Service charges are more than just a necessary evil.
This year as with previous years we have sold several Birmingham City Centre apartments this spring to older singletons & couples coming into the City core from the suburbs & beyond. The reasons are wide ranging from wanting to travel extensively & not have the burden of an empty house, the children have left & they want to downsize or that they want to live in an environment where they are not continually paying out big sums for the upkeep of their home.
A Sutton resident I recently heard saying that his house was marvellous but you did need to provision £3-4k each year for the upkeep of just the garden!
Birmingham blocks of apartments invariably have managing agents who act on behalf of the long lessees, looking after the maintenance of the building & plan for the future work needed. With many City Centre blocks fast approaching or being just over there ten year birthdays when the construction warranties expire, the service charges are now more than ever worthy of focus.
Good managing agents steadily build sinking funds through the annual service charges to ensure there is a contingency available for unexpected larger bills plus build up funds for larger planned for expensive repairs & renewals. If you see apartment buildings which on the surface have cheaper annual service charges you may find they aren’t being properly contingent about future repairs, favouring larger one off charges in the future when work is required.
Landlords & residents must in our opinion take real interest in their block resident groups, which are now growing in number throughout the City,to both ensure the service charges are both being properly controlled but also to ensure future larger costs are now being planned for.
Philip Jackson is founding director of Maguire Jackson Estate Agents