PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING

Hello Forumites! In order to help keep the Forum a useful, safe and friendly place for our users, discussions around non-MoneySaving matters are not permitted per the Forum rules. While we understand that mentioning house prices may sometimes be relevant to a user's specific MoneySaving situation, we ask that you please avoid veering into broad, general debates about the market, the economy and politics, as these can unfortunately lead to abusive or hateful behaviour. Threads that are found to have derailed into wider discussions may be removed. Users who repeatedly disregard this may have their Forum account banned. Please also avoid posting personally identifiable information, including links to your own online property listing which may reveal your address. Thank you for your understanding.

Self appointment building manager causing havoc

I have an apartment in a building that is owned by it's shareholders (apt owners). We have a militant building manager who appointed herself over 10 years ago after urban splash released ownership to the shareholders. She is both the building manager and building secretary and also sits on the board of directors. This means any complaint about her goes to her and she always finds a way to keep key board members on the board without them having to be voted in so that she can maintain a majority and not get removed from her position. She did this by telling us the lease had an amendment that said we couldn't have a vote and that she her hands where tied (this was not true). last year she had her favourite board member resign from the board the day before the vote and then reinstated him the day after knowing full well none of the residents would vote for him.

Advice on this situation would be greatly appreciated, but more pressing is her most recent hate campaign.

The building lease does prohibit any animal that may cause a nuisance. However, there has always been a well-known blind eye policy towards pets with a number of tenants and owners having dogs, cats and similar. I have had a dog for the last 6 years and even bought my apartment off my landlord whilst living in the apartment with my dog. So there is no doubt that the building manager knew I had a dog when I bought the apartment and she still allowed the sale to go through. This past week we have all received a letter saying all pets need to be vacated from the building within the next 6 months.

At least 25 residents have a pet of some sort that I know of (its a small building around 150 apts total). Realistically there will be more than. Is it realistic for the building manager to think she can enforce this with so many residents? And is it possible for us, given we have so many residents with pets to trigger a change in the lease?

Also, if there has been a blind eye policy in place towards pets, and I've been allowed to have a dog for 6 years and I've never received any complaints, is it fair that she now change the rules with no board level vote or warning?

We really need to get rid of this woman she does a terrible job and is only interested in making peoples lives hell. She loves using our sink fund to sue residents she has a vendetta against and is running our building into the ground. PLEASE HELP

Based in Manchester UK

«13

Comments

  • Wonka_2
    Wonka_2 Posts: 614
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    AnnaRG said:

    The building lease does prohibit any animal that may cause a nuisance. 

    Others will come along with more detailed responses but does the lease genuinely state this ? The exact wording will be key as 'nuisance' is very subjective 
  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,156
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    AnnaRG said:

    The building lease does prohibit any animal that may cause a nuisance.


    You need to be more precise about what the lease says.

    For example, does it say...
    1. No pets
    2. No pets without the freeholder's consent
    3. No pets without the freeholder's consent, which can be revoked if the pet causes a nuisance 

    The best plan is probably to challenge this in your capacity as a leaseholder. i.e. Assuming the lease is either option 2 or option 3 above, take the freeholders to tribunal for 'unreasonable refusal of consent'. (Often the threat of tribunal is enough to make people change their minds.)


    AnnaRG said:

    She loves using our sink fund to sue residents she has a vendetta against and is running our building into the ground. 


    Again, in your capacity as a leaseholder, you can take the freeholders to tribunal for spending Service Charge funds in a way that is not 'reasonable'.

    And/or threaten to take them to tribunal to get a new Building Manager appointed.

    Again, hopefully  the threat of tribunal might be enough to make people change their minds.

  • Olinda99
    Olinda99 Posts: 1,214
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Forumite
    look up the memorandum and articles of association for your management company and see how for example you can get decisions changed and people removed from office
  • gm0
    gm0 Posts: 804
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    @Olinda99 - has it right. 

    If this has been freehold purchased by the leaseholders collectively.  There will be articles of association for the Ltd company (Ltd by guarantee (register of members) or Ltd by Share capital (shares)

    Legally the directors have a lot of day to day discretion (as is needed to do the job operating things and directing any hired agent within the existing budget etc. but are bound by these articles on governance. 

    Residents are often unaware of the governance rules.  And become frustrated if "lawyer types" insist on greater formality in the unstructured whinge fests that meetings can descend into. 

    And it is common for meetings not to be properly called, documented, voting recorded etc. 
    And this too can be fine to reduce unpaid volunteer effort - until something major comes up (like the original freehold purchase itself) - or sadly - until a dispute arises and the informality makes that situation worse. 

    It is more effort to do it properly.  And volunteers for these (unpaid) roles are often hard to come by in the first place.  If you plot regieme change.  Work out what comes after.

    A lot of forum commentary is of the leaseholder oppressed freeholder bad landlord - know your rights type. 
    Once you have bought your freehold as here.  You are  ALSO your freeholder in concert with the others. 
    So litigating each other within that circle is indeed madness to the detriment of all.

