Please, please, gagging for help (final time)... I know I'm annoying and I'm sorry...

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    Please, please, gagging for help (final time)... I know I'm annoying and I'm sorry...

    Yes, I know I have gone through this with people before and you've all been wonderfully brilliant but the court case is less than one week away now and I still want to 100% verify something that I'm not quite 100% sure on. Please help. I will seriously shower you all with gifts and kisses if this comes through.

    I'll tell you my question in advance. Given the information I have detailed below, are the freeholders correct to state that their response to one of the questions on the pre-sales documents responded to in 2007 was correctly answered as the "consulation period had closed"? Had it ACTUALLY closed? I say 'no' because the quotes hadn't yet come through. Allow me to explain....

    I beg for your expert help for these final bits. I'm sorry it's long. Please please please.


    Nearly 5 years ago, a year prior to me buying my flat, the freeholder (which was then a local council organisation) sent two letters to then leaseholders. The first one was a Notice Of Intention to enter into a qualifying long term agreement S20 etc etc. It was to carry out major works on a s—t-load of properties throughout the area. Windows. It stated that it would be over a four year period and offered tenants 30 days to make written observations. Lots of people in the blocks of flats in which I live are in social housing, by the way, and rent directly from the landlord.

    Just over a month letter, a second letter arrived. It was similar, but this time stated that the consultation period has now ended and that the works have been awarded. It stated that no written observations were made during the consultation period. I have copies of these letters right here in front of me, but only ever got to see them long after I moved into the flat.

    Thirteen months later, entirely ignorant on the above, I put offer on in flat. Legal checks were carried out. Two pre-sale questionnaires are sent. One to sellers, one to freeholders who are now, by the way, a housing association, as, during the year, a stock transfer had happened. One of the questions sent to the freeholders was ‘are there any anticipated works in the next 2 years that would increase the service charge demand?’ The response mentioned some minor works due to be carried out on some guttering. The major works described above were not mentioned at all.

    A later question asked: ‘are there any outstanding service charge consultation procedures pursuant to the L&T Act 1985?’ Their response:- “Not applicable.”

    The vendors made no mention of the works in their application.

    About a year later, a letter turns up one day mentioning these major works due on my flat. I contact freeholder and do my nut. As you would imagine. They say: “your problem, you were told about the works when you bought the property, sorry.” I later get together all the documentation and send copies to Freeholder proving this wasn’t true (I’d had to contact my legal people to get copies sent). The freeholder now change story and state they deliberately withheld the information as there were budgetry and funding reasons at the time which may have prevented them from carrying out the works.

    Then, a month or so later, a breakdown of what the costs will be (to the flat) arrives. It just breaks it down into 6 figures with a total. It was an estimate. Ten or so days after this, the works begin. I contact the leasehold advisory people who say this development, on its own, likely breaks s20 rules as the breakdown of estimated costs should have described my 30 day notice period (and given me it). True or false? I contacted the organisation and told them what I’d been advised. The work promptly stopped for the rest of the month and they apologised. Eventually, I had to let it continue when the 30 day period arrived. Long before this, scaffolding was all over the flats indicasting that regardless of what ‘observations’ I made, they were going ahead with the works like it or not...

    Hopefully this is an accurate and detailed-enough account so you can make your conclusions. I really hope you can help. This time next week, I'll know the answer.

    #2
    It's difficult to answer this without seeing the paperwork, and also the exact text and context of the questions asked and answered. What sticks out like a sore thumb to me though is this:

    ‘are there any anticipated works in the next 2 years that would increase the service charge demand?’ The response mentioned some minor works due to be carried out on some guttering. The major works described above were not mentioned at all.

    They should have disclosed the works even if there was a chance they would not happen. I have no idea whether or not that will help you in your court case though.

    Comment


      #3
      Sounding totaly unsympathetic ( me )

      You have known about the repairs or whatever for 4 years, and the repairs have
      to be done, so it seems you are not questioning that they "needed" to be done,
      but you just don't want to pay your share, having had 4 years to save up.

      but you are correct that if S20 proceedures were not carried out, you can claim
      you only have to pay £ 250, which is what you are doing.

      But also remember that your share that they may not be getting, WILL put up the
      service charge to account for them not receiving the full amonut to pay for the
      works.

