The latest news about Ross & Co business and general news of special interest will be posted on this page.
Prime Terminus Road Shop Unit Let by Ross & Co
We have let the shop premises owned by Threadneedle Property Investments at 29 Terminus Road, Eastbourne, which is situated in a prime position next door to Argus in the bus terminal. Completion of the lease was on 8th May and it started trading as a gift shop on 13th May. The leaseholder also has a gift shop successfully trading at the seafront end of Terminus Road, as well as in London. Anton Bree MD of Ross & Co commented: “This is the second prime retail unit in Terminus Road that we have let for this client and it justifies the client’s trust in using a local rather than a major London agent.”
Another Terminus Road Shop Unit to Let
We have since received another instruction on a retail premises in Terminus Road. Any interested parties who missed the opportunity to rent 29 Terminus Road would be more than welcome to call us on 01323 841814 to discuss this new instruction.
You can also visit our website and add your name to our expanding mailing list to be kept informed of property opportunities.
Free Property Advice Surgery
for local flat owners in Brighton & Hove
Ross & Co, Chartered Surveyors, have teamed up with Mayo Wynne Baxter to deliver free advice to Brighton and Hove flat owners on any matters relating to the management of residential blocks of flats or extending the lease on a flat, including legal advice.
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The free property advice surgery will be held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton on the evening of Wednesday, 3rd July and is open to anyone seeking advice on these subjects. For further details and to book a private 20 minute appointment between 5.30pm and 8pm on 3rd July, please call Ross & Co on 01273 862295. Places are limited.
Directors from Ross & Co, MD Anton Bree FRICS, Scott Lynch and Guy Bessant MRICS, Valuation Surveyor, will be joined by Solicitors Steve Holt and Ian Coombes of Mayo Wynne Baxter to offer professional advice.
“Flat owners are often confused by the paperwork that has to be issued by Managing Agents. Guidance is available from the ARMA and RICS websites, but a personal explanation is often simpler. Ross & Co Property Management are keen to ‘break down barriers’ between the parties and help leaseholders understand the lease terms and legal obligations imposed by legislation”, said Anton Bree, MD Ross & Co.
Dolphin Court moves to
Ross & Co Property Management
Keen to change to a local Property Management Agency, the Residents’ Management Company for Dolphin Court instructed us recently to take over the management of the block. Dolphin Court, built in the early 1960s, is a substantial block of 50 flats with large gardens and garages beautifully situated just off Eastbourne seafront, opposite the Italian Gardens in Cliffe Road, Meads. We are working closely with them, making best use of the available budget to carry out general maintenance to the property.
Ross & Co takes over management
of two Sovereign Harbour blocks
The management of two residential blocks of flats in prime locations at Sovereign Harbour has been taken over by Ross & Co Property Management of Eastbourne and Hailsham.
Ross & Co was instructed jointly by the Client and the Residents’ Association to take over the management of the prestigious Harbour Club Apartments, comprising 24 flats. “The Residents’ Association was extremely keen to use a professionally qualified local Managing Agent who can provide a wide range of services. We are now working with them to review the servicesin place and achieve best value from service charge contributions,” said Anton Bree. MD of Ross & Co.
They have also taken over the management of Bermuda Place Apartments, comprising 35 flats, which was one of the early developments at the harbour and is in an excellent location near the outer harbour lock gates. Ross & Co was first introduced to the Client at one of their regular Property Advice Surgeries in the town at which flat owners can get free advice on property matters from the company’s property experts and participating firms of local solicitors.
“Working closely with the Lessees and the Residents’ Management Company, we are planning to roll out a programme of works and identified areas where savings can be made whilst improving services,” said Scott Lynch, a Director of Ross & Co., specialising in residential property management at their Eastbourne office.
We are pleased to announce that Guy Bessant has been appointed a Director of Ross & Co from the beginning of 2013. Guy covers a wide variety of general valuation, lease review and renewal work, and also specialises in residential lease extension work and enfranchisement. He will be moving to our Eastbourne office where the majority of his work emanates. We are delighted that Guy has joined Scott and myself, and I am sure his move to Eastbourne will prove a success.
Eastbourne – Open for business.
"Eastbourne is the largest single town economy in East Sussex, the second fastest growing UK seaside resort and seen as the economic driver for East Sussex." Eastbourne & District Chamber of Commerce Ltd.
