Q: We would like your advice as to whether our reserve fund can be used to create new parking bays, as this is not ongoing maintenance. We thought we could ask the owner/leaseholders for agreement to use the funds, but just wanted some clarity from yourselves. We currently have 13 car spaces for 16 flats. We also have 16 garages, but they are not always used or full of “stuff”. Would our other option to be to ask for contributions from all owners? Might this prove difficult?
FPRA Hon Consultant Emily Shepcar replies:
On reviewing your lease, I cannot see that the obligations of the landlord extend to any improvement of the premises or the estate. Therefore, it would not be valid service charge expenditure to create additional parking spaces. You may have the option of collecting monies from shareholders of the limited company to carry out this work. However, additional car parking spaces would usually require planning permission from the local council and the leases may also need to be altered to allow the maintenance of these spaces to be a service charge responsibility in the future. I could also see no right to use any area of the estate for overnight parking in your lease, in fact there appears to be a specific prohibition on this, and this too may need to be amended. You may require some legal advice on the validity of any demand to shareholders as your memorandum and article may not allow for a collection from shareholders.
[Submitted January 2020]