header image

Our Policies

Canonbury Management is committed to the transformation of the block management industry through our extensive research into the problems that consumers have discovered within the industry, and the implementation of solutions to those problems.

It is not always possible to please everyone but where objections from our clients are sensible, and based on a legitimate and arguable case, we will look at these and seek to refine our products and services accordingly. However, we ask you to recognise that we have to operate within the framework of both statutory laws and the law of your lease contracts. Both of these may impede our ability to do as the customer wishes in all cases.

Environmental Policy

Canonbury Management is committed to minimising any adverse impact on the environment from our business activities.
  • 100% Paper Free
    Except where clients require paper documents, Canonbury Management holds all documents electronically (in 3 global locations) and transmits documents electronically except where this is not possible or practicable. We require all contractors to submit their invoices electronically and encourage all parties to reduce reliance on postal mail and physical documents. This has many benefits – it is crucial to our transparent accounting systems, but also allows 24-hour access from anywhere in the world to our systems, and allow us to keep your data secure and replicated around the world, in case of a disaster. Efficiency improvements are passed onto our clients by way of lower management fees and higher quality services.

  • Energy Efficient
    We use the latest technology to ensure that our power usage is a low as possible. This includes the use of the new breed of low energy server technology and special switches which turn off our office at night rather than leaving everything on standby.

  • Transportation
    Canonbury seeks to reduce the number of travelled miles by hosting online meetings and teleconferences in place of physical meetings wherever possible.

  • Working Practices
    Canonbury actively encourages our staff to work from home wherever possible to promote flexible working practices that work for both client and staff, whilst reducing unnecessary journey miles.

  • Environmentally-friendly Block Management
    Our policies in respect of block management are geared towards the reduction of travelled miles by contractors, through the fitting of enduring components that reduce the need for repeat visits. This does not compromise our use of the best contractors for a job who may not always be local to your site, however, if the work does not need to be repeated. We also fit long-life, low-energy bulbs with motion-sensitive switches wherever possible in our buildings, and fit enduring flooring and redecoration solutions as necessary to minimise the frequency of required refitting.
  • Member of Two Degrees Network
    The Two Degrees network is a business community devoted to undertaking business activities in a more sustainable manner. Various businesses share their experiences of implementation of environmentally friendly policies in order to promote best practice across all industries. For more information about the Two Degrees Network please visit their website.

Technology Policy

Canonbury’s belief in technology is at the forefront of our ability to deliver the best management service to our clients.

Our ability to use technology to automate processes not only allows us to provide you with the information you need and want, but also allows us to keep down the costs of providing that information.

At the same time, we are conscious that many clients will not wish to access this level of information, and we can still provide a full, paper-based postal billing and updates service to those clients, which we believe exceeds the standards of anything our competitors have to offer.

Here are some examples of responses we have made to the changing demands in the market-place.
  • 2002 - launch of our lease extension, freehold purchase, right to manage and block management products. First 100% paper-free block management company.
  • 2003 - automation of right to manage process to reduce prices of this process.
  • 2004 - first block manager to accept online payments.
  • 2005 - first block manager to show all expenditure and insurance documents online.
  • 2006 - first block manager to show scanned copies of all documents online.
  • 2007 - first block manager to integrate electronically with land registry.
  • 2008 - first block manager to show all documents relating to management in secure online system.
  • 2008 - first block manager to produce real-time accounts online.
  • 2008 - first block manager to show the management tasks to clients online.
  • 2009 - first block manager with automated legal recovery process for service charge debtors.
  • 2009 - first block manager to provide an online insurance claim process.
  • 2010 - first block manager to adopt National Building Specifications for all large scale works.
  • 2010 - first block manager to make available all client correspondence to and from lessees online.
  • 2010 - first block manager to offer free generic specifications for all maintenance contracts.
  • 2011 - first block manager to show online reports for Section 20 processes including specification, tenders and observations.
  • 2011 - first block manager to provide detailed policies for all block management issues.

100% Transparency

Canonbury Management has been committed to 100% transparency from the outset.
  • Our online systems show your latest client bank account balances and all banking transactions.
  • We show every invoice for every expenditure at your block.
  • We show every task on which expenditure has been made and any time of ours spent on resolving that particular issue.
  • We show a list of all work done at your block for you to see.
  • We show an anonymous list of all flat-owners arrears.
  • We show details of contracts and leases online and all insurance particulars.
  • We are committed to putting all non-confidential documents relating to your building in a secure online domain accessible by the authorised clients.

These policies have the beneficial effect of allowing you to see what is being spent and done at your building but we do ask that people be responsible with this information.

For obvious reasons, we cannot enter into questions with every lessee about every expenditure and so we would ask that if you have any questions, you raise these with the directors of your management company for the block or by sending a succinct email to us stating your block, flat number, full name and the issue with as many reference details as possible.

Block Management Policies

Accounting for RMCs

The accounting requirements of small resident management companies (RMCs) tend to be very simple, but they are different to the rules that apply to ‘normal’ companies, and specialist accounting knowledge is usually required. For example, RMCs are often exempt from HMRC’s requirement to submit a tax return. 

Requirement to file statutory accounts

RMCs usually act as trusts and, since the monies they hold do not belong to the RMC, but to the lessees, there is an argument that such monies should not be included in the statutory accounts. Many RMCs take advantage of this and prepare and file dormant accounts.

Requirement to produce service charge accounts

Lessees have a right to request a service charge summary from their RMC, but the legislation does not detail the form or content of the summary, or require its routine preparation. These details are covered by the RICs Code, which is backed by Statutory Instrument. Leases also often set out the need for service charge accounts

Requirement to submit a tax return

So long as the RMC’s trust terms are observed, service charges will not normally give rise to any tax liability. However, income or interest earned from the trust’s assets is usually chargeable. 

Requirement for an audit

Statute does not normally require an audit for small RMCs, although the lease may require an audit. Before 1980, however, the term ‘audit’ had a different meaning from today. Consequently, it is often possible to construe that an audit in the modern sense was not intended.

Section 21 report

The lessees may request a service charge summary, which often needs to be reported on by an auditor. The inclusion of the term auditor often causes confusion. It is not usually an audit, merely a certification by a qualified accountant.

Our approach

When we take over engagements our preference is to file dormant accounts for statutory purposes and prepare separate, certified, service charge accounts. If we were are asked to conduct an audit, and we felt that it was disproportionate, we would inform the RMC appropriately.

ARMA - Why Canonbury does not join ARMA

Canonbury Management regularly reviews the role of ARMA - the Association of Residential Management Agents - and has consistently decided not to pay to join this organisation for the following reasons:

1.  Most of our Right to Manage clients come from buildings that are managed by ARMA agencies and so it is clearly no indication of quality of management.
2.  ARMA are a pay-to-be-a-member organisation.  It has been said by our clients that upon complaining to ARMA about its members, no action is ever taken against them.  We feel that a regulatory body cannot take fees from those they regulate.
3.  ARMA's rules and standards are very low and almost any agent will pass these criteria.  Canonbury exceed all of their standards by a long way.  We spoke with ARMA and advised that we'd expect them to introduce performance targets which they conceded were a better way to ensure that standards were upheld. Canonbury already have published performance targets.  ARMA does not publish or require its members to publish such targets.
4.  We see numerous examples of ARMA member poor conduct. Upon taking over one block, an ARMA agent issued two cheques to our firm made payable not to the client but to our firm.  What is more, they did not even check with their client that the client had appointed us.  They issued the keys, cheques and data by regular post with the address of the property within and sufficient information for an unscrupulous person to attempt to open  a bank account for the client company and depositing the funds within that account.  This has happened in many cases.  ARMA does not even have a policy on handover of data and funds!
5.  The ARMA organisation has no legal standing as an official regulatory body.  
6.  The ARMA code is less strict than the better RICS Residential Management Code which is used by the courts as a measure of good practice.  Canonbury exceeds this code in its conduct by a long way.

