Had to pay solicitor to prove I don’t own the Council’s land!

Had to pay solicitor to prove I don’t own the Council’s land!

by Mick Roberts

Guest Author

16:54 PM, 22nd June 2021, About 3 years ago 27

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You couldn’t make this up. The neighbour to one of my houses I’ve owned 22 years asked Nottingham Council to maintain their trees close to his house. Nottingham Council said Not our trees, they’re that Landlord Mr Roberts. I of course said Not mine, they’re the Council’s.

Nottm Council went to Notts Council, and they couldn’t decide amongst themselves and their army of Legal experts and solicitors who owned it-Obviously can’t read Legal documents, so the Council wrote back to the Neighbour and said Not ours, and to take Legal action against me.
And they can’t come out to look because they are on Mick Roberts land.

I had to contact my solicitor, pay their not cheap fees as you know, and my solicitor found the answer in 30 minutes.

Now here’s the biggie, after me now proving I don’t own and the Council do, the Council now WON’T pay my solicitors fees. Even though I have emails from them acknowledging their mistake, they’re now refusing to pay and say I’m to contact their insurers.

These are the same people that operate Licensing that tell us how to rent houses out. And what the tenants can and can’t do.

Nottingham Council seems toxic through and through. From top to bottom. NEVER listen to us on the ground. I’ve housed that many of Nottingham Council homeless over the years and NOT ONCE has the Council come to ask me how me and the tenants I’ve helped them out with, how we’d be affected.

If they’d have rung me on the first instance on this tree case, voilà. But Oh no, no communication from the Council & they are driving me insane.

Update 22 June 2021
I’d put in an official complaint for Council to pay my legal fees due to their inadequacies, they’ve obviously not read the letter properly, passed it to Tree services who have replied-Not our land.

Gees, these people!

 

 


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Comments

Simon Lever - Chartered Accountant helping clients get the best returns from their properties

17:59 PM, 28th June 2021, About 3 years ago

If the council insit the trees are yours write to them and tell them you are chopping them down for fire wood.

They will soon discover who actually owns them!

Jonathan Clarke

8:47 AM, 30th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Great story Mick

I feel your pain

Its rare I haven't got an ongoing complaint running with my council. Recent ones

1) A council house next door to mine which they didn't realised they owned . Said they had no responsibility for the broken fence between us . But Its a shared one so surprise surprise they will now pay 50%

2) New roof they did but didn't bill within the 18mth time limit - 10K saved . Nice victory but their paperwork delay costs the taxpayer over 50K for the whole block. Criminal waste

3) Had a flood in their block . They neglected to understand what the difference was between clean water coming out of pipes and dirty sewage out of a soil stack
£350 compensation for that one

4) Crack to their building structure on a leasehold flat . Structural engineer called out . Then about 4 messed up visits to repair since September last year . Still not fixed . Now they say its not their problem. It is of course but they just haven't worked that out yet .
The ombudsman couldn't even get a reply from them on the last one so may serve notice on them soon

I thought they may say i was a vexatious complainant . But I have had legal advice to say that's only if you complain and haven't got sufficient grounds for winning . But I do have sufficient grounds for winning and i so often do win.......

so i keep going - the public need to know

Mick Roberts

11:22 AM, 30th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Clarke at 30/06/2021 - 08:47
Thanks Jonathon,

Ha ha yes I've had plenty of them fence ones.

2. Wow, that's interesting to know the 18mth time limit. U a man of knowledge.

4. Brilliant no reply to Ombudsman either.

We get sick of fighting with the Council though, their complaints process is horrendous. Nottingham's, if u don't agree, u can't reply. U have to submit a form which starts a whole new complaint. I'm going to the LGO on this as I gave up 3 years ago & it's still the same.

