Problems with management of the property
If the freeholder does not look after the property and does not perform his obligations, you can apply to the court to appoint someone to look after the property. If you wish to exercise this right, the property must contain at least two flats and you must write first to your freeholder asking for improvements in the management of the property. If no improvements have been made after a reasonable period, you can then ask the court to appoint a manager.*
*The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 strengthens leaseholders' right to manage. Under the act, it is no longer necessary to prove any mismanagement on the part of the freeholder, and it is not necessary to apply to the court for an order. All that will be required is for the leaseholders to serve a notice to manage on the freeholder (a notice advising the freeholder that you wish the manage the property yourselves) and to set up a right to manage company, which will manage the property instead of the freeholder.
In certain cases, where the property is being mismanaged, you and the other leaseholders may be able to apply to court to get the freeholder's interest in the property. This is an extreme measure and the courts are often reluctant to take this step. Generally the level of mismanagement must be extremely severe.
If your lease is defective, you may be able to apply to court to vary the terms, for more effective management of your property. Such an application can be made if there are defects present, including:
- repair and maintenance of the flat or common parts
- maintenance and provision of services
- insurance over the property
- maintenance and repair of installations in the property
- payment methods for service charges and major works, and how such payments are divided between the leaseholders