Frequently Asked Questions

General Management

Q: My neighbours are noisy, what do I do?


Answer: Living in a block of apartments involves a lot of people living in close proximity to one another. If your neighbour is causing a nuisance, the first thing that you should do is have a friendly chat with them – many people aren’t used to living in apartments and don’t realise the problems that they are causing. The lease contains covenants in relation to not causing a nuisance and so if you are suffering from a repeated problem, AM can take steps to enforce the lease. If you want AM to become involved, we will need to know the address that is causing the problem together with dates, times and details of occurrences. In the first instance, we may write to the offending owner. It is also worth remembering that local authorities have wide ranging powers in relation to noise nuisance and you should also seek their advice.




Q: Too many properties are let to tenants who don’t seem to care. What can I do?


Answer: With the boom in buy to let investments over recent years, significant numbers of apartments in many developments are bought by investors to let out. There is nothing that can be done to change this as all these properties are sold on the open market. However all property owners have the same responsibilities under the lease, irrespective of whether they have bought their property to let or to live in themselves. This means that they have to ensure that their tenants comply with the terms of the lease. If you believe that the tenants are causing a problem such as excessive noise or the way in which they are using the facilities, please bring this to the attention of AM so we can take it up with the property owner and/or their letting agents.




Q. Do I need to tell AM if I want to make alterations to my home?


Answer: If you live in a leasehold property, it is likely your lease will require you to obtain consent before you carry out any alterations. This is so that we can ensure that the building structure and appearance is not adversely affected by any alterations and that no breaches of lease occur. Please contact us to arrange for the necessary application forms to be provided to you.




Q. Do I need to tell AM if I don’t live at the property or I am an Investor Purchaser?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: It is very important that you advise us in writing of your correct postal address if you do not live in the property, otherwise you may not receive invoices and other important communications which could result in legal action being commenced against you for example if service charge arrears acrue. Legally we have to send service charge demands to the property to which they relate unless we are advised otherwise by the owner. It is your responsibility to advise us and you must not rely on assuming others will tell us – we have no way of knowing what your postal address is unless we are told and if told otherwise we will send correspondance directly to the property in which it relates to. For legal reasons, you must tell us about a new address in writing, by post to our offices or by email enquiries@amsbm.co.uk.




Q. How do I use AM's Myblockman Portal?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: AM Surveying & Block Management provide all property owners 24/7 access to an online portal providing useful access to: - Service charge statements & balances. - Online annoucement board. - Downloadable useful documents such as insurance schedules. - Access to service charge bank account infomation. To learn more about AM's Myblockman portal please visit our Residents Area which includes a video guide of how to use the portal. Visit Residents Area. If you believe you should have access to Myblockman but are unsure how to access it, please contact our team and we may need to activate your Myblockman account.





Maintenance & Repairs

Q. What repairs are AM responsible for and what are my responsibilities?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: The respective responsibilities of AM and you as leaseholder are set out in your lease or transfer which you must refer in order to understand the detailed obligations. In the case of leasehold property, typically AM are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the common parts, the building structure and exterior, any shared services or equipment and any external grounds. You are responsible for all repairs and maintenance within your demised property. If you own a freehold house, you are likely to be fully responsible for all matters relating to your individual property and AM will only have specific responsibilities in relation to any shared private roads, gates or drainage. If you are unsure who is responsible, contact us.




Q. How do I obtain a new key and fob?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: To purchase a new key or fob for your property, please click this link access our maintenance request system. Simply select the Communal doors & access option and follow the prompts. There may be an additional cost for keys or fobs, our team will contact you once your request is received to help you. You should be aware that keys and fobs often have to be ordered specially from the suppliers and so may take several weeks to arrive. In some cases, the charge from the supplier for an electric fob can be significant and we have to pass this cost onto the purchaser. We do not have access to keys for your individual front door and we reserve the right to place a limit on the number of duplicates supplied.




Q. Do I need to apply for consent to keep a pet at my property?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: Most leases require the consent of AM for the keeping of a pet in a leasehold property. This is for the protection of your neighbours and the building as some pets can cause a nuisance or damage to the common parts. Generally, AM are particularly concerned with larger pets such as cats or dogs, and will usually give consent for smaller pets subject to some reasonable conditions. To request permission to keep a pet please contact us and we shall supply you with the n ecessary application form.




