Applying to Tribunal

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    Applying to Tribunal

    I have a complicated history with my managing agent and I have written a few times on here. They have issued debt collecting for “unpaid” ground rent and I don’t think I have an option but to apply to the Tribunal.
    They issued a letter suggesting to use my insurance payment of £3997 against service charges.
    I knew they wouldn’t forward me the money so I wrote an email saying they can take £xx for service charges owed and £100 for ground rent, or if they wanted me to pay separate for the ground rent to let me know. I also wrote several emails requesting a meeting to deal with issues regarding service charges as they were not responding to emails. I had no correspondence apart from agent saying they want to respond to my emails before a meeting, but they issued debt collectors instead.

    I guess the advise I am after is am I better off making an application to the Tribunal rather than waiting to see what will happen with the debt collecting? They want £250 on top.I have forwarded all my correspondence with the agent to the debt collection company and I have told them I am not paying their fees as the managing agent have the money and they are the once not responding to me. The debt collecting agent is PDC any one got any experience with them?
    Do I keep it simple with my application as there are several issues including miss management.
    Are there any costs they can apply to me if I apply to the Tribunal?

    #2
    Tribunal won't deal with ground rent. I have regularly dealt with PDC and they are quite rigorous with their proceedure. Suggest you make a settlement offer pronto.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Section20z View Post
      Tribunal won't deal with ground rent. I have regularly dealt with PDC and they are quite rigorous with their proceedure. Suggest you make a settlement offer pronto.
      I have had previous experience with these and would seek legal advice or contact CAB, first thing to do is to contact them and ask that it is put on hold for 28 days (advice given to me by CAB).

      This will allow time to forward all documentation you have from your MA, where previous posts advise you were owed money that was being retained by them. You also claim to have documentation stating you were willing to pay the GR from the money owed or separately if they required this, all this should be forwarded to the DCA.

      You should also ask for information of the MA's redress scheme and forward a written complaint and then follow it up through to the Ombudsman. Your complaint may be over 8 weeks already where you can contact the relevant redress scheme to ask them to look at your complaint.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you both, I did think the Tribunal application was for service charges or administration charges. Would the extra £250 PDC are charging not be classed as administration charge though?

        Sorry but what is CAB?

        If I made a complaint to the ombudsman, you said 8 weeks limit, how would I count it as 8 weeks?

        If I refuse to pay PDC then the freeholder would have to take it further through the courts?

        I received a letter from the agent suggesting they put my insurance payment towards service charges and I responded with an email agreeing and as the letter also included ground rent I included the ground rent in the agreement. I also have an email were I am asking them if they wanted me to pay separate for the ground rent I am more than happy to do so. They never responded and I was refused a meeting.

        Freeholder now lives in the Property and I know they do not want to go back to court as it cost them a lot of money last time. Agent was asking for over £13000 in service charges which I didn’t owe, they got £7000 after court. This is all the agents doing, but the agent is from this week no longer going to manage the property. Every time I email or ring I am just told we be in touch. I have no idea what they have done with my money.

        Comment


          #5
          CAB = Citizens Advice Bureau ( contact your local council to find their office address and visiting hours ) .

          Ground rent is part of the lease agreement and you ( as leaseholder ) are required to pay up.

          The Landlord & Tenant Act Laws were passed by Parliament many years ago before internet came into use . So don't expect the freeholder or agent to reply to your emails. You have to send a letter by registered post to give instruction on payment for the ground rent.

          Comment


            #6
            I think you need to give us some more info..what is this insurance sum you refer to ? Normally insurance would be considered part of the service charge.

            I wouldn't send anything to a debt collection company..they have no legal powers to collect anything and you have no contract with them so only write to freeholder or managing agent...it's also questionable wether any debt collection fees would be recoverable under the lease

            As mentioned ground rent is a separate entity and the FTT have no jurisdiction over it...although they DO have jurisdiction over extra admin charges incurred as a result of non payment.

            Unless you are on benefits n get fees paid I wouldn't start a FTT claim ..it's expensive n hassle..make sure you pay everything you do actually owe..such as ground rent..write a letter to the FH spelling out your position n invite them to start a court claim.
            Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

            I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

            It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

            Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you all.