Arrangement Fees

Arrangement Fees are charged to a client for all work done which is not covered by a pre-agreed maintenance contract included in the schedule that is attached to the original or amended contract.

Canonbury encourages clients to have maintenance contracts in place for all functions so that only a small number of matters would then attract professional fees.

In the interests of saving money, clients sometimes elect to avoid having in place sufficient maintenance contracts.  This makes management more time-consuming for Canonbury, and makes the processes of management reactive, rather than proactive.  This is much more expensive for us to control and manage and so we charge at the hourly rates outlined on our charges page for all such work.  The charges are calculated according to the time spent except where the charge is fixed.

The chargeable rate will depend on the type of professional who is required to deal with the work - clearly if the work is legal in nature or requires the assistance of an architect or surveyor, the fees will be at a higher rate than for a property manager's time.

Asbestos

Canonbury will normally undertake a prima-facie inspection during the early months of block management except where a client has waived this option or it is very obvious that no such risk is likely to exist.  

The inspection will reveal any potential risk of asbestos and if suspicious material is found, a licenced contractor is asked to quote for removal or management of the risk.

There is a charge for the prima facie asbestos inspection and there will be professional fees to pay for any secondary removal and quotation works and any management.  These issues are legally required to be managed by us and they are an unknown at the point of signing up a client for block management and so the fees cannot be included in the management fees.

Billing Standards

1.  Each block management transaction shall be itemised and described so that it is apparent to the lessee to what the charge relates.

2.  The client's legal rights shall be stated at the bottom of each bill. Canonbury includes all statutory notices with its service charge demands.

3.  The Client shall be able to elect to pay the bill by either BACS, payment card or standing order.

4.  The Client shall be able to pay the bill in installments in the event of financial difficulties where the block’s finances may permit. There may be extra charges for such a service.

5.  The Client shall be able to see bills online through a secure billing mechanism and such records shall date back to the beginning of the client's account with Canonbury.

6.  The Client shall be able to see details of every bill that comprises the charges levied against them, and such bills shall show the contractor's details such that the client can check these.

7.  The Client shall be able to see online, property details such as a copy of the lease relating to their property (where the Client has these), the freehold and the contract for management and any insurance documents that exist for the current year.

8.  The Client shall be able to see online a history of correspondence sent to the client.

9.  The Client shall be able to see online all transaction accounts relating to the building.

10.  The Client shall be able to see the balance of the client account relating to the building online.

11.  Client account transactions shall be distinguished from those transactions that are paid directly to the management company by the contractor to whom the payment is made being shown.

Block Management

Canonbury Management aims to bring extremely high-quality management to every block of flats in England and Wales, and through the analysis of the problems that face the sector, produce technology-focused solutions to bring cost savings and quality improvements to our clients.

Our company has a philosophy of continuous development and staff are trained to look for improvement in existing processes, and to suggest new processes that may improve delivery of our services.

Our aim with respect to our Right to Manage goals is to bring the fastest, cheapest and highest quality process to those eligible.

Block Signage

We try to keep signage within the common parts of the blocks we manage to an absolute minimum so that they blocks still look and feel like a residential dwelling.

Some signs, however, are necessary - fire signs, no smoking signs, asbestos labelling, lift motor room, other plant room labelling and so forth.

Signs will typically be priced for the type of building and purpose for which they are intended.

Canonbury Management Charging Structure

The nature of the work undertaken by a block management firm is necessarily varied and complex. At Canonbury Management, most work is undertaken in house so that processes can be efficient and effective. As a result of this, confusion often arises as to how charges are incurred.

The following outlines the included services of Canonbury Management that are covered by the annual management fee:

1.  Pre-contract negotiations, review of literature provided by client in relation to the client's building.

2.  Preparation of the contract for management.

3.  Collection and storage of all documents starting with signed contracts, in a paperless format on our online systems. Extra charges apply for documents from previous agents if these must be archived.

4.  Opening of a bank account for the client's use.

5.  All bookkeeping and record keeping in relation to the bank account and any transactions relating to the client insofar as they are part of the bank account transactions.

6.  Calculation of required service charge demands.

7.  Issuing service charge breakdowns and demands for payments.

8.  Issuing up to 3 payment reminders to lessees who have not settled their bills.

9.  Banking data uploads to our online system.

10.  Daily Reconciliation between bank accounts and client's lessee's accounts.

11.  Payment of all creditors, where funds are available, on a weekly basis.

12.   Responses to all telephone calls, emails, faxes and letters of general enquiry within a reasonable time period.

13.  Provision of an emergency hotline number to call out of office hours.

14.  Provision of conference calling facilities and meeting rooms for client meetings.

15.  Online problem tracking for every issue that is reported or detected at the block.

16.  Provision of historical records of bills, correspondence and phone calls online for lessees.

17.  Provision of facilities for online viewing of all issues at a block, all bills, and ability to pay online.

18.  Real-time provision of online accounts for the block, into which clinets may drill down to see 100% transparent accounts.

19.  Client use, through our staff, of a database of over 2000 ranked contractors for maintenance and other services.

20.  Access to our automated arrears recovery service, which is provided at extra cost.

21.  Maintenance of a breach of covenant database.

22.  Dynamically generated real-time RICS-compliant accounts shown online.

23.  Real-time review of contractor performance.

24.  Invoice checking against task completion.

25.  Access to our growing standard specification database.

26.  Access to your dedicated Client Services Executive and quarterly meetings on site or at our offices.

27.  Recorded phone calls.

28.  Access to our online insurance claim interface.

29.  Legal compliance checking database for asbestos, fire risk, LOLER, electrical and health and safety (extra charges apply for inspections). 

There are many other services undertaken by Canonbury in relation to your block, however many of these will be chargeable as they would normally be undertaken by third-party contractors. Please contact our staff for full details.

Canonbury's Environmental Policies

Canonbury is committed to the highest environmental standards in the industry. Some of the examples of our efficiency are listed below:

1.  We have been paperless since conception and so generate no paper except where clients want hard copy documents. We use no paper for our internal business processes.

2.  We were the first UK agent to allow payment electronically and to issue all documents electronically where clients wish. We hold all documents in electronic format.

3.  Our offices run with low wattage PCs enabling us to have one of the smallest carbon footprints possible.

4.  Some of our staff work from home, reducing the travel time and fuel consumption.

5.  We make use of long life components in all our blocks, particularly with respect to electrical equipment, thus reducing call out requirements, costs and component failure. Examples of these components are LED lighting systems, IP switched power regulated intercom systems and Trimec long life access control equipment.

6.  Where applicable, we connect our blocks to our offices with broadband so that we can remotely control CCTV, and access control and intercom systems to diagnose errors without the need for site visits.

