Make Things Better – how to give your property a facelift

So far in our Make Things Better series we’ve helped people who suspected they were getting poor value for money from their managing agent and an individual who felt the works carried out to repair their property were not up to scratch. This week, our help is required to outline the correct process for giving the property a facelift…..

I’ve decided it’s time we had the external walls of the property repainted but I don’t know how to go about it and I don’t always trust my managing agent with their advice. What is the process I need to follow? 

A fresh lick of paint on a building can make a fantastic difference, lifting the spirits of everyone who owns it or lives there. But you’re right, it’s not a straightforward process to get it done and you need the help of a solid managing agent every step of the way.

The first thing you must do is to look at the lease to see what it says about carrying out such work. Some leases will say that maintenance of the outside of the property needs to be carried out every five years, some will be longer, and so this will tell you what expectations the leaseholders already have about how often they should pay for such work to be carried out.  You then need to check when it was last completed.  If it’s not due to be painted yet according to the lease then it will be a challenge to get the works approved unless there is an issue with the building that needs to be resolved.

The next stage would be for your managing agent to get a cost for the work – a simple rough quote – in order to check if it would go over the Section 20 threshold.

If it’s not above the threshold, then we would get three quotes for the work as is our standard protocol to do so. We would then liaise with the directors or the leaseholders with regards to the costs to agree on which contractor will be appointed.

You also need to take into account whether or not it is a listed building as that will present some restrictions over what you can do. There’s also the consideration of whether or not the decorating needs to be done using a specific type of paint.

The other thing to consider – and again your managing agent should flag this – is that some of your window frames may need to be repaired before the painting can take place. You’ll need to find out who is responsible for the repair of the window frames as it could be each leaseholder. If this is the case, it could slow the process down significantly if you ask each one to repair the windows themselves. The approach we would take is to send out letters to each leaseholder to inform them that they are responsible for the repair, but that we can arrange for this work to be carried out as part of the painting work and pass the cost back to them. This speeds up the process whilst also ensuring full transparency for everyone involved.

Once all agreed, we’d make sure that all leaseholders and residents are made aware of when the works would be taking place to minimise inconvenience and disruption.

Finally, once the job is in progress, your managing agent should oversee it from start to finish to ensure that it’s completed to a high standard. Nothing should be paid until they have signed off the work and have possession of all assurances, method statements and other paperwork.

As you can see, it’s not straightforward but with the right managing agent in place, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Do you have a problem with your current managing agent? Get in touch with us here and we’ll talk you through how we can make things better.