RICS Code of Practice for Service Charge Management published today (April 6, 2009) has received Government approval from the housing minister, Iain Wright MP, Communities and Local Government.
"I am pleased to be able to approve the new RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code," commented housing minister Iain Wright. "This code will be an effective tool in driving up management standards in the leasehold property sector, and is part of the overall action we are taking with industry to improve service and information for consumers in the home buying and selling process."
The code of practice, first published in 1997, has been updated to incorporate the provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (where implemented). It will apply to all leasehold properties where a service charge is payable, and the landlord is not a public sector authority or Registered Social Landlord (RSL).
This Code promotes good practice in management of residential leasehold property, and provides a basis for determining how management should be undertaken including legislative requirements and good practice, such as:
Service charges, ground rent & administration charges
Accounting for other people's money
Accounting for service charges and auditing of service charge accounts
Contractors and repairs
Provision of information
Complaints about property managers
"Successful management can only be achieved through cooperation and a mutual understanding of the procedures necessary for the effective management of property as well as of the problems that can arise," says RICS member Gerry Fox FRICS. "The Code is, therefore, intended to be read by landlords, tenants, occupiers and managers of leasehold property and managing agents. Whilst we understand there are cost implications of managing residential properties to the standard specified by this Code, the benefits in terms of improved service and the level of satisfaction should make any additional cost worthwhile in the long run."