Harassment from Residents committee

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    Harassment from Residents committee

    Hello

    My wife and I have a big problem as follows

    We live in a mortgaged flat with 991 year lease and share of freehold. I bought the place about 12 years ago, met my wife about 8 years ago and she has lived here since then. The flat is worth around £220,000

    There is a management company (set up as a limited company, but is essentially a residents association who deal with our management company) it comprises one chairman and 4 directors and that really is the problem. They are residents also like us with a single share of the freehold each.

    The chairman (in particular) and two other directors have made it clear that they don't like my wife simply as she is of African origin. She is a highly educated (Oxford), professional lady who has never given anyone any trouble. The chairman has advised several times he does not approve of mixed relationships and has that 'mixed raced kids will only bring crime to the area'. He and the other two directors have harassed us since my wife moved in, I had no dealings with them until then. All other mixed race people and black people have been also harassed over the years. Most of them were tenants and simply moved out to other areas - it is not that simple for us obviously as we would have to sell up.

    I have reported all this to the police over the years and all they have done little to be honest.

    Anyway in the latest episode the chairman has put up a fence blocking access for our block and another to our cars and garages. It is a clear breach of our lease. We now have to use a narrow footpath outside our complex which is totally unsuitable. I have raised a petition for the two blocks from both residents and lessees here and sent it to the chairman via the management company he has totally ignored the petition and my claims that the fence is a clear 'derogation from grant'.

    The management company don't really care and say the best we can do is vote these guys out. That is near impossible as most of the lessees bought on buy to let and don't live here. It would be quite a task to get them together.

    The leasehold advisory service says get an injunction against them, but to be honest I don't want to spend yet more money on injunctions and then try and get the money back from them.

    I have now told the management company that I will not pay my service charges until this fence is removed. They haven't responded on this. We have contacted our local MP who seems really good but I am not sure he can force the fence removal.

    I have attached a couple of Pics showing the narrow footpath.

    My wife and I as well as many of the residents now just want to get out, however I feel because of the fence it will be difficult to sell. Can anyone please advise what other options we have? Some of us have suggested removing the fence ourselves. I would rather stay legal if at all possible.

    Regards.....Dave

    #2
    Hi Dave. A shocking story.

    This is not really to do with your lease so I am asking moderator to move it to somewhere more appropriate.

    Are you saying there are other non white residents being harassed as well? Or is it just the general feeling of all residents?
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      You could bring an action for breach of quiet enjoyment through harrassment.
      The Police are the way to deal with harrassment of this type.

      If the block is seperate from the others then exercise right to manage.

      You could call an EGM to seek removal of the fence, using the occupiers objections by asking them to tell their landlords, the flat owners, so that they vote by proxy ( a vote taken in thier abscence appointing you to vote for them) for its removal.

      I am afraid that in the case of harrassment and the fence your remedies will need a solcitors advice and court action if you intend to address this.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

      Comment


        #4
        Harassment from Residents committee

        Hi

        I wasn't too sure which section to put this in but the fence issue definitely is against the terms of the lease, so picked this section. Please feel free to put it in a more appropriate section.

        Yes nearly all the non white residents I know have been harassed in some way here. This has taken the form of having rubbish dumped on their doorstep (this has happened to us numerous times), threats of eviction due to some made up accusation (again this happened to us), etc.

        The Chairman I would say he is in his late eighties and has a very old fashioned ideas regarding race and class. To show how crazy his views are, he asked a white lady tenant here, why she had a English flag hanging up during this year's World Cup. She is in a a mixed relationship with an Asian gentleman and have a couple of children. She has a strong Liverpool accent and explained she was English (born here). That was not enough for him he asked about her parents, she said they were born here too. He was only satisfied when she stated her grandparents on both sides were born here. She still receives abuse from him as he doesn't approve of her mixed relationship or her children. She and her friend who is also in a mixed relationship came to advise my wife that this chairman and another director were referring to her as a f*&king black cow. I am really angry about all this and there seems little we can do.

