Applying to Tribunal

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  • Paulsen
    I just wanted to update this saga!
    I stated copying in the freeholder in my emails with the MA. They contacted me and said they also were unhappy with his dealing. We exchanged a number off emails and decided that I should ask again for a meeting including the freeholder.
    We had the meeting today and the MA had told them I hadn’t paid my ground rent, I have paid every year but MA hadn’t forwarded the money £300 it is still in their client account!

    I disputed service charges and forwarded 3,500 hoping to resolve the dispute but MA took me to court. The MA only forwarded £3000 to the freeholder not £3,500. MA insisted they had but when checking what amount was forwarded it was only £3000 so MA had kept £500! Freeholder only knew it was £3,500 from our recent correspondence.

    Court decided I should pay £7000 out of 12,188. In reaching that figure the barrister offer a reduction of £836 to reach a settlement which I accepted. I paid £7000. Freeholder had no idea what happened in court as MA never forwarded court papers.
    The £7000 included estimated costs which meant I am 2,500 in credit after final bills. MA didn’t realise and forwarded the £7000 to the freeholder, when I emailed in regards to new charges after court asking what happened to my credit MA wrote to me saying they wanted the £836 offered to settle in court back probably because they didn’t have the money anymore. Freeholder again had no idea and are now worried they will have to pay the shortfall.

    MA entered wrong lease in Tribunal back in 2013, he blamed the freeholder for not giving him the correct one but the freeholder told him they had but he had claimed he lost all the paperwork when they moved office. MA had wrongly told them that they have to pay upfront for costs and then ask for my half share of expenditure which was according to my old lease. This mistake came to light in the recent court proceedings but the MA is taking no responsibility for his mistake. Freeholder has taken out a loan to cover costs. Part of my disagreement with the service charges was he was charging me £30 per year but not reducing it from the half share of expenditure but in all he was using the old lease not the updated one.

    MA withholding my £4000 insurance money, suggesting to offset service charges bearing in mind my £2,500 credit, me agreeing and then still receiving debt collectors letter. MA had no explanation to his actions. (He forwarded my insurance payout after my formal letter of complaint)

    Freeholder also asked him about insurance claims where they have paid the builder but MA has never forwarded money they have been paid by insurance company. He gave no reply.

    I told him I was not negotiating anymore as I have made a Formal complaint and I have outlined the resolution I want, acknowledging my £2,500 credit, less actual costs incurred after Court settlement which is £1,900 and balance forwarded to new MA.

    MA desperately wanted to get rid of me to speak to the freeholders alone, I agreed to step outside. When I waited in the reception the lady who is also a company director, small MA only 4 people, started crying apologising and told me she doesn’t know why he is being like this. 40 mins later they came out saying I will receive an email with what they are proposing. I haven’t received one yet so let’s see.

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  • Paulsen
    Yesterday I wrote a formal letter off complaint, emailed it and also forwarded it in a letter to be signed for. My resolution was for them to acknowledge my credit of £2,502.60, reduct as suggested in their email the service charges spent (not the debt collecting fee) leaving a balance of £821.91 to be forwarded to the new agent as my service charge credit and as they suggested I will pay the new agent the estimated cost for the up coming building work. (as they suggested in an email prior to the letter above) And I wanted them to forward my insurance payout with interest. Today I received a check for my insurance payout without interest giving me 7 days to pay my outstanding service charges otherwise they will instruct PDC for debt collecting plus 4% interest above base rate.

    So they had my £2,502.60 credit, took my insurance payout of £3,997 total £6,499.60
    Service charge cost with £3,750 for estimated future building work and £250 for unforeseen repairs and £1,580.69 actual spendings totalling £5,580.69 plus £100 ground rent £5,680.69 balance left £818.91.

    As they are arguing over my £900 credit let’s say that I am wrong and take it of my credit I would have only owed £81.09 all a long.

    I am inclined as to not cash the check and let them take it to court as if not I would loose the £900.

