Change Your Managing Agent

Leaseholders! You CAN change your managing agent.  This article explains how. Many leaseholders don’t realise they are in charge and can bring in new management. Too many assume the management comes with the block.

Getting rid of poor property management companies is not easy. If it were you wouldn’t be reading this. Before we get to the action plan we need to agree first principles: what exactly is bad management? Time and time again it’s the same issues. Over to the Aaagh!-ometer.

The Aaagh!-ometer


Aaagh!-ometer Score

Failure to answer the phone and respond to messages


Lack of onsite presence


Unclear service charge bills


High insurance premiums


Poor day to day services like gardening and cleaning


Not knowing where your money goes



If your blood is beginning to boil - it’s no surprise. Unfortunately these issues are common. The list reflects our experience as an experienced property management company in London. It also includes some of the leaseholder research conducted for the London Assembly’s report ‘Highly Charged’ –  an investigation into leaseholder service charges in the capital.

What Can I Do About Bad Management?

Now we know what makes for bad block management what can we do about it?

There’s something called the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (the LVT is a statutory tribunal, a kind of court) which can help, but it generally only tackles disputes between the leaseholder and their landlord - not the managing agent. There’s no established recourse in law to tackle bad managing agents. And, in spite of a call by many in the sector, managing agents have no regulatory body.

Change Your Managing Agent at your Block of flats

The managing agents’ trade bodies like ARMA and IRPM offer some support but they don’t have the teeth of a regulating authority. To further compound the problem unlike most service users leaseholders cannot simply vote with their feet and switch suppliers.

Change Your Managing Agent: The Plan

First things first – do you have the right to ‘hire and fire’ your managing agent? If your block has a Management Company (see sample lease below) – good news – the Directors (block residents who have volunteered to become Directors) have the authority to change your new managing agent. If you’re not a Director but want to become one, you can. Read on…

First let’s assume there is a management company called Rose Court Management Company Limited. When you bought your flat you would have been made a shareholding member of this Limited Company. As a shareholder of Rose Court Management Company Limited you are important! Shareholders, (aka members), are ‘senior’ to Directors. (But being a Director of a Limited Company is a very responsible position. More of that later).

The Hierarchical Structure Of A Resident Management Company

How To Change Your Managing Agent. Diagram

The Directors are often active residents within the block who wish to get involved in the management. The Directors are appointed by, and answer to, the shareholders. The Directors instruct the managing agent.

As an example: if you, as a shareholder of Rose Court Management Company Limited, were for whatever reason unhappy with a Director, say Robert from Flat 4, you could call a meeting and ask for a vote seeking Robert’s removal. The process is democratic though. If the majority of shareholders voted in favour of Robert – Robert stays on as a Director. The point is, it’s the shareholders’ call.

How Do I Become A Director?

As mentioned where there is a Management Company in place you can seek the support of the shareholding members (your fellow residents) to become a Director. First, you should try asking the existing Directors for their support to appoint you to the Management Company Board. Remember Directors are kind of role models for the block so if you are in breach of your lease with, say, arrears you’ll have to fix that first.

Change Your Managing Agent, service charge bill

Sometimes no one has put themselves forward to be a Director and the managing agents have assumed the role. In which case you can write to your managing agents and instruct them to convene an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting (AGM or EGM) with the business being your appointment as a Director. The managing agents will then write to everyone in the block informing them of the AGM/EGM and your proposal to be voted in as a Director. Your neighbours can then attend the meeting to vote or vote by proxy.

If you prefer you can of course ask a couple of other leaseholder neighbours to become Directors too.  It can help to spread the responsibilities.

Lobbying your neighbours and sharing your plans for the block in the run up to the meeting is an effective way to win support for your appointment.  You’ll find leaseholders are only too happy for someone to take charge of issues at the block.

Once the meeting’s been agreed lobby your neighbours for support. Leaseholders can vote in person or by proxy.

Bear in mind the Director role is a very responsible position and is governed by, amongst other legislation, the Companies Act 2006. You’ll be legally responsible for the financial side of things as well as health and safety and so on. Make sure you are insured too.

Does My Block Have An Established Management Company?

