Alterations to the flat above

by Readers Question

14:37 PM, 10th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Alterations to the flat above

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Alterations to the flat above

I own 2 flats in a block of 7. The first two floors have 3 flats each and the last flat (flat7) is in the roof space and its floor space covers the 3 flats below. We all have equal share of freehold.The owner of flat 7 is a menace. He is a bully and has completely intimidated all the other flat owners. He has not paid his maintenance charge fully since it was increased to cover costs. I own two flats directly beneath him and since he had plumbing work done, I regularly have water running down my tenants walls. He will not allow me access to his flat to find the problem. Following the work he had done, the communal hallways were left in such a mess, that the walls had to be repainted and the carpet replaced, paid for by the block. Alterations to the flat above

He is now renovating his flat and is knocking down non-structural (I hope and not structural) walls along with other work. I think he is moving the kitchen and turning what was the kitchen into another bedroom. All this is being done without planning or submitting of plans or getting any kind of permission from the block. He has told everyone that he wants to revamp the flat so he can sell it. Everyone else in the block is ready to grant him whatever work he wants to get done because they think at the end he will sell. However, every assurance or promise he has made to the block has been reneged on.

The directors of the block don’t seem to be doing anything about him, neither are the agents. I have advised the directors to call the police if he is intimidating towards them, but they are reluctant to do so. I have logged a job with the local planning authority, but by the time they have visited, it will all be completed and the owner of flat 7 will be “irate” and quite probably threatening to the directors again.

What else can I do?

I have no problem if he is just revamping the flat, but if he is doing something which may alter the quality of life in my flats I want to be able to object before it is too late.

I will consider anything legal.

Thanks

Peter Aldhous



Comments

David Price

9:36 AM, 11th June 2015
About 3 years ago

There is so much in your post that contravenes all sorts of regulations. Whilst I am not a rule book man I think it is time to consider the rule book and throw it in No7's direction.

His lease (obtainable from the land registry although as freeholder you should have the counterpart lease in your possession) is the bible which governs his behaviour. Apply it to the letter.

Arrears of service charges, plus interest if allowed in the lease, can be recovered using a 'no fee to the leaseholders' solicitor (I can recommend one if appropriate).

He has to have building permission and permission from the freeholder for any alterations. Both the local authority and the freeholder will make charges for their services. Check your leases to ascertain exactly what the freeholder can charge.

Messing about with any of the beams in a roof can cause serious problems which in extremis will devalue your property to near worthless so take action sooner rather than later.

You can take legal action for the water damage done to your flats, try moneyclam for the invoiced cost of repairs. Remember that you will have to prove your case in court so keep plenty of photographs.

Above all do not be intimidated by his bullying, the freeholder may be able to repossess his flat for the violations to the lease and he should be aware of this.

Recardo Knights

16:06 PM, 11th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with David, If you all have an equal share of the freehold, you probably have an equal share of the lease. Dig it out and see what it says and what every one is entitled to do.

If the top flat covers the floor area of those bellow chances are supporting walls are being removed if so planning permission and consent are required from the council. he will also need an architect to draw up plans and show calculations of supporting beams etc.

The lease may also state no changes may be made without the consent of all parties. This could included things like adding a conservatory, changing windows or even fitting a satellite dish.

Do not be intimidated and check on the conditions in the lease as he may not be able to make the changes. If he did and planning was required it may also make it difficult to sell on as the solicitors would need to see the council signing off on the works.

If he does sell the newcomers may be even worse.

BAZ MAC

13:39 PM, 13th June 2015
About 3 years ago

If a leaseholder has a share in the freehold then there must have been a company formed to govern the administration of that freehold of which you are a member/shareholder . There will or should be a board of directors who are charged with the responsibility of dealing with these problems. Unless I have misunderstood the flats will not be eligible for finance without this basic requirement. There is some fundamental issues that don't stack up. I have flats in the exact same circumstances and this could NOT happen.

Peter Aldhous

6:30 AM, 15th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "BAZ MAC" at "13/06/2015 - 13:39":

I would not have thought that this could happen. The freehold is owned by the block company, of which each flat owner has a share and vote. However this is a small block and the directors are not willing to do anything, and the other flat owners seem to be of the mind to let the top flat holder do any alterations on the hope he will leave. There are agents who run the block, but who will do nothing without direction from the directors. I have passed the lease to the Leasehold Advisory Service in the hope that agreement to the alterations need to be unanimous and not a majority.

David Price

21:43 PM, 15th June 2015
About 3 years ago

When the roof collapses it will be too late. Get the local authority building inspector in as soon as possible. Also invoke the Party Walls Act which applies equally to your ceilings.

AA Properties Wales

22:59 PM, 15th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Speak to the other leaseholders in an emergency meeting. Compromise in numbers (committee like) and go see him. See how much he wants for the flat, think outside the box. Also all of u need to write a joint letter letting him know what the problems could be if you all inherit an unsafe property. In this letter tell him he has 48 hours or you will all contact the council. People do these sort of things because they are desperate, maybe he is broke? But if he is broke then he is most prob cutting corners in his building work. YOU do not need the headaches and worry of this ALONE, you need to let your other neighbours share the brunt of this problem.


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