    Thoughts appreciated and sorry for long posts.

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  • Paulsen
    Received this today, thoughts please. Should I get the insurance money and then forward back payment that I owe minus debt collecting fees? I will also not pay the£900 which is a 100% charge.

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  • Paulsen
    Thank you, I went to see the new agent who will look after the property. I brought my paperwork and explained the issues. They had not had any money forwarded as of yet. As I was talking to the younger guy and older one came over and asked me to clarify what the MA had done and when I explained again that after the court proceedings I was £2500 in credit with my service charge. MA issued new demands not taking into account my credit so clearly the sum demanded was inaccurate. Wouldn’t send new demands acknowledging the credit. When the insurance payout came through they refused to forward my money and wrote a letter suggesting that they offset it against my service charges. I had emailed agreeing and also for the ground rent, my email even asked if they wanted me to pay separate to let me know but I didn’t get a response or a meeting and debt collecting demand instead. He told me that the MA couldn’t withhold my insurance payout and they most definitely couldn’t suggest to offset it against service charges. He told me to complain to RICS and asked if they already had signed a contract for this property as he didn’t want to take over this mess.

    I wrote an email to the MA responding to the last one were they are telling me they are now paying the debt collecting agency with my insurance payout, copying in the freeholder and the new MA. I calculated the expenses owed, money that had actually been spent and reduced it from my credit. This left a sum of £821.91 to be forwarded to the new agent as credit on my service charge account. I then demanded my insurance payout to be forwarded to me with interest without delay, and informed them that I am not paying the debt collecting fee and they will have to issue court proceedings. I also pointed out that in the 10 years of managing the property they have failed to issue a single accurate service charge demand as all the demands had cost at 100% which I didn’t owe and they had confused my old lease with my new lease, they only issued my old lease in the Tribunal in 2013 not my new updated lease, and I was granted a section 20C prohibiting the freeholders to put costs from the tribunal in the service charge, they ignored that and still charged me, and after Court proceedings they tried to claim back the £836.99 which was offered to settle the claim that day. The only reason we had to go to court was because they got it wrong an refuse to listen to me, incurring cost for both me and the freeholder. They wanted £12,188.09 on the service charge demand and court granted them £7000. The Tribunal’s decision in 2013 also states that rather than making an application they should have engaged and listed to me.

    No response from my last email...

    Leave a comment:

  • andydd
    Try to keep the Gr already mentioned it is a seperate entity from service charges...although if a courg claim was started the GR & SC would be combined and you could use any overpayment/money they owe you to offset GR and/or SC.

    To get your money back either start a court claim or just keep track of it and offset it against any future demands they send you...if they owe you for example £1000 and swend you demands for amounts under this then you are in the clear....any legal action they took would fail.

    Leave a comment:

  • Paulsen
    So to complicate matters more I received an email from the MA today as they no longer are going to manage the property. This is were it now really gets complicated in regards to money. So sorry and I will try and keep it simple.

    January 2019 court order me to pay £7000 in full and final settlement save that I am not precluded from raising issues as to the actual sums shown in future accounts where the demand of 14th December were based on estimates.

    Two items were estimated to do with building work which means I have overpaid with £2502.60.

    April new service charge demands issued which didn’t show my credit of £2502.60, emailed the agent who acknowledged £1602.60 but argued over £900 which is a 100% cost and not chargeable under the terms of my lease and my 50% is already paid with the invoice from the builder. No new demands issued showing my credit and actually amount payable. Several emails to the agent and asking for a meeting, but no response.

    August, insurance company which I had been given the details to deal with directly from the MA decided to pay me £3997 for the damage to my bathroom from a leak, they emailed me telling me that they had forwarded the money to the MA. I requested the money from the MA several times but they didn’t respond.

    August 16th received a letter from MA suggesting that they would use my insurance payout towards my service charges and they also included a demand for the ground rent payable in September. I responded allowing them to take some towards service charges (not for the disputed £900) and £100 for ground rent and the balance of £791.41 to be forwarded to me. No money was forwarded.

