Unfair charges from our managing agent

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  • Gordon999
    replied
    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.).

    Leave a comment:


  • eagle2
    replied
    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.

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  • jazzythumper
    replied
    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




    Leave a comment:


  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Absolutely scandalous!

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  • Gordon999
    replied
    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 ?

    .

    Leave a comment:


  • fos333
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Macromia
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • jazzythumper
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Macromia
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • jazzythumper
    started a topic Unfair charges from our managing agent

    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?

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