              My bathroom got damaged from a leak and the insurance company paid me £3997, which was sent to the managing agent. I asked for it to be forwarded but received a letter from the agent suggesting they would put it towards service charges which were due. I knew they would not forward the money so responded with an email that they could take £xx for service charges and they had also with the letter forwarded the ground rent demand which was payable a month later. In the email I also said they could take £100 for the ground rent. Heard nothing back.

              Two months later I received a letter demanding ground rent within 7 days otherwise they will instruct debt collecting agent. I rang them and said I have already paid with the insurance money that you kept and you have not been in contact with me since then or forwarded my money. Followed up with an email what we agreed on which was that they would arrange a meeting to discuss matters on no court action until we have had a meeting. Also messaged the freeholder who said they had not instructed the agent to do this. I also offered in the email that I could pay the ground rent separately if they wanted me to.

              Several emails and phone calls later asking when the meeting was taking place was told in and email that they were going to respond to my previous emails before a meeting. Heard nothing and then got a debt collecting letter at Christmas.

              Rang the agent who now stated that I should have paid the ground rent and when I pointed out all the correspondence I had had with them which they had not respond to and no meeting was arranged and they had kept my insurance money, they insisted I owed the money. Asked for my insurance money to be forwarded then but they are still refusing.

              I think the agent are annoyed that they took me to court over service charges and they lost. They demanded £13000 and ended up with £7000. Several charges was at 100% and some had been paid previously, and they misread my lease. They have purposely done this however the freeholder doesn’t want to go to court again as they are getting a divorce but unfortunately they are clueless and trust the agent.




              Comment


                #8
                Apologies first as I had not read your initial post entirely.

                If as stated you have forwarded all correspondence to and from your MA to the DCA, have you asked them to prove the debt?

                Your last post reads that the MA still owes you money. Why have they not taken the GR from the money they are holding?

                Have you asked the MA to forward details of their redress scheme and complaints procedure?

                When you have the details of their redress scheme you can then speak directly with them. They should be able to inform you if you need to forward a letter of complaint or that you already have sufficient evidence that you have tried to resolve the issues and have been ignored.

                I would certainly speak or arrange a meeting with CAB regarding the DCA added on fees and request that the file is put on hold until you have spoken to CAB.

                Comment


                  #9
                  So the insurance money has been paid but nothing forwarded onto you ? What did you expect this money to cover ? Has there been damage to your bathroom ? Has this damage been repaired.

                  It gets a bit messy if the GR & SC get combined and even messier if you are then claiming some sort of set off..but ultimately if the amount hasn't been passed onto you (and more importantly you need this money to do repairs personally) then you are left with no option.

                  Wether the LH or FH should start a court or ftt claim is a disputed topic...the court and ftt also differ in that you can only start a court claim to pursue money whereas at an ftt you can just ask for sums to be judged in terms of reasonableness.

                  Perhaps you could answer the questions I posed in the first paragraph..I would also just send a cheque for the GR amount just to make the situation a bit less messy.
                  Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                  I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                  It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                  Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    My bathroom was damaged due to a leak and the money I agreed with the insurance company is to cover repairs. As the agent have refused to forward that money I have been unable to repair my bathroom.

                    I requested the money to be forwarded, which was with the agent beginning of August, received a letter on the 16th of August suggesting they would use the money towards service charges.
                    I responded knowing they would not give me the money that they could take some for service charges and £100 towards the ground rent. (The ground rent demand was with the letter, payable in mid September.) Heard nothing back.

                    Received a letter in November asking for ground rent within 7 days otherwise court action. Rang the managing agent and said it was paid from the insurance money and I have had no correspondence since my email were I am allowing them to take £100 towards the ground rent and no insurance money had been forwarded so I assumed this had been done. It was agreed no court action until we had a meeting, I also followed up on this phone call with an email outlining what was agreed and also said if they wanted me to pay separate for the ground rent I am more than happy to do so providing that they would forward my insurance money. Chased them several times for a meeting and got an email saying they wanted to respond to to my previous emails before a meeting. Heard nothing and 19th of December got a debt collection letter.

                    The agent is still holding my insurance money of £3997. I rang them on Friday to ask what is happened and was told they no longer are managing the property. Don’t know what has happened to my money as they wouldn’t answer any of my questions.

