The moaner leaser

For some people, nothing is good enough. Property Ombudsman, Rebecca Marsh, adjudicates on a case where a long list of complaints were all rejected.

Complaints imageThe Property Ombudsman (TPO) was asked to review a case of a complaint from a leaseholder who charged a management company with poor service across a whole range of issues. The management company disagreed with all complaints. The many issues the Ombudsman was asked to examine included:

A. Service charge statement
B. Cleaning
C. Communal area touch-up/upkeep
D. Window cleaning
E. Communal greenery
F. Communication

The leaseholder was seeking a clear breakdown of service charge costs, better cleaning including the window cleaning, improvement of the condition of the communal areas and the communal greenery, and better communication from the managing agent. The managing agent did not believe that their service fell short in relation to any of the issues raised.

A. Service charge statement

The leaseholder was unhappy with some of the service charges within the statement and the clarity of the service charge document. The Ombudsman also made the observation that the charges made were in line with the lease provisions.

In relation to the clarity of the service charge document, it was noted that it was accompanied with a copy of the approved budget which the Ombudsman considered was sufficiently clear to understand the service charges. The Ombudsman did not support this complaint.

B.  Cleaning

The leaseholder was unhappy with cleanliness of the building, stating that there was constantly rubbish all over the development and specifically referring to dog faeces remaining outside of the entrance. However, no evidence was provided to show the uncleanliness was reported to the agent.

The Ombudsman explained to the leaseholder that it was reasonable for the agent to be provided with an opportunity to address concerns before they were escalated to TPO. The Ombudsman also noted that the agent had contacted the cleaning company following the matter being raised with TPO. Given the lack of evidence presented and the requirement to first raise issues with the agent, the Ombudsman did not support the complaint.

C.  Communal area touch-up/upkeep

The leaseholder complained that the internal communal areas were run down and dirty. In response the agent had advised that the communal areas would be touched up once the freeholder had left the site and in line with the lease agreement, the internal communal areas could be considered for redecoration every five years but that they would look into areas that may require a few touch ups earlier.

The managing agent did not believe that their service fell short.

The Ombudsman noted that the agent had taken into account the requirements of the lease and had offered a reasonable resolution. Accordingly, the Ombudsman did not support this complaint.

D.  Window cleaning

The leaseholder was unhappy with the quality of the window cleaning services. This was agreed by the freeholder as a bi-annual service and under a contract that was not due to be renewed for a period of time.

As the freeholder was responsible for negotiating the contract, the Ombudsman explained that the managing agent was not directly responsible for the service agreed. The agent had advised that they would look to change contractors when possible. The Ombudsman concluded the response was reasonable and did not support the complaint.

E.  Communal greenery

The leaseholder was unhappy with the plants in the communal areas stating they had been dead for a year and not replaced. Again, no evidence was provided by the leaseholder to support the claim. The agent had instructed the gardener to remove dead plants but would not be able to plant any more until the appropriate season and this would be included in a future service charge. The Ombudsman concluded they had acted appropriately and did not support the complaint.

F.  Communication

The leaseholder felt that communication between residents and the managing agent was very poor, and not enough was being done to share information with all the residents. The agent stated that they had introduced a live portal where residents could raise queries. This provided all leaseholders with the means to communicate with the agent and visa-versa. There was no evidence that any leaseholder had experienced problems accessing and using the portal or receiving the quarterly newsletter. Given these developments, the Ombudsman was satisfied that the agent’s communication with the leaseholders was sufficient and therefore did not support the complaint.


For the reasons outlined, the Ombudsman did not support any of the complaints and therefore no award of compensation was made. Importantly, it was also explained to the leaseholder that if issues of concern occur the agent should always be given the opportunity to address those concerns and propose resolutions. In this case it was clear that the agent was willing and able to do so, had the leaseholder used the communication tools made available to her the by the agent.

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