Advice please

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    It seems to me that the agent is trying to tell you something. If supplying you with information is not within his remit, what is within his remit and who is instructing him?

    I do not think that he would ignore the threat of legal action being taken against him.

    You seem to be confused between a business which has a proprietor and a limited company which has one or more directors. Most contractors prefer payments to be made into their business bank accounts, however there is nothing to stop them from asking for payment by other means. You should be asking yourself whether or not the work was carried out, was the price reasonable, were other quotes obtained?


      The agent won't reply to my emails and I doubt he would respond to a solicitors letter either, as if he gave over any company documents it would prove that he is guilty. So it is in his own interest, not to give anything to either me or a.solicitor.

      As for the company that did the external redecoration, they don't appear to have an address of any kind. Only a mobile number, and an email address which I have contacted. But they will not respond to my email or text.
      I think that the decorators and maintenance manager are linked


        Again. I don't think that a company did the external decoration. I think that was as sole trader.

        Although hiding behind mobile phone numbers always feels dodgy to me, if they trade under their real name I don't think they need to give an address. If they use a trade name, you should let trading standards know.


          The agent has no defence to a claim to supply a director with information, so you should instruct the solicitor to take legal action if the agent ignores him, but I do not think that it will come to that.

          I do not understand your point about the contractor. You are at the property 24x7 so did the contractor carry out the works satisfactorily? Did he attend during normal working hours? Did he arrive in a van with his name on it? Is the cost of the work reasonable? There is nothing to stop you as a director from instructing the agent only to appoint contractors who have been approved in advance by the directors.

          It really returns to the issue of whether or not the company has confidence in the agent. As suggested previously, you should call a meeting of directors to consider whether or not to change the agent.


            The contractor quoted and did the work, but I have found out that cheques are being paid 'personally' to the proprietor and nothing is or has been paid to the actual contractor, so there will be no record of the work being done.
            There is no address or trace of that contractor. I managed to trace the proprietors mobile number. I verified that number and the proprietor identified himself and gave me an email address. I emailed him, but he's ignoring me.


              I'm confused! We seem to have suddenly introduced a contractor who is not the proprietor.

              In practice though, most building is done through subcontracts to self employed workers and you have no contractual relationship with the person actually doing the work. The prime contractor can still be an individual.

              In the typical relationship, the proprietor is the contractor, even if a sub-contractor actually does the work.


                If the work has been done to a satisfactory standard at a reasonable price, you have nothing to worry about unless the contractor returns and claims that he has not been paid, which does not appear to be the case. A contractor is entitled to ask for payment in any manner he wishes. I suggested in #49 what to do if you are not happy either with the agent or the choice of contractors,


                  The managing agent will not provide the invoice for the contract as it looks like it's the MA's mate and so he is getting a backhander for letting him do it.

                  I think that's the reason why the ma won't let me see anything


                    You are unlikely to be able to prove that the MA received a backhander and a copy of the invoice is only likely to give you a brief description of the work and the total cost.

                    You keep returning to the same points, you have no confidence in the MA, in which case the Company should change the MA and he will not release information, in which case you should threaten and possibly take legal action against the MA.


                      It is only illegal for the agent to receive a commission if they have told you that they won't, although best current practice is now to be explicit about such commissions, in the terms and conditions.

                      Commissions aren't necessarily a loss for you as, if you contracted directly, you would probably not be able to get anything off in place of the commission, as the commission is partly for not having to spend money on advertising and preparing quotes that are not taken up.

                      Section 12.6 of the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code, which is the section applying to this, is only a "should" section, so it only best practice, not a legal requirement.


                        The agent is in a position of trust and he should be acting in the best interests of his client. Instead, he appears to be more interested in earning additional monies for himself. You should replace the agent and make it clear to the new agent that you will not tolerate any commissions or other earnings arising from the management.


                          The reasonable price for the work is what the contractor is willing to receive for it and that is the invoice price less the commission. The only thing that the agent has done is to appoint a contractor and that is precisely what he is required to do under the management agreement for which he receives a fee. Ethics should be restored and leasehold reform should be addressing the question of double charging and greed.


                            The reasonable price is what they would be prepared to accept from the OP directly. That is not generally the same as what they would accept, as nett after commission from someone who regularly gives them work, especially on a single tender basis.

                            The RICS guidelines wouldn't have a section on commission if it wasn't an acceptable practice.


                              Commission in some cases is reasonable, for example an insurance broker who genuinely checks the full market for alternative quotes and deals with insurance claims. Here the agent has added no value whatsoever and I maintain the view that the reasonable price is the net amount received by the contractor. It is purely and simply greed on the part of the agent and he should be replaced and reported.


                                A similar point has arisen on another thread, you should refer the agent to s388 Companies Act 2006 which requires that a Company's accounting records must at all times be open to inspection by the Company's officers.


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