Leasehold Management Policy

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1 UNCONTROLLED WHEN PRINTED Policy Contents 1 Aims and Objectives 2 Definitions 3 Legal and regulatory framework 4 Key aspects of service delivery 5 Monitoring 6 Staff Training 7 Review 8 Equality Impact Statement POLICY STATEMENT Shepherds Bush Housing Association (SBHA) is committed to providing high quality, customer-focussed management and maintenance services to leaseholders and will levy fair and reasonable charges for such services, in accordance with the terms of its leases and as prescribed by legislation. SBHA will aim to ensure that all leaseholders understand their rights and responsibilities. 1 Aims and objectives The key aims and objectives of the Policy are: 1.1 To treat leaseholders as valued customers, offering them the highest quality of service together with excellent value for money. 1.2 To offer comprehensive opportunities for leaseholder involvement and feedback aligned with an efficient and effective complaints procedure. 1.3 To achieve consistently high customer satisfaction levels through the delivery of a proactive management and maintenance service on our estates and to our individual properties with a continuous emphasis on reviewing and improving our services. 1.4 To comply with all relevant legislation, regulatory guidance and codes of practice, and to learn from and implement good practice. 1.5 To communicate frequently, clearly and openly with leaseholders by providing accurate, timely and straightforward information and advice. 1.6 To comply with statutory requirements to consult leaseholders over the provision of services and in advance of any improvement or major repairs programmes.

2 1.7 To consult leaseholders over the development, monitoring and review of relevant policies. 1.8 To take a company-wide approach to effective leasehold management. Colleagues in other departments e.g. Property and Development will take responsibility for their own areas of service and for the quality of such services delivered to leaseholders. 2 Definitions 2.1 covers a comprehensive range of services provided by SBHA to those who occupy property on a leasehold basis, where SBHA is the landlord, managing agent and/or freeholder. These services include overall customer service, defects, maintenance, resale and staircasing as well as a variety of others. The differences in tenures will be taken into account when implementing relevant policies and procedures eg. Subletting. Essentially, there are only two different types of leaseholders, 100% leaseholders and shared owners. However differentials in lease types will always be considered and reflected where affecting policy. 3 Legal and Regulatory Framework 3.1 The legislation relevant to the Policy is complex and has been subject to change during the past years. The key legislation includes: The Landlord and Tenant Acts of 1985 and 1987 Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 The Housing Act 1996 The Commonhold and Reform Act Other relevant legislation includes: The Housing Act 1985 (as it affects the RTB, Preserved RTB and Right to Acquire) The Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 The Consumer Protection Act 1987 The Law of Property Act 1925 The Unfair Terms in Contracts Regulations Key aspects of service delivery to leaseholders 4.1 The Housing Services Directorate has overall responsibility for the implementation and review of this policy. However, leaseholders are directed to the department with direct responsibility for the issue that is raised by them and that department is responsible for resolving any matters that arise. For example if the issue is related to maintenance the leaseholder is directed to the Property Department. Likewise for management issues the Team will act as the main point of contact. All departments work in

3 close co-operation with each other to ensure a coordinated, prompt and efficient service is delivered to leaseholders at all times. 4.2 law and accompanying regulations and codes of practice are subject to frequent change. Staff who provide services to leaseholders will receive training periodically in the relevant areas of law and best practice. However, on more complex legal matters, SBHA will engage legal advisers with appropriate expertise to ensure that it complies fully with legislation and is able to advise leaseholders accordingly. 4.3 SBHA will comply with all relevant legislation and the terms of individual leases, whilst recognising that legislation takes precedence over individual leases. 4.4 SBHA will provide its new leaseholders with all relevant and necessary information to include: A newsletter which will include a report of overall performance by SBHA and information about its activities in the communities where it works. Specific information about the estate or block they will be moving to. A ers Handbook - this document will include information on: A er s key rights and responsibilities Consultation arrangements (if SBHA is considering changes to management or maintenance) Service charge and arrears information Advice about benefits for leaseholders who may have difficulty in paying service charges Details of ways to participate in decision making about how services are run and how standards are set Details of SBHA s Complaints Policy Details of the Valuation Tribunal and advisory services such as LEASE Anti-social behaviour and harassment. 4.5 Every leaseholder will receive an individual service charge account within six months of the end of an accounting period. SBHA will also arrange specific meetings with leaseholders to discuss estate service charge accounts for the preceding financial year and budgets for new accounting periods. 4.6 SBHA will make reasonable management and administration charges in accordance with the provisions of leases. We aim to recoup actual costs of services delivered and will give leaseholders information on what the costs cover as required. If essential but unforeseen works are required which will significantly impact on the level of charges due from leaseholders we commit to notifying leaseholders at the time of the works or as soon as is reasonably practical so they are fully aware of any additional costs that will be due from them and to enable leaseholders to set aside additional funds in their own personal budgets.