        To be honest this has really put me off buying any leasehold property ever. It seems to me a lessee has less rights than a council tenant. We are all professionals living here, even the tenants pay over £1000 per month. The situation is crazy. I used to believe this country was very PC and racists could not get away their abuse, I certainly don't believe that anymore.

        Regards....Dave

        Comment


          #5
          Re the fence please see my earlier post.

          On the other issues as dreadful as they are I am not sure anyone can help you other than to suggest you contact the Police and use your local councillor and MP to ensure they treat you and your neighbours concerns with the appropriate interest and response.

          You should take legal advice on his behaviour if you have any sound justifiable concerns in regard to the potential for liability if his views were to influence actions or decisions taken on behalf of the freeholders and your company ( not the agents).
          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi

            Thanks for your reply. My wife and I issued LBA (letter before action) letters to the director and one of the directors last year. This advised them of their racial harassment and to desist. We got no replay from either. My wife decided not to go ahead with the injunction at the local court as she wanted to give them one last chance and she was worried the chairman because of his advanced age might prove too stressful for him. I went along with her and to be honest the director never gave us any trouble again. The chairman on the other hand is a different story.

            I would definitely go to court over this if I can be sure I can get costs back from them. At the moment we are saving hard just to get out of this place.
            We have contacted the police several times but they always seem to think it is really a civil matter. They have only assigned PCSOs to knock on their doors and then after a short while the abuse starts up again. They are pretty useless.

            The block is not completely separate unfortunately (although there is a separate maisonette area). The chairman / director are all in the block attached to ours but are not affected by the fence as their front doors face the car park (none of us have back doors)

            As I said earlier holding an EGM is near impossible as most of the residents here are tenants, many don't even know their landlords as they go through estate agents. The management company won't give any of us the contact details for the other lessees.

            We have asked through the management company for us to sit down with the residents association (chairman and four directors) but they have not responded. That is their standard non response they hope you just go give up and go away literally!

            I have stated to the management company many times since fence has gone up that I won't pay the service charges until the fence is removed as the residents/ lessees in the two blocks affected have signed a petition against it and it is completely against the terms of the lease. I have had no response on this.

            I am hoping I am taken to court as all this can come out and I don't have to pay costs. I am happy to pay the service charges once the fence is removed.

            Regards.....Dave

            Comment


              #7
              Well even if the building is in theory capable of being treated as divided eg semi detached house, RTM could apply.

              If the neighbouring renters are being treated as you say they can contact their landlords, who if concerned over losing a tenant or rent, might then contact you.

              You can go to companies house and download the last annual return and perhaps piece together the addresses of the owners from there.

              Of course it is essential that you take legal opinion first to ensure that your case is sound and to make you aware of any liability such accusations might lead to for you.
              Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

              Comment


                #8
                Another possibility is s24 L&T act which allows an individual lessee to apply to the LVT for the appointment of a manager. This will remove the directors from the management and the appointed manager can be someone you nominate or a professional management co (I suggest ARMA registered).

                You need to issue a s22 notice in which you state the breaches of the lease and what needs to be done to remedy the situation, including a deadline. The threat of losing control of the management may be sufficient to deal with the breaches of the lease, but won't help with the racism.

                We also found the Police aren't interested, even with evidence of harassment. I suspect an injunction is your only choice on this matter.
                I am not a solicitor, I am a lessee/shareholder in conflict with the management. Please seek your own legal advice before relying on my comments in this forum!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Another angle you might want to consider is the impact on your ability to sell. If you make things official you will have to declare the dispute to your potential buyer, which may put off a large number of potential buyers. This is unfortunate as it is this kind of things that encourages this sort of repulsive behaviour - knowing that you can't act without damaging your own position.

                  In your position I don't think I would be so quick to dimiss the idea of writing to all other leasholders, buy to let or not. If it was me I would support your efforts to have these people removed simply as a matter of principle, but that will depend on the individuals. Even then, a purely pragmatic argument based on the fact that the actions of these individuals is damaging the value of the property or at least damaging the leaseholders ability to find buyers or tenants may well be effective.

                  Comment

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