      We cannot tell you how the magistrate / judge will rule on the case, that is for
      magistrate / judge to decide.
      He may have an opinion in your favour on reading documents, but may change his
      mind when talking to both parties.

      No matter what we say on here, the outcome of the case will be what it is.
      The evidence is already submitted, and judge will rule. We cannot rule on the
      outcome of your court case without having all documentation and listening to
      the verbal defence given at the trial.

      You will either win, or you will lose, or get halfway.

      I have been to court and the first ever time it makes you feel sick inside.
      But having thought, well, the evidence is in, there can only be one judgement,
      good or bad, so I stopped worrying, and was able to conduct myself in a coherent
      fashion after that, and keep my calm.

      Best of luck.

      R.a.M.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for this. Truly helpful.

        Comment


          #5
          It breaks down into 2 areas, how you defend them depends on your defence to date, and the initial proceedings.

          1: Consultation; as said earlier in an earlier thread and in post #2 without seeing the paperwork, you have to match what the council, ALMO or RSL/HA have done, against the section 20 procedure.

          We have established that as it is portfolio wide it
          a requires European advertising
          b that nominations are not required under the ( top of my head a local government misc prov type act in 2000)

          If you are saying

          1: yes to NOI, yes to Contract award Notice ( I think)
          2:but failure to serve notice of estimates and /or note that observations made and respond to them,
          3: I might not recall correctly but that the NOI was sent with estimates*

          then you must be able to argue this, in detail, along the timeline and the guidance.

          2: As post 2 says, and in earlier threads it is a matter of disclosure-
          a; there may have been no outstanding "section 20 procedures", but
          b; there were works planned and notified ( see 1) which you later became aware of, ie not before purchase.


          Conclusion:

          Your position is clear, but there is no quick answer; you need to

          a; state your position- "disclosure to enquires wrong and consultation faulty"

          b; argue and substantiate that to convince the court you are right, not have the landlord argue a generalised claim from you and hope they hang themselves.



          * I am told this is not uncommon in public sector works in that they are often prepared to do the works and accept a limited recovery, and that they will take on any observations and where appropriate, re-price under the partnering arrangements, and serve the "NOE"
          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
            Again, thanks, good answers. If this comes through next week, you will be rewarded accordingly. Thank you so much - you have been very helpful.

            Comment


              #7
              Well thank you , however the purpose of my time here is to try and raise the profile and standing of the residential property management sector and the various professional and customer services people that practice in it.

              I cannot stress that the hard work now begins for you to match what happened with what should have happened, and conclude, realistically, that you are prepared and able ( not simply willing) to adequately defend your position and protect your interests.

              Bearing in mind the sums involved you must seriously consider getting professional representation - a county court judgement is a very serious thing with far reaching implications.
              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
                I spoke to many solicitors about the case. Getting legal representation wasn't a realistic prospect although every one offered it and each encouraged me to take the matter to court. The Leasehold Advisory ppl said just not to pay it.

                As they all explained, see, a small claims court don't have the power to get my legal fees paid by the defendant, regardless of the outcome of the case. Therefore, I could win and end up losing. One solictor estimated that the legal fees would actually likely be in and around the actual amount under dispute. Of course, this hasn't stopped the organisation from hiring some legal firm to represent their interests, and you would be truly, truly shocked if you saw the 'defence' this 'leasehold specialist solicitor' is using in court next Wed in response to the details of the claim I have made against them. It's like something out of a 'Carry On' Film and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual case (don't ask).

                Looking back, I still sort-of wish I'd have got a solicitor now, however, as, in reality, the money now plays second fiddle to everything else. What this firm have done is wrong, plain and simple, and the story I have told you is just one of many, many problems I have had with them. Trust me when I tell you:- They're not just bad - they're awful. Most of the leaseholders just end up 'giving in' and get tired of their complete ineptness, but I just couldn't do that. Their lies, stories, contradictions, backtracking... Not acceptable. They need showing up and I really hope people use next week as a catalyst and motivation to stop accepting their shoddy levels of service. I intend to take it to the local media once it's over. If it encourages just a few ppl to take these people on and question the freeholders' activities, I'll be a happy person; much happier than I'd be just getting the cash back.