Mick Roberts

12:54 PM, 30th June 2021, About 3 years ago

We've now got reaction from the Council now the story has been in the local Media:

https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/legal-fight-prove-whos-responsible-5569491

Mick Roberts

15:49 PM, 10th February 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 23/06/2021 - 10:16
Mark,
You asked me to let u know, so here we go, u may get bored. Many have said the LGO have been useless in recent years, but that's what they are/or was there for. Maybe it's me that's in the wrong, I can't always be right.

6 Jan 2022
LGO to me:
Dear Mr Roberts
Complaint about Nottingham City Council
We have received your complaint for assessment, and would have hoped to be able to give you a decision about whether we could or should investigate it by now. I am sorry to tell you that our decision has been delayed due to a backlog of complaints. We are working on it now and will get back to you as soon as we are able.
In the meantime, I understand the Council sent you its review decision on 30 November 2021, which was after your last contact with us. Could you let me know whether this has now satisfied your complaint so that we can close your file. If not, can you let me know the reasons why you remain dissatisfied, what injustice this has caused you, and what, in an ideal world, you would like as an outcome.

6 Jan 2022
Me to LGO
Dear XXX at LGO,
Thanks for reply.

Their reply hasn’t satisfied my complaint as you can see, they haven’t paid my losses to me or my solicitor.
Also, are you not reprimanding them for replying late? Out of time limits? As u did on another of Nottingham Council’s last year.

You may have to ring me on your questions, as I think I’ve answered these in my previous letters if you have received them by post, as there was no way to send you them afterwards to attach to the file.

I think I’d like a public apology in the local paper too, if you do find them to be at fault.
And I’d also like to complain about some of the points in my notes below, they even not gave me the correct phone number which they say I should ring.

I’d like to complain about them seeming to MAKE me do the compensation request as a civil claim. I never wanted this. This seems to be devious tactics on their part.

Please find log below which I wrote when I received the late Council Reply.

30.11.21 Nottingham Council finally send me their response.
They’ve got this slightly wrong, I was only interested in putting my complaint in as one. It appears Nottingham Council are trying to justify their ineptitude complaints process system that they did indeed split part of the complaint up to talk about the complaints process too. I didn’t want this. All under one umbrella for me.

Tree services had already looked at the trees wrongly being told to by the Council, my complaint shouldn’t have gone back to them. That was cause of the Complains team staff not knowing what to do with it, not ringing me up to ask, not communicating.
So they say there is an error & they are satisfied with this error?

They say:
2. The complaints management system is designed in a way when you log a new complaint you receive a new reference number, and unfortunately it does not allow you to keep adding points to the same case reference. If you need to add something further to the same complaint reference you can call the HYS Team on 0115 915 5555, and ask them to add notes to any existing complaint.
What when I don’t want to start a new complaint? I’m not starting a new complaint.
I don’t want to be on the phone an hour queuing & talking & adding notes. I want to send in so I have a record & they’ve got it down properly.
The phone number they’ve just gave is not that team, that’s is the normal main line u have to queue through first before even being put in the queue for the Complaints team.

3. They didn’t accept it was may land straightaway. Look at the dates on their letters to the resident telling him to take Legal action against me. They was about a week apart.

4. Again they use the words Given to Third Party. & in good faith. Isn’t everything Nottingham Council do in Good faith? We can’t keep blaming Good faith on constant cock-ups.
They say ‘Believed to be factual’. I told them & told them. Can my words never be factual? A 6 year kid looking at the tress can see they on the Highway & not mine.
They say:
I would also like to add that your request for compensation was dealt with as a civil claim for compensation, and as such falls outside the Have Your Say complaints process

Why was my claim dealt with as a Civil Claim? I never asked for this. I wrote to where they told me to write to. I said at the time if u read my letters, that I bet they gonna’ say it is compensation claim now instead of complaint. I started off the complaint as a complaint & only wrote to the Insurance department as that’s what they directed me to. Can we complain about this please. This is deceiving underhand tactics by Nottingham City Council.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from Nottingham City Council saying they have found no fault.
And I never complained against Tree services & I don’t believe they did anything wrong did they.
U cannot ring up HYS team, as with them, u need a record of emails as they work their way out of stuff at the best of times.

