Management company dispute

by Readers Question

13:56 PM, 26th March 2014
About 7 years ago

Management company dispute

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Management company dispute

I recently bought a top floor flat in a building with 4 flats . The management company is made up of the 4 owners, it is a Victorian semi with two first floor flats and 2 ground floor flats. The management lease is standard covering all communal areas , roof and exterior.

After owning the flat for 5 months my tenant noticed a substantial leak in the ceiling. I notified the chair of the management company who asked I obtained 3 quotes for repair which I did. He then called an EGM which I attended.

At the EGM I was told that the repair was my responsibility and I needed to pay for the repair myself.

The advice from my purchasing solicitor was to litigate to recover costs but their quotes were about £1,000 to deal with this matter.

I am keen to get this resolved asap, I have tried to negotiate with the management company initially offering to pay half which again was rejected.

I am now keen to take the management company to the small claims to recover the costs , is this easy or is there another way?

The lowest quote was in the region of £3,000 for the works. Management company dispute

The work now is urgent as current tenants moved out and the flat is becoming worse daily.

Thanks

Dave Penny

Comments

Gary Nock

14:26 PM, 26th March 2014
About 7 years ago

Dave,

This is essentially a leasehold dispute. Your lease will tell you who is required to contribute and in what proportions. Essentially the roof repairs should be covered by the service charge unless it is something specific to your flat, i.e you have a header tank that has burst that feeds your flat only and damaged your ceiling. If it is the external roof itself then more than likely this is a block expense. I advise speaking to lease.org http://www.lease-advice.org who will be able to advise fully as this type of problem can be legally quite complicated in terms of challenging the repair costs through a First Tier Tribunal. Small Claims Judges will refer leasehold disputes to the First Tier Tribunal in cases where leasehold law and leases are involved.

As the repair is urgent and delay is causing further damage and loss of rent, then after speaking to lease.org they may advise to get the work done. Then you can make an application to a First Tier Tribunal for a determination as to who is liable to pay, If the Tribunal determines that the management company should pay then this can be remitted back to Small Claims for a money order against the Management Company. .Small Claims is fairly straightforward - and will not cost you £1,000 if you do it yourself. Can be done online for a small fee.

But please check out the lease.org site. Its very good and its free.

Regards,

Gary

Annette Stone

23:36 PM, 26th March 2014
About 7 years ago

Gary's advice is spot on here but could I just add that if the theory about the header tank bursting is correct then this may be an insurance issue. The responsibility for checking out the cause of the damage is yours if only your flat is affected and I am not sure how you could have got quotes for the repair without knowing the cause of the damage. Once the cause has been established then if it is a fault with the main roof then you need to follow Gary's advice but if you intend going to Tribunal to recover the funds then you should get either a very detailed estimate on the cause of the problem from a competent builder and a detailed invoice or a Special Defects Report from a chartered surveyor (cost around £200 plus VAT) showing the exact cause as well as a detailed invoice as Tribunal will want to see all of the detail.

If the problem is an insurance one then presumably you have a copy of the block's insurance and contact the brokers and let them know what has happened. Ask them for authority to do the work as soon as possible and let them have the quotes.
Tell them the flat is becoming more and more damaged each day and ask for a quick decision. You will need to discover and pay for the repair to whatever has caused the leak quickly so that you mitigate insurer's loss but they should pay for any residual damage to the flat and depending on the wording of the policy or any landlord's policy you have, you may even be able to claim loss of rent if your tenants truly could not stay in the property


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