I ditched my managing agent not long ago, and I’m not only glad that I did it, I’m actually quite proud of what I’ve accomplished.
There are thousands of various flat owners across the UK that are paying sizeable amounts of money to their managing agents. In return, these managing agents cover maintenance and service charges. However, this doesn’t have to be the way things are done.
Did you know that it’s actually possible to break away from a company working as your managing agent? You can do so with a simple process, and in my case, I cut my service charges by almost 80 percent. It was not long ago that I moved into a dream flat atop a building in London. It’s not very tall, but my view from the top floor can see quite a bit, including some of the Thames. I’m also not far from the tube, so getting around is easy.
Unfortunately, the managing agents, who were from a company I shouldn’t name but one that is controversial to say the least, were charging myself and other flat owners in the building over £200 each month. Compared to our neighbors in buildings on the same street, we knew we were paying excessive fees and charges.
To give you some idea, the only regular services that these agents were having to handle were cleaning a small communal area, keeping up a tiny garden, and providing our insurance. Our building doesn’t even have a lift, which actually suits those of us who enjoy the exercise. Still, we don’t like working extra hard just to pay the thousands of pounds they were taking from us each year for such minimal services.
When they notified us that the charges were going up, I decided to take action with the other leaseholders. We were able to use the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 to remove the managing agents using our very own company to manage our building. It cost a bit of money and took five months, but we did it.
We make major decisions by simple majority vote, and no one’s vote is more or less important than any other. After we shopped around for the same set of services, we cut our expenses by over two-thirds of what we had been paying, more than enough to cover the minimal costs of setting up our own thing. We even get to pick our very own tradesmen when we need them.
Some people are dumbfounded when I tell them that I ditched managing agent, but it was really worth it, and I encourage others to consider doing it too. They might be shocked to discover how simple and cheaper it makes things if it’s the right move where they live.