Roof repair cost dispute

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    Roof repair cost dispute

    Hello all, first time poster so apologies for that. We are at my wits end so any advice/thoughts would be appreciated.
    We're the leaseholder of a ground floor flat (125 yr lease from 2008) with 2 flats above. Building erected in thr 1870's.

    We have been here for 4 years with ground rent stable at £350 per year as per the lease and "administrative expenses" making up a service charge annually. In our lease we pay 35% of these costs. We have paid for some pretty shoddy work in the past (including when they've ignored much cheaper quotes we've supplied form builders etc... we know and trust) but I'm trying not to let that colour my objectivity here.

    Our flat has an extension with a flat roof that needs felt repair/replacing to stop a leak. The management company (on behalf of the freeholder) have had someone round (with our permission) to supply a quote (c.£3k) and are now awaiting our rival quote form our trusted roofers. Whist they were there the roofers contracted to supply a quote for the management company also "noticed" some pointing and additional repairs to the first floor roof (flat 2). This quote is around £5k + VAT and we have just been informed that we're also expected to pay 35% of this as well in this year's service charge. All of a sudden our service charge will have lept from around £1.2k to £2.5k (including our roof) to £4.2k (including all the pointing and other roofing work that suddenly needs doing immediately even though some of this hasn't been touched since the 1870's).

    Apologies if this is a bit garbled. Our lease agreement states:
    "ALL OF WHICH is hereinafter called "the demised premises". But excluding:-
    a) any part or parts of the Building situated above the surfaces of the ceilings or below the floor of the demised premises and below the flooring of the balcony flat roof (if any)

    I'm more than happy to quote any other parts of our lease agreement although it is a pretty formidable document to the untrained eye. Bottom line is I think that we shouldn't have to pay for costs completely unrelated to our flat, especially when they've been neglected for so many years. I could be totally wrong, hence the post.

    The freeholder is also a director of the letting/property management company who we pay our service charge and ground rent to. I will not bang on about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from his dual positions.

    Many thanks in advance, sorry for the essay.
    Tom

    #2
    Originally posted by tomjennings View Post
    Bottom line is I think that we shouldn't have to pay for costs completely unrelated to our flat, especially when they've been neglected for so many years.
    But you are quite happy for the other flat owners to pay 65% of the cost of your flat roof?
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

    Comment


      #3
      Actually Tom half your moans are imagined wrongs, sorry.

      What residents overlook especially in small blocks is that they own as you describe the interior of the flat and its internal space, and the remainder of the property is owned by the freeholder.

      It is therefore their property and do not need your permission to come round nor, in owing the agent, is there a conflict of interest as the agent acts for their client, the freeholder.

      That the service charge goes up from x to y is not an argument itself, if that is what needs to be spent then so be it, though it is an harsh and unwelcome reality.

      What it is right to be concerned about is as you all pay a share of the maintenance costs of the retained premises
      a if the flat roof to your home is in fact part of the building retained by the freeholder and to be repaired by them and included in service charge-you will have to check your lease- as with these extensions it can be an exception and the flat lessee has to do it ie the roof is as in your quote part of the (your) demised premises.
      b that works and the cost of those iis fair and reasonable
      c if the service charge can be increased "on demand" as, after a ,and having checked your lease, you may well find that even if the works need doing "now", that doesn't mean that the freeholder can bill them "now".
      d given that the cost is going to exceed £250 for your flat ,the work cannot be done without consultation under "section 20".
      e that the approach of "your quote versus my quote" is the wrong way to do it, its rookie stuff from the agent You first need to agree as in d, the scope of the works and the need, and then having done so, get quotes via the agent approaching all potential contractors on a common list or specification of works. Right now you are at risk of not comparing like with like.

      So your approach should be

      1 check your lease about the roof
      2 remind the agent of section 20 ( thats sarcastic they should know but enjoy the surprise when they reveal that they haven't a clue)
      3 remind (see above) them about the timing and calculation of demands
      4 suggest that you meet on site, with a ladder, to inspect the areas that "need pointing" and discuss exactly
      -what works needs to be done to the flat roof and what materials are to be used, B & Q value roofing or Andersons, an overlay or a full strip and 3 layer system, and
      -what they will allow and how they will do both eg off scaffold, handrail, towers,ladders & or jet pack, how deep they will rake back before pointing etc etc and
      5 on a common basis, having asked everyone for comments under the notice of intention, see 2, proceed for the agent to get quotes from both contractors.

      http://www.lease-advice.org/informat...q.asp?item=173
      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
        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
        But you are quite happy for the other flat owners to pay 65% of the cost of your flat roof?
        I take your point. My ideal scenario would be us paying 100% of all the costs of our flat roof and 0% of the bits that aren't part of our flat. Sadly this isn't the case so I want to make sure the bits that aren't attached to our flat really need doing and are being fairly priced.

        @ leasholdanswers - thanks for the sage and knowledgable advice. We'll get someone who understands the legal language better than us to have a look at the lease.

        Comment


          #5
          @ leasholdanswers having re-read these reallly interesting comments can you confirm for me that they apply to both our flat roof and all the other roofs of the entire property (not just our demised premises)?

          Comment


            #6
            If after having read the lease the flat roof is in your demise and yours to repair, at of course your cost, then its up to you to arrange and do as you see fit, as it does not concern, generally at least, the freeholder.

            if that is the case I would suggest that you allow the freeholder to carry out works to the other premises first so that your new roof isn't damaged by a flock of hobnailed Romanians

            As to nay other flat roof that is again a matter of ling at each lease, however your description of this as an extension altered me to the possibility as is often the case that when a flat is extended by a leaseholder after the original construction or conversion of the building.Freeholders and leaseholders are often reluctant to accept a new roof and new building to be included in the service charge and in the long term put up their costs. The new leaseholder therefore finds themselves having to accept responsibility for the new parts in their new or amended lease.

            My comments are therefore applicable to any work that is the freeholder's to do and is recoverable as service charge.

            Hope that helps.
            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
              Many thanks again

              Comment

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