7.  Our client's buildings are fitted with electronic keypads that allow contractors to access sites without collecting and returning keys.

8.  We systematically replace materials that are unsuitable for use on exteriors with more durable materials to reduce costs for our clients and reduce the amount of paint and visits to site that are required for maintenance. Examples of this might be the replacement of softwood finishes with UPVC or metal finishes or high durability hard wood materials.

Canonbury's in-house contractors versus 3rd Party Contractors

There are many arguments in favour of using third-party contractors, however, there are also arguments in favour of using in-house contractors.

As technology advances, Canonbury have analysed the pros and cons of each source of labour and skills and we are confident that there is now a robust argument in favour of the use of our in-house staff across all maintenance contracts.

Here are our reasons:

Pros

1.  Canonbury Management's expert teams have produced detailed yet simple specifications for our clients that form part of our internal staff's training. By bringing services in-house, we can therefore provide a better match of work to our client's required specification.

2.  Canonbury reviews specifications periodically with innovations in technology and tools so that our staff are always using fewer chemicals, fewer materials and working at their most efficient. For example, using technology, our CCTV maintenance staff can review files from our offices without the need to attend the site, saving petrol, time and costs.

3.  Transfer under TUPE: where staff are transferred to Canonbury under TUPE, they can be retrained to our specifications so the staff become better at their job.

4.  Invoicing by third party contractors consumes around 20 minutes of staff time per invoice to check the authenticity of the invoice, to enter details and scan and to effect payment of the invoice. There is a one-off job training contractors to send invoices in the correct manner.

Canonbury have sophisticated systems for invoicing which automatically add the invoice each month, thus cutting the labour required from this process and allowing us to spend more time on innovation of services and improvement.

5.  Complaints handling: whilst we hope that there will not be complaints regarding services provided, there are often misunderstanding on when contractors are due to attend etc. By handling issues in-house, we can have responses to complaints, and, where necessary, amend specifications and job descriptions of staff immediately, and thereby prevent a recurrence of the issue. This is not possible with third party contractors.

6.  Long term reduction in cost. Clearly in the first and second years of management, costs are at their highest, but where clients follow our advice in relation to management and devolve fully to us, we are able to run the blocks so efficiently that we can then reduce costs for our clients. Over time, we should be able to reduce our prices to the lowest cost of any provider so long as our transaction costs are close to zero and this is achieved by clients leaving the management to Canonbury and letting our internal processes take effect.

7.  A one stop shop: gone are the days when one would buy eggs from one shop and milk from another – why do people still use a management company who cannot provide a quote for all services in-house?

8.  Fixed Price including materials: in most cases our maintenance contracts are not only fixed price, but are fixed to include all materials so there are no further extra costs at all. Very few third-party contractors provide such contracts which provide known costs for block management.

9.  Better accounting: we can provide immediate accounting because we do not have to wait for third party invoices to be sent in. Some third party contractors are forgetful and send in invoices 3 months after the work is done. Our invoices are added in real time, leaving our accounting figures current at any point in time. We can also tailor invoice timing to be weekly, quarterly, bi-annually, annually, biennially and quinquennially (every 5 years). 

10.  The timing of invoices and their addition to our clients’ accounts can help us produce detailed cash flows in real time for the benefit of our clients.

Cons

1.  Is the market price achieved by the use of the in house contractor?  Yes, we achieve this by regularly testing our prices against other contractors.

2.  Is the expertise present to undertake all works.  In most cases, Canonbury actually have a higher level of expertise because we are very experienced in the work we do at buildings but in some cases, we will devolve work to other companies if it is particularly technical such as lift equipment.



CCTV Recording and Surveillance

Canonbury will do the following upon taking on a block with CCTV cameras:

1.  Arrange for any signage to be replaced by our signage, which states that we control the scheme. This is a legal requirement and is chargeable to the block.

2.  Subject to contract terms for maintenance, Canonbury will install local recording equipment with a broadband backup to relay images to a centralised storage centre. The block is liable for the costs of this equipment but retains ownership of it in the event of termination of any maintenance contract.

3.  Canonbury will maintain the equipment in accordance with its specifications in our database, which are available to our clients.

4.  Canonbury will not release recorded coverage as this is required to be kept confidential under the Data Protection Act 1988.

Certificates of Service Charge Expenditure

In the scenario where the lease requires a certificate of expenditure to be issued, this will not be normally included in the annual management fees and an extra cost will arise for any work required which will be charged at the prevailing rate for the personnel required to be used.

Cleaning - Annual carpet/surface clean

Canonbury will engage our contractors to perform either an ad-hoc or an annual carpet cleaning or stone or linoleum deep clean. This is usually required at least once per annum in order to remove stains, draught marks, dust mites and insect larvae. 

The deep clean is an additional cost to the regular cleaning at the block.  Any invoices for our contractors to do this work are added to the client's account.

Cleaning - Regular

Canonbury engages contract cleaners or employed cleaning (employed by Canonbury or our clients) to clean our blocks according to our specification.  That specification has been thoroughly researched over the years and will cover all requirements of every block.

Where a different cleaning specification is required to be used by the Client, further charges will arise from the production or adoption of that specification for the cleaning contract to be arranged.

Client Data

All client data is password protected and held on secure servers. Banking and other critical data is encrypted to a suitably high level.

Client Data Confidentiality

Client data shall not be made available to other clients, except that it shall be available to the directors of the freehold company or contractual counterparty.

Client Termination Process

Upon receipt of a notice that is effective in terminating our contract (i.e., given within 3 months of the end of the contract year, purporting to terminate not before the end of the contract year), Canonbury will perform the following tasks as our policy on block closure and handover:

1.  We transfer all legal bundles for outstanding debt recovery to the new management company and notify the court that they should contact the new management company in respect of all such matters relating to those claims.

2.  We ensure that all works in progress from our various internal departments, including our electrical and building divisions, are invoiced up to date.

3.  We forward any keys held, or details of keypad codes or codes to safes, where they are held.

4.  We invoice for keypads installed at our cost during management where these remain at the client site.

5.  We provide data from our systems to the new agent in an electronic format.

6. We close down any uncompleted tasks on the system so that all time spent on issues that are billable is invoiced.

7.  We transfer company secretarial files and notify Companies House of the change of registered office. 

8.  We write to all lessees and notify them of the termination of the contract.

9.  We contact the utility providers and notify them of the new agent's address.

10.  We arrange transfers under TUPE of any staff who are employed by Canonbury solely for the block to be transferred.

11.  We write to all contractors and notify them of the new agent's details.

12.  We collate accounts data for the new agent and send this to them.

13.  We write to HMRC and notify them of the new agent's address.

14.  If required to obtain certified accounts, we collate and provide the data to the accountants and pay their fees and recharge that to our client's account.

15.  We close all recurring tasks and transactions against the account.

16.  We transfer the residual client account balance to the new agent's client account.

17.  We close the bank account for the block.

18.  We change the building status on our system to Closed.

All of the above tasks are absolutely necessary to ensure that Canonbury is not sent correspondence after the closure date or may reasonably disregard such correspondence.

All tasks are chargeable as they are extra to the management contract annual management fees.

Company Secretarial

Canonbury's Company Secretarial service includes the following work:

1.  Maintain a register of members/shareholders as appropriate for your company.

2.  Allow lessees to modify their membership (terminate/join) online or by email, fax, letter or recorded telephone call.

