Legal Action Against Landlord - Local Council

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    Legal Action Against Landlord - Local Council

    Hi,

    Hoping someone can advise. I am leaseholder and the landlord is a local council. my property is a flat and there are about 55 flats spread out over 3 floors.

    Now the problem is that over the years the council has failed to maintain the exterior and communal areas - including communal doors.

    Due the doors which are on a fob key system not working we have multiple non resident hanging around selling and taking drugs, anti-social behaviour. We have had deliberate fires started, racial abuse, armed police due to someone having a gun, people urinating in staircase, items being stolen from outside the flats. We have had people sleeping in the communal stores, fly-tipping and the list goes on.

    All of these have been happening by non residents local youth who come through the broken doors. They just pull them open with a little force.

    We have been requesting for years now to get the communal doors replaced. We were served section 20 notice about a year and half ago to get the doors replaced, however that was then brushed under the carpet and ignored when we queried as to why the doors were not replaced back then.

    Now as it stands the landlord is in the process of issuing another section 20 notice to get required repairs done including replacing the 4 communal doors. This again can take several months before we see any thing fixed.

    I and other residents have gone through the stage 1-3 complaints process, Housing Ombudsman (who rules that the landlord failed on their side), Local Police, MPS' chairman of the council, but yet nothing has been done. The landlord seems not to be phased and keeps providing excuses such as financial issues with the council, cant find a supplier for the doors etc.

    My question is now that I have exhausted all possible channels what can I do? Would you recommend taking legal action. I feel I would have very strong case for compensation as this has caused further deterioration of the flat exterior and communal areas, has had an impact on the property price and sale. People who have come to view it have been put off by people hanging around. It has affected my mental health as I have been dealing with it for several year - ALL documented. Parents dont let children play in the communal areas due to this and used drugs left around etc.

    Please advise

    Thanks

    #2
    It sounds horrific.

    Due to the trespassing and ASB the landlord should apply to the FTT for a Section 20 Dispensation, which would allow them to replace the doors immediately.

    I'm not sure how successful you would be with a legal claim for compensation as I think you would have to prove you suffered financial loss, but I am not a legal expert.

    Comment


      #3
      You could also ask your MP to have a word with the Council.

      Comment


        #4
        HI,

        Thanks for replies. I have contacted MP who has written to them on 2 separate occasions. Not made the slightest difference. Even when I have asked them for the legal department contact details they ignore my e-mails. Ideally all I want is the doors to be replaced and ASB gone. I will have to await the second report from the Housing Ombudsman and see what they come back with. If they conclusively come back with the same that the landlord is at fault I will have some leverage when taking legal action.

        I must say the main aim of the legal action is to make them do what they are supposed to. Financial re-gain is secondary.

        Only concern about legal route is that I would like to extend my lease at some point as I am not in a position to move out. Im worried that this may cause an issue and predjudice my lease extension request. Also what issues can a legal case have if its open when Im in the process of selling a property?

        Thanks

        Comment


          #5
          We already know that Councils and big organisations are the worst possible rogue landlords.

          I'm afraid to tell you that you need to deal with the reality of this is that no solution is going to be possible. For future reference:
          - Don't buy a leasehold property until there are radical changes to the law
          - Definitely don't buy a leasehold property where the lessor is a city council

          Basically you bought a lemon

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by HazeltonLane View Post
            You could also ask your MP to have a word with the Council.
            AND ask your local Councillor AND post the issue on a local site like Nextdoor - things get posted on our local nextdoor and Councillors do respond!

            Comment


              #7
              If you wish to apply for lease extension, best time to do this is whilst the property value is low.

              Leasehold Advisory Service have a free guide to lease extension.

              https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-...tting-started/

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                If you wish to apply for lease extension, best time to do this is whilst the property value is low.

                Leasehold Advisory Service have a free guide to lease extension.

                https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-...tting-started/
                Thanks. I am trying to find a good legal service that can do this for me.. However the price I am looking to pay for a full lease extension is around £7k. This is the formal way where they add 90 years rather than the one where you negotiate with the landlord for a slightly cheaper price but not as much lease added. I think it goes back to the original which would be 125 years.

                As it stands I have about 91 years remaining.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If you have 91 years remaining, you should wait to see what leasehold reforms are offered next year by the Housing Minister.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                    If you have 91 years remaining, you should wait to see what leasehold reforms are offered next year by the Housing Minister.
                    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have heard of this. In summary do you know if this would benefit those with older leases and not on the builds which have has issues with rising ground rent etc?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I sued my freeholder for failure to maintain my driveway, judge was quite damning but I was only awarded £100 as hard to proof any loss BUT in your case it sounds you have exceptional worry over various incidents so yes you could sue and as I found out it was useful, I got costs too and its something I can use against my FH in future. Might be worth seeing if others will be interested in quick initial chat with solicitor
                      Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                      I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                      It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                      Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Isaac1400 View Post

                        Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have heard of this. In summary do you know if this would benefit those with older leases and not on the builds which have has issues with rising ground rent etc?
                        It may benefit older leases by removing "marriage value" from lease extensions but this would not help you _ and freeholders are also aware of imminent changes and may be more willing to negotiate prior.
                        Speak with a specialist like Homehold.org who will negotiate on your behalf, not a solicitor who will just take your money.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Marriage value is payable in the compensation if the existing lease has fallen below 80 years remaining. It may benefit older leases if leaseholders are not required to pay the legal and surveyor costs for both sides.

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