Occupier Help

Residential

Policy Statements

The relationship between landlord and tenant, freeholder and leaseholder, is governed by long and often incomprehensible documentation. We publish a range of Plain English policy documents which help to bring about a better understanding of the rights and obligations of all parties

Whilst our properties are managed by outside agents, we encourage our occupiers to communicate directly with us in case of difficulty or complaint

Customer Satisfaction

Dorrington is committed to providing a quality service to its tenants and lessees. We can only achieve that if we are kept informed of any problems you encounter with our staff or our managing agents. If you are unhappy with the service you are receiving we want you to tell us about it. We will take your complaint seriously and deal with it properly and as quickly as possible. If we have made a mistake we will apologise and try to put things right. To make sure that your complaints are brought to the attention of the right people, we have established a complaints procedure.

How to complain:

The best way to make a complaint is in writing. Please tell us what you are unhappy about, what you have done so far to deal with the problem, and what you would like done to sort it out. It will help if you can give us copies of letters/ emails you may have written to us or our managing agents or, if the matter was dealt with on the telephone, the name of the person you spoke to and when the conversation took place.

What we will do:

We will contact you immediately, investigate your complaint, and try to let you have a response within seven days. If the matter requires further investigation we will keep you informed as we go along.

If you are still unhappy:

We will invite you to a meeting in our offices with the relevant managing agents to try to reach a satisfactory outcome.

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

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Lease Extensions

Dorrington is prepared to grant lease extensions to lessees in blocks of flats where we are the freeholder, or where we have a long enough headlease to enable us to grant an extension. In each block of flats we will set a new common termination date.

New leases of between 75 and 150 years will be granted to expire on that common date. The new lease will require payment of an annual ground rent, which will increase every 25 years. Dorrington does not grant leases free of ground rent. The new lease may contain clauses which are not in your current lease. These new clauses are introduced in the interests of good estate management and do not in any way affect the value of the leasehold.

Procedure for granting a lease extension:

On request we will quote the terms for the lease extension including details of the premium required, the new ground rent, the exact length of the term, and the fees to be paid to our solicitors for preparing the documents, including the costs of preparing a new lease plan. You have two months from the date of the quotation to accept the terms of the offer. If you accept, our solicitors’ reasonable costs become payable whether or not the matter proceeds. You have two months from the date on which the legal documents are sent to your solicitors in which to complete the new lease. Failure to meet the two deadlines above will entitle us to revise the terms which have been quoted.

For independent advice on lease extensions please contact:

The Leasehold Advisory Service
Maple House
149 Tottenham Court Road
London
W1T 7BN
Tel: 020 7383 9800

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy

Licence for Alterations

Under the terms of your lease some alterations to your property can only be undertaken with Dorrington's consent. Decorative works and renewal of fixtures and fittings are not regarded as alterations provided that changes to walls, pipework and wastepipes are not involved.

Our consent is required for:

  • any work which affects the structure of the property or services to it;
  • any work that can be seen from the outside; or
  • any work on the outside of the property.
  • any work to the communal hot water/heating services.

We have no objection in principle to any improvements you may want to make to your property provided there are no adverse effects on its structure or appearance, or any impact on other units in the property. We will consider all applications carefully and will make a decision as quickly as possible after receiving the opinion of our professional advisors. If you wish to make alterations which may require our consent, you should write to the managing agents telling them the type of alteration. They will advise you whether Dorrington's consent is necessary. If it is not, you may proceed with the work. If the managing agents believe our consent is or may be required, they will ask you for:

  • a cheque to cover the costs of appointing a surveyor to represent us in reviewing the plans and, if necessary, supervising the works in so far as they affect our or adjoining owners' property
  • full details of the proposed work including where necessary detailed architects' and engineers' drawings as well as engineers' calculations; and an undertaking to meet any other reasonable costs we may incur in considering and supervising the work.

When these requirements have been met, the managing agents will instruct surveyors to consider the information on our behalf. If we give our consent, solicitors may be instructed to draw up a Licence for Alterations. This document is important and should form part of the title deeds of your property which will be needed when you sell. In certain circumstances the managing agents themselves will draw up the Licence. Fees are payable in both cases. Before you even start this process, you should ask the managing agents for an estimate of the costs of applying for and receiving a Licence for Alterations. You may also ask for a copy of a standard Licence for Alterations so that you can familiarise yourself with the conditions involved. Local authority consent may be required in some cases.

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy

Noise Nuisance

It is important that all our tenants and lessees are able to enjoy their own homes and be free, as far as possible, from the noise and inconsiderate behaviours or others. We therefore take noise nuisance very seriously and will not hesitate to take action against those who cause a nuisance.

Remember that your lease and/or tenancy agreement restricts the times during which you may play musical instruments and there are also restrictions on the hours you may listen to music or use television or video equipment in such a way that it may cause a nuisance to or disturb others.

Sound insulation, particularly between flats that have been converted from houses, is sometimes poor. Please keep volume levels of radios, hi-fi equipment and televisions as low as possible. Keep them away from party walls. By doing so you are likely to minimise the inconvenience caused to your neighbours.

Other things to bear in mind include:

  • Let your neighbours know if you're going to have a party and finish any parties at a reasonable hour.
  • Avoid doing any noisy housework like vacuuming late at night or early in the morning.
  • Do not do any noisy DIY late at night or early in the morning.
  • Noise travels through open windows so be particularly considerate during the summer.
  • Remember that if your neighbours have young children, they go to bed earlier - and that, if you have children yourself, others can hear them too!
  • You may also have a provision in your lease which requires you to carpet the floors of your flat. Please do not make any alterations to flooring or floor coverings without reference to your lease and to your managing agents.