Leases with a management company are often called tri-party because there are three parties to the lease: the freeholder, the Management Company, and the leaseholder(s). Like this:

——-L E A S E——–

DATED 1999








Pycroft Limited is the freeholder. Principal Lofts Management Company Limited is the Management Company. And Jon and Sarah are the leaseholders.

To find out if your block has an established Management Company just check your lease. If you haven’t got a lease get one from the solicitor who carried out your property purchase. Or get one from the Land Registry.

Usually all the leaseholders are members of the Management Company.

As a Director of the Management Company you have the authority to change managing agents. Obviously you’ll need to work with the other Directors and company Members to effect the change. Make sure you’re prepared. Timing can be important i.e. making the change at the end of the service charge year is sensible. And what notice is in the current management agreement? What else do you need to do to make sure the transition is seamless?

What If My Block Does Not Have A Management Company?  

You still have options.

Under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 you and your neighbours can get together and apply for the Right To Manage.  There are some legal criteria you need to meet. Find out more on our Right To Manage page.

Alternatively you can club together with your neighbours and buy the freehold to your property.  Owning the freehold gives you and your neighbours the ultimate authority.

Or under Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 where the management of a property by the landlord is considered unsatisfactory and the tenants are unable to exercise the Right To Manage and there is no other remedy available to the tenants, likely to improve things, you can apply to the LVT for the appointment of a manager.

Provided the LVT is satisfied that the case warrants such action, it may make an order to replace your Property Management company with a manager named by the LVT.

The new manager need not be a managing agent, but could be a lessee or other responsible person. The manager could delegate tasks to a managing agent, but ultimate responsibility remains with the manager appointed by the LVT.

Remember if you feel you’re block is suffering with a poor managing agent you CAN do something about it.


  1. hi, am looking for some advice re changing managing agent. I have a freehold flat which is one of two in a converted house, I have a deed of covenant which stipulates the proportional amounts payable for insurance repairs etc, I wish to get rid of the current managing agent and either diy or engage another.
    How much does being a freeholder change the processes that I’ve read about re leaseholders
    David Strickland

    • Hi David I’m not sure I exactly undertstand the question. Generally being the f/h gives many advantages – but you seem to have grasped that bit. What specifically do you need to know? By all means email me on: [email protected] or call us at Your Home Prperty Managenment 020 8257 7663. We will be glad to help. Best regards, James.

  2. Hello Jim,

    I am looking to change the management company in our leasehold flats building.

    Please advise about the process and cost for a building with 16 flats.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Karun

      Thanks for your comment. Good to talk to you last week and good luck with your RTM! Regards, James.

  3. I would like my FH to change their managing agent. We do not qualify for Right to manage, as there is a shop on the ground floor. The FH and the managing agent are all part of one family and wont want to change. The managing agent has cost me thousands are are awful people. For several years they sent demands for insurance premiums to a long since defunct address and now I have to pay about £12,000 in solicitors fees and late payments, or face eviction under forfeiture of lease within a couple of weeks. A few years ago they tried to increase the ground rent 700%, way higher than the lease allows. Any suggestions please? I am drafting a letter to all the directors of the Freehold company, requesting they change managing agency, but they are all the same famly as the managing agency and I wont have a chance.

    • Hi Alex

      Sounds a very stressful situation. I’d suggest forcing the purchase of your freehold. Which the freeholders cannot prevent. The only thing they can negotiate on is the price. And if you are unhappy with their price you take it to a Tribunal who decide the price for both parties. More here:

      Good luck, James. 07715 328711.

  4. Hello! We are a block of 10 flats and are experiencing extremely poor service from the management company and costs they cannot explain.

    Is it possible to change the management company without going for RTM? Do I need to summon an AGM with the management company to become a Director or can I just lodge the case with a tribunal without being a director?

    • Hi Emma

      Thanks. You may be able to fire your current agents – do you think the current Directors want to fire them too? If so – they can. You’re welcome to email me direct on [email protected] – regards, James.

