ACADEMY CENTRAL: CASE STUDY

Taking control of block management

Academy Central: CASE STUDY 2018-02-15T20:57:29+00:00

Concerned by security issues and poor management in their new block, leaseholders at the Academy Central development in Barking contacted HAUS for advice. We helped them to establish a right to manage (RTM) company and take control of how their block is managed. The success of this initiative has led seven other blocks to go through the RTM process so they can influence the cost and quality of their block management.

Block Management as it should be.

HAUS has been managing the block for only two weeks but they have completed more work than L&Q has done in over two years. They have been successful in obtaining competitive quotes for security upgrades, the standard of cleaning has improved so dramatically that it is noticeable just as you open the main door and the overall satisfaction from all leaseholders could not be better.
Shashi (Director of RTM)

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CHALLENGE

Academy Central is a new development in Barking, built by Taylor Wimpey and completed in 2016. Home to over 1,000 residents and comprising 17 blocks, it is the borough’s largest residential estate. London & Quadrant Housing Association (L&Q) manages both the estate and the blocks.

In March 2015, a resident owner in one of the blocks approached us for advice. He and a group of fellow leaseholders were unhappy with the way the block was being managed and wanted to know what could be done to change things. When we met this group, who were clearly passionate about where they lived, it turned out that despite being owners and residents, they felt they had no say in how the block was run. Answers to their questions or complaints sometimes took weeks to arrive. They felt their ideas were ignored and that L&Q was prioritising housing association tenants.

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Excellent people who simply provide an excellent service.

We have recently moved the management of our block onto HAUS Management and I must admit I am very impressed by their
service. HAUS go about their business in a great professional & open manner and are always there to support the residents in whatever challenges we face such as dealing with local council (etc.) on certain issues. They have worked tirelessly to support us in the RTM process and took away a lot of burden from the residents.
Rahman (Director of RTM)

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The group reported a range of issues that affected their quality of life. Leaseholders had fallen prey to widespread ID theft caused by external post boxes. Unlockable bin stores led to fly-tipping, broken interconnecting doors enabled youths to ride bikes down corridors and intimidate residents, and drug paraphernalia was routinely found. It turned out that the CCTV system was inadequate and ineffective.

Faced with these and other issues, this group of leaseholders wanted greater control over the services and finances involved in running the block. Just as importantly, they wanted the power to put in place the security upgrades needed.

SOLUTION

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Richard Delaney from HAUS explained how setting up a Right to Manage (RTM) Company would help these owners and residents to create the change they wanted. Most of the leaseholders were first-time buyers or on a shared ownership scheme and many came from abroad. So they were naturally nervous about it and wanted as much information as possible before committing to being a member of the RTM Company.

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HAUS TOOK THEM THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SETTING UP A RIGHT TO MANAGE (RTM) COMPANY FOR THE BLOCK

Three of the leaseholders agreed to be directors of the RTM company and HAUS used the services of Leasehold Doctors to set up the company and manage the application. The HAUS team drew up a budget so leaseholders could see what they could be paying if they chose an independent agent. We arranged an asset survey and met contractors to get quotes for the different aspects of managing the building. The current reserve contributions were considered excessive for such a new block so it was decided that these could also be reduced – something the RTM company was able to do. The proposed budget showed an overall saving of 30%.

We spent a great deal of time speaking to leaseholders, including the Academy Central Residents Group, explaining the pros and cons of RTM. Eventually, after three months of regular meetings and a lot of detective work tracking down overseas owners, we reached the 50% threshold that enabled leaseholders to trigger the RTM application to the Freeholder. Ultimately, some 70% joined the RTM company.

The RTM applications was passed, and granted three months afterwards, in July 2016. During that period, HAUS and RTM directors met frequently to decide on security upgrades, some of which would be paid for out of the RTM Company’s £70k sinking fund.

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RESULT

Finally, the leaseholders were able to take matters into their own hands. After many quotes and surveys, the board decided to install six new high-security doors, a new CCTV system with 21 high-definition cameras, a new closing arm and pin code lock for the bin store door, upgraded internal lobby door and corner protectors in the lobby area. A new cleaning company undertook a thorough “spring clean”, removing all scuffmarks, graffiti and spot stains on carpets. And a new cleaning schedule was agreed, covering daily cleaning of the lobby, lift and bin store, and weekly cleaning of all other floors. The sudden improvement in cleaning had a big impact: many residents contacted us to say how pleased they were.

During this time, word had got round the development. Many more individuals and groups of residents in other blocks approached us to find out more about the Right to Manage process. To date we have helped seven other blocks (about 300 flats) through the process, most of which have been granted RTM for early 2017.

Great service with focus on client’s need

HAUS block management is a great company for flat owners who want to create their own RTM. They work tirelessly at each stage of the process in setting your RTM and then focus to serve the need of their clients in a most efficient way. They listen to their customers and provide speedy resolution to any issue raised to them. The biggest benefit of appointing them as our management company was that they worked to serve our interests (something the previous management company failed to do).
Francisco (Director of RTM)

ULTIMATELY, SOME 70% OF LEASEHOLDERS JOINED THE RTM COMPANY

FINALLY THE LEASEHOLDERS WERE ABLE TO TAKE MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.

TO DATE WE HAVE HELPED SEVEN OTHER BLOCKS
(ABOUT 300 FLATS)
THROUGH THE PROCESS