3.  Allow directors and officers to terminate their own positions or to appoint new directors online or by email, fax, letter or recorded telephone call.

4.  We act as registered office for the purposes of receiving all notices sent to your company by Companies House, HMRC and service documents (extra charges will apply for the latter).

5.  We produce dormant company accounts and file these with Companies House.

6.  If your company is active, separate charges apply for the production of the active company accounts, however, we store and file these as part of our service.

7.  We file annual returns on the due date based upon our registers.

8.  We maintain statutory registers of members/shareholders/directors as required by Companies Act 2006.

9.  We review legislative change to ensure that your statutory requirements are complied with in respect of corporate governance.

10.  We ensure all filing changes, where necessary and possible, are filed correctly at Companies House within the required time period.

Complaints Procedure

In the event of a complaint, the following action should be taken:

1.  A lessee making a complaint should write or email the details of the complaint to Client Services - mail@canonburymanagement.co.uk with a numbered list of the issues in brief detail.

2.  Canonbury Management will then respond to the complaints made, where possible, within 5 days.  If further information is required from 3rd party contractors then we are unable to control the time period in which we may respond and so we reserve the right to take longer to respond than the 5 days.

3.  If our response and actions are not sufficient to appease the complainant then we ask that they contact the directors of the Residents' Management Company for their block with any outstanding issues only.

4.  Those issues will then be addressed at the periodic meetings with the directors and Canonbury's Client Services Executive for the block in question.

 

Contractual Duties

1.  To agree, in writing, the terms of engagement to manage a client’s property, inas detailed a form as is reasonably possible, and to make clear the feestructure and the categories of other services for which additional fees maybe charged.


2.  To manage the client’s property in compliance with all the current applicablelegislation, terms of leases, contract documentation and good businesspractice.

3.  To provide as cost effective a service as is reasonably possible within theconstraints of prudent and planned maintenance and to enquire as to whethercontractors preferred or selected by clients or lessees have suitablereferences, and where contracted to do so, that all final work is checked andsigned off before funds are released.

4.  On request to provide guidance to the client as to the insurance requirementsunder the lease terms and, where required by the client, to supply anappropriate level of insurance cover, based on an independent valuation,sufficient to meet the client's obligations.

Document Archive

Canonbury is a paperless company and has no ability to store non-electronic documents. Any documents provided in a paper form must either be scanned at cost to the client (excepting routine postal letters which are scanned by Canonbury at our cost) or must be stored at the client's expense in a storage centre or in their premises. 

There is no charge for the use of the electronic document archive for live Block Management clients. However, all documents that are over 6 years old will be routinely cleared from the archive, without exception, by our systems. If copies of any documents are required after this date, it is down to the client to ensure that they have copies of them.

Drainage - Gutter Clearance

It is usually the case that a building's gutters will become blocked with leaves during the winter months. As a result of this, Canonbury has a policy of arranging for our contractors to attend to clear gutters during winter months. This usually takes the form of a single visit where the block has been assessed at inspection as being one where blockage is likely to occur through leaf depositions. Charges for this are added to the client's account.

Drainage Clearance measures

From our experience and research, each block encounters drainage issues at some point. Canonbury Management has a policy of proactively checking and cleaning drains annually so that any issues become known, and so that reactive costs of drains becoming blocked, do not arise. The cost of drain clearance using our in-house contractors is automatically billed to the client except where they have expressly requested in writing that the service not be provided.

Electrical Maintenance - Electrical efficiency upgrades

Where Canonbury Building has a maintenance contract for electrical works at a client site, we reserve the right to replace components with more energy efficient/long-lasting components where it is felt appropriate to do so.

Electrical Maintenance - Periodic Inspection Reports

It is our policy to identify any electrical risks and fire hazards arising from damaged or defective installations by undertaking to have a periodic inspection report of the landlord's supply.

Such reports are undertaken by our in-house electrician at 5 yearly intervals, and particularly in year 1 of management.

Any defects arising are then reported to block directors in due course for them to approve work on resolving these problems.

Electrical Work done at Client Sites

Electrical work is governed by Part P of the Building Regulations. 

The standards require that a competent person be used for all but the most simple changes to existing electrical circuits. 

The nature of communal parts lighting and intercom, access control, electronic gates, security and CCTV and lift installations is such that they are specialist and require a fully qualified electrician to be used.

Canonbury will always use a qualified electrician even to change light bulbs because they will be required to check the fittings, battery backups, chokes and wiring connections and switches at the time they visit, thus ensuring that the works are done thoroughly and correctly.

Federation of Master Builders

Canonbury Building is a member of the Federation of Master Builders who ensure that the quality of our building work is sufficiently high to pass their rigorous standards.

We aim to match or beat contractors prices for like work in all cases, however, this can only be done where the specified work is the same.  Canonbury Building would prefer to do work once and well than to do work quickly and cheaply but have to return many times.

Financial Duties

1.  To ensure that clients’ money is kept separate from office accounts at all times and that client accounts can be individually identified.

2.  Funds in any one client account will not be used to finance another client’s property. 

3.  Funds shall be held in a recognised bank or building society in a clearly designated ‘Client A/c'. 

4.  To maintain a current insurance policy adequately indemnifying the firm against proven professional negligence claims.

5.  To ensure that clients’ money is properly and regularly accounted for, and that any funds or monies required for specific future works are placed on deposit in an appropriate account.

6.  To keep detailed records of all transactions relating to the client’s property with all expenditure made from the client’s account suitably authorised.

7.  To ensure that annual or other required periodic accounting is carried out promptly, ensuring adequate supporting information is provided or available for inspection.

8.  To endeavour, where so required, to provide all the necessary information for the audit of any end-of-period accounts so that the audit can be carried out with the minimum of delay.

Fire Risk Assessments

Canonbury will undertake a fire risk assessment in the first year of management, regardless of whether such a report already exists, in order to mitigate risks that might arise from fire.

The results of the report will be reported to Client directors at the next meeting with a request for action.

It is our policy, in line with London Fire Brigade, not to install and to remove any fire extinguishers on site.

Gardening - Project work

The regular maintenance of gardens does not include improvement of what is there, other than by removal of weeds, pruning and grass cutting.

If Clients wish to improve their gardens then Canonbury Management will produce a specification for such work at an hourly charge rate for the time of our surveyors in doing this work.  This specification can then be given to any chosen contractors to obtain quotes.  All work in respect of this will be chargeable under our contract.

Gardening - Regular maintenance

Canonbury Management will undertake to put in place a contract for maintenance of gardens where requested to do so by block directors.

A standard specification is used for this purpose which covers most gardens.  If a specialist specification of works is required to be produced or adopted then further costs will arise.

 

Gardening - Statutory Weed Removal

There are various weeds, such as Japanese Knot Weed and Ragwort, where a legal duty for removal exists under the Weeds Act to prevent its spread. Where these weeds are discovered, it is our policy to remove them using our own gardening division or a third-party contractor. We may do the work in the event that the block does not have funds, and claim the payment for these works later, however, this is at our discretion. The final decision on what is done where these weeds are discovered, lies with Canonbury.

Ground Rent

Canonbury is normally contracted by non-freeholder clients and so the ground rent will not be collected by Canonbury.

