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Do I have the right to request original documents to substantiate my accounts?

  • Affiliate
  • 3 posts
  • # 115989

Hi Everyone.

My husband and I own a leasehold property and a Manangement company takes care of the Services provided. There are 8 properties that make up a mutual trust. Every year since we bought in March 2012 we have been sent a Budget for the year Apr-Mar. It was agreed in our contract/ deed that the accounts would be finalised and submitted to us to audit. This has not been done despite the annual budget submission from the company and my paying as per the budget evey year until 2016 when I raised a query as to why I should be expected to pay on estimations with no evidence of the actual accounts. I was assured that I could stop paying until the accounts was finalised and all queries resolved.

I repeatedly asked for the accounts and was given various reasons of why it was not done. Accounts on constant leave, staff changes, the accounts are being prepared but not sent. Now I have received a letter with a summary of the charges going back to 2008 (4 years prior to my purchase) and I am told I need to sign these accounts within a week.

I have several questions:

1. Is it legal to force me to sign off accounts for a period that I was not responsible for the property?

2. The summary table provided shows accountancy fees for each year. Can I dispute this as the accounts were not done annually as agreed? A sum of £2,500 per year.

3. Can I request copies of the original documents/ contracts that make up the values on the summary table?

4. We are told that the accounts need to be submitted to the FSA and failure to do so will result in our leasehold been relinquished to the Crown. Is this true and why now after 5 years is this being brough to our attention?

5. We paid an annual ground rent of £50 and was sent a letter at the beginning of the year confirming this. 2 payments of £25 in April and October. However, I have now received a letter stating that the Ground Rent is now gone up to £650 per annum and that I need to pay £325 by the 31st December 2017. Can this be legal? The jump from £50 to £650 and that too within a year with no notification or consultation? Can I request how the cost has been calculated as no information has been provided.

Sorry for the long post but there seems to be multiple issues that I require advice on.



Edited at 29 Nov 2017 12:17 PM GMT

Edited at 29 Nov 2017 12:18 PM GMT

  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 779 posts
  • # 115990

Hi,

My experience of Management Companies that I have dealt with (not as clients) appears that they all seem to work in the same way as you are experiencing.

According to what you say it sounds like they have never produced annual accounts. I personally would not be signing anything for a period for which I was not responsible.

Although I cannot be of any assistance to you my advice would be to see a solicitor asap.

  • Associate
  • 3 posts
  • # 115995

As one of my duties within a firm that has a property management department, I produce annual budgets for each management company and we present those to the tenants at a group meeting.  THen, at the end of the year, I produce actual reconciled Service Charge Accounts with copy invoices, copy insurance policy schedules etc. and provide each tenant with a copy of the lot.  If there is a balance left in the pot at the end of the year we carry it forward but it is clearly shown, and it is shown in the budget for the next year.

This is the standard RICS best procedure.  Check whether there is an agency dealing with management because if there is, and they are RICS, they should be adhering to the guidelines (which are very strict indeed).  If there isn't an agency dealing with management then I am not sure what the guidelines are, I'm afraid.

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