Q. How often will the outside and entrance of the building be redecorated?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: In most cases, the frequency of redecoration will be laid down in your lease – often between 5-7 years. In some cases, the lease will require the redecoration to be carried out ‘as and when required’ in which case we will identify when this is necessary from our programme of inspections. We will advise you when redecorations are to be carried out, and in many cases the level of expenditure will require us to formally consult with you prior to committing to the work in accordance with s20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (as amended).




Q. How do residents report a maintenance problem?


Answer: We have made reporting maintenance problems simple and easy! To report a maintenance issue use our online reporting tool. Our team promplty and carefully review each and every reported maintenance issue and will review your issue and take necessary actions.




Q. Who checks that the Cleaners and Gardeners are doing a good job?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: Our team carry our regular routine visits to your building/development or estate on a regular cycle. Our team carry out a full inspection to check that services such as cleaning and landscape maintenance are being carried out according to the specification and to a high standard. We will also identify any repairs needed and will check on any repairs recently carried out. A written report is completed on each visit so that any issues are located and acted upon. If you have a maintenance issue to report to us please do so here.




Q. I have a fault inside my home, who do I report this to?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: AM Surveying & Block Management are responsible for the building exterior, structure and shared internal areas and equipment. If you are concerned about any problems relating to these areas, please report these to us here. If you have a maintenance problem within your individual private demised property then this will be responsibilty of the owner, if that is yourself, the matter will be a private matter for you to investigate and resolve. If you rent your property, please report the issue to your landlord. If you are the property owner; please always remember any repairs to your property that constitue an alteration of the property or that effect/change the common parts may require consent. If you think you may need consent for an alteration please contact us.





New Home & Selling

Q. When will AM start charging me my Service Charge?


Answer: Under the terms of your lease or transfer, your service charge is payable for the full duration of the ownership of your property. AM Surveying & Block Management collect service charges in accordance with the terms of your lease, which means service charges may be collected yearly, half yearly or quarterly. We will generally wait for your solicitor to send us a Notice of Transfer, confirming your purchase and postal address for service of documents. Soon after recieving this we will send you a welcome letter and thereafter you will recieve service charge demands at the next routine collection date.




Q. Do I need to tell AM if I am selling my property?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: Under the terms of your lease or transfer, you are required to fulfil certain formalities upon the sale of your property. The solicitors acting for vendor and purchaser will normally deal with these matters for you but you should advise your solicitor at an early stage that your building is managed by AM Surveying & Block Management and pass on your contact details. Once a sale is agreed for your property you will require a Sales Management Pack from us, which details a host of infomation concerning the current and anticpated future situatation of maintenance at the building. Usually we recieve requests for Sales Management Packs directly from the vendor's solicitor.




Q. Do I need to tell AM if I am sub-letting my property?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: If you live in a leasehold property, it is likely that your lease will require you to obtain consent before you let your property which, we will not unreasonably withhold. Please contact us to request the relevent paperwork to obtain consent to sub-let your property.





Service Charges

Q. How do I know what AM are spending my Service Charge on?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: At the start of each financial year, a Service Charge Budget is prepared which is sent out to all owners and which sets out, line by line, how the service charge has been calculated, together with explanatory notes. The budget is an estimate of costs for the forthcoming year based on previous years expenditure for the development, current costs and planned and anticipated expenditure. Following the end of the financial year Service Charge Accounts are prepared for the developnent, as in accordance with the lease or transfer, and legislation. The service charge accounts detail the actual expenditure during the year and are certified by an independent Chartered Accountant, as being accurate. When the accounts are prepared we compare what the actual costs have been to what we have billed during the year, based upon the budget, to identify any surplus or deficit. If expenditure has been lower than anticipated then there will be a surplus that will be credited back to your account or transfered to reserves; if costs have been higher there will be a deficit, and an additional charge will be payable. Either way, you will only pay your proportion of the actual costs of providing the service




Q. Why do I have to pay Service Charge when I live in a Freehold house?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: Some developments of freehold houses have the benefits of shared facilities or areas which have to be managed, and the associated costs of this are paid for by the house owners via a service charge. There will generally be less maintenance required compared to a typical block of apartments, but maintenance costs might include electronic gates, shared grounds, areas of open space and private roads and drainage that are not adopted by the local authority or utility companies. Where there are shared areas Property Owners Liability (Public Liability) insurance will need to be arranged and the cost of this forms part of service charge. Where a development is mixed and comprises houses and apartments and in some cases commercial properties, the costs are apportioned fairly between the various elements and this is reflected in the service charge.