In the event that Canonbury is called upon to collect ground rent, a further cost to the client will arise as there will be a requirement to load invoices to the system for each flat-owner and to pay out the ground rent income recipient under the terms of the lease. Canonbury will not earmark the funding received from lessees by way of ground rent payment and so if lessees are not paying their service charges in full, issues may arise. At the time of writing, it is not possible to remedy this situation by having an earmarked ground rent account. As and when technology permits, Canonbury reserve the right to earmark ground rents received to prevent their being used for payment of the other contracts.

Health and Safety - Debris in Corridors

Debris in the corridors is a fire risk and a health and safety risk, and in most cases will also be a contravention of the lessee's obligations under the terms of your lease. For that reason, it is our policy to ask people to remove all items from the communal areas when they are discovered.

Health and Safety Inspections

Canonbury will inspect a block at least annually with a view to ascertain any health and safety risks.  There is a fixed charge for this inspection and it is repeated annually.

Any issues arising from the inspection will be put to block directors for authorisation except if they are deemed to be urgent in which case Canonbury will put in place appropriate contracts for the remedy of the problem.  Any issues arising from these inspections are chargeable.

Insurance - Buildings

Canonbury work with our panel of insurance brokers to obtain the cheapest and best cover for your block. Under the terms of your contract with us you are obliged to allow us to insure using a broker of our choice.

The reason for this is that we have spent over 10 years refining the policy and automation of quote collection at their end and the process of transmission of certification to us. This allows us to save costs and we pass these on to your block. There will always be cheaper quotes out there but usually they have exclusions or excesses that make them less attractive in the medium and long term. Canonbury also reports all the improvements made at your block to our brokers, and this in turn ensures that you have every possibility of obtaining the best policy and cheapest cover that can be obtained from one of the underlying underwriters.

The use of our panel brokers mean that you have the ability to have online claims submission, claims that are processed in 48 hours where they are below a threshold value and zero excess on the policy in many cases. In the background it allows us to collate claims histories, which are a necessary part of our role as block manager.

Canonbury Management are FSA authorised and regulated for the purpose of arrangement and sale of insurance relating to our client's needs.

Insurance - Directors and Officers

Director’s insurance is in place to cover volunteer Right to Manage company directors in the event that they act in error. They must be reasonable and follow our advice, however, where they do so and are still found liable, the insurance cover may protect them from some elements of liability. 

It is critical that Right to Manage company directors follow the advice and policies of Canonbury Management, who have over 10 years experience in the field of block management, in order that they avoid potential criticism for inappropriate decisions that may otherwise be made. Departure from our advice, may, in itself, be a reason for a claim arising under which the cover may not be in place.

Insurance - Employers Liability

This is to cover the employer (the residents' management company (RMC) or Right to Manage Company) against claims arising from employees.  It is only required if staff are directly employed by the RMC/RTM as opposed to contractors of third party companies working for the RMC/RTM.

Insurance - Lift

Lift insurance is not actually insurance for damage to the lift – it is a statutory inspection fee payable under the LOLER regulations to ensure that the plant equipment (not restricted to lifts) is safe. 

Canonbury takes the report of the inspector and passes this to the lift company and/or the contractor responsible for any plant equipment covered by LOLER, who then quote for the necessary work to be done. Canonbury Management will then provide details of this to our client's directors for approval, prior to placing the work, where the block has funds to do so. In the event that any issues are reported that cannot be fixed, the Client recognises that they may face sanctions from regulatory authorities.

As this cover is a statutory requirement, it is not possible to avoid taking out this policy.

Insurance - Public Liability

Public liability insurance cover is usually part of the buildings insurance cover and covers the block's resident management company against claims made by 3rd parties.

ISO

ISO

Key Security

All client property keys are safely stored within a locked cabinet at the client site with anonymous labelling and the software holding the identification of each key shall be securely held with suitable encryption.

Leaks from the flat above

In any block of flats, one of the most common issues involves water leaking from the flat above, through the ceiling to the flat below.

This is not something that the freeholder, RTM Company or management company is responsible for as the area affected is within the demised area of an individual lessee or multiple lessees.

These are private nuisance issues, which need to be addressed in the following way and if such a problem is reported to Canonbury Management, we will simply advise the lessee on how to go about resolving the issue before closing that issue:

1.  If you are affected by a leak, you should contact the flat above and explain the problem to them and ask them to remedy the problem. It is their flat that is causing the nuisance and they must remedy the problem.

2.  If they decline to do so, you must take independent legal advice on how to resolve the issue.

3.  Once the problem has been reported, and within 28 days of the problem having arisen in any event, you should report the matter to the insurance company through our online insurance claim forms. If you cannot do this, you must contact us by email with two pdf documents showing the quotes for repairs and redecoration. We will also require a digital photograph of the damage, if possible.

4.  Once this has been provided, the insurance company will progress the claim. 

5.  If you believe the problem is not from the flat above, we would require you to provide a report of a qualified plumber or surveyor to confirm that they have investigated the matter and to state where the water is likely to be coming from, or, if unknown, that they have checked all water sources in the flat upstairs and can confirm that it is not from that flat.

Any excess on any insurance claim is payable by the party making the claim, and in the event of private nuisance of leak from a flat above, is then recoverable through legal action or preferable, by amicable arrangement, from that flat owner.

Lease Extensions

Canonbury Management believes that lease extensions should be a purely administrative process that should be inexpensive to perform and quick and easy for our clients.

At present, legislation makes the work involved for clients extending a lease very expensive. We are in the process of bringing down these costs, through our commitment to automation of the administrative and legal sides of the work. Please review our lease extension pages for more information.

Licence to Alter

A licence to alter is normally required where lessees wish to make changes to their property.

It is our policy to request that lessees obtain certain permissions prior to us providing a licence approving the changes.

These will always include:

- Structural engineer's approval where works are structural or confirmation from an architect

- Full plans before and after

- Planning permission or confirmation from an architect that this is not required

- Listed building consent or confirmation from an architect that this is not required

- Conservation area consent or confirmation from an architect that this is not required

- Health and safety method statements for any work to be done.

You may be asked to lodge a deposit with the client account for your building so that any costs incurred by the block for works done in relation to your changes can be settled from the monies held.  

If you are a reliable payer of service charges, and consent to pay for the charges due, then a deposit may be avoided at the discretion of Canonbury

National House Building Certificate (NHBC)

NHBC, the National House-Building Council, is the standard-setting body and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK. They provide new homebuyers with a 10-year warranty and insurance policy called 'Buildmark' to provide invaluable protection for new homeowners. Buildmark, their guarantee, is not a complete guarantee against all defects and in general will only cover structural issues but some details and a link to their website are provided below.  

If you have an issue and feel that it should be dealt with by NHBC, please contact them directly at

http://www.nhbc.co.uk

Noise Issues - Breach of covenant



We advise in the first instance that you speak to the offending neighbour about these issues and try to resolve them amicably with the neighbour.  It is often easier to take offence at an email or letter which we may send to them but if you speak with them, they are unlikely to ignore the issue or be offended.

If this should not work, the next stage is for you to report the issue to the council's noise abatement department and they can advise on what to do.

Finally, if neither of these solutions work, you may seek legal advice on pursuing a private nuisance claim under the terms of your lease, against the flat in question and the RTM Company's policy is to support such claims when brought by lessees.


Notice of Transfer and or Notice of Charge

Where a lessee may transfer their lease, there is a requirement for them, or their solicitor, to issue a notice of transfer, which notifies the management company of the change in ownership of the lease.