                I intend to win. It is strong and everything is backed up with letters and supporting documents, each of which the court have copies of. I will detail the case in court and I have answers to everything. I can do no more. Thanks again.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by calgontablet View Post
                  I spoke to many solicitors about the case. Getting legal representation wasn't a realistic prospect although every one offered it and each encouraged me to take the matter to court. The Leasehold Advisory ppl said just not to pay it.

                  As they all explained, see, a small claims court don't have the power to get my legal fees paid by the defendant, regardless of the outcome of the case. Therefore, I could win and end up losing. One solictor estimated that the legal fees would actually likely be in and around the actual amount under dispute. Of course, this hasn't stopped the organisation from hiring some legal firm to represent their interests, and you would be truly, truly shocked if you saw the 'defence' this 'leasehold specialist solicitor' is using in court next Wed in response to the details of the claim I have made against them. It's like something out of a 'Carry On' Film and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual case (don't ask).

                  Looking back, I still sort-of wish I'd have got a solicitor now, however, as, in reality, the money now plays second fiddle to everything else. What this firm have done is wrong, plain and simple, and the story I have told you is just one of many, many problems I have had with them. Trust me when I tell you:- They're not just bad - they're awful. Most of the leaseholders just end up 'giving in' and get tired of their complete ineptness, but I just couldn't do that. Their lies, stories, contradictions, backtracking... Not acceptable. They need showing up and I really hope people use next week as a catalyst and motivation to stop accepting their shoddy levels of service. I intend to take it to the local media once it's over. If it encourages just a few ppl to take these people on and question the freeholders' activities, I'll be a happy person; much happier than I'd be just getting the cash back.

                  I intend to win. It is strong and everything is backed up with letters and supporting documents, each of which the court have copies of. I will detail the case in court and I have answers to everything. I can do no more. Thanks again.
                  Ill offer a bit of encouragement, after years of shoddy service and quite frankly rip offs/scams, Ive now faced my Freeholder in Court and LVT as a Litigant In Person a few times and been mostly successfull, a few slip ups by me but nothing too major.

                  Ive now faced Solicitors, Barristers and a so-called Leasehold Expert (in reality a Surveyor) and an LVT panel that reached some slightly stange decisions (whats new !?), whilst they do like to try and intimidate and pressure you Ive had the pleasure of Judges ruling my way and in my first case, my FH making a fool of himself.

                  I'm putting the finishing touches to my Defence & Counterclaim for an upcoming case and Im extremely confident about winning easily.

                  Andy
                  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


                    #10
                    As previously stated 'a county court judgement is a very serious thing with far reaching implications'.
                    IF you don't win, be fully prepared to settle within 28 days (and inform the court it has been done) to avoid having it entered on the register of CCJ's. After 28 days it stays on there for 6 years, even if satisfied, creating no end of hassle.

                    Hopefully you wont need to.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you again. So what's everyone's choice alcoholic beverge? I reckon Mr Leasehold expert is an Irish whiskey man....

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The only registered "Topic Expert" in leaseholds here is a lady; not sure she'd like being called Mr

                        And yes I am so busy being cautious for you I should add

                        1: preparation preparation preparation

                        2: the best of luck

                        To quote Corporal Nobbs " kick 'em in the vulnerables "
                        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


                          #13
                          Originally posted by boletus View Post
                          As previously stated 'a county court judgement is a very serious thing with far reaching implications'.
                          IF you don't win, be fully prepared to settle within 28 days (and inform the court it has been done) to avoid having it entered on the register of CCJ's. After 28 days it stays on there for 6 years, even if satisfied, creating no end of hassle.

                          Hopefully you wont need to.
                          Further to my above post..I'll add (for amusement) that my Freeholder has got a CCJ from me.. ha
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by andydd View Post
                            Further to my above post..I'll add (for amusement) that my Freeholder has got a CCJ from me.. ha
                            Are you sure it's on the register Andy? It normally only goes on if you enforce the judgement (i.e instruct bailifs , TPO, etc). For a small fee you can check.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by boletus View Post
                              Are you sure it's on the register Andy? It normally only goes on if you enforce the judgement (i.e instruct bailifs , TPO, etc). For a small fee you can check.
                              Well..the court case it refered to was re-instated by that was a while after the CCJ had been granted, I was sent a credit report of the FH and the CCJ did appear, which did surprise me, dont really care so Im not going to spend money to check.

                              Andy
                              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

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