In need of a lift

In need of a lift

21:55 PM, 14th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago 8

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We purchased a flat just over a year ago, we did so as the flat was in a nice area, near to our family and importantly due to our advancing years and my wife’s disability, she is in need of a hip replacement.

The flat in question is on the 2nd floor, the selling point was the lift.

It is a small block there being 16 flats with a burden for the said lift.

The burden actually mentions repair or replacement of the lift.

We now find ourselves in the position, where one owner cannot be contacted, one says, “ they do not want to take the hit”, the other says they do not have funds.

The factor has approached the council, who say they will not provide “missing funds” for the lift.

My wife is virtually a prisoner, due to the 3 who cannot or will not pay.

Where can we go, that will not cost us the earth?

Jim



Comments

Laura Delow

11:59 AM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Are the freeholders the managers of the block or is a managing agent appointed? Do you pay a service charge & if so to whom? (do not withhold payment of your service charge). If there is no managing agent & the freeholder is not maintaining the building in a responsible manner, you could take them to First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to appoint one. See link https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/application-first-tier-tribunal-property-chamber/.
The freeholder is usually responsible for repairs to the building's structure, including the roof, cladding, shared parts such as lifts and communal stairways. The freeholder has to consult leaseholders before carrying out any work that will cost each leaseholder more than:
£250 in total.
Write to your freeholder giving detail of the repair needed & tell them how urgent the work is and why. Date your letter and keep a copy.
If your freeholder still won't do repairs, you may be able to take the freeholder to court. You can also report dangerous conditions to your council's environmental health department. However, as mentioned above, as the breach relates to unsatisfactory management, consider whether to apply to First Tier Tribunal. Maybe call LEASE for their free legal advice (15 min call). It can take a while to get through on 020 7832 2500 so I suggest booking an appointment online - copy/paste this link https://clients.lease-advice.org/#/

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

12:06 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Hi Jim

You use the word "factor".

Is this property is Scotland by any chance?

James Paterson

12:59 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 at 15/09/2022 - 12:06
Hi Mark, thanks for your response, yes it is in Scotland. The "factor " has written to the flat owners 13 of who say they will pay, 3 essentially say, they "don`t want to" one saying they don`t have the funds. all have been advised that not replacing the lift will devalue each flat by circa £5000, as well as putting off potential buyers. The cost to each owner is circa £4k.to replace lift. Furthermore should the lift be decommissioned there will be a cost to cut off power, plus "wall off" the lift doors, so whatever else is fact it will cost more not to do it. One person owns 7 flats, they are prepared to have it replaced, but not to mount a legal challenge. Jim.

James Paterson

13:05 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by James Paterson at 15/09/2022 - 12:59Hi Laura,
Sorry my 75 yr. old head does not know abt. freehold etc. THere is a "factor" who we pay a service charge to, we are located in Scotland, I should have made that clear in my post. they have contacted all of the 16 flats concerned, 3 will not pay, 13 will. Although the burden clearly states replacement of the lift is a responsibility. sorry to be vague. We own the flat some are owned some rented.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

14:39 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by James Paterson at 15/09/2022 - 13:05
In that case the factor should be taking legal advice, and so should the rest of you, both independently of course!

I think those of you who are happy to pay for the lift have a very strong case to force the factor to install it and litigate against those refusing to pay.

James Paterson

16:40 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 at 15/09/2022 - 14:39
Hi Mark,
Once again thanks for your response, unfortunately, no-one else seems willing to go down the legal route, I am trying to find out if I can go it alone going to the Sherrif court but no info so far. to say the least I am fuming.Again thank you.

Amen Bundred

17:18 PM, 15th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Your lease states each parties responsibility. If you break the lease you have consequences. Your issue is not with other tenants but with the failure of the freeholder/factor to carry out their obligation to maintain the fabric of the building.
You can serve notice on them for breach of lease. Shelter have a template letter you can use to serve formal notice.
Personally I would use a solicitor to show seriousness of intent should they continue to fail to carry out their legal obligation to you as defined in your lease.

Puzzler

10:06 AM, 18th September 2022, About A week ago

There seems to be some confusion here. In Scotland there is generally no freeholder and the factor is the equivalent of a managing agent. The system is much like commonhold (and why I think that's not without problems) which means everyone has to club together i.e. shared resposnibility and ownership but without a management company. The factor is paid and collects from each flat and so has some clout maybe to collect the funds. My flat in Scotland is not factored so I have no experience of that, we all just agree to pay. Estate agents are also solicitors in Scotland so I would approach the one you bought through and ask their advice. Perhaps those that can and will pay can share the cost and get a charge attached to the properties that don't pay for reimbursement. If the lift is included in your leases then they are obliged to pay, it's not optional, but if they don't agree it will be hard to get the money.

A thought though - lifts cannot be used in the event of fire so to rely on it might have been unwise.

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