in accordance with the lease at a reasonable and affordable price.
To this end, we positively encourage Residents’ Associations. This offers one contact point and smoother decision making, all in service of our goal – happy freeholders and happy residents.
Check out our glowing reviews.
COMMERCIAL TENANT: Who is responsible for the maintenance of the unit I’m renting?
If you have a fully repairing lease, then it would be your responsibility as the tenant to deal with all repairs which fall within your property. Any communal areas including the exterior and the installations would usually be subject to a service charge which you will usually be responsible for. The terms of your lease will dictate whether you contribute to the longer term maintenance of the property.
COMMERCIAL TENANT: Who is responsible for rates/bills in the unit I’m renting?
Again, this depends on the type of lease but unless you have a fully inclusive lease you will be responsible for all the bills relating to the property as these services are individual to the unit that you are renting.