Why Join RTM?
Leaseholders (apartment owners) should register to become a Member of the RTM company. This is the group that has access to RTM Company information and documents such us: AGM, Minutes an update from Meetings and Annual Accounts; and crucially, elects the RTM Directors. See below for details of Member Registration.
Why join the RTM?
A message from Mark James CBE
Chair, RTM Board of Directors
Consort was the managing company engaged by the builders/freeholders to run Century Wharf after it was built. As a result of Consort’s activity and attitude, members of the then Residents’ Association who were frustrated and feeling that they were getting nowhere with their requests for change and improvement, decided that enough was enough and commenced the legal process to form a Right to Manage Company (RTM), which would wrest control of Century Wharf away from Consort and into the hands of Leaseholders themselves.
To do this, a majority of Leaseholders needed to agree to this course of action, signing up to the process, which they did. This was achieved through the hard work and determination of a dedicated band of Leaseholders. The legal process then commenced, proving to be a tortuous and expensive process, involving an application to the LVT (Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) and the production of evidence to persuade the Tribunal to grant control to the RTM.
Craig Stevens, Managing Director of Warwick Estates was brought in by the then Directors of the RTM and he agreed to underwrite the costs of the Tribunal process, some £50,000. In return, the Directors undertook to employ Warwick Estates as managing agents for an initial one year term, should the Tribunal case succeed.
In the event, after many long months and legal wrangles, the application succeeded and the RTM was granted control of the site. They immediately terminated Consort’s contract and brought in Warwick Estates.
However, the full meaning of the RTM is that as Leaseholders, through elected Directors, have the right to manage Century Wharf. The Directors now set the budget, agree programmes of maintenance work, deal with anything that needs urgent attention, sets the estate rules, and generally oversee the work undertaken by Warwick Estates.
The RTM formally took over from Consort on 14 August 2014. Five Directors were initially chosen to run the site and put together a budget to do so. This was over 10% less than that paid to Consort in the previous year. The total budget for running Century Wharf is now around £2m. (Under Consort it had been as much as £2.3m).
This budget essentially pays for staff (£500k – we have around 20), water and sewage charges (£300k), insurance for buildings and the site (some £180k), Warwick management fees (£120k), general repairs (£100k), leisure centre (£90k), fire alarm system (£85k), grounds maintenance (£45k), common part (stairs, lifts etc) electricity (£150k), gates and barriers (£35k) etc.
Since taking over, the RTM has striven to keep expenditure down, which broadly speaking we have, and to avoid what used to happen under Consort, which was leaseholders receiving large, often unexplained and certainly unexpected year end service charge adjustments – ie bills! Often these were for hundreds of £s and were certainly unwelcome and unwanted.
The RTM has also recovered some £54,000 from British Gas for over charged electricity supply. And we have resolved a very long standing issue of serious overcharging and misallocation of charges for electricity in Hansen Court, which saw some leaseholders receive refunds of £2000.
We have also ensured that our managing agents have no incentive to spend. Consort used to charge additional fees of 10% to 15% on many items of expenditure. Indeed we are suing them for what could end up being £170k of unlawfully levied fees on top of water charges (contrary to the Water Act 2001 and Water Order 2006). Only the RTM is big enough to take Consort on for this.
The RTM has also begun a forward work maintenance programme. We have already cleaned the render around the site. This had not been done for up to 15 years on parts of the site which were built first in 2001. This has returned the site to its original pristine state. We have also got a grip of the grounds maintenance around the site, removing the previous useless contractor and engaging a new contractor (Anthony’s Garden Services) to blitz the site last Autumn and make many improvements this year.
We now have a painting and decorating work programme which will see the most neglected blocks being re-painted first, with the rest to follow.
We are in the midst of a fire alarm system replacement programme in 16 of the 35 blocks as these systems have been condemned.
ALL of the above is being done without the need to increase service charges as we are using the monies that Consort took off leaseholders for many years and put into reserves to do the work, but never did. We will replenish these reserves gradually and use them prudently.
Finally, some blocks have had major defects that have not been addressed for over 10 years. We have got hold of this and through tenacity, bloody minded-ness and the ability (as an RTM) to coordinate claims and specialists, we succeeded in a £1.2million insurance claim at Porto/Bordeaux House which saved each leaseholder over £15,000 and avoided the block being taken down entirely and re-built, which would have been highly disruptive for residents who would have had to move out for up to a year!! None of this would have happened without the RTM.
We are currently working on a similar problem in another block.
The RTM exists for the benefit of the Leaseholders. Directors are elected by Leaseholders and are usually leaseholders themselves. Directors are unpaid. However, they bring a range of skills to bear and run Century Wharf professionally, working with staff at Warwick to ensure Century Wharf is the best place to live in Cardiff and that service charges are reasonable, predictable and are properly used to run Century Wharf.
We encourage all Leaseholders to join the RTM. It is for your benefit. There are no fees to join and the only liability should anything ever go wrong is £1. As a member, you have access to the Directors and can raise matters direct with them. You can ask for matters of concern to be discussed at Directors’ meetings. You can also attend our AGM, which we hold each year in December or January. You will also receive regular quarterly updates on what we are doing and be informed if there is anything of significance taking place on site.
All you need to do to join is to fill in the pro forma application. It takes just a few minutes of your time.
Mark James CBE
Chair, Century Wharf RTM Companies
The following RTM membership application form may be copied, completed and emailed to Patty Nowak, Administration Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also visit Patty in person, in the management office on the north gate, to fill in the form.
Application for Membership of RTM Company
I am a qualifying tenant of (address of flat):
and wish to become a member of the above RTM Company, subject to the provisions of the Articles of Association of the company and to any rules made under those Articles. I agree to:
Pay the Company an amount of £1 if the Company is wound up while I am a Member, or for up to 12 months after I have ceased to become a Member.
Email Address (optional)
Note: A person is the qualifying tenant of a flat he/she has been granted a Lease for a term of years exceeding 21 years. This form must be signed by all parties that are registered Title Owners of the property.
Please also note that the £1 is the amount you agree to pay the company only if the company is wound up while you are a Member, or up to 12 months after you have ceased to become a Member. It is not required with this application.