Advice needed leaseholder & county court judgement + lvt

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    Advice needed leaseholder & county court judgement + lvt

    I have a problem as a Leaseholder with non-payment of Service Charges ( SC) to Freeholder and a friend is helping me as a Lay Rep.in the courts .My arguement was that the SC were unreasonable. The SC relate to 2006/7 & FH issued summons over two years ago.

    The court in one of the hearings ordered that the matter be dealt with by LVT determination & revert back to courts for costs.

    The LVT determined in my favour and reduced the SC by approx &305

    At the final court hearing ( 5th one & fifth new judge), the judge said he had had no opportunity of reading the file & as the time allocated was 45 mins. asked both parties to give a brief of the case.

    I mentioned the LVT determination in my favour & thought he will award the case & the costs to me. But he awarded £1500 against me ( total claimed by claimants was £3000+).

    There is a costs clause in the Lease but I think it has to be demanded & that also in reasonable time.

    I filed form N164 Appellants Notice for permission to appeal ( another judge) but was refused and it stated " This appeal has no realistic prospect of success".

    The notice does allow me to apply for a hearing at which I may renew the application for permission to appeal. This has to be done by Thursday, 29th Nov.

    I do not know how to go about this and cannot afford a lawyer.

    There is a lot of background to this case before & during the court case & LVT whereby the claimants have been very difficult & also lied in the court.

    I will be most grateful for any help & guidance. Thank you.

    #2
    I think we will need more info.

    Can you do a timeline of the LVT and Court Claims ?. Why five ?

    What exactly happened in the last case ?, What do the amounts of £1500/£300 relate ?.

    Were costs awarded ? (this is rare in small claims track).

    Are costs recoverable in the lease via the service charge ?. Did you ask for/be awarded S20C at either LVt or Court ?

    Has the LVT decision been posted online yet ?

    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


      #3
      I don't understand fully what you are saying.

      How much was the claim for?

      What track was the case allocated to?

      Were the costs costs awarded by the court? If so how much?

      Or were they claimed in relation to the lease?

      Andy, just seen you have replied whilst I was typing. Posted my response anyway, just in case there's something you didn't ask.
      I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

      Comment


        #4
        We both think alike
        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


          #5
          Dear Andy, Details as follows:

          1st hearing-prelimanary
          2nd hearing-Had to file amended defence
          3rd hearing-Time allocated not enough-Defendent to clarify position re:LVT
          4th hearing-Case trf.to LVT for reasonableness or not
          5th hearing-Final hearing reserved for costs.

          Claim in B'ham County Court - Form N1 filed by the Claimants

          Service Charges claimed £1067, LVT reduced these by £305 i.e. £762 payable.

          Court ordered I pay £1500 towards claimants costs despite LVT ruling.Claimants had indicated costs in excess of £3000.

          Costs not recoverable by srvice charges.

          Sorry do not know if LVT online or not.

          Sorry! What is S20c.

          Thanks.

          Comment


            #6
            You didn't say which track the case was allocated. Usually for claims of less than £5000 cases are awarded to the small claims track where costs are severely limited.

            If over £5000 and unless the claim is really big or complicated they are usually allocated to the fast track. I think these claims are limited to about £500 costs but could be wrong.

            The only reason I can see that the court awarded £1500 costs is because of unreasonable behaviour. I've heard it mentioned that amended claims/defences are sometimes classed as unreasonable so the Judge may have awarded costs based on the costs they incurred due to having to adjust to the amended defence.

            What did he say in his decision about costs?

            Appeals don't give you a second chance of arguing your case or disputing costs. They are granted for errors of law or procedure or totally odd decisions.

            This case sounds familiar. Have you posted under a different username before?
            I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you Siva,

              Sorry it was the small claims track.

              My defence was not comprehensive enough..

              Costs awarded were as follows:

              Interest as per Lease on the SC debt £316
              Solicitors Legal Costs £410
              Summons Issue Fee £80
              Claimants Court Fees £350
              Unreasonable Defence Costs £300

              Apart from £300 for inreasonable defence costs, I think I should not have to pay any other costs because the LVT ruled that the SC were unreasonable & reduced them by Approx.29%.

              The Appeal is to highlight that the judge who was at the final hearing had not read the file I believe it was responsible for perverse decision as to the costs & the costs did not follow judgement by the LVT determination.

              Comment


                #8
                Hello Andy / Siva

                I have read up on S20c and the answer is no. Did not know about it & have not used it at all.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ideal View Post

                  Interest as per Lease on the SC debt £316
                  I'm not sure (but could be wrong) that those costs can just be awarded if they weren't part of the original claim. Anybody else help on that one? However if the lease allows for these costs there's not much point arguing (unless there's a reason why they're not due) as they will be due on proper demand for them.

