service charges - major works - £10K

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    service charges - major works - £10K

    hi All,

    Finally received the invoice from the council in east london where I own an ex-council flat. The council did some work 12 months ago and estimates were sent to be around £12K.
    The final invoice has been sent and it is for £10K. The works that were done are: roof renewal + painting. £10K is being requested from every leaseholder and the quality of works is shocking.

    What options do I have to fight this back??? Please suggest. Council is asking for direct debits to be setup for £300/month for next few years...


    #2
    were you served with notifications of scope of work, invited to view quotes etc., there is a whole suite of paperwork that the l/l would need to have served on you to make these charges recoverable. Have you kept any? Its all in the detail..............

    Comment


      #3
      Your option is basically to go to the FTT and ask them to rule that the service charge is unreasonable. You will probably need to pay for a surveyor's report to confirm that the work is unacceptable or overpriced.

      Paying the service charge doesn't constitute acceptance that it is valid, and it is unlikely that the FTT will say the reasonable charge is zero (they might to that for the remedial work)., so it is unlikely that you will end up paying more than the reasonable charge in the next year. As such, I'd suggest setting up standing orders (direct debits don't make sense for fixed sums).

      Could you indicate why you think the quality is unacceptable? Councils tend to use builders with reasonable quality control systems; it is self managing leaseholder companies that tend to bring in the real cowboys.

      Was the contractor one nominated by the leaseholders?

      Comment


        #4
        I think the chances of a council getting section 20 wrong are rather low.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
          there is a whole suite of paperwork that the l/l would need to have served on you to make these charges recoverable.
          This is incorrect.

          Although there is a process that is supposed to be followed, the freeholder (whether council or private) can ask for dispensation to be granted after the fact.

          Additionally, current case law means that, even if the consultation process is not followed, the only argument available to leaseholders is that the costs are unreasonable, and they can realistically only expect costs to be reduced to whatever amount is determined reasonable.

          I agree with the comments in leaseholder64's first post.

          Comment


            #6
            I suggest that you concentrate on the standard of the work as that seems to be your best option. Initially you should take up your concerns with the Council and try to reach agreement or compromise. If you are unable to reach agreement, you could suggest that you jointly instruct a surveyor to issue a report. If that is not agreed, you may need to apply to the First Tier Tribunal to determine whether or not the charge is reasonable. You would need evidence to support your claim that the standard of work is inadequate. You should start by taking pictures to support your case. A favourable surveyor's report would assist you but you should try to instruct a joint surveyor if possible. To have two experts arguing with each other at a Tribunal can be expensive and should be avoided if possible.

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