Management companies – don’t you hate them?

These are tough times for those of us who jumped on the roller coaster and went for the ride. When the banks were throwing it around we went mad on investments. We bought all kinds: cars, boats, giant flat screens, foreign property… but most of all, we bought apartments. The monthly rent is now bringing in less than the mortgage repayment and the value has slipped into negative equity. Even if we wanted to sell we can’t because nobody out there would dream of throwing good money at an apartment in these times.

Then, to add further misery to an already miserable situation we have to contend with management matters. The day the deal was struck the solicitor went on a bit about management companies but there was so much else to think about that it didn’t sink in. Later when the keys were handed over he said some more about keeping an eye on management. Again, it didn’t register because all thoughts were on the tenants and bringing in the rent. Now, it’s not just about the flat or the rent but the common areas; the parking problems; the lift that doesn’t work; the roof that is letting in water after the big freeze in January. Who is looking after the mess?

The problem is made all the worse by the developer, who held on to a clatter of apartments for himself. They are all empty and he has gone bust. The common areas have not been signed over to the management company which has, itself, been struck off the register leaving the unit owners with unsaleable assets. Because the occupiers of the apartments are all tenants there are no owner occupiers to get together to form a committee or something to keep the place in one piece. The investors have all run for cover and no one seems to want to take responsibility.

So, aswell as losing money on a monthly basis the chances of redeeming anything appear forlorn. Despite all this, the time to act is now. Begin by picking up that phone and fixing an appointment to see your solicitor.

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