    You may have had these articles documents at conveyancing and lease assignment and management pack.  Or not.  Given she is likely not going to be co-operative - you may do better to download them from Companies House where they (probably) are filed from when the company was founded.  She can't overide these with !!!!!! she makes up.  For example - if (as an example) it says that two people at a meeting can object to something and call for the full poll of leaseholder share of freehold owners then that - is that.  Simple majority won't do.  Majority in the meeting won't do.  Have to do the poll if two hands go up.  This opens up possibilities.

    Annexed to these articles should be the terms of the game for

    1 Properly holding an AGM and decision making

    2 Voting (majorities - simple or something else.

    3 Objections to new policies at meetings and the thresholds for insisting on a full poll of all "members/shareholders" on a new decision.  A pet policy change being a great example as it raises hackles (sic)

    You can start to insist on it being done properly - blocking what she wants.  Come up with some constraints on her which sound reasonable to others as cost avoidance. 

    Boxing in with as an example a policy to the next AGM "no new litigation decisions or additional expense on them at leaseholder expense from communal funds without full vote prior"

    Winkling someone who likes the control and the status quo will not be easy if there is a well dug in faction.  It requires significant effort.  However you ALSO owe it to the rest of your neighbours not to start knocking holes in the side of  the ship without a plan.

    Somebody has to do it
  • Thank you all for your advice it is a relief to have guidance from people who know what they are talking about. I have previously looked up the articles of association and especially when it comes to voting in board members they have not been followed. I have also been told I can not put myself forward as a potential board member because I have a pet and that would look un professional (nothing about that in the articles of association!)

    I am concerned about the "knocking a hole in the side of the boat issue" especially as this woman has all the keys and I'm sure, no proper documentation that being said she is pushing 80 so either way we need to prepare for her departure. We have looked at employing a management company to replace her, one bonus of doing this would be they could negotiate better prices for things like insurance but I know some residents will be unsure of that option.

    Ultimately I'd much prefer to go under the radar and stay out of the whole thing, but my dog isn't going anywhere!

    We do have an AGM coming up, they usually descend into unorganised moaning where nothing gets done and the manager/secretary likes it that way.

    Is it worth us creating a tenancy association so we can communicate as a group? Another issue we have is engaged tenants with disinterested landlords and a tenancy association would give them a voice I believe?

    I have found out a bit more information and it seems that this issue has arisen because of one tenant complaining about the pets and threatening to take legal action against the building management if they don't enforce the lease, If we have a majority over that one person and proof of a long standing blind eye policy towards pets with some people have pets for over 10 years do we stand a better chance of succeeding? 

    Another question do any of you know how much of a majority we would need to trigger a leasehold amendment to the pet policy?

    I will try and dig out the articles of association and the pet policy
  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,156
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite

    Just to clarify - a vote at an AGM cannot override people's leases.

    So what exactly does your lease say about pets?

    You say "The building lease does prohibit any animal that may cause a nuisance". Is that the exact wording of the lease?

    That would be very vague wording to have in a lease.

     
  • Jonboy_1984
    Jonboy_1984 Posts: 1,195
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Given how long some people have had their pets (particularly if evidence such as microchip and vet records are available) I would get legal advice on the pets situation specifically with the legal principle of Estoppel in mind: https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2013/07/13/can-these-tenants-be-forced-to-rehome-their-dog/




  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    edited 8 November 2023 at 10:17AM
    Anna, exact Lease wording on pets, please, as asked before.
    And is there any chance that the tenant who complained (presumably about a specific pet, and not them all?) has a valid point? Eg, has a dog been howling or barking or pooing excessively?
  • Olinda99
    Olinda99 Posts: 1,214
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Forumite
    edited 8 November 2023 at 8:41AM
    if the memorandum and articles of association state that a certain procedure has to be followed before a vote is binding and if those procedures are not followed them the vote is null and has no effect

    but as stated above a vote cannot override what is in the lease and therefore your first port of call is to write down here exactly what the lease says about pets and we can then advise further
  • User_3235329
    User_3235329 Posts: 7
    Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    edited 9 November 2023 at 10:54AM
    Anna, exact Lease wording on pets, please, as asked before.
    And is there any chance that the tenant who complained (presumably about a specific pet, and not them all?) has a valid point? Eg, has a dog been howling or barking or pooing excessively?
    Hopefully this is the case. I have asked and offered to mediate as well as suggested that pet owners agree ground rules for having pets. I'd be just as annoyed as anyone else if a yappy dog moved in next door to me. So far no response from Building management. It's possible a resident has been asking her for help for a while and the building manager has refused to get involved and so the tenant has gone for the nuclear option and now she's just passing the problem on rather than doing her job (standard behaviour for her). 

    This is what the lease states. The issue we have tough is that the board agreed to a blind eye policy towards pets and people have been having pets with little issue for at least the 8 years I have lived here and probably even longer that that.

    If the management company have to legally go after every tenant with a pet it will bankrupt itself we don't have a great sink fund.

    (Removed by Forum Team)

Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 234K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606.2K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards