How can I force 2 directors to pay their service charges

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    How can I force 2 directors to pay their service charges

    How can I force 2 directors to pay their service charges and 1 director to give a copy of a survey done on the house in order to shop around for a cheaper insurance? Can I as 1 director take the other directors to the First tier tribunal?
    Re house converted into 4 flats. Freehold acquired some 4-5 years ago. There are 4 directors. 2 directors do not pay their service charges in full. There is a skinking fund BUT it is so small it would never cover the cost of roof repairs. So far there have been 2 roof repairs costing £5000 each – cost included a scaffolding. Being the owner of the top floor flat I’ve had to pay upfront for each repair and then ask for the other 3 freeholders to refund me of my costs. Each time I had to wait more than 3 months to have the money refunded and I even got insulted in the process ….. I can prove that ….

    Furthermore, a bit more than 2 years ago I broke my right elbow coming down the external steps that were literally covered with old plaster left by 1 director when he was refurbishing his property. More aggravation, more baseless accusations. I asked to have a rail fixed along the external steps but 3 directors refused on the ground it was not necessary. So I made a personal injury claim which is still ongoing …. That being said the defendant has accepted liability.

    Once my personal injury claim is over, I would like to email all directors and
    • Ask the 2 directors who don’t pay their service charges to pay upfront within 21 days
    • Ask the director how organized a survey some years – survey which was paid by everyone - to give us a copy so I can find a cheaper insurance.I believe his insurance is 60% too expensive.NB said director was also responsible for my accident.
    • Ask to have a skinking fund because I’m not a bank and we need at least £5000 in the fund to cover for roof work when said roof starts leaking.
    • Ask to have a rail fixed along the external steps – cost would ne £100 that is £25 per flat! Failure to fix a rail then those flats who do not want a rail would be liable to pay for any possible personal injury claim if another accident occurs – 2 other people slipped from those external steps. Aside from builder’s rubbish there could be vegetation growing on the steps.

    The other problem is that I’m the only person with the guts to complain. 1 director pays her service charges but she is completely silent As the owner of the top floor flat I’m the most vulnerable when the roof leaks. The other 2 directors are rude and bullies. Could I on my own make an application to the first tier tribunal?

    Nobody talks to me …. I email and nobody replies. Could I on my own make an application to the first tier tribunal if said director does not give a copy of the survey that was done on the house? Or request that the sinking fund is increased with each flat paying £1250 upfront? Or force payment of arrears in service charges by giving 21 days notice.

    Thank you.

    #2
    Firstly, chantal, you should always start a new forum thread rather than 'piggy-backing' on another, even if it seems to refer to a similar issue. This prevents any confusion about who replies are addressed to.

    What you are describing os one of the problems that often seems to be experienced when each leaseholder has a share of the freehold - it only works if the majority of leaseholders are willing to properly adhere to the requirements of the lease, but far too often they are only interested in the bits that directly affect them.

    Since it seems unlikely that you will be able to change the actions of 2 out of 4 directors, and will not have enough support to get them voted out as directors, it may be that your best solution will be to pursue the appointment of a manager for the property.

    Firstly, you need to continue to raise the issues, and the need for proper roof repairs, in all directors/shareholder meetings - and make sure that this is all properly recorded in the minutes.
    Also make sure that you are satisfied that all payments made to, and on behalf of, the freehold company are being properly recorded, and that all demands for service charge payments are being made properly in full accordance with the terms of the lease and all legal requirements.

    It seems likely that correct procedures have not been being followed, which could be a problem for you when it comes to recovery of money that you have already paid out (but you may be able to claim that as costs that you can withhold from future service charge payments).

    Any maintenance work that will cost individual leaseholders more than £250 should only be undertaken following the completion of 'section 20 consultation', which enables each leaseholder to comment on whether or not the work is necessary, the specifcations that the work should be carried out to, and what contractor should be awarded the contract.

    It sounds like you may have good grounds for getting a manager appointed via tribunal. This is often not recommended, and should probably only be pursued as a last resort if there is no other option. It would result in increased costs for all leaseholders as the manager will need paying, and may also result in leaseholders having to pay towards legal costs if the manager needs to fund this. You can apply to the tribunal to ask for a manager to be appointed.

    You can also apply to the tribunal, as a leaseholder, for a determination of how much you personally owe in service charges - but that won't help get your roof fixed.

    I don't believe that the FTT has any authority to determine what action the freehold company should be taking, or that there is any easy way for you to force them to take action as someone with a minority share of the freehold.
    You can potentially take the freehold company to county court (acting as a leaseholder) for breach of lease if they aren't fulfilling their repair (or other) obligations under the lease, but that's about all.



    I would recommend that you get advice from people like 'Lease', 'Leasehold Knowledge Partnership' and the 'Citizens Advice Bureau', and then consider whether it is worth seeking paid for legal advice (which you might need in order to pursue this).

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your reply Macromia. I’m sorry I piggy-backed on another post but I did try to create a new post and I could not submit.

      YES it is a big disappointment that share of freehold does not always work because there is no real authority in place and a few leaseholders do not adhere to the terms of their lease like not paying their service charges, not having house meetings, bullying/insulting others, not wanting to fix a rail along the external steps even though there has been a SERIOUS accident. And 1 director keeping the results of a survey so he can act like a freeholder and make money out of the building insurance.

      I’m not too bothered about voting out a director or directors. All I would like to do is for them to understand that share of freehold does not mean NO maintenance on the property. It is in the lease that the roof takes priority and cost should be shared amongst all lessees. As for the survey, it is illegal for a director to make money out of a directorship …. Which he is obviously doing and ignoring all email to that effect ….

      Each time there was a leak from the roof I diligently served section 20 notice. But only 1 lessee paid her share upfront roughly £1250 with the other 2 lessees dragging on their repayment. I do not see why I should pay upfront and then wait ages to be refunded for my out of pocket expenses. The lease does allow for a sinking fund. We only have £250 a year sinking fund which is eaten away when items like extra emergency cleaning needs to be done as it was the case when 1 lessee created such a mess in the front garden and the external steps, not cleaning them which caused my accident. And their refusal to fix a rail ….

      The roof was fixed on each occasion – a roof is seen as EMERGENCY. I’m concerned there will be another incident when the roof will leak. It was pointed out in a survey but right now no provision is being made to cover that cost.

      You say “I don't believe that the FTT has any authority to determine what action the freehold company should be taking, or that there is any easy way for you to force them to take action as someone with a minority share of the freehold.” The actions I would like are already specified in the lease. And a director keeping an important document in order to make money out of the building insurance when directors are NOT PAID and it is illegal for a director to derive an income from said directorship.

      Thank you

      Comment


        #4
        You should read the free guides ( Applying to FTT etc ) which can be downloaded from www.lease-advice.org . You may need to buy a copy of the RICS Residential Management Code. ( or view online )

        If you are the person managing the service charge account , then you can propose the annual budget to cover the repairs for one year and issue a demand for how much each flat contributes at the beginning of the service charge year.

        You can chase for payment of service charge arrears by written demand and if it is ignored, you can threaten to enforce payment by the Small Claims Court.

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you Gordon999

          Comment

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