                  Solicitors Legal Costs £410
                  Again, if it's the small claims track I don't see how the Judge can award those costs. Could be wrong.

                  Summons Issue Fee £80
                  OK, I can't argue with that. They had to make the application to get the £762 that was owed.

                  Claimants Court Fees £350
                  Yes, that seems reasonable. Why should they pay court fees when they were owed £762

                  Unreasonable Defence Costs £300
                  Well, if that was how much they incurred because of the amended defence then that's OK too.
                  I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi Siva,

                    I think I am thinking from a very low starting point as a lay person in this case. My thoughts are that for 2/3 years I kept telling FH the SC were not reasonable & they were not coperative in giving me enough info. to ascertain the unreasonableness e.g it took them one year to reply to one of my letters.

                    I also threatened them with LVT if they issued summons. They issued summons without notifying me, but produced Notice Before Proceedings supposedly sent which was never received by me.

                    The court offered mediation, but they refused. They said this was NOT a case of reasonableness..the judges said it WAS. The LVT found they were UNREASONABLE, something I had been saying for years.

                    I have been consistant from day one i.e.five years ago to the end...and the LVT decision proved it.

                    SO THE QUESTION IS WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY ANY COSTS. HAVE I NOT WON THE ARGUEMENT THE CLAIMANTS WENT TO COURT FOR (except for the reduced SCharges, the amount I DID NOT KNOW until LVT assessed the unreasonable amount).

                    Actually at the LVT we found out that the FH had paid £9000+ extra to the Electricity company.These were recovered from electric supplier by FH after LVT find & returned back to all the Leaseholders in the block recently.

                    Siva I have not previously been on this or any other forum with this problem.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well the only costs really were the £410 legal costs which I don't see why you should have to pay. The rest were court fees and interest.

                      The way to have gone about it, in my opinion, is to have either i) paid all of the demand or ii) paid what you considered reasonable. Then disputed the reasonableness at the LVT. You have lost out in regard to the court fees by not acting first. You may want to look at the interest rate you were charged if it is only 2/3 years on £762.
                      I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The interest for about 5 years at 5.5%.

                        You probably are right about the process I have should have adopted. Therefore, It looks like the legal costs is the ones I can Appeal against.

                        What are your thoughts on this aspect & how would I go about it in relation to the date I have been given for 29th Nov.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ideal View Post

                          What are your thoughts on this aspect & how would I go about it in relation to the date I have been given for 29th Nov.
                          Well I'd wait for contributions from others to see if they agree with me on those costs.

                          Appeals in the County Court are not something I'm well up on so again wait for better advice.

                          But it does seem wrong that the Judge can award legal costs in a small claims track case. Whilst waiting for other posts have a read of the procedure rules and the practice directions.

                          I'm also wondering about the award of unreasonable behaviour costs made against you. If you have been given the opportunity to argue your case in regard to these then there is perhaps nothing you can do about it. However if you haven't then you might be able to talk a Judge into reconsidering this award if you point out the other sides unreasonable behaviour (e.g refusing mediation). Again, I'm just saying what I think is reasonable, rather than what I know about costs/appeals.
                          I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Even on the small track costs can be awarded, and even if they are S146 proceedings they can assess those to.

                            In simple terms this is what comes of failing to exercise rights, leaving it to the freeholder to initiate proceedings and open you to costs.Section 20 c is irrelevant as it offers you no protection as they have been determined by the court.

                            As the amount was £3k he has said in effect 50/50 as the matter should have been resolved on the LVT determination, which was barely 30% of the amount claimed. Bluntly the Judge should have taken one look and said" mediate or the LVT which one"-
                            listed the issues and directed accordingly.

                            It's a version of saying use your words and a good spanking for neither party clearly addressing the issues between you- a lose lose. The court is not there to help you sort out your claim or issues so that they can hear them.

                            Sorry to be harsh its horrible lesson and I wish you luck with appeal all the rules on costs are here.

                            http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil
                            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
                              It does appear you have been a bit hard done by.

                              Unfortunatley you have no real defence in law for witholding service charges except for the provisions found in S21B of Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 and S47/S48 of Landlord & Tenant Act 1987, in all other cases there appears to be no actual legal right to withold payment, so as mentioned ideally you should pay it all and challange it or pay what you believe is reasonable (did your defence say something along the lines of 'I admit that £xxx is payable' ?).

                              It is a bit strange for a judge to award costs as he did unless there has been some quite unreasonable behaviour, small claims track is 'no costs' for a good reason. It appear you had a unforgiving Judge, they are supposed to help litigants in person (although not actually give legal help) but some forget as, incidently the others sides solicitor is also supposed to help.

                              But it does beg thge question, what is a LH who is presented with a large and unreasonable demand supposed to do ?. The advice on this is less than clear.

                              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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