Flats or apartments are by their very nature, dense living. This means if there is to be harmony in a property neighbours need to get on well. Unfortunately that does not always occur!
The age dynamics of apartment living is quite a significant factor in causing disharmony. Flats are a popular first buy for young people, and they are popular with older individuals downsizing. The respective outlook on life is frequently incompatible. Early mornings v late nights, loud music v quiet enjoyment, close adherence to rules v a more laissez faire attitude, all are grounds for frustration and complaints.
Furthermore the explosion in letting on short term tenancy agreements and more recently the shift towards AirBNB type lets are further causes for disharmony. The attitude towards the care of the property can be very different between a leaseholder and a tenant. A classic common problem presently besetting flats is the correct handling of rubbish and recycling. Many leaseholders follow the rules assiduously, tenants are often less concerned.
Of course all the above are generalisations, and there are many different interpretations of these themes, but I suspect you will by now be feeling flat living might be challenging, indeed more trouble than it is worth.
But do not despair, flat living has many advantages, from value for money, convenience and excellent location opportunities being amongst them. What they need to create the best chance for harmony is to have a good Managing Agent who is prepared to engage in issues.
Firstly most leases will have clauses relating to things such as noise and quiet enjoyment. These can be enforced, and although not cheap, it is possible to amend leases through deeds of variation to impose more specific rulings if required.
It is important that, whether leaseholders or tenants, when individuals move in they need to understand what the ‘rules’ of the property are and that they will be enforced. PM Property Management have guidance on areas such as modifying/ refurbishing a flat, and what to do not to alienate their neighbours. We also provide information on best practice rubbish and recycling. Both areas that help to get relationships off to a good start.
But notices and information are really not sufficient. When you get a complaint it is all too easy to file under ‘too difficult’. But a good agent will not ignore requests. Going on site, listening to the problem and often a quiet chat with the parties concerned can defuse all sorts of problems. Escalation is an option, but gentle negotiation often a gets a better outcome.
A household at war is often a trigger for seeking out a Managing Agent. Companies such as PM Property Management can work independently and can be dispassionate when dealing with problems that become too intense and personal for leaseholders to work out amongst themselves. We may not be able to solve the Middle East crisis, but we will give the battle between the first second floors a good go!