Answers to some frequently asked questions, however if your question is not covered here please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
Why do I have to obtain consent to sublet my property?
Most Leases state that you should obtain consent and that the sub-tenant should enter into a ‘direct deed of covenant’ to ensure the sub-tenant complies with the general terms and regulations contained within the Lease. In order to protect the other residents in the building and to comply with the terms of the Lease, references are required and the letting must be to a specific person.
You are required to pay reasonable solicitor’s costs for the preparation and completion of the ‘deed of covenant’ and an administration cost to us for dealing with this matter. These fees are set out within the application form.
I am going to sell my property before the year-end date on the invoice; do I still have to pay my service charges?
Yes. As the owner of the property when the invoice was issued, the payment is due from you in full. You should request a receipt when you pay as your solicitor will require this and will obtain a refund from your purchaser or a contribution to the cost you have incurred. If you are completing a sale prior to the beginning of the invoice period, please pass the invoice to your solicitor so that they become aware of it. For most sales, solicitors write to ask us if there are any payments outstanding. If you have not paid it is possible that this may delay your sale.
What is the procedure for changing the property owner's name (through marriage, deed poll, death etc)?
To make a change to the name of the registered owner please forward information via post. The name of the account holders should always reflect the registered owners of the property. Therefore, we ask that any change to our records is supported by legal evidence noting the change e.g. a marriage or deed-poll certificate. If the registered property owner is a company, then any change in the company name should be evidenced with a certificate of name change.
How do I change my correspondence address?
Where leasehold properties are sublet to a tenant, correspondence relating to the property is generally sent to the owner at their main residence. In other cases, the owner may request that correspondence is sent to a letting agent. In this instance, it is essential that the property owner advises our Customer Services department of alternative contact details, in writing by letter or email.
What is the difference between 'freehold' and 'leasehold'?
If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the home and the land it is built on. There may however be a freehold / management company who owns the estate areas, such as communal car parking or garden areas. If you buy a leasehold property you are actually buying the rights to live in a property for a set period of time. You won’t actually own the structure, or the grounds it is situated on. Most flats are leasehold.
Can I make alterations to my property?
Most Leases and Transfers include covenants that prevent alterations to either the plan or the elevations of the property without the prior written consent of the managing agent. Such alterations include replacing windows, the removal of internal walls, installing external lights or the construction of an extension. The purpose of these covenants is to maintain the structural integrity and aesthetic appearance of the building and to adhere to other restrictions.
If you wish to make an alteration, you should apply to us in writing, including appropriate plans and specifications for the intended work. An administration charge is made to cover the processing and inspection of applications. The alterations may also require local authority planning approval and we would require copies of any consent to proceed.
Property Managers regularly visit the developments and will take appropriate action where it is found that alterations have taken place without the landlord’s consent. Such action may include ensuring that the property is returned to its original condition at the owner’s expense.
Can you help find a tenant for my property?
NRM is not a letting agent. We specialise in BLOCK MANAGEMENT. We can recommend local agents. Please contact us.
What is the procedure for sales and remortgages?
Our Solicitors department deals with all queries relating to sales and remortgages and will liaise directly with your solicitor throughout the process. If you are intending to sell or remortgage your property, please ensure your solicitor advises us in writing well in advance of completion.
What do I have to pay to sublet my property?
Please be aware that most leasehold properties require consent to sublet. A written application must be made to our office, however please note NRM doesn’t charge any administrative fee for consent on majority of development (we just want to know how to contact you for issue of documentations and in case of emergency. In some instance the cost is charged by the Freeholder or specified in the leae.
Can I keep a pet? Is there a charge for this?
Some Leases have an absolute ban on any pets, or certain specified animals. Other Leases allow pets provided consent is obtained beforehand. In these cases a written consent is required. Where you wish to have a pet, please write to us for consent. In the case of a dog, we would normally require a photograph to ensure that it is a breed which is consistent with living in such a property. The written consent is given subject to what are termed ‘good neighbour’ conditions, details of which can be obtained from our us
Who are Estates & Management Limited?
Estates & Management Limited (E&M) are agents for a number of Freeholders where we operate as managing agent (typically they collect the ground rent)
Their contact details are:
Estates & Management Ltd
302 Regents Park Road
Tel: 020 8371 2800
There is no commercial link between NRM & Estates & Management
Payments & Billing
Can I pay in instalments?
