Proposed building works and a frustrated leaseholder

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    Proposed building works and a frustrated leaseholder

    Hello,

    I urgently need advice in regards to proposed building works on our building.

    To cut the long story short we were served a Notice of Intention to carry out building works by our management company (Trust Management Company) back in January last year.

    We objected to much of the works -within the consultation period- and asked the property manager to revise the specification (eg. delete works on the list that 1:should have been carried out under the service charges like cleaning gutters or 2: simply were not needed).

    At the same time, we have also requested a copy of the surveyor`s report to explain the necessity of certain works and to give us more clarification on other point of the specification (eg. how much brickwork needed repointing)

    we were promised a response to the points we made and a copy of the requested document( 20months later we are still waiting for them!)

    A few months later(July 2009) we have received the full specification (a revised version) and we were horrified to see that although some of the unnecessary works have been deleted from the list, new points(new works!) have been added to the list (eg. urgent roof work).

    We have immediately responded to this edited version of the original specification and asked the property manager for an explanation about the newly added works.

    Her response was that it was too late to amend the full specification and we should have been made our points during the consultation period.
    We -very politely- reminded her that we could not do so as certain points were NOT on the original list (the first one in January). She said that it was too late and the specification has been set in accordance with that identified by the surveyor.

    We have again requested a copy of the survey alongside visual evidence (photos or drawings) about the parts of the building needing repairing/maintenance and therefore have been put on the specification. Again, we were promised to get a report on the property "as soon as the surveyor comes back from his annual leave".

    2 month later(September 2009) I have sent an email -as a gentle reminder- about the report also asked a reason for the lack of information from their side. No response. After this, I have made a few more calls/emails that all have remained unanswered by Trust. We have assumed-very wrongly- that they have dropped the matter realising we have seen through them ( that they were trying to rip us off by carrying out unnecessary building works for great costs).

    Well, we were so wrong. Yesterday we have received the Statement of Estimates alongside an invoice of £2000. The letter does not say who is going to carry out the works, what works are going to be carried out and when. It only states that as the company did not receive within the consultation period any written observations in relation to the notice of proposals given on 20th january 2009(which is completely untrue) they are going to go ahead with the works.
    We do not even know the agent`s name who is dealing in the matter as the letter is sign like "On Behalf of Trust Property Management".

    Can anyone advise me what would be the best thing to do to sort the matter out?

    Thinking about writing to the managing director (Benjamin Mier) taking on his offer "to look into any concerns that leaseholders have" in a previous thread on this website. Do you think it would be worth doing it?

    Thought about going to LVT but looked at my Lease and found out that I need to pay Landlord`s legal costs even if won the case. That kind of makes me worried..

    Does anyone have any advice in regards to the above?

    It would be much appreciated!

    Dora








    Yesterday

    #2
    benjamin mire the MD has offered to deal direct with anyone with concerns via this forum and his own address

    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...-Benjamin-Mire

    his email address is bmire@trustplc.com, mention LLZ in your title.
    We entered the fold to deal with issues that members have- yay LLZ!
    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


      #3
      Gutters: If access scaffold is used then the additional costs is tiny, and saves it being done with specific access later on in the year. They should be cleared once a year, and in fact I recommend that when doing external painting inserts are placed in gutters to prevent blockages as it saves money in the long term, especially as if you are more than 2 floors ladders are not to be used, making it expensive.

      New Works: If new works are introduced, and are going to add significantly to the cost, then it is arguable that they should have sent the revised specification out with a sensible period for comments. How much is it adding per flat, roughly? If its £50 to £75 and assuming the work is required and solution reasonable, that the required works were not evident at the time of the original specification, then it is unlikely that you can argue the point successfully.

      Observations: Under the Act they are required to list or summarise the observations and their response; having stated there were none, is failing to comply however it seems that they have omitted the works you ask to have removed. If there are still remaining issues which they have not addressed then that adds to the case.

      It is not unusual for a letter to be signed for the company and I am sure there is a reference so you can contact the author.

      You could write to the MD
      1:x emails remain unanswered and summarise the outstanding points
      2: that those points were raised in the consultation period however your notice of estimates state none were raised( even though some amendments were made as result of representations)

      and as a result the landlord has failed to have regard to or set out the observations and responses and failed to comply with section 20of the landlord and tenant act 1985 ( as amended)

      3: new roof works have been introduced in a revised specification and while you understand that works arise over time, as they are now urgent, why were they not identified and included in the original specification. Had the work progressed earlier As a result residents have had no opportunity to make observations on their inclusion and therefore and failed to comply with section 20of the landlord and tenant act 1985 ( as amended)

      I would mention that the PM has had ample time to respond to issues 1 & 2 and has chosen to ignore issue 3 and instructed your surveyors to go to tender.

      I would suggest that you would prefer to resolve this constructively, however you may enlist the support of other residents to challenge these charges and the specification at the LVT, and will notify your mortgagees that you have disputed these charges.

      I think the PM has slipped up……

      On a final note invoices can only be raised under the lease terms. Does your lease allow one off bills? If it does not then these bills are unenforceable. Perhaps add

      You have sent a one off invoice for the works and therefore please quote the clause(s) in the lease that allow a one off charge, other than the normal estimated charges due (whenever you pay them) and any year end balancing charge or credit.
      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
        Dear Leaseholdanswers

        Thank you for the quick reply.

        I did raise my concerns to the PM back in July whether the consultation procedures were correctly followed (ie response to our observations).
        Her response was that the number of items that the Leaseholders wanted to omit/change were"more than most managing agents would accept when acting on behalf of the Freeholder" and that "in normal circumstances the specification would not be sent to all Leaseholders for their comments". Well, to be honest it wasn`t like every single leaseholder wanted something different and the poor PM could not cope:
        there are only 9 leaseholders in the building, 7 of us got together to go through the specification to seewhat were the essential works needed to be done and what points needed to be revised/omitted. We could not get in touch with one leaseholder and one was against any form of objection to the proposed works.
        I will look at my Lease in regards the one off bill.

        Thanks again

        Dora

        Comment


          #5
          Most welcome.

          The PM comment is disgraceful: there is no limit on the issues you can raise they must all be considered and responded to, even if its a no.

          Specification is a difficult one: the schedule of works is essentially what you are after, however when it comes to pricing, as many contractors will put costs on the preliminaries, often their overhead and profit, I think copies of the estimates means seeing the tender.

          I think it is important than any agent or freeholder/landlord or party to the lease manager is that they are spending other peoples money. They have the ability to adjust their fees to reflect how much work there might be with an active residents group, and if they think that there will be contention over the works, to allow for representations to the LVT to rule on the matter.

          PM's learn this over time and should take advice from experienced co workers ( or join LLZ too! ).

          Do pass this post on to the PM.

          Good luck
          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

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