Urban Owners in the media

Urban Owners' objective is to bring an innovative approach to block management by offering block administration services developed around the needs of the leaseholder. By working with the media, Urban Owners hope to raise awareness of industry bad practices and ensuring the rights and options available to leasholders.

Public endorsement of Urban Owners block management service

Urban Owner’s block management service was recommended in the Sunday Times Home Help column, reinforcing the value of it’s Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) Accreditation.

The popular ‘Home Help’ column in the property supplement carried a letter from a leaseholder asking for help in finding a competent managing agent for a small block. The letter highlights a common problem for smaller leaseholder-controlled flats. Most property management companies aren’t interested as they typically work for developers or larger freehold groups.

The Sunday Times responded to the letter by recommending property managers accredited to the good governance scheme of LKP.  They went on to specifically highlight Urban Owners’ Admin Assist package as a light-touch block management service. With Admin Assist, Urban Owners undertakes all administrative functions and regulation guidance, leaving the lease holders to make the important decisions about the running of the block themselves.

Admin Assist is one of a number of Urban Owners’ block management packages, as it supports homeowners in a cost-effective, transparent way.  It typically is the entry level point for clients, especially as it is very easy to upgrade to a more high-touch level of service if needed. Other packages are available tuned to different size of blocks, all the way up to estates of houses and flats.

For more details on how the LKP protects leaseholders, visit their website.

Right To Manage – How to check the 25% Rule

One of the qualifying criteria for being able to obtain Right To Manage is the criteria that the internal floor area of a block of flats that is associated with non residential has to be less than or equal to 25% of the total floor area.

It is necessary to explain how this Right To Manage percentage needs to be calculated as it can be unclear.  We hope that this will help fed up leaseholders do a preliminary assessment themselves.

Firstly, the non commercial internal floor area is effectively the internal floor area being used exclusively by a non residential body – typically a commercial unit e.g. shop, restaurant, office.

This has to be compared to the total internal floor area.  This is the sum of all floor area over all floors of the property, including residential and non residential usage, but you need to exclude the communal parts e.g. stairwells from this summation – even if only used by the residential residents.

Note that you should take care with:

  • a flat that is in the roof as it’s internal area may not cover the footprint of the building due to internal sloping walls
  •  situations where a building footprint reduces as you get to the higher floors.
  • a ground floor commercial premises, making sure that you are clear whether it has a basement or not(popping in to ask never hurts).

Often when doing this Right To Manage calculation our first aproach is just to compare the total number of floors of the building with the total number of floors used by a commerial premises.  If there are no commercial premises or you have a 5 story block with only the ground floor being used for commercial you can be fairly sure you will pass the 25% rule.

Where you have a commerical property in a 4 story property for example, the approach we use to getting a rough answer is to firstly consider if the commerical property has a basement – as this often leads to an instant rulling out, and secondly to see if there are plans for the property on the local councils planning portal or attached to the leases of the flats.  These can then be used to determine floor area more accurately.

Lastly, but very rarely used would be to get a surveyor in to measure the internal floor areas precisely, but this is very rare as the analysis above will generally lead to a definitive answer for a Right To Manage acquisition.

When you select a company to help with your Right To Manage, always ask whether they will do due dilligence on your property to check the 25% rule and whether this is included in their fee.  Our opinion is that you always want soembody to double check that you pass the 25% rule.

Promoting Right To Manage with DCLG through the LKP

Continue reading Promoting Right To Manage with DCLG through the LKP

Appeal ruling stops multi-block Right To Manage companies.

Continue reading Appeal ruling stops multi-block Right To Manage companies.