Building Blocks From Latest Homes
Shula Rich is a leasehold expert, so we asked how she became involved in training agents in the finer points of block management and the legislation that governs it.
So how did she get involved?
From 1990 to 1996 I was involved in a dispute over repairs at Kingsway Court on Hove seafront where I was a resident. As residents we had been presented with a massive £2,000,000 bill by the freeholders Mars Securities, the confectionery company.
I was the ‘leader of the opposition’ in that long protest, and it certainly sharpened the concentration. It was then that I learned what it meant to be a leaseholder. I realised how little leaseholders know about their position. I actually knew very little and possibly, in hindsight, I was rather unfair on the freeholders.
Back then I received help from three organisations: Brighton Rights Centre, the Leasehold Enfranchisement Association and Brighton Leaseholders Association.
We eventually succeeded, in 1996, in purchasing the freehold of Kingsway Court. Since then, because of the help I was given, I give my services helping leaseholders with any issues that they have with oppressive managers, lease terms, managing agents and so on.
I am now the coordinator of the remaining two organisations which have merged as Brighton, Hove & District Leaseholders Association and I lecture and write on leasehold issues.
I have been thanked in Parliament for reforms to leasehold law and now work with ARLA and the National Federation of Property Professionals. I write and present all their courses on block management.
I am often asked if my courses focus on the client. My courses care about both sides, taking in every point of view. I know from experience how important that is. The legislation is constantly changing and it is vital that professionals in this industry stay in touch with those changes. As recently as 2002 it became possible for not only freeholders of a block, but also leaseholders to replace their property management company. Very few people are aware of that and I am sure that if they were, there would be plenty who would want to review their current situation.
Shula sums things up by saying
Leaseholders should be prepared to pay a reasonable fee to get a good job. A good managing agent is worth every penny because they will be protecting your investment. The lowest price is not necessarily the best or the cheapest in the long term. Value for money is not a judgement that can be made on price alone but must also take into consideration people and quality of service.
From: Agreement magazine
Block Management Consultancy
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