Section 20 despite long term neglect of the buildings

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    #16
    Here's a photo of my house/flat. Always confused about what to call it.




    I have my own front door which leads to internal stairs.
    That leads up to the living room/kitchen and downstairs toilet
    More stairs leads up to two bedrooms and bathroom

    On the ground floor are actual flats.


    The Building Work

    The white panelling is in a really poor state. Some rotten, splintered, really dirty and horrible.
    The porches have holes in and are being held up by scaffolding in one area
    The guttering is blocked on some houses and overflowing
    The balconies - we've been told we are not allowed to stand on them as they're structurally unsafe
    Attached Files

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      #17
      That picture is coming out really small for some reason, despite clicking "Large" version.

      Here's the full size version: https://i.imgur.com/aCJeN7o.png

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        #18
        Hi redrabbit

        From the photo and description your property appears to be a maisonette. As Gordon999 suggested check the title at the Land Registry for the definition.

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          #19


          A couple of interesting developments:

          1): Letter from 10 years ago

          A lettings agent that rents two houses for leaseholders has a letter from 2010. That was sent by the freeholder in which they outlined their intention to repair and "patch up" balconies, guttering and cladding.

          This was never done.

          More evidence of neglect



          2) I've sent a letter now

          The joint letter that I drafted with everyone has today been hand delivered with 12 signatures of leaseholders. I have asked them to reply by 10th April or something like that.

          The work is due to start in May and we have still not yet entered the formal consultation period.


          3) Meeting with my MP

          After emailing my MP about 3 times, he has agreed to have a meeting with me. I had the option of inviting other leaseholders but I won't at this time as I don't want it to water down discussions.

          The meeting will be in about 2 weeks time

          I'll do some preparation beforehand and have a very clear bullet point list of the issues I want to raise, and also the questions/points I want to make.





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            #20
            UPDATE

            Last August they said they wanted to do major works and they planned to start it in April this year. It would cost 15-20k

            In January they stated they planned the work to start in May and would cost around 10-12k

            It is now nearly July and work has not started. In fact theg stage they received two quotes but they were more than anticipated. They are "reviewing their options"

            ​​​​​​....

            I don't know how long this will go on for. Many of my questions and emails are unanswered.

            My partner has been really struggling and the last week hasn't been good as we are just really desperate to move on with our lives. That is hard when we have no clue when this work will start, how long It will take or even how much it will cost.

            I don't even know exactly what work they're planning other than a list of items like "balcony, guttering, cladding". That is the most detail I have.

            GF wants to try to sell house again and attract buyers with a lot of room for negotiation. And also we will rent after so there will be no chain

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              #21
              Have you instructed a suitably qualified surveyor to prepare a professional report detailing what they consider the cumulative costs would have been if regular maintenance work had been carried out (perhaps sharing the costs with other leaseholders)?

              It sounds like there is a lot of maintenance/repair work that urgently needs to be carried out, but for whatever reason is still not being done. The freeholder needs to get this work done without further delay, and if they aren't doing the work you need to find out why - it may be that they don't have the funds because people are refusing to pay in advance.

              As far as the cost is concerned, I would think that your only hope of getting this reduced is if you can successfully argue that the total costs have increased as a result of neglect. It will be difficult to argue this if the cumulative costs if annual maintenance work had been carried out would come to a similar amount.
              Any leaseholders who have carried out their own repairs may be able to offset the cost of this against future demands, and there is a possibility that a court might grant some compensation as a result of neglect (e.g. for loss of use of parts of the leased property), but this would likely be expensive to pursue and, even if granted, might be less than the legal costs (especially if your leases allows the freeholder to charge their cost of defending legal action back to the leaseholders).

              Engaging fully in the section 20 consultation should help to ensure that the costs of work are reasonable for what is actually carried out.

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