Being careful about service charges | Dailytrust

Being careful about service charges

Learning is a continuous process; it is an on-going process, you learn every day and the day you stop learning, that is the day you die.

There is a trend in Abuja about serviced and furnished apartments, these are usually likened to home away from home; the tenants have access to the complete package. It is usually a situation of pay and park-in with just your clothing, and in some cases beddings and utensils.

This type of accommodation may also offer facilities similar to those offered by hotels or a B&B (a bed and breakfast arrangement) but each rental arrangement is different depending on services provided and the duration of the rental.

Service charge is not a landlord’s money. It is not a profit making venture. It does not exonerate the landlords from fulfilling their obligation/liabilities under the lease. This helps to forestall (prevent) conflicts between the stakeholders.

Some of the challenges faced in managing a serviced and furnished apartment go beyond collection of rent and service charge, they also include wear and tear of furniture, maintenance and repairs, deferred maintenance, void periods, badly-behaved tenants, disputes/conflicts in service charge administration, among others.

I want to advise that solutions to apartment management challenges include effecting marketing and leasing of vacant spaces to avoid void periods, tenant screening to avoid problematic or badly-behaved tenants.

Others include inspections: – move-in inspections with inventorization, collecting and holding security and caution deposits, timely property maintenance and repairs and resolving tenants’ disputes and complaints.

One should always get a lawyer to prepare a well-detailed tenancy agreement detailing what the service charge covers and a clause stating that the service charge is a deposit which can be augmented.

This is key and has saved many on several occasions especially when tenants demands too much and do not fall under the services stated to be provided, or when there is call for argumentation of the service charge during unforeseen circumstances like the increment in diesel prices. 

So the lease agreement is a key driver for harmony between both parties.

One needs to realize that any action is a good action, you have to be proactive and not reactive as it will prevent several unnecessary or unpleasant situations. It makes you to be in charge and in control of managing the serviced and furnished apartment.

 

Esv. Chika Nnebedum, is a property manager in Abuja

 

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