  5. Hi James,
    I live in a complex consisting of 456 flats we are freehold and leasehold we have a management agent to manage this large Estate but I feel that we are not getting value for money we are coming up to an AGM. Is it possible for me to bring up at the AGM a vote of no confidence in the management agent we do have a committee and about 6 directors on this committee at the moment but more residents of this block of flats want to join the committee as the place has become a bit of a state where maintenance is not of a high standard we do pay a service charge to ensure that all works are carried out please advise the AGM is on the 8th of March

    • Hi Katrina

      Thanks for your message. Only Directors can hire and fire the managing agents. The question is: do the Directors – and other leaseholders – feel the same as you?

      If so I’d attend the AGM and suggest a change in management. Pretty straightforward so long as you have the Directors on side.

      If however the Directors are happy with the managing agents – but the wider leaseholders aren’t – then I’d suggest a vote of no confidence (at the AGM) in the Directors and get them removed and replaced with other leaseholders.

      Always remember: the Directors report to the leaseholders (as shareholders of the company). If the leaseholders are unhappy with the Directors then they can remove them via a vote of no confidence.

      Does that help?

      Kind regards, James.

  6. Hi,
    I am one of two directors of an RTM responsible for two adjacent blocks of flats. The RTM was set up after most of the owners got together and agreed that we needed to put management in the hands of a different company (the result of poor revive and soaring costs). The new management company did well by us for a few years but more recently was taken over by a bigger outfit. We weren’t told about this or consulted. We found out by accident. Since then, everything has gone to pot — Costs soaring, the blocks falling into disrepair because work isn’t being done, emails going unanswered. We judge that the company is multiply in breach of the original contract (still in force we assume, even though the company overtaken trades now by another name). That contract requires 3 months’ notice and the agreement can only lapse on January 9th, the date in which it first came into force. How should we proceed if we wish to fire this company and have another take over. Given that they are seriously in breach of half a down clauses in the contract, are we still obliged to wait till next January?
    Thank you. Philip Hoy

  7. We are a block of 6 flats with the right to manage we have 2 directors. The Directors employed a Management agent who are useless The shareholders called a EGM 5 votes to remove the agent but they take no notice as they say it has to be in writing and agreed by both directors , one director disagrees so will not sign to dismiss the agent so we are not sure what do do next Can we call another EGM to dismiss that director ?

    • Hi Susan Thanks. Yes the Directors are subordinate to the shareholders. If the majority of shareholders want the Director to go they have to go. Just call an EGM and have a vote of no confidence – assuming a majority do vote then the Director has to go. Make sense? Regards, James.

  8. I just recently purchased a leasehold flat , and did not expect to be hounded by the management agency (a person that has apparently bought the management portfolio for the block that I live in , with consistent letters emails and visits on a Saturday morning from her to say that other tennants (that rent the other property’s)are complaining that if they can hear me doing my housework (hoovering etc) and that if she has to send me another letter I will be charged ! I feel she is abusing her position to use as a bullying factor against me as I am new to the area.
    As she states that she has bought the management portfolio for the block that I live in and I can really do anything about it ! What are my rights ? It’s really affecting my health and I feel a bit violated from her intrusion

    • Hi Corinne

      Sounds awful and very frustrating. Yo should dispute the charges on the grounds of reasonableness. A simple letter is a good start. If your management agency is unresponsive (or disagrees with you) you’ll need the help of a solicitor. Good luck! James.

  9. we would like to remove block management agent and would like to apply section 24 notice to tribunal . We need guidance that How should apply tribunal section 24 & 23 notice .

    • Hi Janani

      As this is a technical area you are best advised to contact an experienced leasehold solicitor. I can recommend solicitors if you struggle to find anyone via Google etc. Good luck! James.

  10. Hi James,
    We are a block of 9 flats that have formed an RTM company primarily as the freeholders appointed agents are unsatisfactory. We will be taking over management from 1st May, however the current agents have issued demands for the annual property budget and annual management fees, which are dated 1st April. So, while they are still technically still in charge for 1 month do we have to pay these charges? We have contacted them but they are unhelpful only mentioning the possible issuance of credit notes by the RTM.
    Many thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to offer.

    • Hi Chirayush

      That sounds frustrating. You might need legal advice which could be expensive. Probably best just to pay on a pro rata basis i.e. for the month concerned. Good luck, James.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *