Windows not cleaned for 12months but we've been charged

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    Windows not cleaned for 12months but we've been charged

    I hope you don't mind me asking yet another question, but you were all so helpful with our earlier post.

    Our Managing Agent has charged us for monthly window cleaning for the past 12months, but I have had 2 window cleaners visit (to give quotes) and they have said that the windows can't possibly have been cleaned in the last 12 months because the dirt is ground in. We are in an enclosed courtyard and no works have taken place.

    We knew they hadn't been cleaned, but thought this was because the 'Company' had no funds. From previous experience with the Managing Agent I know that the Managing Agent will insist that the dirt is new. The window cleaners who have quoted don’t want to upset the Agent by testifying that the windows haven’t been cleaned because that would scupper any future chances of work with the Agent. Any ideas of how we can get our money back?

    I should add that the Company's contract with Agent does state that the Agent is responsible for supervising work to ensure it is of satisfactory quality. We are not happy with the Agent and had hoped that this breach would enable us to be released early but the contract also states that we need to give them 30 days notice of a breach and that if they rectify the breach in this time we can't terminate. So I am guessing we can't terminate if they get the windows cleaned in 30 days?

    #2
    Do you mean they've charged you for window cleaning as a part of budgeted service charges charged in advance, or as a part of finalised service charge accounts? If the latter then the first thing to do would be to dispute it and ask to see the invoices.

    I don't know if I've read your other thread, who appoints the agent? If it's you (through an RMC or similar) what is the normal process (notice period?) for termination? I wouldn't try to terminate based solely on lack of window cleaners, they'll probably have numerous reasons / excuses for that.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Tulula
      Thanks. They have charged in advance as part of budgeted service charges and we have paid for last year too, as detailed in the finalised service charge accounts! I will ask to see the invoices. I think they probably have paid, but they haven't checked the work was completed. Where would we stand then?

      The residents (RTM Company of which I became a Director this week) appoint the Agent. The Agent's contract states we can't terminate for any reason if they rectify within 30days, though they can terminate at any point. The contract is 'up' is September, so we will be getting rid of them then.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Tulula View Post
        Do you mean they've charged you for window cleaning as a part of budgeted service charges charged in advance, or as a part of finalised service charge accounts? If the latter then the first thing to do would be to dispute it and ask to see the invoices.

        I don't know if I've read your other thread, who appoints the agent? If it's you (through an RMC or similar) what is the normal process (notice period?) for termination? I wouldn't try to terminate based solely on lack of window cleaners, they'll probably have numerous reasons / excuses for that.
        Tulula is right in simple terms (as lawyers are clearly so poor at explaining it to their purchaser client who in turn don't read the advice) the charge is "what they think they wil spend" subject to funds of course- and the accoutns are " waht was actually spent"

        Don't forget that your neighbours are partly to blame by not paying, allowing the agent to do their job, and then when they don't, give them the kick. They are an agent who organises services using other peoples monies. They have no other funds to draw on. They are not a contractor who subcontracts to window cleaners. Non payment is not a punishment opr protest, it simply stops the process working, irrespective of ability or willingness to performance. After all the agent takes few minutes to ask the contrator to quote and a minute to email yes fine go ahead. Its non payment that is the issue.

        One last point, is the budget for cleaning your windows, or at prsent ony for cimmunal windows? Perhaps the new quotes are for an additional service that has not been included in the budget. Have you checked your lease to see if your windows being cleaned are a service charge expense, they are often yours to clean.
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
          One last point, is the budget for cleaning your windows, or at prsent ony for cimmunal windows? Perhaps the new quotes are for an additional service that has not been included in the budget. Have you checked your lease to see if your windows being cleaned are a service charge expense, they are often yours to clean.
          The accounts show the money was spent on a monthly window clean and is budgeted for a monthly clean. I take the point about non-payment, and that is why we didn't complain about them not been cleaned. I diidn't think for a moment that the agent was still paying the contractot.
          The lease is for communal and resident windows. The quotes were for the same.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Emielou5 View Post
            The accounts show the money was spent on a monthly window clean and is budgeted for a monthly clean. I take the point about non-payment, and that is why we didn't complain about them not been cleaned. I diidn't think for a moment that the agent was still paying the contractot.
            The lease is for communal and resident windows. The quotes were for the same.
            Well thats good news - if the accounts show that they were cleaned, and you have documented that they have not, take a look at similar issues and as a group write to the agents and explain giving the the opportunity to comment and then apply to the LVT.

