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Dale Street: The Right To Manage Revolution Rolls On

Jill Burdett on home-owners in control of their own destiny

Published on July 18th 2014.

Dale Street: The Right To Manage Revolution Rolls On

CITY centre residents are continuing to flex their muscles and demand a say in how their buildings are managed and how their money is spent.

While blocks like Pall Mall House have succeeded in getting money refunded and fees reduced and Granby House continues its fight, the 204 owners at Dale Street have just won the Right to Manage (RTM) which means they can now appoint who they want to run the building.

“It is good that this whole issue of service charges and managing is getting raised and the more people who challenge the status quo and demand answers, the better.”

Several buildings in the city already control their own destiny and it can make a huge difference to the overall feel of a place.

Who manages the building is not a question buyers of apartments tend to ask as they fall in love with a place - but it should be.

The Dale Street RTM covers three buildings which are all interlinked - The Met Apartments - Langley Building - Millington House – which together make up a sizeable development of 200+ apartments.

 Yian Phillips (looking chuffed in the main photo) led the process which took a painful seven months to complete.

He and other leaseholders involved were helped through the paperwork nightmare by another managing agent urbanbubble otherwise it would probably have taken an awful lot longer.

Yian, a recruitment director, said: “They obviously have a vested interest but have been incredibly helpful and very professional. The process is a minefield and without their help we may well have given up.

“We have agreed as a management company to appoint them to manage the building and they take over in August.

“It is not necessarily about the service charge being cheaper in fact that will probably remain the same, it is about getting a much better service for your money.

“We feel the building has been mismanaged with unreasonable charges made and no clear accountability.

“They issued Section 20 notices last Christmas demanding thousands of pounds and saying the paperwork was available at their offices.

“So I took time off work, drove to their offices in Preston, and people there knew nothing about it and it took them four hours to find the accounts. They don’t expect people to challenge them.

“There have been lots of unexplained expenses and we are in the process of going through the Landlord Valuation Tribunal section27a and we would hope to highlight a lot of unreasonable behaviour and cost/charges made to us with a view to being awarded some money back.

“It’s a long process and they make things incredibly difficult and sort of rely on you running out of steam but Pall Mall House showed it was possible and its leaseholders hard earned money so we will pursue getting some of it back.”

Yian who bought in The Met when it was first converted seven years ago also owns several more properties that he rents out so is used to dealing with management companies and agents.

And he is no stranger to the RTM process having gone through it at 42-44 Sackville Street, a building developed and previously managed by Artisan.

He said: “The owners have been managing the building for several years now and knowing you have control and ownership is very important and empowering. You feel differently about the place.

“Even though I don’t live there when I look at the building now I am quite excited, a lot of things have improved and we can decide collectively what to spend the money on.

“But something needs to be done to make the process easier. The incumbent managing agent has the upper hand as they have the addresses of the leaseholders and are reluctant to give them out so you have to push to get the information and then contact people.

“It’s easier in a building where most apartments are lived in by the owners but even then it takes a lot of effort.

“And many people are not even aware you can manage a building yourself and form a management board and appoint your own agent.

“It’s a bit like the situation with the banks years ago. They made it difficult to switch and there had to be a change in the law to make it simpler. I strongly feel that is what should happen with leaseholders to give them more rights.

“The actual process should also be simplified and put in layman’s terms with simple step by step instructions.

“Buildings need to have good managing agents and owners need to know they are not being overcharged.

“It is good that this whole issue of service charges and managing is getting raised and the more people who challenge the status quo and demand answers, the better.”

At Dale Street the current managing Agent is Zagora which also manages the Fresh Development on Chapel Street in Salford.

More info on the Right To Manage and the responsibilities it entails can be found here.

Looking north from St Ann's church with No 1 Deansgate on the left

Looking north from St Ann's church with No 1 Deansgate on the left

Meanwhile owners in No1 Deansgate are edging closer to their own RTM although the landlord is refusing to accept defeat gracefully.

The Court of Appeal, highest in the land, has refused TRW Pensions “permission to appeal” against previous rulings against them and that should have been it.

But now lawyers acting for the global giant has now asked for an oral hearing to request "permission to appeal" which is scheduled for October.

The incredibly patient No1 owners are hoping it will not make any difference and by the end of the year they should be able to manage one of Manchester’s landmark buildings themselves.

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AnonymousJuly 19th 2014.

Great result. Everyone should have the right,, not be ripped off by these sharks.

SteveJuly 21st 2014.

Fantastic news! Well done

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2014.

Great News, well done!

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