Dear Leaseholders,

 

Now that we have been in place at Winckley House for a few months we wanted to provide a few updates on what has been done so far and what lies ahead for Winckley House.

Bin Store, Cleaning and Fire Safety Equipment Testing

We have put in place a weekly cleaning and fire safety equipment testing programme.

High traffic areas, such as the entrance hallway and the main stairwell, are cleaned weekly. This includes the vacuuming of all carpeted areas, dusting of skirting boards and removal of any litter. The junk mail rack is emptied and any discarded mail on top of the post boxes is removed. In addition to this, two different floor levels are cleaned weekly on a rotational basis.

The fire alarm is also tested at this time to ensure its correct functionality as well as other safety checks around the building.

The caretaker ensures that the bins are collected weekly by the council and put back into the bin stores.

Decorating

We have conducted decorating works in the communal hallway and stairwell to improve the aesthetics of the building and will continue to carry out these works over the coming months.

Roof Repairs

We are aware that the building has a Council Enforcement Notice on it regarding the roof. The Freeholder/Developer has arranged for contractors to make the necessary repairs and we will of course assist in providing access whenever required. These works will be paid for by the Freeholder/Developer and will not come out of block funds.

Lifts

The 2 lifts at Winckley House are believed to be over 25 years old. Lifts of this age will always be more susceptible to breakdowns and have proven to be very unreliable.

When we first took on the management of Winckley House, we conducted our own due diligence to ensure all the correct, up to date Health and Safety requirements were in place. Neither lift at Winckley House had a working auto dialler button which meant that in the event of an entrapment, there was no way to call for help especially as phone signal in the building is poor. Therefore, we took the lifts out of action immediately to get the necessary lines installed. Unfortunately, we were in the hands of external contractors, BT and Openreach, who were very overstretched and consequentially unreliable and incredibly slow which resulted in these works taking far longer than anyone hoped or anticipated. The lifts themselves during this time, were not broken or in need of repair – they simply needed this safety feature installed to meet current legislation. This was especially essential when we had been made aware of the unreliability of the lifts prior to our management.

BT and Openreach installed these lift lines at the end of August and the lift servicing company, Sheridan Lifts, were able to connect these lines. Both lifts are now back in operation.

However, the issue remains that these lifts are old and have proved to be unreliable. We have put in place a quarterly maintenance and service programme to try and limit any breakdowns however we have been advised that the lifts need to be electrically refurbished as the majority of past call outs have resulted from electrical malfunctions within the control systems. The cost of this refurbishment would be between £15,000 and £30,000 per lift.

These are not works that the block can afford to do at this time however we will closely monitor the lifts and any breakdowns to see whether these costs are necessary in the near future. Either way, it would be prudent (and in our opinion, essential) to start building up a reserve fund to allow for any such expenditure in the future.

Gym

We understand that many of you were sold your apartment with the expectation that there would be a gym at Winckley House. There is a space on the ground floor at the front of the building which had been set aside for this however it had not been completed. The Freeholder/Developer does not wish to spend any more funds in this area, which would mean any further works would need to come from service charge funds.

We have received some quotes and the equipment alone would work out to cost approximately £600 per month to hire which would need to be added to the existing service charge budget. On average this would increase each leaseholder’s service charge by £8 per month. There would also be Health and Safety requirements such as emergency call points and the redecoration and flooring of the existing space.

We would like leaseholder feedback on how you would like us to proceed on this matter and whether you would be happy to pay the extra funds. We would also need to seek legal advice to ensure that the lease allows for these works as they may be deemed as improvements rather than maintenance which is largely what service charge funds are intended for.

As prudent block managers, we strongly suggest adding a block reserve fund to the service charge budget from the 1 December 2021 which is the start of the new financial year.

Horizon are committed to improving Winckley House within the financial parameters as dictated by the service charge budget.

Yours Sincerely,

Horizon Management

The Horizon Group