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ARMASURGERY data protection


QUESTION Irecentlyhadaconversation with another flatowner in our blockwho said because Ihad not paidmyservicecharge the internal decorations cannot be done. I have just beenmaderedundantand cannotaffordtopay.But underdata Protection,shouldthemanagingagent have told the other lessee that I have notpaid?


ANSWERThis is adifficult andsensitive subject. Differentmanaging agents have different policies. Under Data Protection legislation, amanaging agent cannot nameand shame in an openmanner. However, thelessees areentitledto


know that work cannot startbecausenot allpaymentshavebeenreceived, andit is oftenrelativelyeasyfor themto work outfor themselveswhohas paid andwho hasn’tpaid. Ifamanagingagent has an open and


BruCeMaunder Taylor, a charteredsurveyorandmember ofARMA’sCouncil, provides answers to readers’ questions


ON yOUR bIkE!


QUESTIONWekeep receiving letters fromour managingagenttellingustomove ourbikes fromthecommunal areas on health and safetygrounds or they will be removed. Can they do this?


ANSWER Yes. Thecommonentrancehalland staircase are the fire escape route for the block of flats.Ifthere is afire (for instance) at night andall thelightsgoout,the occupiersofall the flats have to be able to getout of thebuilding and, if bikes or other obstructions are in their way, then there is an obviousrisk. If thebike fallsoverorasmall childtampers with it andit fallsontop of thechild, there is an obviousrisk. Theproblemfromthemanagingagent’s point of view is that, if any personal injury results, even thoughitisyourbike, themanagingagent andthe landlord (orresidents’management company) canbeheldtoberesponsible as well as you. Therefore,the managing agentcan removethe risk fromthebuilding(afterhaving givenyou reasonable notice)orcan take action againstyou such as an action forbreachof lease. Fromyour point of view, youmay care to findout howmanypeopleinthe building want to have somewhere to store bikes and if there is sufficient support for a proposal, to ask themanagingagent to provideasafebikestore somewhere on the site.


transparent policy that lesseesmaymake an appointmentand go to theirofficeto inspectthe accounting documentation, it will notbedifficult forthemtofind out whohasn’tpaid. If your block ismanaged by a residents’


management company, it is certainly possible forthe directors, complyingwith theirdutytoact in thebest interestsof thecompany,tofind outwho has not paid andwhatrecoveryactionisbeing taken: it is notnecessarily themanaging agentwho has passed this information to otherlessees. Farbetterfrom your pointofview


for thismatter to be addressed directly with the people involved rather than that solicitors or others are instructed resultinginanadditionalchargeagainst youfor recovery costs. Itmay be a good idea for you to take


advice fromtheCitizensAdviceBureau or somebodyelsewho mightbeableto help you.


Lesseesare entitled to know that work cannot start because not all payments have been received


TheAssociationofResidentialManagingAgents (ARMA)is the only professional body in England and Wales to focus exclusively on themanagement of residential leasehold blocks of flats. Withmore than 260member firms,ARMAaims to promote excellence in the leaseholdmanagement sector and to represent the interests of itsmembers, lessees, residentmanagement companies (RMCs) and investor freeholders


40 Spring2012 Flat Living


Ifyouhaveaquery, email it to


info@flat-living.co.uk


Allnamesand addressesare withheld


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