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal highlights problem.
A recent decision from the London Leasehold Valuation Tribunal highlights the problems caused when an individual leaseholder persistently brings service charge litigation with little or no prospect of success.
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Appointment of a Manager is a procedure which can be used by leaseholders to remove the existing managing agent and for them to be replaced by one appointed by the LVT. The LVT must be persuaded that the existing managing agents are at fault in their management of the property before they will exercise their powers under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. In this way, the procedure is very different to an application for Right to Manage, which is a no-fault procedure albeit requiring the support of 50% of the flat owners in the building.
Mr. and Mrs. Aitken had been responsible for a considerable amount of previous litigation concerning the building. Altogether, there had been at least three previous legal cases - one in the LVT and two in the County Court. The Aitken’s had lost all of those cases, and be ordered to pay a total of £7,420.99 in costs.
The recent case was ostensibly no different. The Aitken’s complained that the property was not being managed property, and sought to argue about a number of issues which had already been decided in previous legal proceedings. The Tribunal remarked that the Aitken’s bundle of documents stretched to some 1,000 pages - “allowing for some rather eccentric pagination” - including three witness statements totalling 181 pages. Further, to support their application, the Aitken’s brought their proposed new managing agent, Mr. Newell, to the hearing. However, after patiently listening to the evidence for a day and a half Mr. Newell withdrew and informed the Tribunal that he no longer wanted to be considered for the appointment. He explained that “...his firm could not improve on the current level of management performance and that...it had become clear during the hearing that the current managers had the support of the vast majority of leaseholders and occupiers of the premises”.
Commenting on Mr. Newell’s decision, the Tribunal said: “We are impressed at the level of commitment Ms Butler (Residents Association) and her colleagues devote to the running of the building and we are impressed also at the performance of Moreland and their favourable assessment of their predecessors. We are not surprised that Mr Newell decided to withdraw after the hearing of the evidence.”
The Tribunal had previously heard evidence from Laurence Freilich, a director of Moreland Estate Management and a qualified surveyor. In a rare expression of commendation for a managing agent, the Tribunal remarked:
“Moreland acquired the previous agents and then assisted in the tendering process leading to their later appointment. We were impressed with the evidence of Mr Freilich whose company has an impressive record in the field of leasehold management. His account of the steps taken by his company in the first year of their appointment is also impressive. We also note his favourable assessment of the quality of the previous management which his firm took over.”
The Tribunal, which was chaired by Professor James Driscoll (one of the most eminent and experienced LVT Chairmen), decisively dismissed the Aitken’s “vexatious” application and ordered them to pay £500 towards the costs of the resident-owned Landlord company. £500 is the maximum award possible under paragraph 10 of Schedule 12 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
This case is a salutary reminder that even after acquiring the freehold to the building, vexatious litigation from a minority within the building can be a bane for their neighbouring flat owners.
Laurence Freilich, of Moreland Estate Management Limited, explained: “We are delighted with the outcome of this case that by the Tribunal’s admission should never have resulted in a hearing. There are a number of potential pitfalls when taking over the management of buildings with previous issues as was the case here. Our experience in all aspects of leasehold management stands us in good stead when ensuring the needs of existing and future tenants are serviced to a high standard.”
With the LVT limited in the amount of punitive costs that can be awarded, there is little discouragement for vexatious leaseholders - something which has recently been commented upon by the London Assembly in their critical report on Service Charges. So, any victory by the majority of the flat owners can only be pyrrhic at best, as they will still need to pay for the remainder of their legal fees. Meanwhile, such cases only serve to further clog up the legal system and delay more deserving cases from reaching a hearing sooner. Unfortunately, as more flat owners claim their Right to Enfranchise or Right to Manage their building, the risk of similar cases such as this one remains.
New Chairman for Hailsham Chamber.
The new Chairman of Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce is Anton Bree, MD of Ross & Co Chartered Surveyors. He has taken over from Malcolm Adams, of Ashley Adams Jewellery in Hailsham, who served for four years as Chairman. Anton will be assisted by Andrew Rannie, of Hart Reade Solicitors, in the role as Vice-Chairman.
Anton, who was born and raised in Eastbourne and attended Hailsham Community College, has been in the property industry for 30 years. He is married with two sons. He acquired Ross & Co in 2008. The business had been established in Hailsham in 1982.