    October letter from MA asking for the £100 ground rent otherwise legal action. Rang the agent who said my insurance payment was nothing to do with ground rent, I agreed and said but it has nothing to do with service charges either but they suggested this in a letter and I agreed including the £100 ground rent. Agreed on a meeting and I also put this in an email. Several phone calls and emails asking for this meeting and was told in December that they wanted to respond to my emails before a meeting. No response to my emails came.

    December 19 debt collecting letter demanding £100 ground rent plus £250 costs. Ring the agent who again tells me the insurance payout has nothing to do with the ground rent and when I pointed out the letter of 16th August where they are suggesting it is used for service charges and I agreed in an email including the ground rent, why can he take one but not the other? No explanation apart from telling me my insurance money is sitting in a client’s account.

    December 23rd email the agent asking for my insurance money to be forwarded without delay. Debt collecting agent put on hold as I am refusing to pay them.

    January email the agent asking for their complaint procedure. No response. Send a registered letter asking for their complaint procedure and a separate letter asking for my insurance money with interest.

    Today revived an email from the MA telling me they are no longer managing the property and a new one is taking over. They are now keeping some of my insurance payment towards service charges and £100 for the ground rent AND they are also paying the debt collecting agency fees of £250 from my money! So they have no problem taking the £100 from the insurance money now but didn’t do it in August when I told them they could??

    No mention of the over payment from court of £2502.60 which as they are stating (no demands issued in 2018 as we were going through court proceedings)

    £100 ground rent
    £250 fee due to debt collecting agent
    £567.65 insurance 2018
    £180 MA fee 2018
    £57 Fire risk assessment 2018
    £596.04 insurance 2019
    £180 MA fee 2019

    total £1,930.69 and they will then forward the balance from my insurance money to the new MA of £2,066.31.

    My credit from court would have more than covered these costs or as we are in dispute over £900, the £1,602,60
    would have nearly covered it.

    I have contacted the new MA asking them not to accept any money as it will complicate things even further but I am at a loss at what to do.

    I very kindly got forwarded the complaint procedure as well and guess what the one I have been dealing with is the one you complain to and he is the owner.

    No service charges demands issued have been for the correct amount or showed my over payment from court which I should have been in credit.

    Today he has taken off £27.50 which they claimed was to repair my door bell even though it was never broke which I have argued over since April.

    I really don’t know what to do now as the complaint procedure will be a waste of time and would the Property Ombudsman even care?

    Grateful for any advice as I am now completely out of hope of getting any of my money back.

    Leave a comment:

  • andydd
    Jeez..what a mess........personally Id send the £100 GR cheque (assuming its been demanded correctly), but it does appear that the insurance sum you are owed more than offsets any possible amount you may owe so technically you dont owe anything and therefore any court action taken against you would fail, is it likely they would take action against you ?

    Despite what I said earlier about instigated FTT/Court yourself, as it appears you ARE owed money, then I would start a court claim against them, if what you say is correct then it appears you cant lose, even if they offset some SC/GR amounts from the insurance amount then money is still owed to you, dont forget you can charge interest on this at court rate of 8% (, court fees and maybe legal costs (at the Litigant in Person rate of £19 per hour)

    Send the FH/MA/DCA a Letter Before Action detailing your claim mark it "Without Prejudice Save As To Costs", yopu shoul;d also follopw any relevant Pre Action Protocols, I think only the normal general one would apply here

    Note the legal action will be against the FH, as your contract is with him UNLESS the lease is a tripartie one that includes the management agent or unless you believe the insurance sum was sent to the management agent.

    Leave a comment:

  • Paulsen
    “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?

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  • fos333
    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?

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  • leaseholder64
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • Paulsen
    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?

    Leave a comment:

  • fos333

    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?

    Leave a comment:

  • Paulsen
    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?

    Leave a comment:

  • andydd
    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.

    Leave a comment:

  • fos333
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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