Our policy is the most thorough in the industry. When we receive these, we notify the current owner (the transferor), the future owner (the transferee), the freeholder (as is required by the lease) and the headlessee if there is one. We then transfer the account balance and details from the old owner to the new owner, whilst preserving the confidentiality of the account history.

This involves 4 letters to be sent and a transfer of the account and so there is a charge to reflect this work that is legally required.

The notice of transfer is usually accompanied by a notice of charge where a property is purchased by way of a mortgage. A notice of charge may be sent to the management company where there is no transfer, such as when an owner takes out an extension on their mortgage. The charge has to be registered and notified to the freeholder and management company, as this may prejudice their ability to recover any debt owed against the property. This process of notification and registration leads to work being required to be done and so there is a charge to reflect this work that is legally required.

Payment Authorisation Process

The frequency with which bills are paid

Our policy is to settle all bills each week.

This has the following advantages:

1.  Your online cash balance is always correct, showing the exact position of the client account with regard to cash in and cash out.

2.  This accurate cash position helps with planning of works and and allows our block managers to identify funding gaps more easily.

3.  Contractors are pleased to be paid quickly and so are able to offer better terms.

4.  Administration is greatly reduced as contractors are not chasing payment.

The order in which bills are paid

Canonbury's annual management bills are always paid first. The reason for this is that legally, the payment of the annual management fee is ‘consideration’ in the contract for management, and is therefore otherwise not in place. A contract has to be binding in order for Canonbury to settle any other bills.

Remaining bills (including Canonbury's other fees and Canonbury Group bills) are paid in strict chronological order. 

There are rare scenarios where a manual approach to bill payment may be needed, and in such cases bills may be paid out of order where it is sensible to do so. It must be an exceptional situation for this to happen, for example if the building would not be insured if an electricity bill were not paid on time. 

Where Canonbury manually pays bills in this way at the direction of our clients, we will charge an extra fee for this work based on our published hourly rates.

Checking before paying

Canonbury will check works done where the value or complexity of work is high enough for a specific visit to the site to be made for this purpose. This is a chargeable extra fee, charged by our surveyors department at their published hourly rates.

If there is a porter on site, we reserve the right to ask the porter to check the quality of works where it may be reasonable for him to check the works.

In other cases, we may ask block directors to check works as this will reduce costs for the client and is often the best approach where the block directors may have requested the work in the first instance.

Large-scale works are always signed off by an architect before payments are made.

Payment of charges by cheque

Canonbury allow payment of invoices by:


Cheque
BACS
Credit and Debit Card (online)
Standing Order

Credit cards are subject to a charge which is levied by the banks.

All other payment processes are absorbed by Canonbury into our Annual Management fees.


Pest Control

Canonbury's policy on pest control is to not immediately set up a pest-control contract but to do this only when evidence of pests has been discovered.  If there is a known pest problem or if a pest-issue is reported then this would consitute such evidence.

Canonbury would then provide a standard specification for a contract for pest control.  If a specialist specification is required then this can be produced but extra charges would arise.

Porters at Residential Blocks

The use of porters at residential blocks is far less common than it once was and most porters no longer reside in the blocks where they work due to rising rental prices, which make the inclusion of accommodation a tremendous expense for lessees to bear.

Part of the reason for the decline in the use of porters lies with changing technology. In the 19th Century, porters would hold keys to the block and would allow people access to particular areas of the building, for example, allowing contractors to access the boiler cupboards etc.

Porters would also open doors at some blocks and open gates. They might open lift doors where these had manually operated doors. The porter might sign for mail and might check on boiler systems that required daily checking. They would admit guests in the days before intercom systems.

The birth of electronic strike release, solenoid and magnetic locks, combined with both electronic intercom systems, access control keypads and fobs, and automatically opening doors, gates and lift doors has largely reduced the porter's role to that of a personal contact at the front desk for parts of the day.

Growing legislation by way of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 and 1987 and the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act has meant that the cost of the porter may now be challenged as being unreasonable by lessees and so the Resident's Management Company or Right to Manage company must consider whether having a porter is a luxury that they cannot afford or whether it is reasonable.

Canonbury considers that the use of porters can be useful at larger blocks in excess of 100 flats or where occupants are elderly or infirm, or at more luxurious blocks where a hotel feel is sought by residents. We would typically recommend that porters live outside of the block so as to avoid the quite substantial costs of providing accommodation to them, which, in London, leads to a very high and unjustifiable remuneration package that might be challenged at the leasehold valuation tribunal by the lessees who have to pay for the service.

We would normally recommend that there be just one porter on shift at any point in time, unless the building is over 400 flats, in which case 2 porters may be advisable.

Canonbury would recommend that porters oversee contractors’ work, supervise cleaning and gardening, report problems to contractors, ensure lifts are operational and perform a routine inspection of the block 4 times a day for security reasons.

We would expect them to deal with parcels for lessees where this is permitted by Royal Mail, and to be generally helpful to all parties who come to the building.

Property Inspections - Detailed annual inspection

Canonbury, where agreed by contract, will perform a detailed property inspection, undertaken by an appropriately trained person, to identify any defects at your property. 

This will take place annually and any issues arising will be brought to the attention of the client directors for them to authorise collection of monies and or repairs to be undertaken. In the event that these inspections are not contracted, Canonbury does not inspect buildings routinely.

It is not possible for inspections to take place with block directors as the architect or surveyor who performs the inspection must perform their own independent assessment of the building, however, if directors wish to draw to the attention of block directors the issues that they have in mind before the meeting, special attention can be given to these.

Refuse Collection - Ad Hoc Collection of material from a client site

Where there is a requirement for rubbish to be collected from a client site that has been dumped there by a third party or resident of the building, Canonbury Management will issue a works instruction to an appropriate refuse removal contractor to remove the rubbish where the block has funds and where we have been granted discretion to do so or it has been agreed by contract or an authorised variation of contract by our client.

Canonbury Management cannot make use of council collections because they are only useable by private residents and their services are not always competitively priced.

Where it is alleged by a party that another party has dumped the rubbish to be removed on the client site, regrettably, it is not practicable for Canonbury Management to investigate these issues, and so the least-cost solution is for us to contract, on behalf of the client, for the removal of the rubbish as described above.

Refuse Collection - Bin Hire or Purchase

There is a requirement for blocks of flats to either hire or purchase, and maintain refuse bins compliant with EU standards. Canonbury's policy is to replace in year one, all rental contracts for bin hire with purchased bins. 

The cost of doing this is typically around 1.5 times the annual rental cost and so clearly, the block's financial cash flow will suffer in year one and usually within the first service charge period.

To assist in spreading these costs, Canonbury Management reserves the right to enter into a contract with our clients, as permitted by our contract for management, to rent to the block the bins for the duration of the first year so that costs can be spread across the first service charge year.

In the rare event that the client may choose to leave our management after year one, the client will either have to continue with the rental contract, or pay the outstanding cost of the bins to Canonbury Management.

The purpose of this policy is to save the client money and the client agrees, having signed our contract for management, that they are to be managed in accordance with our policies on management.

Renovations - Large Scale Works

Where possible, large-scale works will be broken down into smaller, more manageable projects, and undertaken in sequence to reduce costs and spread cash flow demands.