“My aim for the next 12 months is to encourage the expansion of membership of the Chamber in order to provide a greater voice for the business community. In these difficult times it is hard to spare the time to network, but I want to get more local business people to participate in the Chamber’s activities, such as the Breakfast Club and Chamber meetings, which give excellent opportunities to promote business, meet with like-minded businessmen and women and keep abreast of local developments and events. Members can also promote their businesses through the Chamber website www.hailshamchamberofcommerce.co.uk and benefit from our profile and influence in the community,” said Anton.
The cost of Chamber membership is £60 per annum and the Breakfast Club costs £8.00. The Chamber also requests members make an additional £20 contribution to the Town’s Christmas lights.
Hailsham is a thriving town with a population, including the surrounding area, of 23,000. With a further approx 1,500 homes already under construction, Hailsham is also listed as one of the major towns in the Wealden Core Strategy that will see further substantial residential and commercial development over the next 5-10 years.
“In line with the current economic climate, Hailsham had seen a decline in recent times, especially in the retail sector, but recently numerous shops have opened and the area will no doubt benefit further when Wealden Council transfers staff from Crowborough to their re-furbished offices in Hailsham to be completed in the Autumn. More good news has just broken about ASDA taking over the former Co-op site in the Quintins.
The local industrial sector employs a large number of local residents on the Diplocks, Station Road and Swan Industrial/Business Parks, and there is a further 160,000 sq ft of industrial units approved for the proposed Swallow Business Park.
With all these developments, the future for Hailsham looks particularly bright.
2. A “Care of” the Agent’s address is not good enough.
All service charge and ground rent demands must have the address of the landlord on them. The Upper Chamber (Lands Tribunal) has confirmed that a “care of” the managing agent’s address is not correct.
Section 47(1) of the L&T Act 1987 provides as follows:
“(1) Where any written demand is given to a tenant of premises to which this part applies, the demand must contain the following information, namely the name and address of the landlord, and if that address is not in England and Wales, an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on the landlord by the tenant.”
"Subsection (4) provides that in this section “demand” means a demand for rent or other sums payable to the landlord under the terms of the tenancy (including, therefore, a service charge).
"Under subsection (2) where any demand for a service charge does not contain the information required by subsection (1) the amount demanded is to be treated as not being due from the tenant at any time before the information is furnished to him. So an agent would have to reserve the demand with the correct address and any penalties for delayed payment would not be due."
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The demands sent by the landlord’s agent included a statement only that the address for service of notices under S48 of the 1987 Act was c/o of the managing agent.
The Upper Chamber decision was as follows:
“It is, in my judgment, clear from the wording of section 47(1) that the purpose of the requirement in (a) to provide the address (as well as the name) of the landlord is not solely for the purpose of providing the tenant with an address at or through which he can communicate with the landlord. That is clear because (b) provides that, if the landlord’s address is not in England and Wales, an address in England and Wales must be given at which notices may be served on the landlord by the tenant. Thus even if the landlord’s address is not in England and Wales it still has to be given (and a further address provided for the service of notices). The purpose of the requirement in section 47 to include in any demand the name and address of the landlord, in my judgment, is to enable a tenant to know who his landlord is, and a name alone may not be sufficient for this purpose. To provide an address at which the landlord can be found assists in the process of identification.
“That this is the purpose of the requirement to provide the landlord’s address is in my view clear from section 47 alone. It is, however, to be noted that section 48 makes separate provision for “Notification by landlord of address for service of notices” (as the section is headed), so that that provision carries the implication that the requirement in section 47 is not solely for the purpose of providing the tenant with an address at or through which he can communicate with the landlord but has a wider purpose. For this reason the provisions of the Companies Act 2006, relied on by the appellant, are of no assistance because they are concerned with the service of documents or other information.
“The address of the landlord for the purpose of section 47(1) thus seems to me to be the place where the landlord is to be found. In the case of an individual this would be his place of residence or the place from which he carries on business. In the case of a company it would be the company’s registered office or the place from which it carries on business. If there is more than one place of residence or place from which business is carried on, then, depending on the facts, it may be that any one of such addresses will do. I do not think that it is useful to say any more than this. Of course in many cases providing the address of a company landlord may for purposes of identification add nothing of practical value and is unlikely to be of any interest to the tenant, who will be more concerned about having an address at or through which he can communicate with the landlord. (In the present case there is nothing to suggest that the tenant was concerned to establish the company’s address). But there will be cases in which provision of an address does assist in the process of identification.”