We collect Service Charges in line with legal documents i.e. your Lease. However, you may be able to pay by monthly instalments in certain circumstances. Please contact us to discuss in more detail or relevant to handout provided with Service Charge Demand.
How can I make a payment?
Please refer to documentation provided with your annual service charge or payment page
What are 'Reserve Funds' and what happens to the money collected?
It is common sense and good practice to save for future known large expenditure and the proverbial ‘rainy day’. That is why it is sensible for a development to have its own ‘Reserve Fund’.
Reserve Funds are collected to help contribute towards the cost of non annual expenditure such as external and internal decorations, the renewal or major repair to parts of the building or plant and machinery such as lifts and pumps. An amount is collected each year so that money is accumulated and available to meet either significant unexpected expenditure or other periodic repair or renewals.
The process also helps to ensure fairness, so that every leaseholder is making an annual contribution to future major works costs, even if no work is carried out whilst that leaseholder is in occupation. The leaseholder therefore shares the cost of parts of the building or equipment wearing out relative to the period he or she was an owner. The money is held in the same way as other service charge funds in a trust account with any interest being for the benefit of the reserve fund. The money can only be spent on your development.
What is 'Balancing Service Charge/Year end adjustment'?
There is often an adjustment to the service charge after the year end as it is unlikely that our estimate will equal the amount expended during the year.
This adjustment can be a credit if we over estimate or a debit if we under estimate.
If we under estimate; an invoice will be sent to you for the balance due. If we over estimate, the adjustment are credited to your account and can reduce future invoices.
Why do I pay buildings insurance, I have my own policy?
Under the terms of most Leases we are required to insure the whole building but not your belongings and home contents. Where your bank or building society has required you to insure through them, you should obtain from us a copy of the insurance summary details and current schedule and give this to them.
I was not living in my property for the period on the invoice; do I still have to pay?
As the current owner, you are now liable for making this payment. However, your solicitor should have made arrangements to cover this contingency, usually by retaining an amount of the money due to the person who sold the property to you. You should check this with your solicitor.
The invoice received is not in my name. Why? And what is my liability?
This usually occurs when a sale has taken place and your solicitor has not registered the assignment with us or the Freeholder as required by your Lease. You should contact your solicitor immediately to ensure that the position is regularised.
Until registration has taken place, we are unable to amend the record relating to your property. However, as the owner, you are responsible for the charges and should pay these even though you may be resolving matters with your solicitor.
What is the difference if I own the freehold to my property? Why do I have to pay the service charges?
If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the home and the land it is built on. There may however be a freehold company who owns the estate areas, such as communal car parking or garden areas, which we have been appointed to maintain and for which service charges are due.
Why must I pay the Service Charge when not all services are in place?
The terms of your Lease or Transfer requires you to contribute towards the upkeep of the development from the date of the legal completion of your purchase. Whilst the development may not be fully completed and Norwich Residential Management may not have commenced their management duties (in full), the purchaser remains under covenant to pay the Service Charges demanded. It is important to understand that this is an on-account payment until actual expenditure is known. However, during this period we endeavour to be flexible and may agree reduced on-account payments where appropriate. Our Accounts team will be happy to discuss this, should you require further clarification. Please call the team on 01603 670050
Advance Billing ensures that funds are held for initial expenses e.g. insurance costs, and to pay contractors once the development becomes fully managed by Norwich Residential Management. It is also important to ensure that the development’s bank account does not become overdrawn; thereby incurring extra charges which may further increase the Service Charge. Upon the certification of the first set of annual accounts, any surplus Service Charge funds are redistributed back to the property owners in accordance with the relevant covenants contained within their Lease or Transfer.
Where are the Service Charge funds held?
All funds paid on account are paid into a named, interest-bearing bank account, held under a statutory trust, which is specific to your development and protected by legislation. The account is independent of the trading accounts of Norwich Residential Management and any money paid into this account can only be spent on your development. The account balance accumulates interest and the accounts for each period will reflect any interest accumulated within the year.
I own a freehold house, why do I have to pay NRM?
We are appointed to maintain any communal grounds i.e. car parks or landscaped areas, by the Freeholder of these areas. Your Transfer document will outline your requirement to contribute towards the maintenance of these areas.
What happens if I can't afford to pay my service charge?