                    Should I email the agent asking for their complaint procedure and the redress scheme? I have found them on AMRA.
                    Should I forwarded £100 cheque directly to the freeholder for the ground rent?

                    When I say we have a messy history this is the reason:

                    We went to court in January and I agreed to a reduction of £800 to settle that day. I received a letter from the managing agent after court were they are trying to claim back that money to offset against new charges. The reason we went to court was that they were claiming costs at 100% even though my lease is only 50% and some had already been paid. After court I received new service charge demands but they didn’t take into account £1600 over payment on building work which my account should be in credit. They responded agreeing to credit my account but tried to claim back the £800 reduction from court which meant they would only credit me with £800. They also are trying on a charge of £900 which is again a 100% charge and I have already payed my share of £450.

                    I also have a previous tribunal case 2013, with this managing agent which went in my favour and I was granted a section 20c, managing agent ignored this and still put tribunal cost in my service charges which I paid.

                    The certificate from the accountant that I get every year is also a bit suspicious as it sometimes have a different address when you read the small print than my property address, it has a spelling mistake on the accountants company name- one letter missing every year and the certificate for 2016 and 2017 you can see they have been altered as the signature is exactly the same and in the same place and the date has been tipexed out as on the date for 2016 you can see the line from the 7 from the 2017 certificate.

                    If they are no longer managing my property what happens to the money that they hold?

                    Comment


                      #11


                      ARMA will not be the redress scheme for your MA, it will be either The Property Ombudsman or Property Redress Scheme.

                      Google 'leasehold redress schemes' and the information you require is there.

                      The old MA will be regulated by ARMA who may look at your issues as you already have FTT decisions in your favour.

                      ARMA no longer allow a leaseholder to initiate a complaint directly having turned themselves into a secondary regulator and now require a decision from another regulatory panel before their own complaints procedure comes into play.

                      From the above you already have this.

                      Reference the £100 for GR did your letter from the DCA not state 'As this account has now been passed to 'DCA' all communications must be with 'DCA' and not __________'.

                      Given that you received your letter a month ago you should probably check that they have not approached your lender if the property is mortgaged.

                      Have you spoken with the DCA or contacted CAB?



                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes the letter from DCA did say to only communicate with them which I have done and they have put the account on hold. I received an email today saying I need to pay them, but I rang again and forwarded the letter from the agent where they are suggesting using my insurance money towards costs. I also forwarded two emails with my response where I am allowing them to take money from the insurance payment towards service charges and also for the ground rent, second email I am asking if they want me to pay separate for the ground rent I am happy to do so. I also told them that I am not paying the extra £250 as I was still in communication with the agent and as far as I was aware they had taken the money from my insurance payment as I had no further communication from them and I hadn’t been forwarded my money. I had also asked several times for a meeting and I have had no response. I also told them that the agent is no longer looking after the property. They have put my account on hold again.I know the freeholder doesn’t want to go to court as they are getting a divorce and one of them live in the property again. When I spoke to the husband he had no idea the agent had done this.

                        The managing agent belong to The Property Ombudsman, today I emailed the managing agent asking for their in house complaints procedure, no response yet.

                        I don’t think they can approach my lender unless they have either a court or tribunal decision that the money is owed?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Lenders often ask to be informed at an early stage, so I would say they can, and if they are in the habit of it, will do so early.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If they have put your account on hold again it should not be a problem.

                            Did the letter not contain 'Following the expiry of this letter and neither a response nor payment being made, we will (where applicable) notify the parties with a registered financial interest on HM Land Registry of the breach of lease / transfer.'

                            You state 'the husband he had no idea the agent had done this', again on the letter who is listed against 'Acting for:'?

                            I would still contact CAB or seek other legal advice reference the added on fees with the involvement of the DCA, caused entirely by the agent refusing to communicate with you correctly over the insurance money that they hold which belongs to you.

                            Have you communicated at all directly with the insurance company?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              “Following the expiry of this letter and neither a response nor payment being made, we will continue to collect the arrears in full” this is what it states at the end of the letter. £100 ground rent and £250 fees.

                              They are acting on behalf of the freeholders, but the managing agent have instructed them and all correspondence is to the agent, not the freeholders.

                              I haven’t contacted the insurance company, should I let them know that the managing agent haven’t forwarded my money?

                              Comment

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