4 4.7 We will ensure that leaseholders are fully consulted in compliance with S.20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as amended by the Commonhold and Reform Act This requires the Association to consult leaseholders on: Proposed major repairs or improvements for which they will be required to pay in excess of 250 per leasehold unit Proposed changes to contracts for long term services in excess of 100 per leasehold unit per annum 4.8 The consultation process will comply fully with the regulations and will give leaseholders the opportunity to comment on choices of contractor and/or proposed works. 4.9 We will ensure leaseholders receive the best value for money available from all of our services by regularly monitoring costs for works to ensure they are reasonable and the works are to the best possible standard. We will also pro-actively monitor the standard of all estate services provided e.g. cleaning and gardening to ensure costs achieve value for money and are completed to an agreed satisfactory standard. We will seek feedback from leaseholders on the standard of such services periodically and will address issues identified immediately with the service providers ers will be informed that they have the right to complain using our complaints procedure if they are unhappy with the reasonableness of the works or charges or with the standard of service received. If a complaint is received, leaseholders will also be informed that they have the right to apply to the Valuation Tribunal if they are unhappy with the outcome of the complaints procedure ers representatives will be invited to take part in reviews of: General services which affect them Specific leasehold management matters, including service charge administration, leaseholder consultation and service improvement plans Through leaseholder and general resident associations and a variety of other formal and informal means of contact (eg. forums, newsletters and individual consultation), we will offer leaseholders the opportunity to get directly involved in decisions about how services are run and the standards of those services We will work closely with external managing agents who manage estates where our leaseholders live, to ensure that the service provided to our leaseholders meets the minimum standards we set ourselves where we have direct management responsibility and that the cost of the services provide value for money Joint working arrangements are put in place for all mixed tenure schemes. The Team and the Neighbourhood Action

5 Team work effectively together by each dedicating an officer to work in partnership so a co-ordinated approach is taken to managing the scheme for the benefit of all residents. 5 Monitoring 5.1 Regular monitoring will take place to ensure that we comply with this policy. Reports will be made to the Board periodically to enable it to observe progress against agreed targets and performance indicators set across the various services delivered to leaseholders and to agree any remedial action or revisions to the policy or procedures. 5.2 er surveys will be carried out periodically and the results used to improve services. ers will be invited to assist with monitoring progress with any service improvements identified. Performance and satisfaction levels will be reported to leaseholders through newsletters and the annual report. 6 Staff Training 6.1 The success of the policy and the quality of services to leaseholders depend on the knowledge of the staff on leasehold matters. Staff will be well trained, particularly following changes in the law. 6.2 There will be thorough induction training for new staff and regular updates for all staff that have responsibility for any service to leaseholders. This will include Property and other office based staff. 6.3 SBHA s performance appraisal system will be a key tool in identifying further training needs or where skills require reinforcement for them to remain effective. 7 Review 7.1 The Policy will be reviewed periodically by our staff and Board. The review will ensure that the policy takes into account: Changes in statutory guidance and developing good practice The action plans resulting from any service improvement reviews The feedback from leaseholders in surveys and through monitoring of complaints. 8 Equality and Diversity 8.1 There are no specific equality and diversity implications for this policy, although SBHA will monitor the effectiveness of this policy to ensure statutory

6 requirements are met and that all leaseholders are treated equitably and fairly. 8.2 Where required, we will tailor our services to meet the individual diversity needs of our residents. January 2012

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