Please let me know how I can get the other supporting documents to you.
And if you can confirm you have everything I have sent.
Yours sincerely,

6 Jan 2022:
From LGO to me
Dear Mr Roberts
Complaint about Nottingham City Council
Thank you for your email. I have the original two documents that you attached to your complaint form, plus correspondence you sent by post on 19 October and 24 November 2021.
If you need to send any more documents, you may do that to this email address and I will ensure they get placed on your file.

6 Jan 2022
Me to LGO
Ok XXX ,

Do u want to ring me tomorrow if u can or whenever u can to discuss what u have got/what I've sent u, so nothing is missing as there was lots of stuff.

One example is enclosed where text below they sent a question, but not told me the question, told me to log on line & the question din't make sense. Enclosed screenshot. Nothing was in case history.
Enclosed the letters sent me which were sent to neighbour to tell them to take Civil case against me.

Dear Michael Roberts

You have been asked a question by the investigating officer for your comment, compliment or complaint through the Have Your Say feedback process. Please click the link below to view and respond to this question. If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the Have Your Say team on 0115 876 4921.
https://myaccount.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/service/HYS_customer_answer_form?questionId=82f1461e340740628a0

Kind Regards,
The Have Your Say Team

LGO to me 6 Jan 2022
I will be back in the office on Tuesday 11 January 2022. My emails will not be monitored so will not be responded to until my return.
Please note my work days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Mick Roberts

15:54 PM, 10th February 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 23/06/2021 - 10:16
7 Jan 2022
LGO to me-Investigating officer not even waited for my stuff to come in, not had a phone call, nothing. Bearing in mind above person said not back till 11 Jan.
The Ombudsman’s final decision
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a tree
ownership dispute. This is because any injustice is not significant
enough to warrant our involvement.
The complaint
1. Mr Y complains that the Council told his neighbour that he owns a strip of land on
which there were high trees when he does not own the land. He is also unhappy
with how the Council dealt with his complaint.
2. Mr Y says this caused bad feeling between him and his neighbour and he had to
spend £114 to have a lawyer confirm to the Council that he does not own the land
and is not therefore responsible for the overgrown trees.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
3. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service
failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an
adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We
provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or
may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide any injustice is not
significant enough to justify our involvement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
4. It is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about complaint
procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue.
How I considered this complaint
5. I considered the information Mr Y and the Council provided and the
Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
My assessment
6. In 2021, Mr Y’s neighbour approached the Council about overgrown trees on the
land between his house and Mr Y’s property. The Council contacted another local
authority to ask about the land. It says the other local authority told it, and it
subsequently told the neighbour, that Mr Y owned the land on which the trees
stood. The Council therefore advised the neighbour that the dispute was between
him and Mr Y and that he could take legal advice about the matter.
7. Mr Y complained to the Council in May. He also sought advice from his solicitor.
The solicitor obtained a copy of Mr Y’s title deeds which showed he did not own
Final decision 2
the land and was not responsible for this. Mr Y says this advice cost him £114 in
fees from the solicitor.
8. Mr Y presented this information to the Council who accepted that Mr Y did not in
fact own the land. Mr Y continued to complain, but was repeatedly asked by the
Council to make a new complaint under a new reference. Mr Y is also unhappy
with the length of time it took the Council to provide a response to his complaint.
Mr Y’s complaint letters say that he had spent several hours dealing with the
issue and he asked the Council to pay him for this time, at a rate of £200 per
hour.
9. The Council provided its final response to Mr Y’s complaint in November. It
apologised for the errors made in the handling of Mr Y’s complaint. It said it had
spoken to the staff members involved and had added Mr Y’s concerns about its
electronic complaint forms to its records to be considered as part of future
updates.
10. The Council also said it would not pay Mr Y for the £114 he had spent on legal
fees as part of any complaint as it had considered this as a legal claim for
compensation and advised Mr Y to consider seeking further legal advice if he
wanted to pursue such a claim.
Analysis
11. The Council’s actions did not require Mr Y to answer any claim from the
neighbour or the Council. Mr Y was not required to seek legal advice but instead
did this of his own choice and at his own expense. He could have taken
alternative steps such as speaking or writing to the neighbour or waiting for a
claim to be made before seeking legal advice. However, Mr Y did not do this and
spent £114 on getting advice for his own peace of mind. Consequently, we would
not consider this an injustice caused by any fault of the Council in the service it
provided to Mr Y.
12. Mr Y’s remaining injustice is the inconvenience caused by the ill-feeling between
him and his neighbour and the difficulties he experienced in raising his complaint.
13. As Mr Y has proven he does not own the land, and the Council has accepted this,
the ill-feeling between him and his neighbour is a personal matter likely to have
been temporary and short-lived. We would not consider this to be a significant
enough injustice to warrant our investigation.
14. The Council has also recognised the difficulties Mr Y faced when making his
complaint and has apologised for this. This will have reduced any frustration
caused and so there is not a significant enough remaining injustice to warrant our
involvement.
15. Further, it is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about
complaint procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue.
As we are not investigating Mr Y’s substantive complaint we will not investigate
the Council’s handling of his complaint.
Final decision
16. We will not investigate Mr Y’s complaint because there is not significant enough
injustice to justify our involvement.
Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