            Complaining is not relevant as the agent by inspection should verify that services are being provided and that the invoices they have paid reflect a service or good provided. They are trustees of the service charge money...

            If the accounts show that they were paid then surely the agent was paying them...
            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


              #7
              Great, I am concerned that the Agent will simply say they were cleaned and the dirt is one month old, we do have photos, but dirt doesn't really show up that well. Will we need some sort of independant testimony that the windows can not have been cleaned for 12months, or should photos be sufficient?
              Will all Directors have to sign the letter, or just the ones living in the building? The other 2 directors are difficult to get hold of.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Emielou5 View Post
                Great, I am concerned that the Agent will simply say they were cleaned and the dirt is one month old, we do have photos, but dirt doesn't really show up that well. Will we need some sort of independant testimony that the windows can not have been cleaned for 12months, or should photos be sufficient?
                Will all Directors have to sign the letter, or just the ones living in the building? The other 2 directors are difficult to get hold of.
                I am sure that you neighbours noticed to get them to sign a petition.

                Your resident directors should be taking this up for you as they are paying for undelivered services as well.
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                  I am sure that you neighbours noticed to get them to sign a petition.

                  Your resident directors should be taking this up for you as they are paying for undelivered services as well.
                  Thanks. I am one of 3 new Directors who took up the posts this month because the existing 2 Directors let their properties out and have not been managing our agent.
                  We have also been charged £250 for power washing, we have 3 other quotes for £80! We will include this in a letter to be signed by the residents.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Emielou5 View Post
                    Thanks. I am one of 3 new Directors .
                    Note. The Managing agents are YOUR employees, be it sub-contracted.
                    You employ them to act on your behalf, and they are acountable to YOU.

                    You TELL them that the windows have not been cleaned, and 2 or 3 others verify this, so tell them to contact the window cleaning services and ask why the windows wer not cleaned.
                    No need for signatures of all connected. They have to sort out the anomaly, not you.

                    However, if the accounts were a forward estimate, and the window cleaners were not paid, because they did not clean, then the funds
                    have not been taken out of the account.

                    If you are saying the agent paid for cleaning every month, tell them they have been subject to fraud, and as it is them that has been subject to fraud, then it is they that carry the cost of investigating that fraud on them.

                    You can easily go and see the receipts for window cleaning, ( your right ) get copies, and phone the window cleaners to say you want some money back.

                    The Managing agents don't argue with you,-- you argue with them, as they are accountable to you, and not the other way round.

                    You say "include this in a letter to be signed by the residents."
                    NO, one letter only, saying "The Directors of the company are not happy- etc. etc, etc. or " On behalf of a majority of the Directors"
                    ( assume 3 out of 5 ) and sign, Director empowered in this matter.
                    You are in control -- Not the agent in this matter.

                    The Directors of a Company run the company, not the agent
                    (Yes, you give power to the agent to make the decisions for you,
                    in absence )

                    I'l ring them up for you ( i will be as nice as pie ) to get the situation moving, and a conclusion to the problem.
                    ( They wont recognise 5 different directors voices, so they wont recognise mine, )


                    R.a.M.

                    My Text does not proceed beyond this line, as this new V4 site cuts off
                    text on screen and makes it impossible on some pages to read the post,
                    so I keep mine up to here ____________________________________|

                    ____________________ _____________________________________|

                    Comment


                      #11
                      P.s.

                      continuing from above --

                      You say "but thought this was because the 'Company' had no funds".

