Long leaseholder not repairing leak

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    Long leaseholder not repairing leak

    Quick bit of background:
    Block of 12 maisonettes, 6x 1 storey and above them 6x2 storey. On the ground floor a row of garages.

    We are a RMC and I do all the donkey work. Things mostly ticking along okay.
    We do not own the freehold (operational railway land), but our RMC company has the headlease. We have no contact or input from our landlord, they don't even collect ground rent from us.

    Now for the problem:

    One of the one storey maisonettes (above the garages) has had a leak for approx 3 months. I know all the flats very well and am aware that the leak is from the bath when the shower is being used.

    The owner occupier was approached and made aware of the problem 3 months ago but has not fixed the leak. After catching her on her way out today, it quickly became clear that she will get it fixed when she 'has the money', as it's 'a bigger job than at first thought'. She still continues to use the shower in the meantime.

    I can see it's still leaking every time she showers as water drips through the concrete joins that constitute the underside of the external communal balcony. The masonry paint has bubbled and flaked and green stuff is growing there now.

    I know she is obliged to keep her demised premises in good order as I'm very familiar with the leases.

    She is a young girl on her own with a baby, and I don't wish to harass her. If it were any of the other flats, I would ask to go in to have a look under the bath (probably the seal has gone), but she is rather cagey about letting people in.

    I don't want to be heavy-handed but this could continue forever with the damage to the building getting worse.

    Any suggestions on what steps to take next?

    #2
    You might (if you were feeling charitable) offer to do the work for her yourself at cost if you are able? Or you might point out to her that you (the RMC) will hold her liable for the cost of repairs to the damage if she fails to stop the leak herself. Other than that, I can't think of anything non-heavy handed I'm afraid.

    Comment


      #3
      If I had more time I might offer to do it, I've got kids myself and and we're in the process of moving etc etc.

      She has recently given me a cheque for the ground rent for the next 6 months. I was thinking that I will give it back to her, pointing out that we can't accept it while she is in breach of a covenant of her lease (repairs and all that).

      Would this be a reasonable thing to do?

      Comment


        #4
        Why is she paying you ground rent? Earlier you said "We have no contact or input from our landlord, they don't even collect ground rent from us"

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Tulula View Post
          You might (if you were feeling charitable) offer to do the work for her yourself at cost if you are able? Or you might point out to her that you (the RMC) will hold her liable for the cost of repairs to the damage if she fails to stop the leak herself. Other than that, I can't think of anything non-heavy handed I'm afraid.
          Well that's a good start; if the lease allows the RMC to enter and inspect, and in default of the leaseholder carry out the repair, you could do that and agree a repayment plan.

          When it comes to showers it is usually something a tube of mastic and some denso tape on plumbing joints can solve, temporarily, to prevent damage in the short term.

          Ask to come in and look but take another woman with you ( if you are a man that is ). Now none of the ladies get all excited with me, the resident may feel vulnerable and defensive despite outward appearances, and this is a sensible move as a matter of good practice.
          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
            Perhaps you could buy a tube of silicone sealant from the service charge account and ask her to fill the gap between the edge of bath and wall.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Tulula View Post
              Why is she paying you ground rent? Earlier you said "We have no contact or input from our landlord, they don't even collect ground rent from us"
              Underlesses pay ground rent to us, the company that owns the headlease. Our landlord should then collect from us but doesn't.

              It's a long, complicated and quite frankly boring tale of a complex carve up of the piece of land our block stands on. If you really want to punish yourself much of it is explained in an agonisingly long thread from last year.

              I am a woman but I think this young lady just thinks I'm a nosy old cow and doesn't seem too keen on letting me in her flat to have a look and she isn't forthcoming about what is causing the leak.

              Her bathroom wall was badly cracked by subsidence a few years ago (trees outside, since removed) and there is a possobility that settlement has cracked some tiles.

              I'm handy with the sealant myself, funnily enough that's what I'm doing this week at our new house.

              I think I'll send her a brief, friendly note saying can we arrange a convenient time to inspect the leak, and that perhaps we can look at the possibility of the RMC helping in some way.

              If that doesn't work I'll think about setting the dogs on her.

              Comment


                #8
                Sounds like a plan!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by shedbones View Post
                  If that doesn't work I'll think about setting the dogs on her.
                  dogs that can caulk with mastic; that I would pay to see!

                  The tiles should however be part of the claim for movement. Were they overlooked?
                  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


                    #10
                    that I would pay to see!
                    You're weird...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tulula View Post
                      You're weird...
                      Hey - people think keyboard Cat is amusing. I am clearly in good company!
                      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


                        #12
                        Personally I am a fan of OMG cat.

                        Apologies to the OP for the slight derail.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                          The tiles should however be part of the claim for movement. Were they overlooked?
                          No, the wall was repaired and retiled, but I know from our own flat that new cracks have appeared, probably as the building has settled down over the last few years.

                          Caulking dogs - I'd definitely get me one of them!

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