The case is BEITOV PROPERTIES LIMITED v ELLISTON BENTLEY MARTIN Ref. LRX 59/2011 and the full decision can be read at: http://www.landstribunal.gov.uk/Aspx/view.aspx?id=852
120 Jobs saved in Eastbourne.
We have successfully completed the letting of an 8,500 sq. ft. prime office building at 1 St. Anne’s Road, Eastbourne to Capita Business Services, who provide services to Government bodies.
Capita was looking for new premises and there were fears amongst the Eastbourne business community that they might have to relocate outside of the area. It was a major coup for us to be able to secure this office building for their 120 staff and keep them in Eastbourne. I would like to extend my thanks to Ian Coombs of Mayo Wynne Baxter solicitors, who worked hard with me to ensure this matter completed on time. The Childs Trust, owners of the building, is delighted to have let it for the benefit of their Charity.
The building, comprising three floors of offices, was vacated in July 2011 by East Sussex Hospital NHS Trust. An extensive refurbishment of the building will be undertaken by Capita’s in house design and project management team with occupation anticipated by the end of April.
Jim Gibbs from Capita commented on the new offices: "Capita is delighted to be staying in Eastbourne town centre and continuing its contribution to the local community. The new offices will provide excellent accommodation for our staff and reflect Capita’s credentials as an employer of choice within the region. The lease provides the landlord with a secure and quality tenancy while Capita has been able to secure competitive rental costs over the period.”
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An influx in Management instructions.
Our Management Department in Eastbourne has had an influx of instructions recently and further requests for us to tender for several residential blocks of flats and commercial properties in Eastbourne and wider afield.
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New RICS Commercial Service Charge.
The proposed new RICS Commercial Service Charge Code of Practice will no doubt bring multi-let commercial premises more in line with legislation governing residential premises. We expect legislation will follow in the near future and we will follow its progress with interest.
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Company Fire Risk Assessment Scheme finalised.
Over the next 12 months we expect new legislation to be brought in for nationally recognised BAFE accreditation schemes for fire risk assessors. At least two certification bodies are close to gaining UKAS accreditation to run the schemes. This will affect companies and individuals providing fire risk assessments.
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New Rules for Electronically Powered Gates.
You may not be aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised that all vehicle access electronically controlled gates serving block of flats, commercial properties and private houses must be compliant with the following: 1.The motor of the gate should not have the ability to crush a child. 2. If the anti-crush motor fails the photo cells and safety strips should provide a back-up. This followed an HSE investigation into the death of a child in Manchester.
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Condensation is often to blame.
At this time of year we receive calls as surveyors and managing agents to inspect houses and flats with what the complainant calls "damp problems". Mostly it turns out to be mould growth due to condensation, so before you incur any costs we suggest you click the link below.
WARNING: Possible pitfalls of a FIT!
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued a warning to consumers that let their roof space for green energy schemes could violate mortgage terms and delay sales of properties.
Companies and home owners alike are looking to benefit from the Feed in Tariff Scheme (FIT) by installing solar panels and selling the generated energy to power suppliers. The agreements however can run for up to 25 years, often without a break clause, which could put homeowners in breach of their mortgage arrangement, discourage prospective buyers and if incorrectly installed create structural problems to their property.
The Green Deal is due to be introduced in 2012, which will result in all installers having to be accredited, butuntil then installations can be carried out by individuals poorly qualified to properly carry out the installation.
• Always obtain your mortgage lender’s consent.
• Take legal advice on the terms of any agreement.
• Any lease agreement will have to be binding on a future buyer and this
could affect a property’s saleability and value.
• Take professional advice on the proposed installation from a qualified surveyor.
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Recent Seaside Lettings.
Ross & Co have continued to buck the trend by arranging a further two lettings in Seaside, Eastbourne. Ladbrokes plc are moving their existing operations to a new unit at 80 Seaside, which is currently undergoing substantial refurbishment. Another local covenant, Iron Maiden, has agreed to take 139 Seaside and will no doubt benefit from the more prominent corner frontage that this position offers.
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