We are a recently created RMC freehold owning company with 27 leaseholders having equal shares and votes in the company, which is also of course charged with carrying out building maintenance & repairs.
I have just been appointed Director and Secretary of the company, and we have our first AGM shortly. I am beginning to feel somewhat overwhelmed by all the statutory legislation surrounding leasehold. My question is:
Do we really have to comply with the lengthy processes and paperwork of, for example, the new statutory forms regarding service charges and section 20 legislation given that we have formal AGMs with detailed publication of income and costs, and the fact that the shareholders/leaseholders just want us to get on with it. Has anyone discovered a shortcut methodology to handle the above? We do recognise the good intent and purpose of the regulations for lessees & landlords who are perhaps less well organised and democratic.
The FPRA replies:
The issue of lengthy and complicated paperwork is regularly raised by our members, and we make regular representations to the government about it.
Basically, the government introduced legislation over the course of the last 20 years which has done a generally good job in protecting long lease holders from rogue freeholders. It has also introduced legislation that has been wonderfully successful in enabling leaseholders to buy their freeholds.
Unfortunately, the government has failed to then go the extra step in amending the legislation to reflect the success and changing management required for self-owned and managed blocks.
Pending the success of FPRA in its lobbying, you are faced with the current legislation, and therefore in answer to your question, yes, you do have to follow the procedures laid down. For example, if you did not follow the section 20 requirements, the recovery of the monies from individual lease holders would almost certainly be impossible if it were challenged.
The key when dealing with all resident association matters is to keep everyone informed and if you do this the actual paperwork exercise to comply with the legislation can become routine.
There is no opt out.
I hope you find this useful. You might be encouraged to know that we have hundreds of members who manage to comply with the legislation. Once you get over the learning curve of the mass of paper required, you will find that you can comply without too much difficulty.