Housing · Transport

Common Hold

What is needed is equal standard of housing for all.

Common Hold is another type of management company for buildings owned by a owner management company. It was introduced in England in 2002. I read through the government guidelines. This concept is all about owners of flats within the system having the right to determine improvements or changes to the areas they commonly share.

What about the renters???

Probably one reason why Common hold finds it difficult to establish in Britain is the fact that most leasehold owned properties are in blocks, owned by a HMO, which also rents to individuals.

It is discriminating if only long-term owners have a right to determine developments but not renters. The government wants to bring in a ‘use your rent towards your mortgage’ system.

Renters pay a high price towards their dwellings and must be able to expect that buildings standards reflect the level of improvement that is included with their rent. Currently in leasehold owned mixed estates, I’ve heard it plenty of times that improvements cannot be completed because the leaseholders had to pay towards it and it would be too expensive for them to do. HMO / ALMO managers withhold services in consideration of leaseholders protests or inability to pay.

Photo by Miten Patel on Pexels.com

If improvements are made, which a large number of leaseholders cannot pay for, the owner can expect a lot of the dwellings to be sold, which will disrupt the social management of the estate.

On the other hand if in ALMO managed estates, improvements get made to the direct renters of the ALMO, it is often seen that leaseholders cannot afford to keep up and we see quite often that the doors/windows of leaseholders look old and shabby whilst the property of renters has the new shiny doors and windows.

Whilst tenants still pay their rent including all repairs and improvements the practise that landlords hold back on improvements because it could hurt leaseholders is unreasonable. It is also unreasonable that owners cannot up-keep their property in line with the rest of the ALMO renters.

A Common Hold block must provide equality for all who live there, whether renters or owners.

The Common Hold system must include a voice of renters to be able to determine their level of rent to include repairs, improvements etc and that level of rent must be adjusted if leaseholders or common holders objects to works because it would be too expensive for them but the renters still pay the same rent in the expectation that the building is kept to a certain standard.

We’d have to stop giving owners or renters the only choice on the standards of improvement on blocks.

Determination for improvements with ALMOS are often made entirely by the housing management without consulting tenants or leaseholders. We’ve had bad quality improvements made from grants given by central government for internal repairs, meaning most fittings had to be replaced quickly. External improvements were queried mainly by the leaseholders who wanted to bring their bills down. Many of those leaseholders could not afford to pay towards the internal improvements tenants had paid for by grants.

I know of one local managed building in Meath Crescent where the management company is being taken to court over their service. Housing management is not overseen strictly by housing inspectors like schools are. Building management is left to the individuals who run them. The standard of housing must be more tightly regulated in principle for deregulation of ownership to be successful.

I think it would be good if all housing developments would include by default a certain number of properties for short-lets, so that people who have short term jobs can move easily around the country if needed. Most of these ideas always only target long-term owners, when the employment conditions have become more short term and employment and housing conditions must match for both to work successfully for people who work and live here.

Now parking will be deregulated in Tower Hamlets, in that paid for numbered parking spaces will be removed in favour of a right to park with a resident permit. Yet another policy introduced from above, for which rate payers pay but consent is not 100%.

Such rules with respect to parking will effect any type of housing development within any borough and have a great influence on the determination of architecture, service provision and cost.

Such schemes are bound to upset someone and local business must feel comfortable with all housing arrangements in an area and proposed Common Holds got to get a grip on this too.