Where works must be undertaken in sizeable projects, we make sure that suitably qualified personnel are used to project manage – in compliance with Landlord and Tenant Act regulations regarding consultation – to ensure that specifications for works are developed through the use of National Building Specifications to give the highest standard possible.

Right to Manage

Canonbury Management aim to take every block in England and Wales through the right to manage process by offering a very inexpensive process that has been automated and refined through hundreds of claims.

Our calculations show that there are around 15,000 blocks in England and Wales. We believe that every block of flats would benefit from the Right to Manage process, even if the block is currently owned as a collectively enfranchised unit by lessees. In such a case, administrative savings are possible through the RTM, and the splitting of responsibilities is a useful and sensible goal.

In all other cases, we believe it is right and proper, though not always the easiest path, for lessees at a block to have control over who manages the building.

We were the first company in the UK to offer Right to Manage services and we undercut every other UK company on price. We have the highest success rate of any UK provider that we are aware of, having achieved Right to Manage status in 98% of claims.

If you have any suggestions on how we might improve our Right to Manage process, please let us know. We can't always respond to you on these but if we think they are the right way to go, we will build them into our software releases.

Right to Manage (RTM) Multiple Block Complexes

Where your building or complex that you wish to take through the Right to Manage process comprises more than one physical building/block, our advice is as follows: 

Under the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, at section 72, the definition of a premises that maybe subject to the claim is clarified: 

72. Premises to which Chapter applies 

(1) This Chapter applies to premises if— 

(a) they consist of a self-contained building or part of a building, with or without appurtenant property, 

(b) they contain two or more flats held by qualifying tenants, and 

(c) the total number of flats held by such tenants is not less than two-thirds of the total number of flats contained in the premises. 

(2) A building is a self-contained building if it is structurally detached. 

(3) A part of a building is a self-contained part of the building if— 

(a) it constitutes a vertical division of the building, 

(b) the structure of the building is such that it could be redeveloped independently of the rest of the building, and 

(c) subsection (4) applies in relation to it. 

(4) This subsection applies in relation to a part of a building if the relevant services provided for occupiers of it— 

(a) are provided independently of the relevant services provided for occupiers of the rest of the building, or 

(b) could be so provided without involving the carrying out of works likely to result in a significant interruption in the provision of any relevant services for occupiers of the rest of the building. 

(5) Relevant services are services provided by means of pipes, cables or other fixed installations. 

(6) Schedule 6 (premises excepted from this Chapter) has effect. 

In the The RTM Companies (Model Articles) (England) Regulations 2009, the 'premises' are defined as: 

‘the Premises’ means [name and address];

Where a counter notice is received by the RTM Company stating that the claim is not valid because the premises in your claim are either not eligible or are not one address (for example, Block 1, 12–13 High Winds and Block 2, 12–13 High Winds or where postcodes differ, then they may succeed in their claim. 

This matter has been discussed at the LV Tribunal in at least 2 cases: 

Mark's Court - a complex of 22 blocks of 2 flats. This was pursued as one RTM Company and one claim. The LVT felt it should have been 6. 

Cottrill Gardens - a complex of 3 blocks but where one of these consisted of 2 contiguous blocks. This was pursued as one RTM Company and one claim. The LVT felt it should have been pursued as 3. 

The best advice that you can be given is to break the complex into physical buildings that comply with the definition in section 72 above and complete one application per block in the complex. This normally is only marginally more expensive though you will need 50% of lessees in agreement in each block. For the purposes of management afterwards, we can manage the whole complex as one without any appreciable extra costs. 

If you wish to continue to pursue a claim with a single RTM Company or a reduced number, you are welcome to do so but please remember that you are responsible for the data input into the forms and where the claim fails on the basis of that data, against our recommendations, you will not be entitled to a refund.

Right to Manage Corporate Governance

Canonbury have full in-house corporate governance systems to allow administration and back-to-back filing at Companies House of director decisions and resolutions. These are for our Right to Manage clients and all clients with other limited company types.

These are chargeable as a fixed price mandatory compliment to our core management service on the basis that they are legally required: annual returns, register maintenance for directors and member registers, and annual accounts (dormant). We also allow the use of our offices as registered office for all correspondence and we process all matters relating to HMRC returns and Companies House Requirements under the 2006 Companies Act.

Right to Manage Process

The following outlines in detail our right to manage process. Fixed separate fees apply for the Right to Manage process.

1.  Clients are provided with our brochure and notified of our terms and conditions during the sales process.

2.  The client must nominate a party to collate data and complete online forms or provide data for us to complete these forms. The forms will require personnel data from individuals wishing to be members, directors, company secretary and data from the service charge bills.

3.  Once the forms are completed the client must submit them and agree to our terms.

4.  The invoices or the contracts for management are issued for signing.

5.  Once every contributor has paid or the contracts for management are signed, the process commences.

6.  The company is formed electronically the same day with all subscribers included as members in the register of members. The register of directors is created.

7.  The notices of invitation are served to all non-member lessees as required by section 78 (1) of the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

8.  The required period of time is allowed to elapse as mandated by section 79 (2) of the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act. This is so that non-member lessees may join the company, which may help if the required majority is not in place from the start of the process. 

9.  The claim notice is served as required by section 79 (1) of the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act. 

10.  If, at the expiry of the required notice period mandated by section 80 (6) of the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, no counter notice has been received, the client is advised of the success of the process and either, in the event that Canonbury is not to manage the building, the nominee directors and secretary are resigned and the registered office is changed to that of the client; or in the event that Canonbury is to manage, the resignation of directors takes place and Canonbury continues to provide company secretarial services and a registered office.

11.  In the rare event of a counter notice denying the right to manage, Canonbury will prepare a full application to the LVT responding to the counter notice and will adduce all evidence required and produce bundles for the tribunal, respondent and applicant and will attend the hearing to argue the right to manage company's case. There is a separate charge for this.

12.  In the event that the process fails, Canonbury will repeat the process without further charge where it is the fault of Canonbury Management that it has failed.

13.  At the conclusion of the process, if costs arise from a freeholder, Canonbury may at further cost to the client prepare a letter to the LV Tribunal indicating why these may not be reasonable and may, as required, attend hearings to try to have these costs reduced.

14.  It is possible for client to insure against these costs from the outset. 

All documents relating to the Right to Manage process are available online for our clients to capture and use for a period of 3 months following completion of the process, after which they are archived and a charge may apply for copies to be provided.

Sales Information Packs

A sales information pack may be requested when a prospective buyer is at the point where they require information on a block’s outstanding liabilities and the costs that will be due to cover those liabilities, be they in a financial form or in terms of work that must be done to comply with the lease and or legislation.

This pack is several hundred pages long and includes:

- Memorandum and Articles of Association (where we hold these) for our client's company

- Historical accounts (where we hold these) for the service charge accounts

- Insurance certification

- Freeholder and Resident Management Company details

- Client and block level arrears

- Outstanding works as documented through our inspections

- Details of known section 20 processes and works underway or planned in the near future

There is a charge for the provision of this pack to solicitors and this charge is levied against the current flat owner. The reason for this is that the prospective buyer is not in a position to request this data as they have no legal right to it so it must be requested and paid for in advance by the current owner.

The data is correct only at the time it is produced and will rapidly go out of date. If a further pack is required a month later, a further fee must be paid for this.

