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Management pack - First I've heard of it?

I moved into a freehold new build property about 4 years ago, we were told a management company would be taking care of all grass cutting and maintenance of public areas at a cost of approx £120 per year, we were never given a contract to sign, we just accepted this and got on with living in our new home.

One of our neighbours has just moved house and has told us at her surprise when the management company has invoiced her for the following:
£340 for a management pack.
£144 for names to be removed and added to their records.
£150 in case of shortfall at end of year, this may be refunded if no shortfall.

My neighbour was not far off completion and didn't want the sale to fall through so didn't really question this and paid it.

I have contacted the management company and the house builder asking where these fees were documented when I purchased my house, I'm still awaiting a reply from management company and the house builder have said that it should have been on the disc I was given from my solicitor (it is not on there) but they also feel the fees are excessive and they are unsure and are taking advice from their legal dept.

Has anyone else had to pay for a management pack in these circumstances?
Surely if myself or any of my neighbours have not been told of these fees when buying they cannot introduce them without notice?
My worry is that if it is not sorted now then if in 5 or 10 years we decide to move the fees could have risen further?

Thanks in advance.
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Replies

  • ThePants999ThePants999 Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    This is normal where there's communal areas to maintain, I'm afraid. That's obviously a lot more common with leasehold than with freehold, but it can happen with freehold properties too. As soon as there's a management company, there are these bloody packs and their associated fees. When we bought a similar property, there was also little information given to us about these sorts of fees, though we obviously learned about the annual service charge. Bit crap tbh.

    The fees aren't totally arbitrary and they're unlikely to rise significantly beyond inflation from where they are now, so I wouldn't worry too much.

    FWIW, you should check the covenants on your title to see exactly what they say. (In the unlikely event that there aren't any, they can't make you pay at all!)
  • I doubt the management pack fee would be on anything from your purchase and I find it unacceptable that so may of these fees are not highlighted to people when they purchase. That said all of the fees are standard and are very common, and i wouldn't say excessive (you'll see there's threads on here with similar fees 6-7 yeas ago). I've heard of some agents charging much more than that. Be interesting to see what their legal departments response is. But i fear, unless regulation changes if you wish to purchase a management pack you will need to pay their fee. And whilst there may not have been a separate contact regarding the management company there would have been something in the transfer that you singed as more than likely there will be a restriction or agreement on your Title
  • futuresbrightfuturesbright Forumite
    71 Posts
    Forumite
    Thanks for replies.

    I am going to keep on at all involved as I feel something is not right here, why am I not given a management pack as a new buyer? Something that outlines theses fees and anything else I need to know about the maintenance contract?

    Surely the prospective new buyer just needs to be told to pay their yearly fee and services will carry on as before?

    Will post any findings as I get them.
  • Car1980Car1980 Forumite
    283 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
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    Just don't tell the management company you're selling. Just keep your service charge statements. My management co got wind of my sale towards the end of the process and demanded silly amounts like you've seen so me and my solicitor just ignored them. The sale went through no problem.
  • G_MG_M Forumite
    52K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Car1980 wrote: »
    Just don't tell the management company you're selling. Just keep your service charge statements. My management co got wind of my sale towards the end of the process and demanded silly amounts like you've seen so me and my solicitor just ignored them. The sale went through no problem.
    In most cases, either the buyer, their solicitor, and/or their mortgage lender, will demand a management pack to ensure you are paid up to date and to check for any projected potential future costs.
  • ThePants999ThePants999 Forumite
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    The management pack isn't interesting to the buyer themselves, it's more for the solicitor.
  • edited 5 September 2017 at 6:46AM
    edited 5 September 2017 at 6:46AM

    FWIW, you should check the covenants on your title to see exactly what they say. (In the unlikely event that there aren't any, they can't make you pay at all!)

    I second this part. If it ain't down specifically in writing to say they can make these charges - then I don't see how they can.

    Covenants are written down on the Register entry of your property (obtainable from the Land Registry for less than £10 if you don't have it).
  • G_MG_M Forumite
    52K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    The management pack isn't interesting to the buyer themselves, it's more for the solicitor.
    What a strange idea.

    The solicitor is simply there to work on behalf of the buyer. If he finds something that may affect the buyer, positively or negatively, he tells the buyer (his client). It is the buyer who decides whether to ignore it, pull out, renegotiate price or whatever (though he may accept advice on this).

    If there is something relevant in the management pack (or elsewhere) then of course it is of interest to the buyer.

    This approach is why we see so many threads here regarding new owners claiming "I never knew I had to pay £X" or "not allowed to do Y".

    Because they ignore the paperwork themselves at the time of purchase believing "my solicitor is dealing with all that."
  • I think it's understandable that people think that way - I know I certainly did (both times) as one thinks "That's what I'm paying them for - ie to point out any nasty points an ordinary person in the street won't spot". So you expect that your solicitor will say "Had you realised about point x?" and that they would do so as a specific letter or phone call about that item only specifically drawing it to your attention.
  • G_MG_M Forumite
    52K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ..... So you expect that your solicitor will say "Had you realised about point x?" and that they would do so as a specific letter or phone call about that item only specifically drawing it to your attention.
    Indeed - but how far does this extend?

    In a lease, or where there's a Deed or Conveyance containing covenants, there may be 5, 10 or more clauses.

    Should the solicitor write a specific letter for each clause? Normally there's a single letter, enclosing the relevant document, and perhaps highlight 1 or 2 specific clauses or even bullet-pointing all 10, but urging the buyer to read the document. So few buyers seem to read them......
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