Unfair charges from our managing agent

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Unfair charges from our managing agent

    For the past few years in the 'wake of Grenfell' our managing agent has been charging leaseholders for fire safety checks at £50 per week divided between 4 leaseholders. The contract with a the 'fire safety' company is 364 days a year, so I understand that we can't challenge this. According to companies house the 'fire safety company' was set up by the managing agent. The checks involve someone pressing the button on the smoke detector in the common area to check it is working. As far as I understand there is no legal requirement to do this that often.

    Is there anything we can do about this retrospectively? Within a few few weeks we take over the management of the building through the RTM process, this was one of the reasons we chose as leaseholders to exercise the RTM.

    Is this practice even legal?

    #2
    You are only required to pay service charges if they are allowed by the lease and are reasonable.

    For what you describe it is difficult to say how a tribunal would decide, as it would be argued that it was necessary from a health and safety point of view, and I suspect that £50 would be deemed reasonable for a weekly visit as the cost would cover travel time, travel costs, national insurance contributions for the employee, and so on, in addition to the 1 minute it takes them to press the button.

    It does seem like the managing agents saw a way to easily make extra money if they set up the 'fire safety company', and you would also have the argument that regulations following Grenfell only apply to high rise blocks - and I'm certain that a block of four properties won't qualify.

    See what others have to say.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, I can understand that, we have not proof that these checks were ever done, apart from an excel spreadsheet of the times and dates of these checks that was produced after some protractive asking, which of course doesn't prove anything.

      Comment


        #4
        The difficulty you have is that, if you challenge the costs, you will need to put forward a reasonable argument that the checks were either not required or not carried out at all.

        You could instead decide not to pay (if you haven't already done so) and allow the freeholder to take you to court/tribunal because the burden of proof will then be theirs - but that has its own risks.

        Is the amount really worth the hassle? Or would it be better to begrudgingly accept that you will have to pay it, knowing that you will be taking over management yourselves in the future?

        Comment


          #5
          There is no requirement to check a smoke detector weekly, recommendation is that it is tested monthly.

          There is, however, a requirement under the RRO Article 17 to check a fire alarm weekly, though when it comes to managing agents the authorities are likely to ignore this fact or state that they are broadly compliant.

          Why did non of the leaseholders take on this task? If any offered to undertake this task then you have an argument to put forward, any resident could of acted as the responsible person.

          Did the MA not carry this out whilst conducting the monthly site inspection or are there other services that you pay for, i.e., cleaners that visited once per month. Anywhere you can argue it could have been incorporated into other visits could support a reduction in the monthly charge.

          Comment


            #6
            The Grenfell Tower Block was a 24 storey building , wrongly fitted with combustible cladding and 72 persons died in the fire 4 years ago.

            Your block of 4 leasehold units does not have combustible cladding and does not require a weekly visit for fire alarm test .

            You should make an application to the FTT for judgement of the reasonableness of the service charge and try to recover the £50 /week expense charged by the agent over past 4 years ?

            .

            Comment


              #7
              Absolutely scandalous!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                The Grenfell Tower Block was a 24 storey building , wrongly fitted with combustible cladding and 72 persons died in the fire 4 years ago.

                Your block of 4 leasehold units does not have combustible cladding and does not require a weekly visit for fire alarm test .

                You should make an application to the FTT for judgement of the reasonableness of the service charge and try to recover the £50 /week expense charged by the agent over past 4 years ?

                .
                Can this be done, post a rtm transition?
                How detailed would a claim need to be for this?
                What evidence would be needed?

                Thanks

                Jazzy




                Comment


                  #9
                  You may wish to make a deduction from the amounts currently claimed by the freeholder, If you choose to apply to the FTT, your claim would be against the freeholder, who imposed the service charges at the time, The claim itself would be relatively simple, it would be on the grounds that the charges are unreasonable. The evidence required is more difficult, you would need either proof that the work was not carried out or that someone else could have carried out the task at a lower cost, I assume that you have a copy of an invoice raised by the "fire safety" company and a copy of the contract.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It seems the 4 leaseholders have been charged £50 per week for last four years = £10,000 . You might be able to get the local fire station safety advisor to give a statement that a weekly test is not necessary.

                    Make an application to the FTT to judge the reasonableness of the service charges ( by the leaseholders.).

                    Comment

                    Latest Activity

                    Collapse

                    • Accounting for RMC
                      by SHill
                      Would anyone be able to advise if a RMC can raise sales invoices to Directors, for property expenses that relate to their leasehold properties. The sales invoices raise are itemised in the Notes to the service charges at. 4. Transactions with Directors and 5. Related party transactions
                      09-02-2021, 22:41 PM
                    • Reply to Accounting for RMC
                      by SHill
                      Another response from Accountant

                      "I refer to your email below. I am afraid you are wrong in your analysis of the situation in some respects below. I have checked the position with the ICAEW myself, and we went through our rule book on the handover of information and they drew my...
                      29-07-2021, 16:37 PM
                    • Building damage?
                      by lampshade
                      I have noticed that one of the 3 blocks has some studs hammered into the brickwork in one corner. There are also cracks running down the bricks. I am guessing that these studs are markers made by an engineer at some point, suggesting a structural issue maybe.
                      In the event that any further opening...
                      29-07-2021, 11:11 AM
                    • Reply to Building damage?
                      by ram
                      Not to put a damper on things, but insurance is for accidents / unforseen occurences / trees falling on building / cars.- etc

                      Insurance does not cover for deliberate acts which caused a fault.
                      Thats why why drill round holes in bricks, put a plug in it then screw though the plug.
                      ...
                      29-07-2021, 13:05 PM
                    • Reply to Building damage?
                      by lampshade
                      Within the service charge there is of course a charge for Insurance. Presume if any work ever needs doing it would come from that Insurance policy? And then possibly an increase in future Insurance cost
                      29-07-2021, 12:33 PM
                    • Reply to MOA states the directors can appoint a chairman for meetings
                      by Starlane
                      Yes Eagle2 that is my concern, that we have directors who are self interested ( what a surprise NOT at my block), they are in breach of the lease themselves (what a surprise NOT at my block), I also believe there has been collusive fraud going on regarding hidden insurance commission and a directors...
                      29-07-2021, 12:32 PM
                    • MOA states the directors can appoint a chairman for meetings
                      by Starlane
                      Hiya I am not sure if I should post this here or is there a company/corporate forum I should be posting on ?

                      My question is regarding members meetings and voting as I always thought that only members can attend members meetings as they hold a share which gives the member the ability to...
                      28-07-2021, 14:22 PM
                    • Reply to Building damage?
                      by ash72
                      It would only be an insurance issue if the freeholder has an adequate policy covering it. The best thing is for the freeholder or managing agent to instruct an engineer who will put movement detectors on the property and see if there is any movement. It could be historical.

                      All leaseholders...
                      29-07-2021, 11:33 AM
                    • Reply to Unauthorised subletting
                      by boletus
                      From the same building;

                      https://tempusmagazine.co.uk/news/ne...ial%20building.

                      New £55 million penthouse in Centre Point building goes

                      ...
                      29-07-2021, 09:53 AM
                    • Unauthorised subletting
                      by boletus
                      No damages awarded for unauthorised subletting. Doesn't set a good precedent IMO.

                      https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2021/11.html

                      Booking.co lettings, possibly HMO, Sub-sub-subletting, advertising and offering sexual services from the flat.
                      I'd have thought the claimants...
                      28-07-2021, 14:28 PM
                    Working...
                    X