Q. What is the Sinking Fund/Reserve Fund?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: AM Surveying & Block Management are responsible for the long term maintenance of the property including redecoration of the exterior and internal communal areas, future major repairs and renewals. Therefore, usually included in the service charge, there are amounts set aside in the form of a Reserve Fund and/or Sinking Fund. Each year a contribution is made into these reserve funds with the intention that they build up over the years so that when works are required, there is a fund available to go towards the costs, reducing any additional one off payments that may be required to make up the shortfall. Reserve funds go towards ensuring that the development will be looked after for its full life, thus ensuring that property values, saleability and appearance are maintained.




Q. What is the Management Fee?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: The Management Fee is one element of the service charge and is AM Surveying & Block Management's charge for providing the day to day management service. AM's Management Fee is based upon a set annual charge per property. It is not based on a percentage of expenditure which of course would give no incentive to keep costs down.




Q. My property is empty, why do I have to pay service charge?


AM Surveying & Block Management Answer: Under the terms of your lease or transfer, service charge is payable for the full duration of the ownership of your property irrespective of whether it is occupied or empty. Each property owner contributes towards the costs of the services and these contributions add up to 100%. If we did not charge you whilst the property was empty, we wouldn’t recover 100% of the costs and there would be a shortfall which would have to fall unfairly upon the other owners.




Q. What do I do if the wrong name is on my service charge demand?


Answer: If you have recently purchased your property, it is possible that we have been incorrectly advised of the name of the owner, or that we have not yet been formally advised of the completion of your purchase. It is a requirement of the lease or transfer that we receive formal notice of sale which solicitors should deal with as part of the completion process, and we are unable to change our records until we receive this. As a first step please check with your solicitor that they have issued the "Notice of Transfer" required by the lease or deed to AM and if you still need help, please contact us for advice. If your name has changed or someone’s name should legally be removed, we will need to be advised in writing together with a copy of the relevant legal document such as a marriage certificate, deed poll or probate certificate.




Q. Why is my Service Charge higher than my neighbour or the building down the road?


Answer: No two buildings/developments are the same and although a block may look to be similar, there will be many differences that may affect the amount of service charge. The number of apartments in a building can have an effect with regard to economies of scale – larger buildings can often be run more cost effectively than one with just a few apartments to share the fixed costs such as lift maintenance. Different buildings have different equipment to maintain – looking after fire alarms, electronic gates and lifts for example have significant costs that may not apply to some buildings. Not all buildings will have a provision in the service charge for building up reserve funds to pay for redecorations and major repairs. If these items aren’t reflected in the service charge, then they are effectively a hidden cost for the future. The service charge for individual properties can be calculated in a number of ways to reflect the services that they individually benefit from or, in some cases to reflect the size of the apartment. Service charge apportionment may be calculated based on the number of bedrooms in your property or based on size of your property.




Q. What are my rights?


Answer: There is an extensive body of legislation concerning the management of leasehold property and accounting for service charges to which AM Surveying & Block Management adhere. This legislation lays down requirements for how we keep and account for service charge monies, the reasonableness of service charges, information we have to give to you and consultation before we carry out major work. If you own a freehold property, the body of legislation is somewhat less and you must rely on your terms of your specific transfer deed. Should you ever feel you require legal advice it is always best to seek such, or research what other advisory resources are available to you.




Q. What is Service Charge?


Answer: Because you own a property in a managed development, a number of services are arranged centrally by the management company and the costs of these are shared by the owners in the form of a service charge. When you purchased your property, you entered into a lease or transfer deed which states the proportion of the various costs that you have to pay. Your property's lease or transfer deed also states how the service charge is to be paid, on what items AM Surveying & Block Management use the service charge on and how the service charge is to be accounted for.




Q. How can I pay my Service Charge?


Answer: We provide a range of payment methods inluding online, over the phone, by BACs or by cheque. We accept all major credit and debit cards. If you are paying by BACS, please ensure you use the correct account details for your development which can be located via your online portal Myblockman. Payment options can be found here.




Q. Why has my Service Charge increased?


Answer: The service charge is an estimate of the actual costs of providing the various services arranged by AM Surveying & Block Management for your developent where your property is located. The costs of these services can vary depending on contractors/suppliers charges, changes in the level or frequency of services required or maintenance requirements and changes in legislation. For example, utility suppliers for electricity or water may increase their prices on communal supplies, or usage might be higher than previously anticipated. The level of repairs needed might be higher than anticipated or it might be decided that services such as cleaning or gardening need to be carried out more frequently. Insurance costs may also change as a result of wider trends. Budgets estimates will take into account long term changes in costs. Whatever the outcome, we use our expertise to keep costs as low as possible but consistent with providing the right level of service.





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