soakaways and gutters

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    soakaways and gutters

    For years we have had problems with the gutters which serve the roofs, overflowing at the top of the downpipe.

    This goes back at least five years. First our local handyman looked at it and said it was because the downpipe was not fixed properly and so on, then another time he had his arm down the hole bringing up handfuls of sediment proclaiming it cleared. And it was for five minutes! The next time was when the managing agent came down and said that sorting out the soakaway would be very expensive. He pointed out to the grass area and said ‘it could be anywhere’ and that was that for a while. Last year we had estimates for a new soakaway. They all said more or less the same thing "Carried out initial investigation of underground Rain water Pipe work to find 100% root ingress exiting pipe work." This is not surprising as the soakaway is probably within 4 metres of tall forest trees and was installed in 1962.

    The freeholder, not wanting to pay a share of the cost for his flat, recommended jet washing last summer. This was carried out. Overflowing gutters still a problem.

    Last week the managing agent said he thought the gutters, on our two 3 storey, buildings should be cleared once a year. This would involve a cherry picker. In 2019 the gutters were cleared at a cost of £816. However, a year later a video was circulated of the gutter overflowing.

    I raised objections. The managing agent has emailed us all saying "could you please confirm if you would like me to clear the roof gutters annually? This is usually undertaken after the leaves are off the trees in late autumn and reduces the chance of blockages that can lead to water ingress. The estimated cost will be £50 per flat."

    He is blaming the water getting into one of the flats on the gutter overflowing. I think he should have told the flat owner to get the seals round his french doors checked.

    Yesterday he emailed me, copying in the rest, saying "Thank you for your email. The item was discussed during my visit, and I simply put it to a vote. The majority will determine whether it will go ahead or not.
    This is to ensure the loudest voices do not get more votes as some lessees are happy for this to proceed.
    I am also happy to put the soakaways or any other repair to a vote besides items such as compliance that need to be done".

    What should I do?

    It should not be down to a majority vote of the tenants, but the landlord complying with his obligations. Each tenant has a right to enforce the terms of his lease.


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