Section 20 Process

Canonbury's process far exceeds best current practice. We undertake to:

1.  Discuss required works arising from our inspections with directors of the Right to Manage Company or Residents Management Company and establish if a section 20 process is required or not. Separate charges apply for this at our published hourly rate.

2.  Production of National Building Specifications for the works required.  Separate charges apply for the production of a specification at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

3.  Obtain approval of the specification from directors of the Right to Manage Company or Residents Management Company. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

4.  We select appropriate contractors and seek approval of those from directors of the Right to Manage Company or Residents Management Company. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

5.  Our section 20 process is then started which issues the specification and all statutory notices to all required parties. The cost of this is included in our section 20 fee.

6.  We acknowledge and respond to all observations received and store these in our systems, providing a full and final response to all lessees on all issues raised at the end of the observation period. The cost of analysing the content of observations is separately chargeable at an hourly rate but the cost of issuing our responses to all parties is included in our section 20 fee.

7.  We then modify the specification in line with any changes that are thought to be necessary, and have arisen from the observations provided by any party entitled to make them. Separate charges apply for this at our surveyor hourly rates.

8.  We then undertake our tendering process.  Separate charges apply.

9.  Following the expiry of the consultation period and any meetings with directors of the Right to Manage Company or Residents Management Company to decide on the chosen contractor, we announce the results to all parties. The cost of this is included in our section 20 fee.

10.  We then calculate the required bills to be added to the service charge accounts. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

11.  We then add the bills to the service charge bills to be issued to lessees. The cost of this is included in our section 20 fee.

12.  Monies are then collected. These will typically include a contingency to cover unknown scenarios. This is included in our fixed annual management fee.

13.  Once monies are collected, we prepare JCT Minor Works contracts and arrange signature by directors of the Right to Manage Company or Residents Management Company and the chosen contractor. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

14.  If required, we issue notification of the signing of these contracts to all parties. The cost of this is included in our section 20 fee.

15.  Our surveyors department then progresses any Construction Design and Management regulation issues, and supervises contractor health and safety compliance. Separate charges apply for this at our surveyor hourly rates.

16.  Our surveyors department then supervises performance of the contract, notifying the block of any issues and ensuring that works are checked back to the original specification prior to sign-off. This will include management of any contractual variations. Separate charges apply for this at our surveyor hourly rates.

17.  When works are completed, a sign off will be arranged by our Surveyors department. Any extra costs will then be accounted for and a full costs statement will be issued to the block. Separate charges apply for this at our surveyor hourly rates.

18.  Any extra costs are then calculated and added to the building's account to be billed to individual lessees. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

19.  All documents are committed to the document archive for future reference – this will include guarantees, contract variations, revised specifications, CDM sign-offs, health and safety files, maintenance issues, etc. Separate charges apply for this at our hourly rates for the surveyor.

 

Security and Access - Key safes

We hold keys at our office where they are required for issuance to lessees but otherwise, all keys are held on site in secure key-safes.  We provide keypad access to our blocks to allow ease of access for those who need to gain entry in a secure and controllable way.

Service Charge Accounts

Service Charge accounts are produced programmatically by our systems in real time. We include these accounts without further charge and they are RICS compliant.

If Certified Accounts are required then we have to collate data and send it to our third-party accountants who make a charge for the certification of the accounts. We may also have to make changes to our data to reflect recommendations suggested by the accountants if any errors are discovered.

As a result of this, there will be charges for the data collation, any data changes and the third-party independent accountant costs. 

Certified service charge accounts are not required by statute and are rarely required by leases. It is rare that third-party accountants require any changes in the data we provide to them and so unless these accounts are expressly requested by clients, it is not our policy to produce them.

Our normal accounts are issued to clients on an annual basis.

Service charge arrears from previous managing agent

When Canonbury Management are in the process of taking over the management of a new block, the previous managing agent provides up-to-date service charge arrears data, for each flat within the block, as part of the handover of information.

If service charges have not been paid in full, according to the previous agent, the arrears will be added to the service charge account for that flat on their Canonbury Management service charge account.

If there are arrears on account with us the lessee will be notified by way of a reminder to pay the service charge.

Very rarely the lessee will dispute the arrears that have been added to their account. In this instance we advise them to contact their previous managing agent, asking them to send Canonbury Management a written statement advising that the arrears have been paid.

Alternatively, we will accept evidence of payment sent to us directly from your bank.

Unfortunately it is our policy not to accept bank statements or receipts, sent directly from the lessee, as proof of payment.

Signage at our blocks

Canonbury is aware of the importance of good quality signage at any building. All too often, we will take over buildings from other managers and see paper signs, taped to the fabric of the building or laminated paper signs stuck to the wall with drawing pins or blue tack.

Our policy is to replace these signs, subject to funds being available, with a quality of sign commensurate with the building. In most cases, plastic signs will suffice but if appropriate, signage may be replaced with metal signs that may be more expensive.  

If there is a font or particular logo used at a building, we will, where funds permit, try to match that, however, this will add to the expense of the signage.

Standards of service which Canonbury agrees to offer to its clients

1.  To extend courteous and professional service to lessees and tenants. As far as is possible to ensure that, in all their dealings, there is no bias and that all are treated equally.

2.  To maintain adequate records of all leases and tenancies and deal expeditiously with enquiries, particularly where information is required to assist in a sale.

3.  To be aware, as far as is reasonably possible, of the terms of the leases and tenancies applicable to the property concerned, and the effect of legislation and any other relevant documentation, and to deal with lessees and tenants both in the spirit of the legal requirements as well as in the letter of the law.

4.  To ensure that procedures are in place to deal with repairs within an appropriate time scale having regard to the urgency of the matter and the availability of funds.

5.  To actively and regularly consult with Residents Management Companies and Right to Manage Companies and to encourage them to become part of the decision-making process.

6.  To discuss and consult with Residents Management Companies and Right to Manage Companies where major works are contemplated, and to meet the statutory requirements.

7.  To manage the premises by enforcing covenants for the common good, where so instructed, fairly and without favour.

8.  To disclose in writing to relevant parties any existing conflict of interest or any circumstances that are likely to give rise to a conflict of interest.

9.  To declare any interest in any contractor or business employed to provide services at the property that may be associated with the managing agent.

10.  To ensure, where there is a change of managing agent, that all pertinent information is handed over with the minimum of delay to the new agent.

11.  To place the fullest emphasis on any matter relating to health and safety and environmental legislation, bringing to the urgent attention of the Residents Management Companies and Right to Manage Companies any areas of concern.

12.  To use all reasonable efforts, both in the interests of landlords and tenants, to settle disputes by mediating and negotiating with all relevant parties.

Tenant Registers

Canonbury maintain a register of tenants where flats are let. There is a small charge, as you might expect, for changes to be made to the register as landlords provide new tenant information.

The tenant register is integrated with our licence-to-sublet procedures, and a further one-off charge may apply for the initial grant of a licence to sublet, which is used to offset the cost of advising in relation to the inclusion of lease terms to be included in the tenancy contract.

Use of Data for marketing purposes

Client data is not passed to any third parties for marketing purposes.

Window Cleaning - Regular Cleaning Contracts

Window cleaning will take place with the frequency agreed in the service charge breakdown with block directors. 

The window cleaning specification used is a standard specification designed to cover all blocks. Should a specialist specification be required to be produced or adopted, Canonbury are able to undertake this work upon request.