8 Jan 2022
Me to LGO
Dear XXX, Investigator at LGO,

Can I ask u to look at this again please.

LGO XXX only came to me 6 Jan & asked how I get other documents to u & a phone call between us to confirm you have everything as your website didn’t allow us to add things to the complaint.
I got an auto reply from XXX saying she won’t be back in till Tues 11 Jan.
You have replied on 7 Jan saying you have finished the complaint. How is that possible? I’ve only sent Lesley some stuff on 6 Jan which you haven’t received yet.

Are you not ringing me for any explanation either way?
In case any of us has misunderstood each other?

If I’ve told the Council I don’t own the land, how else could I have proved it?

Have I misunderstood this, as it seems the LGO would rather the neighbour start legal action against me first incurring much more costs for everyone involved. Surely me providing the evidence at the outset avoided all this? You surely not suggesting people now should take Legal action & all the cost it entails when it is the Council who are fault here?

You mention I could have took alternative steps. I did do so. I asked the initial officer Robert several times to check again, but alas when u talk to Nottingham City Council, you are always deemed to be wrong.

You say I should have spoke to the neighbour. XXX, why don’t you ask me if I’ve done that instead of assuming I haven’t? Or course I have spoke to the neighbour, as mentioned before, we was building big extension & builder was using neighbour’s drive for the materials. Even more reason why didn’t want neighbour incurring legal costs on a matter that the Council could have told him the answer for, for FREE. Had they just listened.

Where do you get this comment from?
He could have taken alternative steps such as speaking or writing to the neighbour or waiting for a claim to be made before seeking legal advice. However, Mr Y did not do this and spent £114 on getting advice for his own peace of mind

How do you know I haven’t spoke to the neighbour?
And why do u use the words for his own piece of mind? I didn’t need to know, why would I have needed to know?

13. I’m not asking you to investigate the ill feeling between me & the neighbour as there is none. And the Council has accepted cause I’ve had to pay a solicitor to prove this. Otherwise they wasn’t accepting.

14. You say this will have reduced any frustration caused. Where do you get that from? It hasn’t as they have had this complaint system for years & it caused me frustration 4 years ago too, when I last complained. In fact, I’m more frustrated knowing that if I have to complain again in the future, the same system is still in place.

So you aren’t finding the Council did anything wrong at all in giving out incorrect information which was potentially on a path to thousands of pounds of litigation ill-feeling? I avoided this with £114 from a solicitor-Has that not saved the day? I didn’t have the LGO on hand that day, had I rang you & you advised to let everyone start expensive legal action, then I would have followed your advice.

