Since the leaseholders became the overall landlord of Charter Quay in the summer of 2013, they have seen strange things happening to the site and their service charges.
After taking over, the leaseholders gave their board the mandate to maintain the site to a very high standard and keep it in the best condition. A professional managing agent was employed to do the real work and report to the leaseholder board. As well as providing the cleaning, maintenance and management staff, the agent employ our concierge team who deliver a 24 hour onsite service.
When the leaseholders took over they also supported the plan to collect additional funds to help pay for works on the buildings and the estate in the future. By controlling the day to day expenditure the board has been able to work with the managing agent to keep the costs down whilst building up the reserve fund. Both the current account and reserve funds are kept safely in a trust account managed for us by the managing agent. This year almost a third of the service charge payment is going towards the reserve fund.
So how much have costs gone up in the last 10 years? The exact answer of course varies from block to block and from year to year depending on the works which need doing. Over the years all apartments will follow a similar patten but the answer for our largest block is clear: Charter Quay has gone back to the future. Costs have hardly increased in 10 years.
A sample flat from Garricks House shows the total net amount payable for the second half of 2015, under the management of HML Andertons (instructed by the company owned by the leaseholders) is £1,653.99.
The same flat in 2005 under the management of Peverel OM who's client became the Tchenguiz group that year was £1652.37. So in the 10 years costs have risen by just £1.62 even though the quality of service has vastly improved and the amount set aside for reserves has gone up substantially. Allowing for price inflation in the period 2005 -2015 it means the real cost of living at Charter Quay is now 37% lower than it was in 2005.
We do cheat a little on these numbers. The payment includes a refund for Andertons underspend on its 2014 budget. It also excludes the fact we did eventually get some of our 2005 costs back from the old landlord through a series of court cases.
It goes to show just how much can be saved when leaseholders no longer have to fund the pockets of a third party landlord. That and a good managing agent who is allowed to work for the benefit of the site.