Freeholder not doing repairs for 5 years, flat now uninhabitable

by Readers Question

10:55 AM, 20th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Freeholder not doing repairs for 5 years, flat now uninhabitable

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Freeholder not doing repairs for 5 years, flat now uninhabitable

Bought a flat over 5 years ago in 2011 for son to live in whilst at uni, flat suffered damp problems which got progressively worse and were reported to managing agents numerous times by phone and email. bad

It took the then managing agents nearly 2 years to get quotes for repairs and section 20 to go through and we had paid our share of the costs. Work was due to start 3 years ago but the freeholder changed agents and work was cancelled and our money returned.

New Agents were appointed and it took another 3 years to get new quotes etc. The quotes were a lot higher than the ones agreed in 2012. There were 2 flats situated over a well known grocery store both suffering damp. We filed papers for arbitration but the owners of the other flat had their hearing first, the agents asked us not to continue with our arbitration as it would be the same outcome, the managing agent also promised to send us the ruling on the arbitration but this has never happened.

The outcome was that our share of the costs to repair the fabric of the building to prevent ingress of water was reduced in line with what we what we had paid in 2012, and that the freeholder would pay 79% for the costs of repairs to our flat. The work has now been completed to the fabric of the building that was causing the ingress of damp.

During this 5 year delay our flat our flat has become so badly damaged that parts of the ceilings have collapsed tiles fallen off the walls and every wall is damp with wall paper hanging off and plaster work crumbling and has been uninhabitable for the last 2 years.

The agents now have 3 quotes for the work on the flat and have had for some time but since they have all the quotes they haven’t been answering emails and are unavailable to speak to us on the phone and don’t return phone calls.

We estimate we have lost over 12K in rent revenue and council tax whilst the flat has been uninhabitable, any advice would be appreciated.

Frederick



Comments

Gary Nock

19:51 PM, 20th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Frederick you need some serious legal advice here. However the first place to start is your lease. This will state the obligations of the "lessor" who is usually the Freeholder. It may also detail what can and can't be claimed if the Freeholder is in breach of it's obligations under the lease. Now once you have that you can seek legal advice on which way to go to see if you have a claim. If there are clear breaches of the lease and as a consequence you are out of pocket, then you may have a County Court claim. And the Freeholder cannot blame the agent. It is the freeholder who is obligated under the terms of the lease to keep the fabric of the building in good repair. Not the agent. And you may well find that the block buildings insurance may be somewhere to turn - either for you or the freeholder or both. But as I say you need some specialist legal advice on this from a firm experienced in dealing with this type of negligence.

reemal rabheru

20:53 PM, 27th February 2017
About 2 years ago

look at your house insurance as you maybe covered for legal fees under the policy (either your own home or other home insurances!) phoning them to ask wont cost much 🙂


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