Did u miss my question about them not replying in time? I don’t think you have even received them due to my comments above about asking me for stuff on the 6th Jan, then coming to a decision on the 7th Jan.

I’ll copy again below the 2 letters I sent to XXX on the 6th Jan as it seems you haven’t got her stuff yet:

20 Jan 2022
LGO to me:
Dear Mr Roberts
Your Review Request
Thank you for your email.
Under our review process we will not review our decision just because you do not agree with it.
You would need to show to either show why the evidence we used contained facts that were not
accurate or to provide new and relevant information.
I have considered both the information you provided and your comments. However, I have not
found my decision is changed from the information you have provided. The information was mainly
your comments and copies of the correspondence sent to your neighbour, which was not disputed.
While I understand that you feel you took action to stop the issue over who owned the land from
progressing, this was not a requirement at that time and was therefore a personal choice. I
understand that you disagree with our decision on this issue, but we will not review a decision just
because you disagree with it.
The case will therefore remain closed.
I will note any further contact from you, but I will not acknowledge it or reply unless you send in
information to justify me passing the case for a review. The time limit for asking for a review is
within one month of the date shown on my final decision statement.
Yours sincerely

Mick Roberts

15:54 PM, 10th February 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 23/06/2021 - 10:16
Dear Chief Executive,

Can you do me a review please.
Excuse my delay, I’ve been away. Had XXX at any point spoke to me, I’d have explained this & asked her to not reply till maybe end of Jan.

I’m a bit bemused if you can help me please.
I’ve got a reply from XXX, Investigator at LGO, which says:
I will note any further contact from you, but I will not acknowledge it or reply unless you send in
information to justify me passing the case for a review.

Hence I’ve not wrote to her, as I’m thinking She’s going to ignore me anyway.
This doesn’t seem very welcoming or friendly at all. We already in a state of being baffled by the Council, hence we come to u.
I have asked XXX some questions, very simple questions, & she hasn’t answered them questions at all. If you can find out please. Main ones being, I was asked to send in such & such within so many days by one your handlers before the case gets looked at. I sent stuff in, your handler was away till 11 Jan auto reply, yet 7 Jan XXX main Investigator replies saying she’s finished the case. How is that possible if she’s not even waited for me to send the stuff in?

The LGO years ago used to stop many Housing Benefit tenants becoming homeless because you would step in & know right from wrong & sort the Council out. However it seems (And many people are saying this) that the LGO in 2020’s just don’t act where u would have done 10 years ago. Is it budget cuts I don’t know.
|
XXX made a lot of very wrong presumptions in her 7 Jan 2022 letter. All could have been cleared up if she’d have rang me. Are you aware I’ve not had ONE SINGLE PHONE CALL? Not one. How can u solve something without a bit of verbal contact?
She’s clearly got a lot of things wrong, which you can see from her 7 Jan letter & my reply.

Is it wrong to expect the LGO to at least read my letter & questions & answer them?

I’ll ask again as may questions have not been answered & XXX got a lot of stuff wrong-All from not talking:

LGO XXX only came to me 6 Jan & asked how I get other documents to u & a phone call between us to confirm you have everything as your website didn’t allow us to add things to the complaint.
I got an auto reply from XXX saying she won’t be back in till Tues 11 Jan.
You have replied on 7 Jan saying you have finished the complaint. How is that possible? I’ve only sent XXX some stuff on 6 Jan which you haven’t received yet.

Are you not ringing me for any explanation either way?
In case any of us has misunderstood each other?

Yours sincerely,

10 Feb 2022
Me to LGO (sarcastically)
Thank you XXX,
Very re-assuring. To a man who's struggling with his Mental Health.
I will note any further contact from you, but I will not acknowledge it or reply
And thank u for ringing me to verbally discuss.
And thank u for checking to see if I was on holiday before replying.
Ooh and thank u for answering my questions.

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