                      Why, as directors of a company, do you not know how much money
                      is in the bank ? ? ? ? and how much you have available for repairs.

                      The law states, If there is a problem with the property, it is ultimatley
                      the directors that are at fault on any problems, and not any agent.

                      "The directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records
                      that are sufficient to show and explain the parent Company's transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time, the financial position of the Company and enable them to ensure that its financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006"

                      Give me a call, as you may need some advice, before you self manage
                      or pass on to another agent.
                      Last edited by ram; 09-03-2011, 14:19 PM. Reason: second Sentence added

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Ram, thanks for the advice. I will proceed as recommended.
                        Re. us not knowing about the funds etc, myself and the other 2 new Directors only became Directors a matter of days ago and we did so because the existing Directors did not have a handle on the affairs of the Company at all. I am a Director of another ltd company and therefore am very familiar with the resposnibilities.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Emielou5 View Post
                          I am a Director of another ltd company and therefoream very familiar with the resposnibilities.
                          Glad to hear that, but I hope you will excuse my "rantings", as I see so many on here that take on more than they can handle.
                          If you know the ins and outs, then my rantings will be excused wont they.

                          With the exception of the agents on here, I find in my area, that estate agents/ letting agents think THEY own the property, and they can drive onto your property and park in your paking space, block your garage any time day or night. etc. etc. etc.

                          I have successfully sued the biggest estate agents in the country, and have 3 more claims to make on the same one, as i do not accept "in full and final settlement, for this and any future claims" from anyone, so we can sue them again !

                          Good luck in getting your property back on track.

                          R.a.M.

                          My Text does not proceed beyond this line, as this new V4 site cuts off
                          text on screen and makes it impossible on some pages to read the post,
                          so I keep mine up to here ____________________________________|
                          ( The site is NOT P.C. compatable )

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Emielou5 View Post
                            Hi Ram, thanks for the advice. I will proceed as recommended.
                            Re. us not knowing about the funds etc, myself and the other 2 new Directors only became Directors a matter of days ago and we did so because the existing Directors did not have a handle on the affairs of the Company at all. I am a Director of another ltd company and therefore am very familiar with the resposnibilities.
                            Be very careful any limited company is bound by their contracts in this case leases and the law that controls them.

                            Experienced directors often fail to understand that. It is essential that you purchase the RICS code and http://www.arma.org.uk/public/h/dvd_cdrom, as service charge expenses.

                            And check back here tell all your friends!
                            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


                              #15
                              Your "rantings" are valued and I am very grateful for them, if only the Directors who have been in position had been on here and learnt about their responsibilities before taking up position, then we wouldn't be in this pickle. Thank you for the advice and the well wishing, I'm sure I'll be back for more advice, as I appreciate that running a business is very different from what I am about to undertake. We're not 'going it alone' by any means, the agent we hope to move to is very experienced and has a great reputation. Thanks again

                              Originally posted by ram View Post
                              Glad to hear that, but I hope you will excuse my "rantings", as I see so many on here that take on more than they can handle.
                              If you know the ins and outs, then my rantings will be excused wont they.

                              With the exception of the agents on here, I find in my area, that estate agents/ letting agents think THEY own the property, and they can drive onto your property and park in your paking space, block your garage any time day or night. etc. etc. etc.

                              I have successfully sued the biggest estate agents in the country, and have 3 more claims to make on the same one, as i do not accept "in full and final settlement, for this and any future claims" from anyone, so we can sue them again !

                              Good luck in getting your property back on track.

                              R.a.M.

                              My Text does not proceed beyond this line, as this new V4 site cuts off
                              text on screen and makes it impossible on some pages to read the post,
                              so I keep mine up to here ____________________________________|
                              ( The site is NOT P.C. compatable )

                              Comment

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