Leasehold flat, share of management company, maintenance issues....

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    Leasehold flat, share of management company, maintenance issues....

    I live in a Ground floor leasehold flat in a converted victorian building comprising four flats in total. We each own a 25% share of management company. Maintenance in our leases is a little complicated in that our leases state the building is medially divided and we are responsible for maintenance of our flat both inside and out, this has been clarified by several solicitors. In effect the management company is responsible for the main roof, fascias/soffits, gutters and downpipes. I have several roofs for example, which solely offer protection to my flat and I am solely responsible for. I have had ongoing problems with water ingress in my lounge where I have a large bay window with lean to roof. Initial insurance claim was rejected based on bad maintenance by management company as the loss adjustor made an assumption the ingress was due to blocked guttering on main roof during snow, which caused an overflow on rapid defrosting. I replaced my zinc roof with Firestone DPM Rubber to do all I could my end to avoid recurrence, this being at my own expense due to rejected claim. (I should point out at this point, that the management company is a farce, directors only consider their own interests, maintenance payments are so low a slush fund never builds and any unexpected costs have to be funded by us putting lump sums in. The management company is responsible to insure and maintaining the guttering, but I was left with costs.....) So at this point I am down £1000. The interior ceiling at this point I thought only suffered minor water damage, being period wallpaper that matched main ceiling, I tried to seal with anti stain paint etc. However the water leak recurred, I called roofing company I use to find out they had disappeared and insured backed warranty was invalid. I used another roofer who struggled to find an explanation of how the ingress was occurring (It is a lot of water not a drip) however he said he found a defect he suspected could be the cause, and repaired using an Aqua Seal. A further £100.... At this point my ceiling had deteriorated and as I thought the leak had been rectified, I replaced the ceiling at a cost of £600, again at my expense so I am down £1700. However... The boarding and plastering were finished on the Thursday, on Sunday there was a rainstorm and my new ceiling was soaked. I emailed the management company and all directors (3 neighbours) explaining it had again happened and included a video of the severity of the leak. The response from Company secretary was short and abrupt, advising I should appoint a surveyor (I was advised by another director this being as she felt a further insurance claim should not be made as it would increase our premium) initially I rejected this and made the insurance claim, loss adjustor attended, and immediately opined the water ingress was likely getting in through a tiled walled area between my roof and my upstairs neighbours window, this being the responsibility of my upstairs neighbour as the building is medially divided. The loss adjustor opined ceiling damage was a singular event and covered. It should be noted that my neighbour ignored every email I sent, I have no contact number or address as he does not live in building and rents his flat. When he did finally attend 6 weeks after the leak, he attended with another director, and they rejected the loss adjustors position. At this point I offered to carry out a water test using a hose and sprinkler (my ceiling already requires replacement) and arranged to do it, whilst the upstairs neighbour responsible did not attend, one other director did. The water test proved categorically that the tiled area was the cause of the leak, the director who did witness it said he would talk to other directors including my upstairs neighbour (they were friends prior to moving in....) However I received no response to follow up emails. So at this point I appointed the surveyor, a technical expert in this field. I set up an identical test with hose and sprinkler, it clearly proved the cause of the leak and surveyors report was clear in that the upstairs neighbours tiles were the cause. Despite sending the report to the company, to all known addresses of my neighbour (including upstairs), by recorded delivery. I received no response. I then sent further letters informing all neighbours I intended to hand the matter to solicitors, at which point the upstairs neighbour suddenly repaired (albeit a cowboy repair he did himself) So I have paid the £550 Surveyors fee, I have also incurred repair costs totalling £1700. And my question is, can I recover it, who is responsible for costs? Can I recover legal costs incurred in the recovery? It is a complicated situation and I am concerned with making further outlay if it is throwing good money after bad.... My neighbours cost to repair I estimate at just £200........

    #2
    God this is a long paragraph.

    The upshot seems to be that the lessor is responsible for the roof (you say at one point), and then at another point you say you are soley responsible for the roofs (or some of them) protecting your flat.

    Believe me, when you have "farcical" management, the last thing you want is a "slush fund". Slush (or reserve) funds are the chief thing facilitating fraud and a disconnect between expenditure and service charges, and disappearance of money under conditions of farce.

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      #3
      Sorry for the length of the post, it is complicated. I pointed out the management company is responsible for the main roof as it is the only thing the management company is responsible for. It protects all flats in effect. As the building is medially divided in our leases, and the leases state we are responsible for maintenance of our flats within that divide, both inside and out. It is and always has been clear my upstairs neighbour is responsible for the water ingress, and also responsible for the maintenance of the tiled area. The problem is the upstairs neighbour just ignored all correspondence, the management company did nothing, and I had no choice but to go to a surveyor. My question is can I reclaim the costs of the surveyor, my neighbours was clearly guilty of neglect, and given he ignored all correspondence surely this would count in my favour in court. If he didn't suddenly fix it, it would have been LVT, at which I would have hoped for a ruling on costs. But where do I go now he has repaired?

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        #4
        Sadly there is no law that protects us from people being an arse when dealing, reluctantly and slowly, in these matters.

        You can however look at a claim in negligence in establishing that
        That they owed a duty of care ( that can be in tort and contrcatual under the lease or the articles of association)
        They breached that duty of care
        The breach of the duty of caret caused the damage that you suffered
        The damaged caused was not to remote

        and the simple test of
        Was the damage reasonably foreseeable?
        Was there a relationship of proximity between you?
        Is it just, and reasonable, to impose a duty of care on them?

        This can apply to both the flat owner and the management company.

        It is however a matter of good money chasing after bad. Your legal costs may outweigh what you win.
        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.

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