97 year old woman with Alzheimers being persecuted by Director!

by Readers Question

18:20 PM, 28th August 2016
About 2 years ago

97 year old woman with Alzheimers being persecuted by Director!

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97 year old woman with Alzheimers being persecuted by Director!

My mother is 97, has Alzheimers and a pacemaker. She lives in a mansion block, is a freeholder and probably the longest resident in the building. The owner of the flat upstairs is a director of the freeholders association. His nephew has bought the flat. He has also bought the space outside the flat and is converting/assimilating this outside space into the flat. Can he do this without permission from the other freeholders? How can we find out how much they paid for this? Do they need planning permission to do these works? How do I find out?wall street

We received no written notice that these works were taking place.

It has been 3 weeks already: the noise is dreadful and frightens my mother constantly. He has taken all the frames off, is drilling down into the cement floor ( cracks in Mum’s ceiling already) and banging loudly in the hallway. He only has one person working there, who doesn’t really seem to know what he is doing. Already there have been two instances of water leaks into my Mum’s Kitchen and bathroom and these leaks have supposedly, inadvertently, seeped into the porter’s flat downstairs ( for which the ‘Director’ is blaming US!!)

I phoned the Director yesterday. I asked him how long the works are going on for. He said 6-8 weeks. That’s in addition to the 3 weeks already.

I suggested that if he had a professional crew of 3-4 people, the work could be done much faster. He said I had no right to tell him what to do.

I said that the noise was frightening my aged mother and could they take more care as they are dropping lots of tools and bricks onto the floor. He said if she couldn’t handle the noise, she should move out. He said this on 2 separate occasions. (When I said I wanted to record him, he put the phone down!).

I mentioned that there had already been two instances of water leaks into our flat and he said that our flat had also affected the porter’s flat – essentially insinuating that if we sought damages from him, as a director he would ensure that we pay damages for the leak to the porters flat. He didn’t say this at all – but why mention our leak to the flat downstairs which was probably caused by the leak in the night from his flat to my Mum’s? She couldn’t get up in the middle of the night and do anything about the water leak – she is 97 and walks with two sticks -hardly surprising therefore that the water leaked into the porters flat. My Mum doesn’t want anybody in the flat to ‘make good’ the damage – only because it would generate more stress. As a co-owner, will I be able to sue them for damages once my mother has ‘left the building’ so to speak?

Advice please! How to limit the noise? How to ensure that reparations are paid fin the future for water leak damage sustained now as my mother can’t deal with workmen in her flat at her age. How to get a vote from the freeholders association to fire/censure this director as he is obviously not working or caring for the freeholders, but only for himself.

Many thanks

Anthony



Comments

Mark Alexander

20:09 PM, 28th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Anthony

Hopefully one of our regular barrister visitors will comment, Charles King hopefully as he specialises in this sort of thing.

There are laws regarding noise, he's well places to advise you. A firm letter from him to this other guy could be enough to persuade him to be more considerate.

S.E. Landlord

9:45 AM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

The lease will set out what he is allowed to do in respect of changes to the flat.
The council should be able to help with the noise nuisance.
I would expect planning permission and building regulation approval to be necessary.
Works to the flat floor would be subject to a "party wall agreement" - speak to a surveyor who specialises in this.
Your mother is entitled to "quiet enjoyment" - refer lease.
Not sure how he can continue to be a director of the freehold association if flat sold to his nephew.

Is there a managing agent for the block - talk to them.

As Mark says hopefully Charles King can help.

Charles King - Barrister-At-Law

10:05 AM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

I will certainly help if I can Anthony: what an awful situation for your poor mum. My immediate thoughts are that an injunction would certainly stop this man carrying out any works of an inconvenient or excessivly noisy nature as far as he possibly can, and certainly stop any further damage to your mum's flat, which must be frightening for such a vulnerable person. Medical evidence from your mum's GP, consultant, or a professional carer would be instrumental for success, and the courts usually insist that you bring a claim (which you/your mum could do as a result of the nuisance and physical damage to the property) in order to obtain an emergency/interim injunction (which normally takes a few days to organise). A strongly worded legal letter often brings about a swift reaction in this sort of situation. Please do ring us for a free no obligation consultation. Best regards, Charles

David Aneurin

12:07 PM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

the first question I have would be to do with the freehold. Is this a freehold or leasehold. How do you know that he bought additional land.

David Atkins

12:38 PM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

I'm assuming this is a leasehold flat. The lease should specify areas which are part of the flat and those which are communal. You say that he has purchased the area outside his flat, I don't think so! You will need to change the lease in order to do this which would require a consultation with all leaseholders. Communal areas are subject to Fire Safety Order regs and so request a copy of the risk assessment as the works will have an impact on this and changes will need to be made.

David Atkins

12:51 PM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

BTW you can download leases from the land registry if they have been updated in the last few years, if not you can get a copy from your local land reg office. It will be worth while getting a copy of your 'neighbour from hell's' lease.

Rob Crawford

15:53 PM, 29th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Even minor alterations nowadays must be conducted iaw building regulations. The Buildings regs / planning officer can enforce work and noise restrictions, including respect for neighbours. It would be a good idea if you emailed you local council planning office regarding your concerns. Don't be concerned about his "Director" status!

S.E. Landlord

17:06 PM, 30th August 2016
About 2 years ago

From how you describe the effects of the water leak it suggests the flat owner causing the problems is on at least the second floor with you on the first floor - if so exactly what land has he incorporated into his flat? It appears to be part of the landing and as such unlikely he is able to do this, and certainly not without the consent of the other leaseholder's / freeholders.

Puzzler

17:15 PM, 30th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Water damage should be covered by the building's insurance; alterations should be approved by the management -is there an agent?

Directors need not be shareholders if the company articles do not say so, as is often the case. However there are presumably other directors? Have you talked to them?


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