Bristol apartment dwellers need support

Published on: 31 Jul 2013

Hundreds of people have moved into apartments in Bristol without fully understanding the problems they might encounter as tenants, according to one of the city’s experts on management of residential blocks.

An increasing number of people unable to get on the property ladder are buying or leasing flats and apartments and then finding they have more responsibilities than they bargained for.

Their lack of experience is having a knock-on effect on the maintenance and running of many of the city’s buildings.

Andrew Simmonds of BNS Management Services in Downend, Bristol, who manage 3,500 residential units in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, said: “There has been a huge upsurge in apartment living across the region but living in a building with others comes with responsibilities.

“Many people are more concerned before they move in about the colour of the carpet or the view from the window than they are about who will maintain the building, whether it has the right level of insurance and who in the apartment is responsible for maintenance.

“Some blocks are maintained by a landlord while others have a management company with every occupier being part of it, which often means that you instantly become a company director when you complete on a purchase and there are responsibilities associated with it.

“Although most people behave in a neighbourly manner we also come across disputes and minor niggles that can grow into huge rows unless it is sorted. People argue about the state of the bins, where bicycles are parked and who is responsible for repairs.

“Unless such issues are dealt with properly and quickly they fester and can become big issues that make life in an apartment unpleasant and difficult. The recession and the fact that a few years ago developers were building lots of apartments means that it is a common issue.

“It is important that property agents and developers explain to tenants their responsibilities when they take on a lease or buy an apartment in the city.”

As well as many new apartments being built around Bristol there has been an increase in bigger, older properties being converted into flats and apartments and even offices and commercial buildings being converted into living space. All are subject to management agreements.

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