We generally refuse consent for the installation of timber floors because, in spite of manufacturers' claims, they transmit noise and have poor sound insulation qualities. In our experience, carpets are the best form of sound insulation.

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy

Rent Collection

Dorrington's policy is to act as a responsible landlord and to deal fairly with our tenants and lessees. Your rent will be due as defined by your tenancy agreement/lease or rent registration, usually on a calendar month basis in advance. Some rents are payable quarterly or six monthly. Some rents are paid by standing order. If the rent is unpaid on the due date you will be sent a reminder.

What you need to do:

Be aware of the date that your rent is due and how much you have to pay. Ensure that you pay the rent due to the managing agents. Many tenants find it easier to arrange payments by standing order, and we encourage this method. Please do not ignore reminders or letters advising you that we intend to take recovery action. Do not arbitrarily withhold your rental payments. If you have a query about your account, raise it in writing with our managing agents, but your payment must be made.

Non-payment of rent:

If rent is outstanding we will have to take action. After the managing agents have reminded you of your obligations to pay, you may then be issued with a Statutory Notice advising you of our intention to begin legal proceedings for the recovery of the rent and repossession of your home. The courts can oblige a tenant to pay not only the unpaid rent but costs in relation to the legal proceedings and interest on the unpaid amount. A court judgement can adversely affect your ability to get credit. If you would like to know more about your rights as residential tenant you can obtain a free leaflet published by The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions from:

DETR Free Literature
PO Box 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB
Tel: 0870 1226 236
Fax: 0870 1226 237

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy

Service Charge Collection

Dorrington's policy is to act as a responsible landlord and to deal fairly with our leaseholders. Late service charge payments can adversely affect our managing agents' ability to effectively manage your property. A well-managed and maintained property enhances the value of your investment in your home and your quality of life.

Cash balances in service charge accounts earn interest for the benefit of the service charge fund, so it is unfair to lessees who do pay on time to allow others to delay payment, because they still share in the interest accruing. Late payments add to the cost of collection and may result in legal fees, which become part of the service charge and thus penalise those who pay promptly. For all these reasons Dorrington asks its managing agents to insist on prompt payment of service charges.

Collecting the Service Charge:

Service charges are collected in advance in accordance with your lease terms. We ask our managing agents to submit service charge demands, so far as practical, at least 14 days before they are due. If payment is not received by the due date, action will be taken to recover the unpaid sums. Please do not ignore reminder letters or letters advising you that we intend to take recovery action. Interest may be incurred on late payments. Recent changes in law mean that we have to take prompt legal action. As soon as solicitors are instructed costs begin to arise. These may have to be paid directly by you, or by the service charge. If our solicitors begin proceedings, then we will claim against you not only the arrears but also interest on late payment, as well as legal costs. Our last resort for the non-payment of service charges is an action for forfeiture of your lease and repossession of your property. Legal action against you for service charges will result in notices being served on your mortgagees. Bear in mind that judgements obtained for non-payment of service charges may have an adverse effect on your ability to get credit elsewhere.

Your responsibilities:

Be aware of the dates when service charges are due and how much they are. Our managing agents produce full estimates each year and the sum payable by each lessee is established in advance. Please do not arbitrarily withhold service charge sums. If you have a query, raise it in writing, but you must make the payment. If you dispute the sum demanded, there are certain limited grounds on which you may be entitled to a refund:

  • if you believe that the sum expended is not part of the service charge obligation under your lease, or that it is an unreasonable expense; or
  • if you believe that there has been a mistake in the way your account has been maintained or your service charge computed.

In these circumstances you should make these specific points in writing to our managing agents. Your ultimate recourse is to apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a ruling on the reasonableness or otherwise of the charge. We also have the option of going to the Tribunal to demonstrate reasonableness.

Further information and complaints:

If you would like more information on service charges you can obtain a free leaflet published by The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions entitled Long Leaseholders' Rights and Responsibilities. Copies are available from:

DETR Free Literature
PO Box 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB
Tel: 0870 1226 236
Fax: 0870 1226 237

You may also contact:

The Leasehold Advisory Service
Maple House
149 Tottenham Court Road
London
W1T 7BN
Tel: 020 7383 9800

Dorrington requires its managing agents to comply with the RICS Residential Management Code, which was approved by the Secretaries of State for England and Wales under the Terms of Section 87 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. Copies of this document are available from:

RICS Books
12 Great George Street
London SW1P 3AD

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy

Subletting

Dorrington's consent is usually required before subletting of a property can take place. When considering applications to sublet, we will take account of the specific terms of each lease, and will not discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, disability, sex or age. We will also consider the effect any subletting may have on occupiers of other flats and on the condition of the property. Any subletting must be for occupation by a single household. Subletting by sharers will not normally be approved. A subletting may be to a company providing the physical occupation at any one time is by a single household and the name of the occupier is given.

An application for approval of a subletting must be made to the managing agents and be accompanied by:

  • The draft tenancy agreement.
  • Three references for the tenant, including a financial reference, an employer's reference where appropriate, and a personal reference.
  • Payment for the costs of considering the application including any legal or other professional fees, or a solicitor's undertaking to be responsible for such costs.
  • The tenancy agreement must provide for the tenant to comply with the covenants and regulations in the lease.
  • The application for subletting must be made at least five working days before the tenancy agreement is due to be completed.
  • The term of any subletting must be at least six months or more, subject to the terms of your lease and the specific policy for the block of flats. Further details of subletting requirements can be obtained from the managing agents of the property.

If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:

The Managing Director
Dorrington Plc
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611
Email: customer.care@dorrington.co.uk

Read full policy