We recognise that personal circumstances change and some property owners may find that they have difficulty in meeting service charge payment obligations. In the first instance please contact our Customer Services team to discuss payment options or email us using our feedback form on the Contact Us page, particularly if you have received a letter from our Credit Control department.
How do I know what my service charge is spent on?
At the end of each financial year, a summary of expenditure is prepared by an independent accountant showing income and expenditure for your property. The statements are circulated to all leaseholders.
How do Service Charges work?
The Service Charge payable for a given year is based on an estimate of costs, so property owners will pay an estimated Service Charge on-account. Once the actual costs incurred during the Service Charge accounting year have been calculated, they are set against the estimated costs to establish whether there was a surplus or deficit of funds.
The difference between the actual and estimated costs represents the Service Charge adjustment. This is then added to each property owner’s Service Charge account in the form of a credit, where there is a surplus of funds for the year, or a debit if there is a deficit of funds. It is a covenant within each Lease and Transfer that the Service Charge adjustment is paid on demand.
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Problems & Complaints
How do I make an insurance claim?
Please contact your property manager to request claim form and to arrange inspection. In most cases we will complete the initial documentation and can also assist in arranging contractors.
I have nuisance/noisy neighbours, what can I do?
Noise from TVs, stereos, party guests leaving the property etc. can be very frustrating, particularly late at night. Persistent noise nuisance is best dealt with by your local Environmental Health Department which has the necessary powers to deal with this and whose involvement usually provides a speedy resolution. However please contact NRM in the first instance so that we can contact the relevant parties to uphold any terms of the lease.
People are parking in my allocated bay, what can I do?
There are different tenures of ownership or use when considering parking allocations. You may own your bay, have a right to use an allocated bay or may have a shared use which exists on a first come, first served basis – this status will affect the actions to be taken in the event of a parking problem.
If you do encounter a problem we would recommend that you park your own vehicle safely avoiding further obstructions. All developments managed by Norwich Residential Management use Norwich Traffic Control to deal with illegal parking issues. Please contact them on 01603 506061 and they will advise course of action.
My property has lost it's electricity supply. What should I do?
Firstly, please check the electrical distribution board within your property to see if any of the trip switches are in the ‘off’ position and try turning them on again. If the problem persists, you may well have an electrical problem within your property. As the managing agent, we are not responsible for attending to private repairs within individual properties so you should appoint a qualified electrician to investigate the problem further. Residents of apartments should also check the common electrical services within the building are in operation, (such as the lighting in the communal areas) and contact your neighbour. If these electrical supplies are not working either, there may be a major problem or power cut. In the event of a power cut, it is advisable to contact your local electricity supplier by telephone as they often provide a recorded message to advise customers of the nature of the problem and the time scale within which they expect to resume normal service. If you are still unsure of the best course of action, please contact Norwich Residential Management
Emergency repairs need to be undertaken urgently. Can NRM help?
As the managing agent, Norwich Residential Management is responsible for the maintenance/repair of the common parts of building, grounds and shared services but not for repairs within an owner’s individual property. If an emergency occurs within the communal areas of the development, please contact Maintenance department on 01603 670050 (option 2) during normal office hours. Outside of office hours please press option 3.
How do I make a formal complaint?
We aim to do our best to provide a good service, in a polite, efficient and fair way but we understand that sometimes things can go wrong.
We take all complaints about our service very seriously and will endeavour to deal with your complaint promptly. To ensure that we have all the facts necessary to investigate your complaint, we ask that you follow a simple step-by-step procedure, which will enable us to expedite your complaint to a mutually satisfactory resolution. Please refer to contact us page for further information.
There is a leak into my property from the flat above, what should I do?
In the first instance, we suggest you should make contact with the flat above. Quite often, they are unaware of the fault and will rectify the problem straight away. Should you experience difficulty making contact with the flat in question, please contact Norwich Residential Management who will contact the owner of the property advising them that there is a leak.
Should there be any damage caused to your property and you wish to make a claim on the block buildings insurance, please contact Norwich Residential Management who will provide you with the necessary information.
What should I do if I want to discuss a maintenance or accounts problem?
Initially, please contact our Enquiries team who will liaise with the Property Manager responsible for your building. Tel: 01603 670050
All communication received from customers is recorded on our property management system database, allowing the whole team to see copies of everything that we have sent by locating your address. This robust recording of information, allows us to ensure that responses are issued in a timely manner, even when individual staff members are on annual leave.