FAQs - SDL Property Management

 

What is your complaints procedure?

We seek to provide the highest standards and professional conduct in all aspects of our service delivery to our customers. If you need to raise a complaint, we would like to firstly apologise in advance for any distress or inconvenience you have experienced prior to taking this course of action. We thank you for allowing us the opportunity to rectify the situation and will aim to listen to and work with you to resolve your complaint through the channels set out below with speed and efficiency.

You can view our complaints procedure here.

What areas do you cover?

We operate nationally and have properties across the country from Yorkshire to Devon.

Where are your offices?

Our main offices are in Birmingham and Fareham with property managers, assistants and accounts staff also based at our London; Loughborough; Southampton and Stratford upon Avon offices.

Which schemes do you manage?

We manage all types of schemes; mixed use, mixed tenure, commercial, residential and retirement. We manage just over 30,000 individual units in approximately 1000 developments ranging from small individual blocks to large estates, comprising many hundreds of homes.

How do you select your contractors?

We have an approved Contractor system, which requires completion by all contractors of a questionnaire about their business provision of relevant health & safety documentation, and relevant qualifications, to ensure that only the most suitable contractors are used at our managed properties.

How often will a property manager inspect a block?

The frequency of visits is determined by the size and complexity of the scheme and is set out in our management agreement.

How do you hold service charge funds?

These are held strictly in accordance with the Landlord & Tenant Act, S42 Trust Client Accounts. Our Client Accounts are held at NatWest Bank, and we separate Client Accounts for service charge and reserve fund.

How can I make a payment to you?

We accept payment by cheque or electronic bank transfer or by debit/credit card over the telephone. Please call our Property Accounts Line 0121 710 1981 and select the relevant option from the list. Alternatively, please email info@sdlpm.co.uk and your email will be forwarded to the correct team who will then liaise directly with you.

Why have I received an invoice for a balancing charge?

This is an invoice sent when the final service charge year-end accounts are produced. In simple terms, the balancing charge will be because there was more money spent during the year than was estimated. The accounts that should accompany the invoice, or may have been sent prior, will show the details of the actual expenditure. The Property Manager for your development will be able to provide more detail in each case. Please remember that the normal service charge invoices are based on an estimate and we cannot foresee all eventualities that may occur during the year ahead.

Why have I received an invoice for a balancing charge prior to my ownership of the property?

This can happen if there are service charge accounts published after your purchase for a period before you owned the property. This can also happen in odd cases where the service charge is due in arrears. In such cases you should refer to your solicitor who acted for you in your purchase as there should have been a retention agreed between the solicitors for such a situation.

Why are my payments due on set dates?

The lease or freehold deed will set the due dates for payment of charges such as ground rent, service charge, insurance etc. It is normal policy for these to be the dates on which we will accept payment. Payment in advance of the due date is acceptable and the money will be held against your name until due when it will be set against the relevant charge. Payments after the due date can cause cash flow problems for the service charge or insurance and can prevent us from paying the bills we received. Late payment can result in interest or penalty charges being applied to your account.

What do I do if I cannot make the payment in full on the due date?

It is essential that you contact us to discuss such situations. Please call our Property Accounts Line 0121 710 1981 and select the relevant option from the list. Alternatively, please email info@sdlpm.com and your email will be forwarded to the correct team who will liaise with you directly. We are required to have a strict credit control procedure in place. If you fail to contact us you can become liable for additional costs. Ultimately, we may have to write to your lender and be forced to take legal action against you.

Do you carry professional indemnity insurance?

SDL Property Management have relevant and appropriate insurance to ensure all our clients and customers are protected.

How do I report a repair?

Please contact your Property Management Team. When contacting us please ensure that you provide us with the full address for the property, details of the repair and your contact details. Please note that your contact details may be provided to the contractor to contact you directly, if appropriate.

How do I contact you out of hours?

If your property is signed up to an out of hours service you can be connected by contacting our maintenance lines for your local office. We operate an out of hours emergency line although please note that this is an optional service that is not taken up by all our clients.

How do I make an insurance claim?

If a leaseholder/tenant calls the office to make a claim, the Property Manager/Property Assistant would be required to complete a Claim Notification Form (attached), taking as much information as they can. Once completed, they would then need to email a copy of the Claim Notification Form on to the Insurance Department. The Insurance Department will then report this direct to the Insurance Broker. If a claim is within a property, then the leaseholder/tenant would be responsible to obtain their own quotations (not the Property Manager). If the claim is for a communal issue, then it would be the responsibility of the Property Manager to obtain quotations.

How do I extend the lease for my property?

In many cases, we act for the freeholder in connection with lease extensions. Please put your request in writing to your Property Management Team and ensure you provide the full address for the property and your contact details.

Why have I received “consultation” documents regarding future building works?

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended) provides for consultation when works are proposed which will exceed a certain threshold. That threshold is defined in the legislation and is currently where the amount to any single leaseholder will exceed £250 whether this is demanded separately or paid for from existing funds. We should inform you as part of the process whether you will be required to contribute any additional sums and we will also detail the nature of the work and then the quotes providing you with the opportunity to make formal observations.

I have noisy neighbours, what should I do?

Often, a polite conversation with the neighbour can solve these problems. We can issue a letter to the owner if requested to do so by you, but you must be prepared for us to give your contact details. If this is unsuccessful, then the local Environmental Health Department can become involved. They can install noise measuring equipment in your property to monitor the noise levels and can then take enforcement action if appropriate. In some cases, if we are to take further action, then the lease or freehold deed can require you to underwrite the costs of this action

What do I have to do if I want to install double glazing or make other alterations?

You may require consent from us on behalf of the landlord. Please contact your property management team who will send you a letter setting out the terms on which we allow alterations to be undertaken.

What do I do if I want to sublet my property?

You will need to refer to your lease and may need to consult your mortgage provider. We have provided further information below. If you are interested in renting out your home and are able to do so then our Lettings and Management team may be able to assist with the process of finding a tenant and managing.

  1. Can I sublet my flat?

Your lease may have clauses preventing you from sub-letting or providing conditions in order to allow a sub-letting. It is important that you review your lease, in addition you may have conditions imposed by your mortgage lender depending on the type of mortgage you have. In addition to this there may be other clauses in the Lease dealing with the occupation of the property examples of which below.

  1. Can I sublet short term eg Air BnB?

Where sub-letting is permitted by the lease with or without conditions it may have additional clauses regarding the occupation of the property which may prevent such short term lettings.

  1. Can I sublet for multiple occupancy?

As above your lease is likely to have clauses covering the occupation of the property and specifically stating that the property must be sub-let as a whole so it is unlikely that subletting for multiple occupancy would be permitted.

  1. Can I sublet my parking space/garage?

As above if your lease states that the property must be let as a whole and the car parking space and or garage form part of the same lease then you may not be able to sub-let.

How do I get a new key to the main entrance door or a new fob for the gates?

Please contact your Property Management Team and speak to the Property Assistant. They will be able to advise you of the cost which must be paid in advance.

Can I have a pet or animal at my property?

Some leases have an absolute ban on the keeping of pets or animals. In some cases, there is some discretion and consent of the landlord is normally required. Please contact your Property Management Team who will send you a letter setting out the terms on which we allow pets to be kept.

Can I put up a satellite dish?

Normally the answer to this question is “no”. Most leases prevent individual owners from putting up satellite dishes. This is for a number of reasons, not least of which are that they can make the building look unsightly and also because there can be planning permission issues. In the first instance, please contact your Property Management Team who will advise in your particular circumstances. It may be that if there is enough interest in the building, we can put up a communal satellite dish to which all properties can be connected.