Steven & Debra Abel


Steven and Debra specialize in turning around poorly run blocks of flats into desirable homes for the benefit of their leaseholders. They met while working for Lloyds Bank 30 years ago. Steven was quickly promoted within retail banking before changing direction and switching to IT as a business systems analyst and project manager, later leaving the bank to set up his own IT consultancy business. He contracted into major PLC companies and local government. His specialist area was the transformation of outdated systems and processes to provide high-quality customer services.

After eight years of travelling extensively throughout the UK and Europe, Steven and Debra decided that the time was right for them to set up their own property business. They have been operating their block management and residential lettings business from their High Street premises in Somerset since 2007.

The reason they chose property was, as property investors for many years, they were increasingly disillusioned with the poor service that was being delivered. They set on a quest to learn everything they could about the property management business. This exposed them to the good, the bad and the downright ugly sides of how the property management industry runs. They spoke with leading experts in the country, including advisors to the House of Lords to gain knowledge. Their intention was to be professionally qualified and to provide the ultimate management company experience possible to leaseholders and freeholders.

They are members of ARMA, IRPN, NFOPP, and ARLA, which demonstrates their dedication and commitment to high standards of customer service and care.


Following the elation of purchasing your flat, the bubble is soon burst by your first service charge demand envelope thudding down on your doormat. You vaguely recall a passing comment from your solicitor about a service charge, but you thought this had already been paid with the purchase and now realize that this will be an annual charge. You start to worry and get stressed out about this, so you speak to one of your neighbors who confirm that the charge is correct and that they don’t seem to see anything happen for their money. It seems that as a leaseholder you pay for everything, have little or no say and don’t seem to get any benefit.

In this book, you will learn how practically a block of flats should be managed for the benefit of both the leaseholder and freeholder. How careful management systems and communication can take away the stress of being a leaseholder, provide you with a great place to live and hopefully a good return on your investment when you come to sell.

While they have gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience, it is abundantly clear that the industry is so hung up on the legal aspects that it ignores the practical side of running a block of flats for the benefit of the leaseholders and freeholders.


• To understand what owning a leasehold property means—what the legal profession does not seem to explain.
• To understand service charge and what can and cannot be included in it.
• When service charges have been legally demanded correctly and when they’re not.
• What information freeholders and leaseholders must have and how to interpret this.
• To avoid conflicts between leaseholders and freeholders.
• Careful monitoring of costs should eliminate budget shortfalls.
• A robust collection of service charge ensures that everyone is paying.
• Avoid the pain of buying cheap and having to buy twice.


How to turn your flat from a liability into an asset.

• Why you should read this book and things to consider before purchasing a flat.
• How to avoid conflict between leaseholders and freeholders?
• Make living in a flat work for you.
• Recognize the qualities that make a good managing agent.
• What to do if living in a flat goes wrong.
• I’m a leaseholder! What does that mean?